Camden's Mom Posted January 3, 2014 Report Share Posted January 3, 2014 Several months ago there was a thread on this forum in which a user asked about starting an older dog on sheep. A topic came up in that thread that surprised me and I’ve not been able to get it off my mind, especially as I consider putting my young dog back on sheep after the snow melts in the spring. Many of you stated that it is irresponsible of a livestock owner to train dogs who are learning to herd exclusively as a recreational activity. I remember reading in several comments that the stress to the sheep/cattle was not worth it unless the dog was training for a career as a working stockdog. I’m afraid to say Camden and I fall into the “recreational” category. I want to learn the activity “for fun” but I do have enormous respect for the animals (dogs and stock alike) and tremendous admiration for the trainers and handlers involved in the world of herding. I doubt we’d be any good (he might be decent with a handler who wasn’t clueless, but with me he’s doomed) yet I still have a great desire to pursue herding with him. I love the idea of my dog doing the work he was breed for, and doing that work by my side, as a team. My lifestyle doesn’t allow me to consider buying a farm or owning my own livestock, although since our first lesson I have fantasized about it often. This really would just be a fun activity for us. I’m wondering if I have some larger, ethical considerations to mull over. Is it fair to all of the animals involved to put him back on sheep if there is no useful end goal, other then a sense of shared accomplishment? Is it something I should still consider pursuing with him or should I back off from it until there is an actual use for him as a stockdog in my future, however unlikely? I don’t know what choice I will make, as of yet. The idea of not putting him back on sheep ever again makes me very sad, but clearly my emotional “wants” should not be the top priority in this decision. I am very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on all of this and thank you in advance. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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