The Dedito team have a deep respect and admiration for all handlers and their dogs, across all walks of life and we are delighted that B.A.T.W.K (British Association of True Working Kelpies) Chairman Iain Muirhead has been an ambassador for Dedito since the business was first established.
For those not familiar with these hard working, versatile dogs, the Australian Kelpie was originally bred to have the energy, intelligence, and independence to herd livestock all day in the hot Australian climate without much need for supervision. The first Australian Kelpies arrived in the UK in the 1980’s and these valuable team members can now be found in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, the extremes of the Welsh hills, the rugged Yorkshire dales, down through the lowland livestock farms of the midlands and the southern counties. Working predominantly on sheep and cattle, they adapt easily to any working environment and can even be found working alpacas, pigs and as gun dogs.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Iain recently to find out a bit about what the club have been up to in 2021…
“After Covid put a stop to any outdoor activities last year, the team have been busy behind the scenes working on new rules for stud dogs, breeding bitches and puppy sales as well as connecting likeminded people across the country who have training questions, dogs to sell, advice on breeding and on imports etc. However, we were all thrilled when restrictions were lifted earlier this year and the B.A.T.W.K team were able to get back out there in field and do what they do best….!!
B.A.T.W.K hold a series of Kelpie clinics throughout the year. The clinics are a great social opportunity to meet fellow Kelpie owners who are perhaps just starting out on their training journey with a young pup, or to help try and iron out any problems with slightly older or ‘stubborn’ dogs (Kelpie owners out there can relate to that!!).”
So far in 2021, the clinics have been held in some beautiful locations across the U.K, such as Melton Mowbray, Aberdeen, Eggleston, and Llandovery, with the clinics are generously organised by committee members, group members and volunteers.
What can you expect from a Kelpie Clinic? Well Iain’s response to this question was simply “a bloody good laugh!” Iain added “You think you are the only one that has problems, but when you get out there you realise you aren’t.”
The clinics are run by Chairman Iain Muirhead, Vice Chairman Mike Jones and Secretary Nina Griffiths (the brains of the operation!!)
The clinics allow attendees to pick up new ideas, make new friends and hopefully go away with a dog that is going better than when you first started.
The clinics usually have the capacity to hold 10 dogs, with 2 of the committee training at once. 6 dogs are about the ideal number as that gives the team more time to build confidence with both the dog and the handler.
We asked Iain what kind of training takes place? Is it structured, informal, relaxed or one to one? His answer was “all of the above!”
They have a basic training set up in getting pups to “balance” the sheep.
This is the dog’s ability to place itself exactly where it needs to be to take control of the sheep without frightening them. They try to make the whole experience as fun as possible and give the dogs an abundance of praise.
Our next question for Iain was, what have been the highlights of the year so far for you with your involvement in the group?
“The meals out on the Saturday night!!!” Was his laughter filled reply.
“Meeting some genuinely nice people and all having a relax at the end of a busy day is wonderful; this is when we all get to know each other a bit better and enjoy a nice meal with a few drinks and get feedback on how the day has gone and also gain an insight into the everyday lives of the attendees, nothing could be better for me.”
Iain added “Aside from the jovial social side, the highlight for me this year has to be a dog called Ozzy. Ozzy is a Welsh Collie Cross Kelpie. He is a rescue dog that had been kept in a flat for the first 6 months of his life, so he had little or no experience of the outside world. As a result, his new owner was understandably cautious in bringing him along to a clinic “as new things blow his mind” she told me.
The emphasis of the group is based on allowing the Kelpie to work with its own natural ability and instinct, and did this young dog have it in bucket loads. Ozzy’s owner bravely bought him along to the clinic at Eggleston, and within a couple of hours of settling down, Ozzy was ready to take on the world. His natural ability shone through and to see a dog so happy in his work and life and to see the huge smile on his new owner’s face absolutely made the day for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes and still continue to rave about him now. He will be one I will be keeping my eye on to see how much he improves over the coming months and I will look forward on updating you all on his progress.”
If you are interested in the Kelpie association, or would like to register an interest in joining in one of the clinics, then all the information you need can be found on the website www.batwk.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow us on Instagram @trueworkingkelpies
Established in 2018 by a group of likeminded individuals, BATWK are a not for profit, impartial organisation aiming to protect the quality of working kelpies here in the UK. They wish to promote the breed for the exceptional, versatile stock working dogs that they are and preserve the true stock working lines.