Bond Between Dog, Trainer And Sheep Strong

by Aleysia Goodley 

On Saturday,  Oct. 22, Ferrum hosted the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, where there was a variety of country foods, music, demonstrations and activities for everyone to enjoy. The event was free for all Ferrum students to experience, and if you did not get the chance to go, you missed a variety of folk-life food.

Roy Johnson has been training dogs in sheep herding for 32 plus years and has only gotten better with time.

After losing both his hands in a hay bale accident in 1984, he was given a puppy who he brought back home and named Rosco, where the two formed a tight bond.

“The bond you build with the dog, no one can tell you about it” he says teary eyed when speaking of Rosco during his demonstration. Johnson then continues on with how he began training with Rosco, first telling that he went to a training contest where he won fourth and received four gifts, a whistle, a Border collie vest, a hat, and a training book. He admits that he only read a bit of the book before deciding he didn’t need it,

“My goal is to not make something do what it really doesn’t want to do, you find a way to train it to do that” he told the crowd. Johnson then went on to give a nearly perfect demonstration of his training with an over excited dog, Steve, using only a few phrases and whistles that commanded Steve to slow down, stop and herd the sheep in the direction he wanted them to go. Johnson is passionate about his work and enjoys teaching those to properly train sheep herding dogs.

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