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Dog for Sheep Herding Now Sheep For the Dog January 16, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Humor, Lifestyle.
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Once upon a time, Americans got dogs for their sheep. Now they get sheep for their dogs. “I never dreamed it would go this far,” says Ms. Foster, 56 years old.

Border collies, first bred along the frontier between England and Scotland, are compulsive herders, with instincts so intense they sometimes search for livestock behind the television when sheep appear on screen, says Geri Byrne, owner of the Border Collie Training Center, in Tulelake, Calif.

Herding experts—yes, there is such a thing—say it’s increasingly common for people who get border collies as pets to wind up renting or buying sheep just to keep their dogs busy. “It’s something that’s snowballing all the time,” says Jack Knox, a Scottish-born shepherd who travels the U.S. giving herding clinics.

Each day, an average of 18 dogs visit Fido’s Farm outside Olympia, Wash., their owners paying $15 per dog to practice on the farm’s 200-head flock of sheep. Herding revenue at the farm is up 60% over the past five years, says owner Chris Soderstrom, who bought the farm in 2004.

WSJ commenter Christina Kielich wrote:

As Donald McCaig, the famous dog writer, has said, if you don’t give your dog a job, he’ll find one, and chances are you won’t like it. I know of people who left their border collie in the kitchen to go to a movie and came back to find their entire tile floor chewed up.

via In a Tale That Wags Dog Owners, They Rent Flocks for Bored Collies – WSJ.com.

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