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Stock dogs put through their paces

Dogs have a natural need for leadership and look at the owner as an authority figure they trust.

LANGHAM, Sask. — Jared Epp of the Saskatchewan Stock Dog Association brought his two Border Collies to the recent Ag in Motion show near Langham, Sask., to demonstrate how effective they can be in herding livestock and how simple they can be to manage.

Epp had the dogs listen to his every command as they moved the sheep easily around the pen.

“The instinct we’re utilizing is not a herding instinct, it’s a hunting instinct,” said Epp. “We’re just applying it to herd.”

Epp said they use the dogs’ natural need for leadership to look at the owner as an authority figure that they trust.

“When they accept leadership, they’re just thrilled to take a suggestion from their leader.”

He said there’s nothing like being able to show the dogs off to the crowd and have the public witness first-hand how he can make them move the herd in any direction with a quick whistle or voice command.

“There’s nothing like live interaction with people and their response to the things they’re seeing right in front of them.”

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