When I first started, I had dreams of getting a title. But I gave up on that a long time ago. I ain't no great fighter, I can't even say that I had one great fight. Not even one great round. But there have been moments. You see, not a day goes by when I don't think about this one fight in Jersey. In the second round I throw this three-punch combination left, right, left hook. It was perfect. I heard the crowd gasp. For that one second Tony Banta was as great as Mohammed, Sugar Ray, or any of them. I always thought that maybe I could put a few of those moments together someday and have that great fight.
Tony in Taxi, "Out of Commission," 1981
I confess it: I'm a sheepdogging Tony Banta. I got interested in this sport without any livestock background to draw on (I grew up in apartments and condominiums) and, even though I've messed around in dog sports my whole life, I never was wildly successful at any of them. So I have a lot of strikes against me. But for me, as for Tony, there have been moments, moments when everything flowed, when I seemed to have all the time in the world to make the most minute adjustments to the dog to straighten the line of the sheep, moments when I was blessed with a glimmer of what it must feel like all the time for the "real" Open handlers. It's the thought of those glimmers--so few that I can count them on one hand--that keeps me slogging away through practice sessions, lessons, clinics, and trials.
If you're in the same boat, this site is for you. Sheepdogging is intoxicating, addictive, and more intense than anything I've ever done with an animal before. Let's help each other muddle through to see if we can put a few of the isolated moments when things go well together into a single run when everything goes right.
Beginner's FAQ: A quick-and-dirty document containing some basic questions and answers; the FAQ is a good starting point for newbies
Finding a Dog: Information and articles about what to look for when buying a sheepdog as a puppy or a trained adult.
Finding an Instructor: Information about locating a herding instructor, as well as articles about choosing the best instructor for your learning style
Training: articles and other documents that are written to help you master some of the mysteries of training a sheepdog.
Trialing: articles and other documents that focus specifically on the intricacies of sheepdog trials.
Clubs: list of sheepdog clubs organized by geographical region
On Your Own: Information about finding a field and buying and caring for your own sheep
Sheep Talk: Articles about the care and feeding of sheep
While the set of all those who are both Futurama fans and sheepdog enthusiasts is undoubtedly very, very tiny, you might still want to check out this clip from the episode "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid," to see how sheep herding really should be done!