It was a family affair for Peter Gonnet and three of his Border Collies at the Canadian Cow Dog Futurity held during Agribition.
A father, son and daughter — Bob, Gus and Maggie — swept the three events.
Gonnet and Bob won the horseback challenge, while he and Gus won the maturity and he and Maggie won the futurity.
Gonnet, a fixture in stock dog competitions for years, said he was surprised.
“You always are, but they worked really good for me,” he said.
The cattle used during the events were a bit tricky.
“You had to do things right. You made a wrong move and you paid for it,” Gonnet said.
The dogs all work at home on the ranch near Outlook, Sask., although Gus was on his way to a new home in Texas after his win.
Gonnet’s son-in-law has a backgrounding operation that allows the dogs to get a lot of practical experience on the grass as the animals are gathered and processed.
Gonnet has 14 dogs right now and trains and sells them. His dogs are trained to work with both cattle and sheep.
“I’ve always been a firm believer (that) a good dog should work sheep or cattle,” he said. “I’ve done this for 40 years and I’ve always wanted dogs that will work both properly.”
A good dog displays stockmanship, power and the ability to move animals with proper calm confidence, Gonnet said.
“We don’t want to upset the cattle or the sheep. We want them to move stock with purpose but with a confidence that the animal knows that the dog is the authority.”
Border Collies are popular, but Gonnet cautioned against having them as pets unless they participate in flyball or other dog agility activities.
“I know they’re very lovable but they’re not good pets because they’ve been bred for hundreds of years to work and will probably just get into mischief.”
He is picky about where his dogs go. They have to be well cared for in good working homes, he said.
This was the second time the cow dog event was held at Agribition.
The International Stock Dog Trials, in which the dogs work sheep, saw Airdrie, Alta.’s Milton Scott and Spot win in a time of 2:30, just 18 seconds ahead of Dale Montgomery and Peg from Maple Creek, Sask. Last year’s winner Steven Rosvold from Ethelbert, Man., and Fran, was third.