They say you ruin your first sheepdog . . .
This is Dot. A daughter of Derek Scrimgeour’s Ben, Dot was my first sheepdog back in 2002.
They say you ruin your first sheepdog, and there’s certainly some truth in that. I was much too hard on Dot right from the beginning because I knew nothing about sheepdog training and I’d been told that unless you had a perfect stop on a dog it would never be any good. Since then, I’ve discovered for myself that this is not necessarily so.
These days I prefer to get the dog working reasonably well around the sheep and build its confidence. Then, if the stop hasn’t already developed the way I want it to (and it’s surprising how often the stop comes naturally during training) I’ll apply more pressure to the dog to stop quickly when required.
Dot was a headstrong young dog, but I was so determined to stop her quickly that I believe I damaged her confidence. If I were given an opportunity to train Dot from the beginning again now, things would be very different.
One of the things I really liked about Dot was her driving. She was a natural driving dog, and eventually I sold her to someone in Idaho, USA as a cattle driving dog. I sometimes wonder whether she’s still alive and if so, what she’s doing now.