Dog Whisperer . . . Lloyd Smith talks to Blue Mountain College Pupils on how to train dogs. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

Blue Mountain College pupils learned some tricks of the trade from well-known sheep dog triallist Lloyd Smith last week.

Mr Smith, of Palmerston, ran the workshop in a paddock across the street from the school.

He showed the pupils small demonstrations of his process of training his dogs from the puppy to heading-dog stage.

About 30 pupils attended the workshop which ran from 1pm to 2.30pm.

Mr Smith said he was grateful for the opportunity to talk to the pupils.

“They have been very attentive and it is always a pleasure to teach people who are keen to learn.”

He hoped the workshop would grow the children’s knowledge on how dogs worked, he said.

“A lot of people don’t know that dog training is mainly about patience and training the dog when it is ready, and that might sound simple but time is an important part of the process.

“I hope by teaching the students it will help them avoid the pitfalls I went through in my early days.”

Pupil Tom Butler (16) took the opportunity to put what he learnt in the workshop to practise with his 6-month-old puppy Skye.

“She’s my first dog, I have been training her for five and a-half months now, but it takes two years to fully train them.”

The workshop was helpful and taught him a lot, he said.

“What I learnt from Lloyd was the merry-go-around tactic which I want to apply to my dog training.”

He was interested in farming and wanted to one day enter the dog trials, he said.

“My dad is a musterer and he’s got a few dogs and I’ve always liked having control over the dogs.”

Prior to the workshop he was a big fan of Mr Smith, he said.

“I’ve read a couple of his books, Pup Pen to Paddock was one of them and I’ve watched his movie.

“I like how skilled he is and most people don’t know as much as he knows about dog trials and training.”

Head of the department of agriculture and junior teacher Kirsten McIntyre said the workshop was a good way to expose the teenagers to other farming and rural sectors.

“We want them to know there is more out there than just farming because a lot of these kids are rural and they thrive in it.

“So it is cool to encourage them in school and grow that passion.”