New Meaning to Dog Days of Summer

Ironically I have not taken the stock dogs out for any training since sheep camp but instead we gathered the flock, moved close to nine hundred animals home, worked in holding pens full of sheep, worked alleyways, moved rams, and gathered lambs.  A few days full of sheep work as we prepare for selling lambs and select replacement ewe lambs to stay here.  Except for 13 year old Fynn, all the adult stock dogs were part of the work this week.   Even the old girl, Jayde came out for a bit of work.  I do not press Jayde into doing a lot of work anymore; at ten years old she has sore joints from a lifetime of work.  I discovered that she and BJ are a good pair of dogs working together though. 

When there is so much of this type of work in one short period I get to really see where the dogs shine.  It’s a beautiful feeling made more so since it follows on the heels of a training camp.  This summer has been so full of dogs and many times I have been overwhelmed.   Opportunities like herding camp and weeks of ranch work like this one, return a sense of purpose.  I almost wish we had this much sheep work for the dogs every week, okay, maybe just every month - that was a lot of sheep work.

(I did not take any photos but when looking to see if I had any file photos to share I see Allen took one with the phone).

Working into the evening

BlackJack is sprawled across my lap, falling asleep and beginning to snore as I type.  He barely fits in my lap anymore.  It is a great comfort to feel the solid weight of him.  This dog full summer will wind down and before I know it my pack will be down to just a few good working dogs again.  I don’t want to let the beauty of this experience get lost in the tribulation. 

The dog days of summer continue next week when friends from Montana arrive for an extended visit to do some duck hunting (Labrador Retriever in tow) and to work some Kelpies. 

p.s.  I finished the livestock guardian dog article in good time.  I’ll make a point of sharing the articles here as blog posts sometime.


  1. That sounds like a fun working time for your dogs. My oldest border collie will turn 13 in October, and this year, I have not let him work the cattle at all. I feel bad as I know he misses it, and I miss his help, but I feel it is too dangerous. I try to find safe jobs he can do near the barn with the sheep to keep him happy. Sounds like you have come up with just the right balance to keep your dogs content. Can't wait to read your livestock-guardian dog article!

  2. It's a bit of tough call isn't it. Deciding when they're old and then finding work for the old guys to do to keep them content.


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