As a sheep farmer for over 50 years, Derek has seen firsthand the damage a loose dog can do when it gives chase to sheep on public footpaths and in fields.
Even when a dog does not outright maim the sheep with its teeth, the sheep can still injure themselves or even die from stress or injuries sustained in their panic.
Public awareness campaigns have done their part to bring to light the seriousness of sheep worrying, and we recognise that there are plenty of dog owners out there who come to the Lakes every year with their companions.
What is "De-Sheeping"?
De-Sheeping is the training and advice we give to help you address the issue of your dog chasing livestock.
A lead helps to stop the physical act of chasing, but does not address the actual desire to chase. If a lead were to come unclipped or slip out of the owner's hands, suddenly, there is nothing to stop the dog from making a beeline to the livestock.
We always strongly recommend the use of a lead when walking your dogs near livestock.
But we also suggest de-sheeping lessons for owners of dogs whose excitement levels make them a potential hazard to livestock.
What happens in a "De-Sheeping" lesson?
The initial de-sheeping lesson is mostly theory, where handlers and Derek will discuss:
why a dog would give chase to sheep
how our instinctive reactions can actually exacerbate the situation
how Derek's method of stopping a dog before it leaves their owner's feet can work
He will then show handlers how to put all this into practise with their dog. At this stage, work will be done without the presence of sheep.
Subsequent lessons are further practise of what handlers have learned in the first lesson, with the added presence of sheep.
We have many fields with sheep that are acclimated to the presence of a dog.
It is the best way to simulate a real-life situation of walking out in fields or fellside and coming across a flock of sheep.
Keep in mind...
WE will not stop your dog chasing sheep.
It is up to YOU!
Derek can offer his advice and help, but in the end, it is entirely up to the handler and the work they put into addressing
He has successfully helped dozens of dogs and their owners, from people wanting to enjoy a fell walk with their pets, to SARDA England handlers using their dogs for
Search and Rescue.
However, our advice to owners of dogs with a high level of chasing instinct is to ALWAYS KEEP THEM ON A LEAD AROUND LIVESTOCK.