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SmartFarmer • July 2015
Energetic masters are a
must for working dogs
ENERGETIC dogs get their way
by simply wearing you down.
Please, please, please remem-
ber a cattle dog does not belong in
a suburban backyard. A Collie does
not belong in a suburban backyard. A
Kelpie doesn’t belong in a suburban
They are different kinds of dogs
used to running 60, 80 or 100 kilo-
metres a day and then being chained
back at their 44-gallon drum and left
there until the next morning.
So if you want an energetic dog, be
an energetic person yourself.
That’s one of the major things to
look out for. They can destroy your
life for want of exercise.
Invariably I find people only bought
a working dog because they liked the
colour of its coat. They didn’t bother
to find out anything about it – what
sort of exercise it would need, what it
would do, what stimulation it needed.
That’s why you have cattle dogs
and other energetic breeds living in
backyards in total misery.
You might think, ‘oh he runs around
the backyard’. A backyard isn’t a big
enough exercise area.
In the wild, a backyard’s like the
place where everyone lies down. It’s
the den. Nobody gets excited around
That’s why owners of energetic dogs
need to be energetic themselves. And
you have to have the time to spend
with that sort of dog.
If you don’t, if you only bought the
dog because of the way it looked and
the happy smile on its face, the smile
on your face will quickly become a
scowl when that dog totally badgers
you and uses its energy against you.
People, being what they are, are
likely to get things wrong with big
A lot of people say, ‘my big dog is
pretty clumsy. He’s always leaning on
me. He’s always stepping on my toes.
He never gets out of the way’.
They think of their big dog as
clumsy and stupid. But it’s not.
A big dog is not clumsy. A big
dog is not stupid. A big dog is not
short-sighted. It knows exactly what
it’s doing. It’s using its weight to gently
push you out of the way: ‘I’m testing
If my dog leans on me I get some-
thing sharp and just pinch him.
Nothing nasty. I just pinch his skin.
He yowls and runs away.
Well Jack, that’s what happens when
you lean on me, matey. Don’t try that
one on me, I know what you’re trying
to do. You’re trying to dominate me
in using what you have – just like the
little dog did with the paws and all the
yapping and that.
The big dog uses something
different. It’s always bumping us.
It’s constantly bumping over the
Big dogs step on your toes a lot.
They lie around a lot. They lie across
doorways and they’re constantly
blocking your way. You think, ‘you
bludging lazy dog. You never get out
of my way’.
It won’t because it thinks it has the
right to. It’s a big dog.
It thinks: ‘It takes me too long to
get up and, anyway, seeing as I’m the
leader, why should I?’
Dealing with it is pretty simple.
You just pay back in kind. If your
big dog steps on your toes, you step
on his. It’s not going to hurt you as
much as it hurts him.
And when you’re around the dog,
stamp your feet. Whenever I get close
to my dogs I do a bit of stamping. The
dogs know what it means: ‘stay the
hell out of my way. Don’t bump into
me, don’t come too close unless you
want your toes stepped on’.
Similarly, if they keep lying down
around you and not getting out of
your way, do the ‘Harlem Shuffle’.
Just shuffle straight into them.
If my dog’s lying down and I’m
carrying something, I know he has
no intention of getting up. I keep
shuffling into him, pinching his hair
and his skin. I won’t look down at
with BEN PAGE
Working Dog Centre
Remember, a Kelpie
does not belong in a
Port Pirie Regional Council
PORT Pirie Regional Council
mayor John Rohde says there
is plenty of optimism in the
city and the surrounding
One of the main drivers of
this positive outlook is the
$514-million transformation of
the city’s major industry, the
Nyrstar lead smelter.
It is the largest primary
lead smelter in the world,
and Nyrstar is completing a
process to redevelop it into a
polymetallic processing and
This project, which started
late last year, is having posi-
tive spin-offs for the rest of the
city, increasing confidence in
the future of Port Pirie.
“There is a lot of positiv-
ity about Port Pirie at the
moment,” Mr Rohde sad.
