Have you ever watched a working dog herding cattle or sheep?
Individuals in the ranching industry call this “working stock,” the process of bringing individual animals together into a group, maintaining that group, and then moving that group from place to place.
Dogs who show an instinct for herding behaviour can be trained to assist in working stock, with many going on to compete in herding and stock dog trials.
Thanks to the newly formed North Thompson Stock Dog Association, and a partnership with the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association, ‘Dogs With Jobs – Showcasing Working Dogs,’ will be coming to the fairgrounds in Barriere, B.C., this fall on Oct. 15-16.
The driving force behind the launch of this tail-wagging affair are well-known stock dog handlers Gordie and Brenda Wilson, of Little Fort, B.C.
“We’ve used stock dogs our whole lives,” said Brenda Wilson. “Gord has always trained his own stock dogs, but the last five years he has been training them professionally for clients to supplement a winter income. We’ve put on events here at home in our own arena, and when you have somebody like Gord, who is very competitive with his friends, it makes for a lot of fun.”
Wilson says she managed a feedlot in Alberta for many years, and that involved regularly working with stock dogs.
Now, with a wealth of experience and being ‘dog-savvy,’ she said it’s time for the couple to take the next step and bring stock dog competitions on a large scale to the North Thompson.
“We went to a stock dog trial out in Alberta a month ago to see what handlers thought about coming to compete in B.C.,” said Wilson. “We had a great response, and I got an idea of what it would take to run as many dogs as we are wanting to on cattle. They always get two runs, and that makes for a pretty long day if you get a lot of dogs entered, so we are having a two-day event.”
However, the event will be more than stock dog trials. The entire weekend will be dedicated to dogs with jobs.
“Dogs With Jobs will not only feature stock dog trials, but we’ll have two full days of dog agility competitions, dog obedience, and we are hoping to confirm hunt dogs (gun dogs) as well,” said Wilson. “We will also have demos with police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and much more related to working dogs.”
There will also be a full contingent of vendors and commercial booths on site and a Saturday night dance, among other events.
Wilson credited the North Thompson Stock Dog Association and North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association for holding the event, as well as the North Thompson Community Forest Society for its grant to launch Dogs with Jobs.
The NTSDA is actively recruiting new members, and as soon as they confirm they have 150 head of cattle – the stock required for the event – word will go to the National Stock Dog Association to advise their members, and a volunteer recruitment drive is already underway as well.
“We are definitely going to need some volunteers as we can’t do it all ourselves,” Wilson said.
For more information about the North Thompson Stock Dog Association, or to find out how you can volunteer for Dogs With Jobs, contact Brenda Wilson at 778-208-7513.
For information about renting a commercial booth during the Dogs With Jobs event please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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