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Monday, December 18, 2006

A Herding Boston Terrier:

Robson is a 2 year old Canadian bred Boston Terrier owned by Le-Ann Elgie, Owner/Director of Fido Can 2: Canine Consultation and Training in Pleasant Hill, CA.

Robson had previously shown extreme prey drive but had difficulty with attention, focus and excess energy. He has previously trained in obedience, rally, agility and disc sports, however, nothing ever seemed to slow him down nor completely tap his drive/energy.

Robson’s “brother”, Dash (a Cattle dog) is a herding breed, thus, Robson spent some time at the sheep farm watching his brother train. Robson always seemed very excited by the other dogs working at the sheep farm and he would watch them carefully on a weekly basis; eventually, we decided to give Robson a try on the sheep. Robson was phenomenal….he got around his sheep, demonstrating good balance and excellent instinct. After such initial success, the AHBA was contacted (American Herding Breed Association) and it was found out that “non-herding breeds” can compete in AHBA events, however, they must start at the Junior Herding Dog (JHD) level which essentially is the “second” level of competition that requires the following (as quoted from the AHBA website):
The stock (3 to 10 animals) are free-standing in the middle of the short side near the top of the arena, well off the fence. The dog may be brought in on lead, and the handler may gently guide the dog by the collar to a position within no less than 15 ft. of the stock before removing the lead. Off-lead, the dog must hold a stand, sit or down, then is released to gather and/or drive the stock.
Throughout the course, the handler may take any position relative to the stock and dog but may not touch the dog once the stock are set in motion.
The stock are taken through the panels. The handler may take the center panel either on the return from the corner panels or on the way to the corner panels (when negotiating the corner panels, the handler may choose to do either the righthand or lefthand panel first).
The stock are then taken to the pen. The dog is stopped, holding the stock in place, while the handler opens the gate to the pen. After the stock have entered, the handler must close the gate; the dog should remain outside the pen.
Course time is 8 minutes.

Robson now trains in herding, along with his brother Dash, on a weekly basis. He has most recently learned to “walk up” and he is showing great promise. It is hoped that Robson will compete in the first JHD trial offered in 2007 by the AHBA. In addition to Robson’s herding success thus far, weekly “work” on the sheep has greatly changed Robson’s attitude. He is compliant, calm, eager to please, focused and motivated to train on a daily basis. For those who do not think that Bostons can do it all, Robson demonstrates that he “begs to differ.”

You can now see videos of Robson herding his sheep at:

You can get it full sized and copy all of them (there are four) from here:


Anonymous said...

i love it! it makes me wonder if my high energy boston guinness would have the knack for it too! awesome story!

Moira said...

Hi Jeanne -

I thought you and your readers might like my new Boston Terrier designs -- especially in time for St. Patrick's Day. Please feel free to post, link or affiliate:)


Moira McLaughlin