If you love your pooches, then the Dubbo Sheepdog Event is the place for you.
(min cost $8)
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Come and watch, and have a talk to the competitors about their dogs, as the three-sheep trial takes place over four days in Geurie.
Dubbo Sheepdog Club president Jon Cantrall said over 55 people would be competing with around 240 dogs - mostly border collies and a few kelpies.
There will be four main competitions, beginning with the 'Encourage' class which is designed for beginner people and dogs, and is one of the most hotly-contested categories, according to Mr Cantrall.
"There is quite a high standard of dog work and handling in the section. It's got quite a variety - the range of skills is quite large," Mr Cantrall said.
He said the people who win the Encourage section are often young people finishing with "quite good scores" which was encouraging for the future of the sport.
The 'Novice' group is for people and dogs who haven't won a trial greater than Encourage. After that, competitors move on to 'Improver', and then finally to the highest level, 'Open'.
Mr Cantrall said sheepdog trialling was an inclusive sport and one of the few where men and women compete equally. There are no age groups: the youngest competitor is 14 and the oldest in their mid-80s.
Mr Cantrall has 11 border collies at home, six of which he bred himself.
"They're loyal and friendly dogs, they try hard for you. We've got three pups who are six months old and they're super keen to work. That's very encouraging as well - their instinct is kicking in," he said.
He said an award-winning dog had "good, natural working instinct", and a good bond with its handler.
"It's also got a good temperament for training so it will accept a command off you," Mr Cantrall said.
A bond was important because "if the dog doesn't like you, it might just walk off".
Some Australian Supreme Champions will be competing at the Dubbo trials this year.
"Most of the people come for the weekend. Most people are here for the social side of it," Mr Cantrall said.
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That includes hobby farmers like Mr Cantrall, farmers with big properties who run multiple dogs on farm, retired farmers and shearers.
The Dubbo Sheepdog Event, run by Dubbo Sheepdog Club, will take place from Thursday, October 19 until Sunday, October 23, at the Geurie Sporting and Recreation Ground, Comobella Road, Geurie, from around 7.30am to 5pm Thursday to Saturday and around 8am until 5pm Sunday.
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