Charlie’s guilty of unauthorised mustering

By Country News

Charlie the border collie is a bit of an oddball. He eats his meals lying down, ignores other dogs and has an obsession with tennis balls, but his owners Paul and Michelle Keady from Murchison wouldn't have it any other way.

Can you describe Charlie's personality?

Paul: He's got a bit of an obsessive disorder; he's obsessed with tennis balls and sticks, loud noises, chainsaws and drills. He's an OH&S officer, so if there's any loud noise he barks.

Is he trained?

Paul: Just the basic tricks, sit, stay, catch the ball. He's a pretty natural border collie with instinct, he rounds up the sheep very quickly.

Michelle: He responds to hand signals, I don't have to say anything. If we're throwing the ball and he drops it at my feet, he knows I don't bend down to pick it up so I just give him a hand signal (puts fingers to palm quickly) and he knows to pick it up and put it in my hand.

Does he like other dogs?

Michelle: He was no good with other dogs when he was little, he used to bark, but we took him to puppy school and socialised him.

What's the best thing he's done?

Paul: He'll point a snake out and not go near it, he'll stick his leg up and look at it, so he's done that a few times, which was pretty handy.

Michelle: He got a grass seed in his ear and came up to me and rubbed his ear against my leg, it was pretty cute.

What's the worst thing he's done?

Paul: He does a bit of unauthorised mustering of the sheep, which has caused a few headaches. He helps when I've got to get the sheep in, if you've got one you need to separate, he's good at that.

Does he travel with you?

Paul: He comes to work in Shepparton mainly in winter and autumn in the back of the ute, he loves being at work. He gets a bit sad when you go without him and stands out the gate.

What would you do without him?

Michelle: Cry.

Paul: Michelle would probably get a German shepherd.