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Sheep dog demonstrations

Good morning,

Planning a 16 nt family tour around Scotland in May 2023.

I know that Leault working Sheep dogs stopped doing demonstrations during the pandemic but it looks like they are back on doing demonstrations. Have seen updated pictures on Trip advisor.

However I can’t find any updated information on them. No website, emails I’ve tried sending have bounced, etc.

Trying to find out when they they offering the demos? Cost? How to pay? How to book a time to attend? Etc.

Any info anyone has would be most appreciated!

Thanks!

Posted by
4236 posts

I was having this same issue last year and I tracked down an RS guide who told me that Leault Sheepdogs are doing group tours only.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Nancy,

The Secret Scotland website is saying that Leault Farm has discontinued sheepdog demonstrations for 2023, with no scheduled reopening. I don't know how accurate that information is.

There is a telephone number listed. From the U.S. it would be 011 44 7888 314412. Perhaps you could try ringing them for an update. Your other option would be to call the tourist information (TI) office in Aviemore. Their number is 011 44 1479 810930/.

If this is a family tour, I hope that you have most of your accommodation reservations in order!

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
5 posts

Allan-thanks. I wondered if that might be the case because I know I’ve seen the sheepdog demos on both RS tours and Collette tours.

Mike-thanks for the further info. Rather discouraging. I may end up calling just to double check.

And, thanks, yes, I made all our accommodations reservations about 4-6 weeks ago. Even at that point there were a few places that it was hard to find appropriate accommodations for our group (me, husband and 2 adult kids).

Then just yesterday I got an email saying that our accommodation in Callander was going out of business! So had to hurry and find an alternative and try and get my deposit back!

Posted by
14159 posts

Oh Nancy...that is too bad about one of your lodgings going out of business.

I've done the sheepdog demo at this location and am not sure how to say this without upsetting folks who've loved visiting. It was 2018 on a RS tour. I found the farmer to be one of my least favorite presenters and to me he just didn't seem like a person that enjoyed meeting people or doing presentations. I felt he was very opinionated and to me he seemed a bit misogynistic. The dogs were terrific and he had puppies out that day who were very cute but they are working animals not pets and are treated as such.

I did love visiting the Crannog Center which burned after I visited but I understand has reopened. That was cool, the craftsfolk were interesting and eager to engage with a busload of Americans.

Posted by
66 posts

If you are planning to be in the area of the Culloden Battlefield, you could check if these people would accommodate a request for a demonstration of their working dogs. https://leanachfarm.co.uk/working-dogs Leanach Farm is walking distance from the battlefield, so the farm would be very handy if you plan to go there. We stayed in the cottage on their farm and really, really loved our time with Iain and two of his amazing dogs. Guests of the cottage (or their B&B) can get a free sheepdog demonstration, but they say on the website that non-guests can sometimes book a demonstration for a fee. Iain and his wife are really lovely, very down-to-earth people. We enjoyed our time with them immensely.

Posted by
5 posts

Pam-thanks for your thoughts and viewpoint.

Debbie-thank you so much for passing on this info! Will definitely contact them! We are in Inverness for a few days and will definitely be visiting Culloden (must pay my respects to the MacKenzie Clan marker. My relatives are MacKenzies from Inverness to Nova Scotia down to the Northeast US).

Posted by
1356 posts

I hope you find a sheep dog herding demonstration. Right here in my near neighborhood, on the Island of Vashon, there is sometimes sheep herding trials mid-summer. COVID shut the gathering down for a few years but I will be on the lookout for the advertisement of the trials in early June. Hope to attend again because it is so much fun watching the dogs work the field and then seeing a sheep getting sheared.

Also, Nancy, I sent you a private message (PM)

Posted by
2456 posts

Pam, we went to that same sheep dog demo in Scotland on our RS tour last year and I agree with you. That guy was extremely opinionated and disagreeable. I am not sorry he has decided to stop the sheep dog demos.

Posted by
5 posts

DebbieP-thanks so much for suggesting the alternative Sheep farm! Was able to make arrangements with them for a visit and sheep dog demo during our time in Inverness!

Thanks again!

Posted by
36 posts

Linda, I’m happy to see you suggest the original poster consider looking around her local area for sheepherding too. (Or perhaps you are into local sheepherding, Nancy?). Here in San Diego County, we have an active group that offers lessons weekly and has 2-3 trials a year, with dogs from Shelties to Border Collies to mixed breeds competing.

Posted by
66 posts

Nancy, I'm so happy that worked out for you. Iain's demonstrations aren't highly professional. It's more like going out to the field with your great uncle Iain, but those dogs are amazing, so fast, so intelligent, so keen to do the job. When we were staying in the cottage there, we could see at least a half dozen border collies running around in the farm yard, but he took just Jim and Jess out to the field with the sheep for our demonstration.

On another note, if you're interested in stone circles, Clava Cairns is just a 5-10 minute drive further up their road. We went twice. No admission charge, but there were good descriptive signs. Great photo opportunities. On the way out and back there are also good views of a beautiful, arched train bridge in the distance. Our daughter got a video of a train going over it.

Posted by
796 posts

Having seen a sheep dog contest where it was in a rather small area, I came to the conclusion that the dogs are not as smart as one would like to believe. The essence of it all is to have the flock brought back and into the pen. It is a simple task. You would think that the dog owner and the dogs would have done his innumerable times and the dog would have learned that that was the object of the whole thing. So why do they need constant whistles and instructions to accomplish this. Seems
like the dog would/could do it on his own.
The object is to keep them bunched up and deliver them to the pen. Any stray needs to be brought back to the group. That’s it.
A hunting dog knows to fetch without instructions beyond go. And any dog knows the object of fetching a stick simply by throwing one. At least after a few tries. So I am baffled as to why the farmer has to keep whistling instructions to the sheep dogs.