As a dog trainer, I am always amazed to watch a dog’s natural instinct at work.  To this end, I always try and take my border collies to have a go working sheep, and my gundogs get to have a go at gundog training with dummys.  Merlyn was the first dog I worked on sheep, and he did really well (for a male, merle!) but he was already hindered by me when I started him at 6 years old.  To be good on sheep, a dog has to have natural instinct, but living in a pet home (and doing obedience, agility & flyball training), he didn’t think for himself as much as he needed to.  He constantly wanted to check in with mum, bless him!  BTW, Gyp was scared of the sheep!!!

Through my dog breeding (Tottlefields) I also strive to breed dogs that are fit for function, i.e. could go out and do the job that they were bred to do.  To this end, my end goal with my Border Collies is to have healthy, tested, International Sheepdog Registered Society (ISDS) registered lines, but my newest bitch, from Bryning Border Collies is purely Kennel Club registered (but fully health-tested), although she has a pedigree depicting many working BCs in many different disciplines, including some of her relatives having gone on to be registered with the ISDS on merit after taking their working test.  Freya has a wonderful work ethic and at 5 months old is already very herdy with my other dogs at home.  I wondered whether she would be able to transfer this qualities to sheep.  So we booked a session at Mayfields Farm and Sheepdog Training centre in Norfolk to see what she was like.

We had just 3 sheep in a field to work with, but that was more than enough, especially since I really had no idea what she would do with them.  Sarah told me to take her off the lead and just let her do her own thing (very scary when you’re not 100% certain you have a reliable recall on a youngster!).  She started happily running round the field, but always being aware of where I was (she would constantly stop, check on me, and carry on with what she was doing).  As we wandered towards the sheep, who were, of course, at the opposite end of the field, her interest was piqued.  Once we were close enough to them, she promptly ran round the back of them away from me and just circled them, keeping her eye on therm at all times.  I was gob-smacked and soooo pleased with her.  I had been a bit worried she might have too much eye, or be too snap-happy with her teeth, but she was just perfect!  She stayed about 1-2 feet away from the sheep, just running round and round, bunching them up and then came to their heads, which Sarah said pups do as they aren’t big enough to control the sheep from behind at this age.  In all she probably spent about 5 mins with the sheep, which is more than enough for her at this young age.  When asked to come away from them, she accepted it without question.  The plan is to let her see sheep for 5-10 mins each month for now and then start some proper training with her at about 7/8 months of age and then go from there.

Since we had answered my question of “does she have any interest or natural ability with sheep?” as a resounding “YES” and we had travelled 1.5hrs to do this, I let Melryn have a play too.  It’s proabably about 2 years since he last worked sheep as we just didn’t have the time to fit it into our lives.  He remembered exactly what to do, and we even starting asking him to learn to do an outrun, the thing he’d had issues with before as it was too much thinking for himself.  I look forward to going back in September as I had great fun, and the dogs LOVED it!  Hopefully I’ll get some pics and/or video next time too :-)

We are also looking to see if we can join up with Mayfields Farm and run a CCC training day or afternoon.  Keep an eye on our events page for more news on this, and our other events.


June 2012 saw us running our first ever agility show, backed by UK Agility.  It was a small affair, but that suited us perfectly.  It was a 2-day show with 4 rings each day, providing 5 runs for every size and level of dog – agility, jumping, games & 2 x steeplechase each day.

We had a lvoely set of judges for the weekend – Toni, Amanda, Sandra & Wendy on Saturday, then Helen, Malcolm, Linda & Angie on Sunday.  Some of their courses are shown below.

We were given a massive amount of help from Jayne & Andy Widess as our UKA reps, along with their club members, all of whom are seasoned UKA competitors.  Our thanks go to all of them.

Some pics of the show and our awards are shown below.

All in all, it was a successful weekend.  We have learnt a lot and we are hoping to put another UKA show on at LIttleport at a similar time in 2013 so keep June 22nd/23rd clear in your diaries!

CSJ is an extensive range of natural canine and feline foodstuffs, herbal supplements and treats, specially formulated by vets and leading nutritionists for all dogs and has become the first choice for many of the top dog handlers in the following sports …

agility ~ flyball ~ field trials ~ heelwork to music ~ obedience ~ showing ~ sled racing ~ sheepdogs ~ working trials

CSJ is an extensive range of natural canine and feline foodstuffs, herbal supplements and treats which use only top quality, natural ingredients to meet the needs of all dogs of all ages and isn’t hard on your pocket either with prices starting at just £11 for a 15kg bag.

Why choose csj?

CSJ is now a top choice of dog food for many successful dog handlers in the UK and Internationally, as well as many breeders and pet dog owners – why?

  • No artificial colours, additives or preservatives
  • Rich in chicken, lamb or salmon
  • Made in the UK by DEFRA approved sites which adhere to stringent quality control & traceability systems
  • Energy dense nutrition
  • Wide variety of foods giving a good choice and something for every dog

CSJ work closely with many well-known breeders, competitors, trainers, large kennel owners and show-bench exhibitors, as well as behavioural trainers and are continuously monitoring and developing their products.

Basically CSJ food, herbs and treats are made for dog owners, by dog owners!

For more information on the products we stock please see our products page. We are able to deliver locally and to shows we are attending.

Salmon oil, with it’s valuable omega-3 fatty acids, has many benefits for dogs, both inside and out. It strengthens the immune system, reduces the risk of heart disease, lubricates the skin and coat, supports joints and can even aid brain development. Dogs metabolise fats and oils differently to humans, and supplementing your dog’s diet with salmon oil won’t make him put on weight, but should make him fitter and possibly smarter.

What is omega-3?

Omega-3 are a family of “essential” polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning that they can’t be made by the body and can only be obtained directly from the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in most meat, and in particularly high levels in salmon and other cold-water fish, as well as other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. However, the grain-fed meat that forms the bulk of the meat portion of a dogs’ diets is much lower in these fatty acids than naturally raised, grass-fed animals. In essence, these nutrients are an important, natural part of a good diet, but are at lower levels in the type of food most pet dogs eat. That is why it’s beneficial to add them and salmon oil supplements are an excellent source.


Studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for joint health as well as helping prevent arthritis. The salmon oils also lubricate the skin helping maintain a glossy, healthy coat. As well as working to prevent health issues in dogs, salmon oil has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory for arthritic dogs and helps keep sharp brain function in older dogs. It has been recommended for dogs with skin conditions or allergies to speed up the healing process. As well as omega-3, salmon oil is an excellent source of high quality protein, rich in minerals, anti-oxidants and vitamins (A, D, E, B6 & B12).