With the Lacamas Sheepdog trials coming up on August 19th-22nd, I figured it was time to talk to some of the dogs and do some sniffing around this dog sport. I met up with Anna and her handler Lynn Johnston to find out how these trials work.
"We start out with our handler, and what they call the handler's post" Anna barked, "Once the sheep are at the end of the field we move them through the course. It's my job to keep them in a straight line and moving at a steady pace, while Lynn watches the sheep, anticipating their actions and reactions and giving me direction. All the teams start out with a full set of points, then points are deducted for errors. Like if I let them spread out to far, or if Lynn misreads their reaction and they head off in the wrong directions. We have to be able to work together to get a really good score."
"So it takes a lot of experience to compete in one of these trails" I whined.
"Well it takes some training but there are several classes depending on the experience of the handler and the experience of the dog." Anna growled back
Novice-Novice: Both handler and dog are less experienced.
Pro-Novice: This intermediate level is the pairing of one “pro” and one “novice” in the team. A novice handler could run an open dog or an open handler could run a novice dog.
Nursery: This is a special class for young dogs and is the only class based on the dogs age. In general, these dogs are between two and three years old and are real “up & comers.”
Open: Both handler and dog are very experienced and considered experts in the “field.”
"What's the scoop on the trials coming up the 19th thru the 22nd" I sniffed.
"The Lacamas Sheepdog Trails will be held at Johnston Dairy in Camas. The scents at this place are amazing, it's a great place and even the humans like it there. It's a sanctioned event with 130 handlers and 225 dogs, from 9 states and British Columbia competing over four days. I took third in the Open Class last year, I've been working Lynn hard the last year and am hoping for 1st this year."
"Some of my friend's from the dog park are really interested in herding, could they come watch?"
"Sure they can, we'd love to have you come watch us. Of course you have to bring your human (please keep them on a leash). " Anna yipped. "We love to show off. It's a great show to watch and they have some really great food booths for both humans and dogs. With many vendors for the humans to visit with. Lynn is big on the fish and chips. Me, I like the Castor and Pollux treats, but there is something for everyone. The trials run Thursday thru Saturday 8-5, the finals on Sunday are 9-1."
"We would like to invite everyone to come out and watch these talented dogs in action, feel free to bring your leashed and well behaved dog. It's a great day in the country for the whole family. Admission is $3, children under 12 and seniors are free". Lynn added, "There is always something exciting to watch, and lots of vendors and exhibitors to chat with."
Johnston Dairy Farm 104 NE 252nd Ave. Camas, WA 98607
Directions: From Camas, travel north on SR-500 about 2.5 miles. Turn left on NE 3rd Street and follow the signs.
See all you dog sports fans there!
Filed under: Lady's Life
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