Herding Demonstration

On Saturday, April 11, I didn’t get to show my dogs at the Blue & Gray cluster because I had been asked to organize a Herding demonstration for the public to enjoy.

The Blue & Gray cluster is 4 days of dog shows that are held in the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Each day the show is hosted by a different Kennel Club. The show that is hosted by the Harrisburg Kennel Club is also filmed to air on Animal Planet as part of the “Animal Planet Dog Championships”. On the Animal Planet website it says, “Experience the thrill of canine competition in a multi-city tournament series featuring three of the American Kennel Club's largest and most prestigious dog shows.” Wow. I am a member of the Harrisburg Kennel Club. I can say that as far as dog shows go, this weekend has a unique feel and it really something to experience. If you click on the links I have provided, you can get a feel for this event.

Many different specialty clubs take advantage of this unique experience to host specialty shows. The Harrisburg Shetland Sheepdog club has been one of those specialty clubs and this past Saturday and Sunday were there specialties.

In 2006 the sheltie, Ch. Pop Star SS of Northern Farm was Best In Show. This win not only gave “Pop Star” a Specialty “Best”- but also an all-breed “Best” at a Nationally televised show. A great day for this sheltie and for our breed.

Back to my herding demonstration. I organized a “Parade of Herding and Livestock Guard breeds” to start the demonstration. I had the dogs lined up grouped by country. I thought it would be interesting to have the Hungarian Puli and the Komondor next to each other. I also wanted the Briard and the Pyrean Shepherd next to each other and so on and so forth. I talked about how different traits were selected in different geographic area to reflect the terrain, the climate, and the personalities of the people. I also talked about how many of the “herding” breeds had multiple responsibilities and therefore they were not “just” selected based on herding traits. It went well.

I was SO THANKFUL to the people who brought their dogs to participate in this part of the event. They may not have felt it was much- but I sure did!!

I had 3 dogs to demonstrate the actual herding. We started with a Border Collie (which is what everyone expected to see of course), next I had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and I ended with a Smooth Collie. The BC and the Corgi were both upper level herding dogs and the Smooth Collie was less experienced, but I felt gave the audience a good demonstration of “instinct” (along with training). This collie gave me the opportunity to talk about how dogs change with experience. I thought he was a very good addition to this demonstration.

Animal Planet came to the arena at 9:30am that morning and interviewed me for about ½ hour. We demonstrated with each of the dogs for them too and they then asked me for commentary on each of the dogs. They said they would come back to film the “public demo”- but I have no idea if they did or not. I am sure they will reduce my interview to one or two lines and then my reaction to each of the dogs herding. I sure hope it turns out ok. It will be aired on Animal Planet in July.

I also really need to thank my husband, Mike. He gave up a day and a half to load sheep, transport sheep, help me do last minute running around, and lend support. It really is amazing how many people it takes to do “a simple demonstration”. Thank you to EVERYONE who had a part in this event. It went so well I fear I will be asked to do it again next year.

Sheltie Owner  – (April 15, 2009 at 2:36:00 PM PDT)  

You're a Star! Can't wait to see this on TV. Awesome.

Princess Kayla  – (May 18, 2009 at 1:47:00 AM PDT)  

Oh i wish we have herding in Singapore!

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