My name is Nan Lloyd and I live in Kojonup, Western Australia.
I became interested in sheepdog dog training in 2001 when I saw a sheep dog clinic advertised locally. At the time, I knew nothing about training sheep dogs, we had a couple of Kelpies which were not much good and we let them learn as they went along. It was frustrating though and we spent a lot of time yelling at the dog to slow down or come behind. The poor dogs did not know any better, they were trying to do their job, and we had failed to teach them any commands to make them controllable.
I decided to go to the clinic as an after thought as not much was happening at the time. The instructor was Greg Prince. I did not know then, that he was one of Australia's top Sheepdog trialers and trainers, who does clinics and helps others through the frustrating phase of starting out training sheep dogs.
The day was a real eye opener. Instead of letting the dog drive the sheep the way we always did at home, we started out getting the dog on the other side of the sheep and allowing them to bring the sheep to us. My little Kelpie Dolly, 11 months old, took to it like a duck to water, even though she had never done it before. I was amazed and impressed with her.
I went home full of enthusiasm not knowing what had started.
Sheep dog training is like a drug and I was addicted. I rounded up a small trainer mob of sheep and tried to do some of the things I had seen. Things went wrong, as I did not have the experience to know what I was doing. Therefore, I attended more clinics, gained more knowledge, and got more dogs.
It is not easy though and my poor dogs suffered through my lack of knowledge. In 2005, I got up the nerve to compete in a few sheep dog trials. The first was a Utility trial with my Koolie Pep. I was a nervous wreck to say the least, but I survived
It is a long process to train a dog to trial standard. It seems like you just get one problem sorted out and you create another one. It can be difficult but rewarding, when at last you can feel the partnership developing that you get with a well trained dog.
Many people have helped me along the way and I found the trialers in WA to be extremely helpful and supportive.
The last few years have seen an influx of newbie’s starting out in trialing including some city folk who do not farm but compete as a sport.
Although they can achieve well in the sport, for me they will never know the thrill of working with a dog on a farm, bringing in a big mob with the help of your dogs or working all day in the sheep yards with a dog that will not quit until you do. For me this is the utmost achievement. At the end of a long hard day, sitting in the cool with your dogs knowing full well you could never have completed the job without your dogs and knowing the training you have done has paid off and feeling proud of your self and your dogs for it. So as much as I enjoy trialing and the knowledge I gain from it, farming has a priority and my dogs will be farm dogs first and trial dogs second.
MYself working the yards with Otto and Dodge.
My daughter Sam and Binnaburra Bambi.