Pattie proves herself champion working dog

WORKING DOG: Champions Robert Johnston and Shady Acres Pattie.
WORKING DOG: Champions Robert Johnston and Shady Acres Pattie.

TATHAM resident Robert Johnston and his dog Shady Acres Pattie have taken out the point score competition in the Australian championship working stock dog trials, held at Dulacca in Queensland recently.

Last year the pair took out the Australian championship in the working dog competition.

"That's the two highest awards you can get," said an obviously pleased Mr Johnston.

Three-year-old Shady Acres Pattie is a border collie bitch with a New Zealand bloodline. Robert and his son-in-law bred her and think they may have another champion in one of her pups, Shady Acres Jimmy who is now 18 months old.

"He will be even better than his mother," Robert said.

Robert has been taking part in dog trials for the past eight years, competing in 27 events a year all over NSW and Queensland.

"There's a lot of travelling; a lot of kilometres; but I love it. I love the friendship of all the people. You don't make a lot of money. If you go home with $100 and a bag of dog biscuits you've done well for the day."

Shady Acres Pattie is currently pregnant with 12 pups and Robert said their value just went up from $500 each to $700-800 with the win.

He has 18 dogs on the farm at Tatham and says he generally takes 8-10 to a trial and leaves the rest at home for his wife to take care of.

Stock dog trials involve the dogs getting three cattle through a series of obstacles within at set time.

Robert said he starts training them from a very young age.

"I start them on the geese, then go to goats, step up to weaner cattle and then whatever comes after that. By 12 months old they are working anything and everything," he said.



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