Owning a sheepdog can save farmers an awful amount of time, labour and indeed stress. Therefore choosing one is not a decision to be taken lightly.
When choosing the perfect sheepdog for you there are many different steps one should follow, to ensure it is best suited to you and your farm. See the below list of what you should look for when choosing the perfect dog for you.
- In truth, the more you spend the better dog you will get. Don't tighten the purse strings, spend more and you will be happier as a result.
- Make sure you choose your trainer carefully. Ensure you research his/her work and ensure they are good at training dogs, with previous successes. Ask about the trainers previous training experience and to see some of the dogs in the action.
- Again researching is key. Make sure and shop around first before any decisions are made. Agricultural shows are a good place to find a good trainer. Usually there are sheep dog trials underway at these shows, so keep an eye out for the best trained dogs and make your move.
- Discuss your requirements thoroughly with the trainer before purchasing. He/she, once given enough information, should be able to help choose the dog best suited to you and your farm.
- There are different dogs for different jobs. Choose the breed of dog based on what jobs you have in store for it. Again asking the trainer and telling them your requirements will ensure you have chosen the dog right for you.
- The temperament of the dog is vital! Check the temperament of the dogs parents and see if you develop a rapport with them. If not it is likely their pup will not be suitable to you. A pup's personality tends to be similar to either of its parents. If you are a loud spoken person who tends to shout commands, then it's best to steer clear of a sensitive dog. If a dog is a bit overly hyper, it's probably best not to choose it, as you don't want to stress your livestock. Choose a dog based on its personality, just as you would choose a friend. It is going to be at your side indefinitely after all.
- Patience is key with a new working dog. It takes a dog time to settle to it's new surroundings, team and to its new role so give it time. Within a few months you should have gained its trust, and begin to reap the benefits. Ensuring you learn the commands exactly as its previous trainer spoke them is vital, to avoid confusion and allow for an easier transition.
- If all fails and you and your new dog don't click, most trainers give you the option to return them after one month. Don't give up and try, the harder you work with your dog the higher the rewards.