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Sheep Herding
Keeping Instinct Alive

Moving livestock with sheep herding dogs is a century old practice. While the shepherds trek of walking stock to grazing lands or to market has been taken over by truck and trailer, the work a stock dog does on the modern ranch is still unrivaled.

There is no shortage of sheep dogs being bred. However, a bony sheep herding dog is a rare find.

Livestock and dogs react to one another in a natural language of energy and intention that both understand. This language of energy and intention is the essence of why herding dogs are so remarkably priceless.

Put another way, sheep herding done by a dog is a dialogue of instinct occurring between dog and sheep. The shepherd acts as interpreter, reading one and guiding the other in order to collect and move livestock where needed.

The trend of moving livestock with Quads and pick up trucks is doable but second rate because it is difficult for livestock to understand the intention of vehicles.

Handling sheep with dogs is both a necessity and a pass-time we have become very fond of at Dog Tale Ranch.

Our first ten sheep came to the ranch because of a dog. A tall, lanky, ordinary looking, border collie type of unknown pedigree. He had previously arrived into our lives at a year old with a total accumulated history of male, border collie, stray, picked up on 42st.

Since that time, we've opened our minds and out ranch to the potential of numerous breeds of dogs who are capable of herding. We've taken a foray into hosting herding events to help unfold and showcase this potential.

We've made the leap from ten hobby sheep for dog training, to raising sheep for our livelihood. This in turn was our segue into grassland farming and an alternative outlook on agriculture and to sharing our passion in these pages.

The best way to keep the instinct flourishing in herding breeds if for farmers and ranchers to continue using dogs.

While herding trials have their rightful place and are an important aspect of uniting dogs and people, breeding dogs for the sole purpose of trialing produces a different type of dog. The useful ranch dog livelihood rests in the hands of the people who use the dogs for functional work.

When your dog is an appropriate age and maturity, put him to work and with a little thoughtfulness you'll begin to see all manner of ways a dog can help out.

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