Loyal and Hard-Working Sheep Dogs
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The benefit of whistles over words is that a whistle can be heard over a much longer distance than a shout, making the whistling especially useful when working a dog over a vast area like a mountainside. What’s more, a handler would lose his voice if he spent all day shouting, whereas the voice doesn’t tire from whistling.
Directing more than one dog can be complicated, as of course the handler must think quickly, and not only that, he has to remember to think of what is left or right to the dog, rather than his own left and right. This is impossible on a hillside where the handler might be unable to see either the dog or the sheep, which is why a dog that understands the job, and understands the direction in which he must move the sheep, is essential. Whilst you can teach obedience to a dog, you can’t teach it common sense: That is a matter of breeding, and of luck, to a certain extent.
Sheep dogs are usually given short names that can be called quickly and that are easily distinguished from the handler’s other dogs. For instance, a handler wouldn’t call one dog “Bill” and another dog “Jill” as the names sound far too similar. Popular names vary slightly from region to region. “Lass” and “Glen” are commonplace in Scotland, whereas “Nel,” “Fly” and “Moss” are popular in Wales. FC
Josephine Roberts lives on an old-fashioned smallholding in Snowdonia, North Wales, and has a passion for all things vintage. Email her at email@example.com.
Read more about Hard Working Farm Dogs.
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