Young dogs take the lead

DOG fans are set to flock to Port Fairy this week with the 2014 Commonwealth Championship Sheepdog Trials now under way. 

The championship is in its 30th year, having begun with a small crowd gathering at the Gardens Oval to watch young dogs compete in the novice trials.

Laurie Slater, a two-time open winner, travelled more than 1100 kilometres from Yass in New South Wales to the trials with his border collie, Stormey.

The sheepdog competed in last year’s novice trials with a different owner but didn’t fare too well. Since then Mr Slater has been caring for the dog. 

After 12 months of solid training, Mr Slater hopes Stormey will win his trial today and advance from novice to improver. 

When asked his secret to training dogs, Mr Slater said anyone with the knowledge could do it. 

“Anyone can do it. You just need the proper knowledge and it’s not a problem,” he said.

Colin Cosh also travelled cross-country, driving more than 3000 kilometres from Manjimup in Western Australia to work seven dogs at the trial. Despite the long distance, Mr Cosh said the event was not all about winning. 

“It’s not about the trophy. I’m just happy to be here and to see other people enjoying the trials,” he said.

The trials are a gathering of the who’s who of Australian sheepdogs. 

On Friday and Sunday the best six dogs in the country, one from each state, will compete for the Australian Dog of the Year. 

“It’s certainly stiff competition as the week goes on,” Mr Cosh said.

Commonwealth Champion-ship Sheepdog Trials president Bill Paton said most of the event’s proceeds would go to Peter’s Project.

Entry to the trials is $5 and spectators can attend between 7.30am and 10.30pm each day this week. 

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