Versatile and handy Tiges takes title
A “versatile and handy” kelpie with experience with both sheep and cattle was the big winner at the Elders Working Dog Competition at McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo, winning Dandaragan farm worker Bec Martin $500 and a plaque to take home.
Ms Martin used five commands to work the yards with six-year-old male Tiges, with a particular focus “back, over and come up” to win the title.
She and other competitors were required to take sheep through a set of gates, fill the drenching race, draft the sheep and then put them away.
Ms Martin said it was a “smooth course” with sheep that “worked really well on the day”.
After a series of heats on both Wednesday and Thursday, Tiges took the title.
“I think everyone enjoyed the chance to get out with their dogs ... I was really happy with how Tiges did on the day,” she said.
“The sheep were a bit sticky so he didn’t go in too hard, he gave them a bit of room to move and read the situation pretty well.”
The competitors took part in a series of heats on both Wednesday and Thursday, much to the delight of bystanders who watched quietly before clapping at the end.
Tiges, who was named the fastest dog in last year’s national Cobber Challenge, was bred by Ms Martin and identified early as a “keen worker”.
“He was just a really attentive little pup and had a good character to him,” she said.
“When I first put him with sheep he did a few things I liked, stood his ground, and he loved the sheep.”
After six years together, the pair have formed an unbreakable bond.
“He’s a very versatile and handy dog ... just an easy dog to work with,” Ms Martin said.
“He does everything, shifting cows and sheep in the yard, and all of the mustering in the paddock.
“I use different side commands, my voice, and sometimes a whistle...in the yards he has to speak and responds to me.”
After trialling Tiges in cattle and yard-dog trialling in the Eastern States while working on “big grazing properties”, Ms Martin and Tiges moved back to WA to take up a job at Kayanaba Grazing Company in Dandaragan.
There, the pair help to run about 600 Angus cattle and 300 Merino ewes.
“Having a good dog is so valuable because you can do so much once you have put the imprints on them and they know what to do,” Ms Martin said.
“Once the skills are set in stone, you can put them on a mob or put them out to cast and it is better than having another worker there.”
The dog trials were supported by Midland Stockyards, which supplied the yards, and O’Briens, which supplied the first place prize money.
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