For those who look after sheep, the importance of a well-trained dog can not be underestimated.
Despite technological advances in farming, a replacement for a skilled sheepdog has yet to be found. For many years, dogs have been bred to develop the requisite traits of intelligence, stamina and obedience, with the finest example being the Border Collie.
Sheepdogs are used when handling flocks of sheep, as they offer the safest and most efficient means of carefully moving sheep from one location to another. The skill of the handler is to move the sheep steadily so as to cause no distress.
Heatherhill Sheepdogs is run by Martin O'Malley and is based on Achill, Co Mayo, Ireland. They also offer tourists visiting Achill, sheepdog demonstrations on a daily basis. Their demonstrations show and inform people how shepherd and his sheepdog work together as a team.
In the demonstrations, Martin will explain the process that goes into training a working sheepdog. You will be shown puppies just starting to learn their trade, to fully trained dogs.