Gibson's first visit to Ewe-topia! I was just so caught up in the excitement of it all. Several of our customers have recommended this place over the years and we finally took the time to check it out. We are quite glad we did!
Gibson and I drove out to Ewe-topia, in the town of Roy, on Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival, we were struck with a calming country breeze and the beautiful silence that is a rural area. We signed Gibson up for herding, while owners Linda and Joe explained the process to us. We waited for our turn, watching a German Shepherd and his owner, heard a trio of large sheep around an arena. It was most impressive! After pointers from Joe, it was my wife and Gibsons turn to meet a mini-flock of brown and black sheep.
Gibson wasn't sure what to make of it all. Rocky terrain, noises never heard and encouragement to "get rowdy", were unlike his city-slicker environment, but, that didn't stop him from enjoying the experience thoroughly. A smile adorned his face the whole time as he sprinted to and fro. He had a few "real herding dog" moments when he circled the large sheep, beginning to realize that they were scared of him. However, for the most part, he was distracted by his new surroundings and large amount of stimulation.
Later on, after the sheep and a quick rest in the dog-park, Joe allowed us to try Gibson with "The Ducks". He thought our Shetland dude would be even more interested in them. Unfortunately, he wasn't. The sheep got him the most riled up. Gibson pretty much ignored the paddling of ducks, no matter how hard we tried to get him involved, he just ran around happily. It was the opposite for a pack of 11 Rottweiler pups who, at only weeks old, and only inches high, were attempting to pull out ducky tail-feathers hahaha! It was a sight to see, too funny, the little Rotty pups will be expert flock wranglers in no time. I don't know about Gibby though lol.
We plan on vivsting Ewe-topia again soon, allowing Gibson to have another go at the sheep. Now that he is familiar with the place, we believe he will do a better job and will be much more engaged in sheep chasing. Joe said it can take time, it isn't often that we tell our dogs to "Go Get Em'!", while encouraging barking and nutty behavior. In some ways, getting your dog into herding, is an entirely different beast than obedience training. You must allow them to get fired-up and excited about the flock, while not correcting what would normally be "bad" behavior in most public settings. They need that fire in their belly, that "drive" to herd properly. Once that is initiated, the real training begins. We aren't there yet.
Ewe-topia also has a dog park, agility center and, they offer training. Linda, Joe and the rest of their staff were outstanding. They really made you feel comfortable. Thier "way" with animals is superb, calm and balanced... Their energy and dog-handling-skills are impeccable. The whole scene and facility is rather welcoming.
I highly suggest you take your dog for an afternoon of fun. You need not to have any apprehension. Just give them a call, follow the simple rules and enjoy yourself. All breeds are welcome, they have even had Chihuahuas and Miniature Dachshunds herding! Gibson won't be winning any herding trials soon but it was most definitely worth it for him. Whether it was the herding he attempted, or the running from two big Bouvier des Flandreses in the dog park, most likely the combination... I have never seen my dog so tired and contented. It was well worth the drive and mere $12!
P.S. On our next visit, I promise to get some photos and or video!