The dog Whisperer – shepherd Donie Anderson stars to work hard on the family farm

  • The dog Whisperer – shepherd Donie Anderson stars to work hard on the family farm
    FarmIreland.t. E.
    There’s definitely a touch of ‘talking dog’ on Donie Anderson. The relationship he has with his dogs is truly unique.
    https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/the-dog-whisperer-donie-andersons-sheepdog-stars-are-hard-at-work-on-the-family-farm-37233694.html
    https://www.independent.ie/incoming/article37248036.ece/a8a9b/AUTOCROP/h342/donie.jpg

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There’s definitely a touch of ‘talking dog’ on Donie Anderson. The relationship he has with his dogs is truly unique.

They are not only loyal service dog on the Castlekelly estate in under Kerry, but some of them are now known known for entertaining the masses with their antics herding ducks and geese at agricultural shows throughout Ireland.

“Some people might think I’m showing off, but I think it is good to show the public that the shepherd can do except routine work. This creates a different kind of interest in him. At the end of the day it’s all about trust between you and the dog,” he said.

It was six years ago that Donie discovered his favorite Sheepdog Jess was more than just a dog.

“I used to be to put the ducks in at night and Jess just started to help herself. I didn’t have to teach her. It just came naturally. The border collie is a working instinct and they are smarter than we think”.

Duck then Jess finished with the geese, and before they knew it, they were commonplace in similar flavours of Fingal, burn and Tinahely show and the national Ploughing Championships.


It is fair to say that not everyone will have the same working relationship with dogs, as Donie, to such an extent that they will bark or roll over on command.

It’s not what you witness in court shepherd, but those days are gone for Donie and his team, and his free time is now given over to entertaining the public.

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“I competed for many years. Currently, I prefer to train dogs for clients, but I enjoy visiting the shows too. I talk a lot, and that’ll probably help.”

Donie spent most of his life working on the family farm in the valley of Glenasmole Bohernabreena near. With the help of his wife, Angela, he now farms about 120 ewes, which have access to 4,900 acres of land that are part of an impressive National Park, Wicklow mountains, a view of his farm.

Four or five farmers have access to this land at any time and Donie can always keep a close eye on proceedings as a valuable member of the Council of the Wicklow hills.

Although located in the County Dublin, this is far from the hustle and bustle of the city. “It’s isolated here, especially in the snow, but we are only nine miles from GPU”, – he said.

Donie began to show interest in the shepherds and the National school thanks to his uncle Pat, who lived nearby. At that time his father, Maurice, farmed a smallholding and worked part time in Dundrum.

“We had no car, so he used to switch to work each morning after milking”.

They have always worked horses on the farm, and as a result, Donie continues to show several Irish draught horses, this day.

“I think I was about 10 when I got my first dog. Her name was little. I did my first competition in 1978, when I was in my late Teens. The late Willie Murphy always gave me incentive and I often went to competitions with him.

“I had some really good dogs in my time, including lines, Pennefather through big Willie Hanbidge.”

When it comes to training them, Donie believes that every dog should be treated differently. “My own puppies get acquainted with sheep at the age of 12 weeks, but I don’t believe in starting them too young. Slow can often be the best dogs and some of them may be three years before they start to work properly. When I take the dog for a client, I usually chat with them for a while, to get an idea about how they treat the dog and how it reacts. You can get a fair idea before you even take it home”.

Floor

As for sex, Donie prefers to work with females, although he is a young male, who only six months and already shows a lot of promise.

“With dogs, they will never concentrate if there is a bitch in season at the event. At least with a bitch, you just have to watch it twice a year when she comes into season.”

Homegrown from a good line of dogs, Jess certainly in any of them and is the only animal in the house. “She can read your thoughts accurately. She is now 10 and still working, although she has slowed down a bit.”

Over the years he has repeatedly attempted to breed from her, to save her, but without success. Until last year it produced only one puppy that was saved.

“I had almost given up when I decided to take her to the pet blessing in Tallaght. It was some time in October last year and January 19 she had a litter of four puppies from my dog house.”

And Donie has no intention of slowing down any time soon, his 10-year-old daughter, Mary, has followed in his footsteps and doing a bit of training yourself with one of the younger dogs.

“She seems to be taking a keen interest, which is nice to see,” he concluded.

Tomorrow, Donie and Jess Dodderside shepherd will perform at the Virginia show, with the Victorian field Day in enniskerry on September 9 also marked in the diary in the coming weeks.

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