Sheep dogs trials test the prowess of herding pups

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Rapid City, SD It takes a lot of work to get those fluffy livestock from one end of the pasture to another and most ranchers get a little help from man's best friend.

John Kaiser, operations manager says, "This is something they do every day the people that raise sheep they use the dogs same with the cattle people still use the cattle dogs and its just a tool that's gone back a long long time."

Dogs and Sheep ranching go hand and hand and today folks got to test their pups skill during the annual sheep dog trials.

Kaiser says, "We actually had close to 40 handlers and over 80 dogs enter this year which was the highest we've ever had. We did a draw and we took about 65 of them."

Dogs run the sheep a figure 8 pattern around a barrel, over a bridge and then into the pen.

Jamie Spring, Sheep Dog handler says, "Because we are dealing with sheep and even in cattle dog trials too, because it is stock and they are not machines they are all individual and they react differently so you consistently have to be adjusting what you are doing but that's what so great about these dogs is that they have the capability to read those sheep as well."

And these furry friends really make sheep ranching significantly easier.

"so some of our pastures are really big and so rather than me having to run, which I would not do, or get on the four wheeler or something else and go clear out and around a pasture I can send a dog and they'll go and then they will also have a relationship with the sheep" says Spring.

And the dogs don't seem to mind the extra running and hard work.

"They know in their hearts this is what they were born to do so there is nothing better."

Organizers hope this event brings awareness to the sheep industry in South Dakota and the significance of the herding dog.

"The wool industry is something that is very prominent in South Dakota but kind of flies under the radar with us being so successful in cattle and livestock so really it just kind of highlights the sheep industry across the state and it is also just a really good example of the relationship that people can have with the animals."