Droving in the British Isles

drover statue in lavender_edited-1

The Drover with Highland bull and his faithful dog by Lucy Poett ARBS.

Scotland and England were once the center of a great cattle industry. When traveling from the Highlands and islands, drovers often swam their herds across rivers and over sea lochs (lakes) or moved them down well-established roads to the great fairs at Smithfield in London or Falkirk in Scotland. One man and his dogs could typically handle up to four hundred cows.

British farmers regularly sent their stock to fattening grounds and to market. In the days before motorized transport and railways, droving dogs were essential to move large numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, and even geese for hundreds of miles over untamed land. Droving required stamina and the temperament to move stubborn or anxious animals along the wild countryside and through crowded towns. The work required flexibility: The dog had to be able to work any position relative to the stock — pushing from the rear, going to the head to turn the group, and thwarting breakaway attempts from any point in the herd or flock.

Droving dogs also could be entrusted with the charge of an entire flock. They were famous for the ability to conduct their flock through the midst of other sheep without permitting a single sheep under their care to escape or a single stranger to mix with their group. These same talents were needed in mainland Europe, but were developed in different ways to address herding practices specific to the country.

To learn more about droving dogs and stockdog training please refer to the book, Stockdog Savvy (Alpine Publications) by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor. Stockdog Savvy  is a practical and useful handbook for ranchers as well as the hobbyist. If you want to learn to train stockdogs for farm and ranch work in the real world or for competition, this is the book for you. Almost 300 pages illustrated with diagrams and how-to photographs galore!

Stockdog Savvy  also gives trainers, clinicians and judges an overview of many different herding dogs and types of livestock. It is the quintessential guide to owning, training, trialing, working or caring for your stockdog.

Additionally, people who don’t have access to livestock can teach all the basic herding commands through play training. Herding skills taught in a game format are fun activities to keep dogs in the city mentally and physically fit.

The Table of Contents:

Frontispiece: Just a Stockdog Story
Preface
Foreword by Ernie Hartnagle
Introduction
1 – HERDING DOGS
2 – WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HERDING DOG
3 – PREPARING YOUR PUPPY
4 – LAYING THE FOUNDATION
5 – GETTING STARTED
6 – INTRODUCING A DOG TO STOCK
7 – MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR DOG’S TALENT
8 – DEVELOPING A USEFUL DOG
9 – THE OUTRUN
10 – DRIVING SKILLS
11 – BALANCE AND PENNING
12 – FOCUS ON SORTING
13 – BOUNDARY TRAINING FOR TENDING DOGS
14 – BASIC STOCKMANSHIP
15 – WORKING LARGE FLOCKS AND HERDS
16 – THE RANCH DOG
17– TRAINING ANIMALS
18 – POULTRY
19 – SHEEP
20 – GOATS
21 – CATTLE
22 – KEEPING LIVESTOCK
23 – THE TRIAL DOG
24 – TRIAL PROGRAMS
25 – WHAT JUDGES LOOK FOR
26 – OTHER ELEMENTS OF WORKING STOCKDOGS
Appendix -– BREED PROFILES

For more information please visit:

http://www.lasrocosa.com/education.html

Copyright © 2009 – 2010 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.

All Rights Reserved.

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