Ive been working Borer Collies and Shekties for almost 25 years . I dont use the whistke system becuase around here there are mockinbirds that can imitate the long tweets or the stacatto signals. I use a "hillbilly method" of hooting
like for a mule
Yoh is left
Hey is right
Woo woo is to me
DOWN! is down
heyaaah is change direction and come around
WAAAYOHH-is the hardest. (Its a non instinctual command to move the sheep away from me)
ACross a big valley if the collie and the catahoula cant hear me, the catahoula has better ears and can pick up on some of the commands by voice. Stash then takes over.
They are both good dogs and although Ernie, the catahoula is a bit rough (hes really a hog dog and will bite a sheep on the lip to get their attention) He hasnt done that baad thing in several years.
Bothe dogs are getting up there Stash is 10 and ERnie is ( so Im on the lookout for another two Border Collie pups. My method for choosing is one that eve had good luck with after 6 Border Collies and 3 catahouls (QAnd Golden that was brutalized and we rescued from a house that was a puppy dump, He was forever greatful for his new life. He died just two years ago and we buried him in the grove of trees with full herding honors (Although he wasnt much good at herding and just thought all this was great fun).
We have neighbors who have dogs that are (they say) uncontrollable, and I believe them. One neighbors kid was really viciously attacked by their BEAGLE (of all things). I think that the dog reflects the neuroses of the owners and their inability to take the leadership role.
Ernie and STash are just lying here next to me and they know instinctually that we are getting real close to shearing time and that will mean lots of hard work for about 2 days so they arent bugging me to go out to the pastures just yet. Next week will be their time to show us what theyve got.
I have a friend from ALtoona who has a small pack of really well bred Border Collies from relly well known national breeders. This guy is a surgeon and is into competition for top herd dog. He has gone all over and has never quite made it as the best, hes always just one step down from the leader. I suspect its because of his inability to really take charge. He gets mad easily and hes a bit of a drunk so he misses his cues and the dogs (no fools) always have this look of "Holy **** hes hammered again"