“Knowing the smelter
project is definitely going for-
ward allows us to concentrate
on a clean-up of the city.
“The Targeted Lead
Abatement Program has
been in place for a number of
years to address the residual
fallout from the smelter, but
once the new processes are in
place at the smelter, we can
concentrate on getting the rest
of the city free of pollution and
Mr Rohde said the scale
of investment in the project
highlighted the confidence in
“An investment of $514m
is an enormous amount for a
regional project,” he said.
“That scale of investment
by a major company into a
regional area is almost unheard
“It will mean the smelter will
become a multi-metal recovery
facility, rather than just focus-
ing on lead.
“They will be producing met-
als from a number of different
The city’s smelter celebrated
its 125th anniversary last year.
“The smelter has been a
constant,” Mr Rohde said.
“This upgrade will mean the
city has a guaranteed industry
for a long period of time, which
will help us maintain the city’s
population and ensure strong
growth into the future.”
Another exciting project
is the upgrade to the town’s
Mr Rohde said the sporting
infrastructure had needed an
upgrade for some time.
“We are undertaking
an upgrade of the city’s
oval, which will allow us to
do things like put in new
changerooms, a new bar and
meeting area and new light-
ing,” he said.
The new sports precinct will
be a multi-use facility.
“As part of the redevelop-
ment we’re looking at an
update to the swimming centre
facilities,” Mr Rohde said.
“We’re also looking at a
new home for squash and
gymnastics and other groups
like hip-hop dancing and
Preliminary planning and
community consultation for the
project has been completed.
The council is waiting on
confirmation from the state
government of their contribu-
tion to the project, with total
costs expected to amount to
Mr Rohde said the council
was hopeful of starting work
by early 2016 and anticipated
an 18-month build-time.
Port Pirie is also promoting
itself as a “very liveable city”.
“Our city is a great spot to
access Yorke Peninsula and
southern Flinders Ranges,” Mr
“We’re trying to promote
Port Pirie as a very liveable
city, and as part of that we’re
working on a PR campaign.
Port Pirie Regional Council is
working with Fuller Consulting
on the campaign.
“As part of the campaign we
want to have ambassadors for
Port Pirie,” Mr Rohde said.
The council is also doing
preliminary work on a central
business district upgrade. It is
also working on ‘greening up’
Mr Rohde said they wanted
to provide facilities and infra-
structure to make it attractive
for people to live there.
“It’s a real focus for us in
the coming financial year,” he
– PAULA THOMPSON
Ask the Working Dog Whisperer
Got a question about working dogs?
Send it to the Working Dog Whisperer,
Ben Page. Perhaps you are having
trouble with some aspect of your dog
training, or your stock work? Do you
feel there might be an easier way? Or
do you simply wish to ask a question of
a general nature? If you’re having a dog
problem, then chances are that other
readers are too. Your questions will be
published along with the answers in
this column. We hope this initiative will
help readers, and their dogs.
• Please send your questions to:
him. What I’m saying is, ‘I’m the
leader and I have the right of passage
wherever I go’.
Only the leader can stop anyone
and only the leader doesn’t get out of
the way – not for anything or anyone.
Paying the toll
Big dogs especially like to lie across
big doorways because it’s like a toll
bridge. Anyone who passes has to
pay a sort of tribute – recognizing the
dog’s dominance by letting it get away
with what it’s doing.
After all, the dog’s giving out pretty
strong signals which other dogs have
no trouble understanding: ‘you have
to either step over me or go around
me. Oh, you stopped to pat me, eh?
That’s the fee you have to pay for the
right to pass by’.
The doorway’s like the entrance to
the den and the true leader has the
right to decide who goes in and out,
who moves out of the way for whom.
By doing those sorts of things, big
dogs are cleverly using what they’ve
got in the same way that little dogs
and excited dogs do.
No dog abstracts things like people
do. They don’t dream and fantasise
about how they’d like things to be.
They just use whatever they have to
get their own way.
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