The art of the working sheepdog
Lily Thomson

Lily Thomson
Posted on 06 May, 2023

The art of the working sheepdog

Here at Agfest, sheepdogs and their trainers can show off their skills in front of spectators at the dog trail arena.


Having a sheepdog is said to be like having an extra set of hands, and dog handler Louise Grant agrees.

Louise has been working with 8-year old Fleetwood Gift for many years, entering multiple competitions and proving quite successful.

There are countless hours that go into making sure a dog is ready to complete, says Louise.

“You keep them as fit as you can and work them as often as you can”.

Louise says there is a fine line between teaching a dog new skills and interfering with their natural instinct.

“You want them to keep that instinct, you don’t want to override it, because there are times when they’re thinking quicker than you. But you need them to listen and respond to commands”.

Louise uses multiple commands such as “go by” to direct the dog to move in a clockwise direction and “come out” is to move in an anti-clockwise direction around the sheep or herd.

There are certain attributes sheepdogs need.

“You want a calm and biddable dog but you don’t want them to slouch because they need to be athletic”.

Louise and Fleetwood Gift competed in the top 10 open final competition early this morning. Unfortunately, the pair just missed out on progressing onto the next stage.

“That happens sometimes, we had fun together and that’s what matters”.