TRIALING PUPPIES: Gary Hurtz with his young sheep dogs.
TRIALING PUPPIES: Gary Hurtz with his young sheep dogs. Liana Walker

Sheep puppies at work

SATURDAY afternoon show-goers were treated to a rare demonstration of puppy sheep dogs being trained at just 12 months of age.

Gary Hurtz has worked with sheep dogs for 12 years now, but this was the first time he used puppies in front of a crowd.

The puppies were accompanied by two quiet sheep named Gerry and Kerry.

Mr Hurtz said it was important for the sheep to have the right temperament for the puppies to learn.

Accompanied by another trainer, he showed the two puppies while the audience was explained what the young dogs were doing correctly.

Mr Hurtz was the first to admit that there is no one right way on how to train the dogs.

"Everybody's different,” he said.

"A lot of people say I do the wrong thing.

"But then I say they do the wrong thing.”

Mr Hutz's representative dog Matty also joined in the fun.

Mr Hurtz said this showed the crowds what he expected from the puppies when they were older.

He it took a long time for the puppies to be fully trained.

"It's a lot of work,” he said.

"It's not one day and its not one week and it's not one month.

"It's 12 or 18 months, training training training just about every day.”

He said when choosing which puppies to train there were some tell tale signs.

"I want the pup to come out and lay at my feet or lick or start chewing me boots,” he said.

"I don't want that pup to be in the back corner trying to get away from me because he's not going to make it.”

"When you're walking you want that little pup to walk around and try and block you.

"You're probably stumbling and falling over and going crook, but he's still doing the right thing, he's still trying to work.”

Mr Hurtz said he was nervous to impress the audiences at the show.

"I hope the public can get something out of the demonstration on how to do it my way,” he said.

"There's a lot of pressure out there, there's pressure on the man, there's pressure on the dog.

"And of course you're working against three brains- the sheep have three brains.”

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