Working Dogs

Jackie of all trades

By Country News

You might remember Michael Botterill from late last year when he introduced us to Buddy and Aussie. Now the Waaia sheep and cattle farmer and sheep dog trainer is back, introducing us to Jackie, his nine-monthold kelpie. Although still learning, Jackie has the potential to be a good all-rounder and with Michael training him, Jackie will be ready for whatever work comes his way.

How did Jackie get his name?

Previous dogs I’ve had, had the same name — so I’ve passed it on. It’s easy to say.

How long have you had him?

I got him at about nine weeks old.

What commands does he respond to best?

He’s good at all basic commands — sit, come, go back, and sides. Like all the dogs I have here, I teach them the basic commands and then let their natural ability come through in time.

How is Jackie’s working ability?

He’ll make the grade once he’s had more training and experience. He’s an all-rounder at the moment. I train them to cover everything. He is calm out in the paddock but has a bit of force when needed. He’s keen to work. That’s what you want in a kelpie.

Does he have any bad habits?

I must admit, no. I’m right on not letting bad habits develop.

Where does he sleep?

All the dogs I have sleep in raised dog kennels to keep them away from snakes.

How does Jackie get on with other animals?

No problem at all. I have a cat out the front and he has no problem.

What does he do in his spare time?

They sit in there (kennel) and think about their next training lesson. They are too destructive otherwise.

Does he like to travel?

I haven’t taken him to work yet, but like the others he loves travelling in the cage on the back of the ute. He likes the motorbike and he likes riding on the back of sheep.

What would you do without him?

If I didn’t have Jackie, I’d have to replace him with another one.

Words and pictures:

Rodney Woods