Dogs to be put through paces

By Country News

The people of northern Victoria will get a chance to see owners and their dogs working as a team in the annual Rochester Working Sheep Dog Trials, starting on Friday, September 21.

Co-ordinator Des Church said visitors to the three-day trial at Rochester Recreation Reserve could see workers and their dogs operating as a team to manoeuvre the sheep through four obstacles under the watchful eyes of experienced judges.

‘‘It’s interesting to see them work through the obstacles just with voice commands and then, at the end, simply finish with a word or phrase,’’ Mr Church said.

‘‘The control over the dog is marvellous to watch, but it is also a team effort.

‘‘The dogs will use their own instinct to work the sheep, too.’’

The Rochester trial will have three sections — novice, improvers and open — with an additional farmers section for those who aren’t regulars on the trial circuit.

The farmers will feature on Saturday at lunch time.

Mr Church said entries were expected from Queensland, NSW and Victoria, including experienced trial competitor Jimmy Dodge and Victorian Working Sheep Dogs Trial Association president Bill Paton.

Judges are Andrew Stanzac, Jess McLeod and Barry Mckenzie.

Admission is free, with a gold coin donation requested to help cover costs.