Some four years ago we sold a male puppy, Roover from our P-litter, to Gerda and Hein Wijnhoff in Holland. The family spends lost of time in their holiday house in the Pyrenees in France.
They have visited us in Denmark, and now and then they send us pictures and stories about all the exiting events Roover is part of.
Roover is a real travelling dog. Together with his family he has been on trips in their LandRover to South America, Tunisia, to Siberia and many other places.
We have asked Gerda to write a little about Roover’s life as a herding dog. This is her story:
It is already more than 4 years ago that drove I to Denmark to pick up my new OES pup Roover ( Blue Berry’s Prince Snowboots ) from Birte Fromberg and Jorgen Brieghel. She told me about a course sheepherding special for bobtails in France where we often stay.
Because I wanted to do this already a long time, I decided to go.
There Roover,4 month at that time, surprised everyone by doing his best,little as he was, to collect the sheep.
We went on by following a few “stages aux troupeau” in France but didn’t find a possibility for training in Holland. The problem was most of the courses are only for borded collies and they work a different way, called “sheep driving”. The dog works alone while the shepherd stands on a certain distance from the sheep and gives his commands (often with a whistle) to the dog.
At “sheepherding” the shepherd stays all the time near the flock and the dog helps the shepherd to guide the sheep.
In the past the OES had to help to bring the sheep to the market. He walked between the road and the sheep or stood on the corner like an obstacle.
When they had to graze he controlled the borders of the field to keep them in.
So this is the traditional style of herding.
Since 2009 the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale ) has made official rules for trials for the two different types of herding.
International Rules for sheepdog Trials-Collecting Style (for Borded Collie and Kelpie)
International Rules for Sheepdog Trials – Traditional Style (excluding Borded Collie and Kelpie)
About one and a half year ago I finally found a teacher for sheepherding in Holland. We started to practice more regular. First Roover had to learn to watch the borders and stay out of the field himself.Then the most difficult part come, walking with the sheep. He keeps the sheep very well between me and him, called “at 12 o´clock “. When I go to the right he is going to the left. He knows very well how to work, often better then I. He really wants to work for me, but... He is so enthusiastic at the beginning of each day.
He runs after the sheep like a great white grizzle bear and the sheep start running everywhere right away. Then he wants to work with his nose to close at the back of the sheep and has to keep more distance.
When I am to severe to him, putting to much pressure on him, he walks away, making “pipi” or even gets diarrhea from all the excitement.
Someone said to me that the OES in the past probably had to do all kind of work on the farm and was a very independent dog. So listening???
I have to find the balance to stay in good contact with him and the sheep at the same time.
In May this year I tried to pass the first test of the FCI, “HWT” (= herding working test ). We didn’t make it because the sheep where to afraid to leaf the pen when they saw him.
At the other hand I met many herding people from all countries that are working with all kinds of dogs at different levels.
It made me even more enthusiastic. Thinking of perhaps to have a small group of sheep myself, to get the “HWT” and have the chance to walk with someone with a real big flock ……
In the meantime I am very curious of there are other people working with their OES and sheep. Please let me know.

Gerda Wijnhoff
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