What happens on your first visit?
Lessons are first come first serve. Sign up in the book kept on the small arena fence for your lesson order when you arrive.
Lesson sign ups are only made in person--Not By Phone
We NEED to SPEAK with you BEFORE your FIRST VISIT call 253-843-AWAY(2929).
You will need to check in with Linda or Joe and fill out a release form that states you understand and have read the posted safety rules. Children are welcome. Many like to participate in the herding lessons or feeding the animals, but children must be supervised at all times. Joe or Linda will ask you about your dog to determine what type of stock would be best for its first time here at Ewe-topia.
After signing up, you can run your dog in the dog park for a while. We recommend that you put the dog in the car or sit away from the excitement of the ongoing lessons before your dog's initial turn so he/she gets a chance to rest. However, if your dog is apprehensive, then it is good that he watches to get interested.
Don't worry! A qualified instructor will show you the ropes. With your dog on leash, an instructor will take you and your dog into the arena for its first lesson on livestock. Typically you have three sheep or five ducks depending on what is best for the dog. When the instructor tells you to, you let the dog off the leash. The instructor will work with your dog and the livestock as you encourage it to herd by circling the stock. A long thin PVC pipe or bamboo pole may be used by the instructor as a crook to guide the dog to change directions and protect the livestock. For dogs that are overly aggressive on the stock, the instructor will safely and firmly correct them so the dog does not hurt the stock or learn inappropriate behavior. Remember, herding is the humane treatment of stock to move it in a controlled manner.
Because herding is such a mental, as well as physical, workout for the dog, the lesson will end when the instructor feels your dog has reached its limit for good herding. When you end a lesson with the dog wanting more, he will get hooked on herding and will progress in his training. For dogs, moving the livestock is exciting and rewarding in itself.
Regardless of the breed or mix, some dogs take to herding right away. Others, because of their background, age or health, will need a few times on the correct type of stock to get going. Once you have tried herding it is up to you how often you come out. You are welcome to come once a year, once a month, once a week or more. We do need to warn you that coming to Ewe-topia is highly addictive! Should you become so addicted to herding that you want to focus on training for herding trials, we can help you too. (see Competitive Herding Instruction)
Need to sign up and grab something to eat while you wait? Ask Linda for directions to the Subway sandwich shop or her favorite diner nearby.
Click here to find out What to bring with you
Circling the stock is what most beginner dogs will do their very first time. The Samoyed in the picture demonstrates this. photo by Linda Leeman