Monday, 2 December 2013

Border Collie Training

The Kilchoan Learning Centre continues to offer a wide range of very popular courses which have such appeal to all sections of the community that most are 'sold out' long in advance.  The latest hugely successful course was on Saturday, when one of the country's top border collie handlers, Julie Hill, came to Kilchoan for the day.  The morning session involved clinics with pets, while the afternoon concentrated on border collies working with sheep.  Such was the interest that several non-dog owners signed up, just for the pleasure of watching an expert working with a variety of dogs, and, in the afternoon, a large crowd gathered to watch what, at times, looked more like ballet than gathering sheep.

The session took place in bright Kilchoan sunshine - hence the poor quality of the pictures, for which the Diary apologises.  Despite this, it was fascinating to watch how Julie worked with each owner to get the best out of their dog.  One owner commented that she hadn't realised that her dog was capable of what he had just done.

Julie was very prepared to work with collies at different stages in their training.  Some were already useful sheepdogs, but this one was little more than a pup who, while he'd done a little with sheep before, was almost starting from scratch.

After the course, one participant wrote the following to Pat Glenday, the Learning Centre's manager. "Thank you once again for such a great course. Julie was an inspiration and managed to bring out clear signs of the potential in each dog - even mine. We both returned home "dog tired" but with a good steer on what needs to be done and greater confidence in how to approach it. I really appreciated Julie's calm way of working with the dogs (and people) and hope that she can be persuaded to return to Kilchoan at some time in the future.”

Julie is a well known and respected competitor at sheepdog trials, having represented Scotland at both the International and World Sheepdog trials.  She made history in 1996 when she became the first, and currently only, woman to win the Supreme International Championship. She has also won both the Supreme and the International Brace Championships, the Scottish National Championship, the Scottish National Brace Championship, the Scottish National Driving Championship, and the Champion of Champions competition.  There's more about Julie on her website, here.

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