On the latest Dogs with Jobs, Kate Fairweather discovers how far instinct can take a sheepdog with no formal training when it comes to working sheep. 

Stuart Barnes in bright blue shirt and hat points his crook at Jess teh border collie, running from right to left in front of a sheep pen conntaining a sheep
Stuart Barnes instructs Jess in the show ring at the South Down Show 2023 (photo credit: Hometown Events 2023)

The dog handler, trainer and author, Stuart Barnes performs as the “Dog and Duck Show” at country shows up and down the country.  He’s a New Zealander with the ‘gift of the gab’ as well as decades of experience as a shepherd to draw for his performance, which took place at the South Downs Show in August.

An outbreak of avian flu forced a change to the show line-up this year, with a ban on poultry gatherings. Instead, Stuart introduces Lassie the sheepdog and Jessie the totally untrained sheepdog, who has spent most of her life in a kennel.  The pair of border collie youngsters star in the hastily-renamed “Dog and Sheep Show 2023” –

The challenges of performing live with animals, with one recalcitrant sheep – expect the unexpected!

Stuart explains how he manages to coax a creditable performance from both dogs in the arena, shares stories and observations on dog behaviour.  He also recalls some of the star dogs he has worked with, and the combination of talent, perseverance and experience gained in the lambing pastures that made them special.

Connected Epsiodes 

Do you work your dog or dogs? 

Please get in touch wtih Kate at team@shineradio.uk if you’d be interested in talking about your working dog. 

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