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Working reindeer with bordercollies...?


Smalahundur
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What do you think? Would it be possible to work reindeer with border collies?

 

I have seen reindeer being herded in Norway in a documentary, and dogs were used, but they seemed more of the droving type stock dog, working like for instance huntaways.

 

I wonder if a gathering type dog would be of any use.

I talked with a friend of mine who worked on a reindeer farm (ranch?) in Greenland, he said the main thing was to keep well out of sight of those animals, only to show yourself when you are at the point you want to drive them away from. Suggesting one would need a really really wide running dog....

 

Reason I am musing on this seemingly farfetched subject is that there is some initiative in my area (including the farm ranch land we bought) to start keeping reindeer as stock (as opposed the feral herds that have been roaming the east of Iceland since they were introduced a couple of centuries ago).

 

Chances that this is actually going to happen (there is a lot that reasons against the plan) are very slim indeed, but it is amusing to dream about it...

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I've seen videos of dogs working reindeer, too, but they looked more like Australian Shepherds with tails and they only drove the reindeer, no gathering.

I don't know how reindeer behave but given that elk, moose and deer will attack a dog, the one thing I'd worry about would be if a dog did get in a reindeer's eye, would they charge and try to plow through or paw the dog? If a BC would be happy just driving them, though, maybe it would work okay.

~ Gloria

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I talked to a gal somewhere in northern Europe that herded reindeers.

She said get the weaned fawns and teach them that dogs are ok, you know? Ok to be obeyed safe to turn your back on. That way they grow up used to it, and their fawns in turn are taught this.

 

And yeah she drove them mostly.

 

Also Bill Williams, Or is it Bud? who sadly has passed on, wrote about working reindeers in Alaska I believe its online. On his site?

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I think you are right, but I think most are so far from real work that now unless you are an old time native person from there, they don't work now

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a video of a long tailed Aussie nicely handling reindeer. Working in deep snow takes a lot of strength and stamina. This family usually moves their herd 200 miles from the tundra to the sea:

 

https://stockdogsavvy.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/reindeer-herding/

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IMHO you could do it if you had a dog with excellent stock sense and dog broke the reindeer.

 

The stock sense comes into play when asking the dog to run wider. They should adjust their distance based on the reaction of what they are trying to move.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's some footage where - although calm - the reindeer are moving out. The dogs are covering a lot of distance. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to handle them.

 

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