MORRISTOWN, NJ – Fosterfields isn’t actually going to the dogs, but sheep herding dogs and their handlers are coming to the Morris Township estate farm on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the Sheep Dog Trials, which are back by popular demand, watch the amazing teamwork between dog and handler in this two-day competition. Responding to the handler’s voice and whistle commands, the Border Collie directs sheep through a specified obstacle course in less than ten minutes. Sheep are not always the most cooperative or responsive, so failure to complete the course properly results in a deduction of points.
Unlike most dogs, Border Collies love to work! Their history dates back several centuries to England and Scotland where herding sheep was the dog’s main occupation. Not for treats or other rewards, the Border Collie responds because it simply wants to please its owner by working.
The Sheep Dog Trials are sponsored by the United State Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA) and North East Border Collie Association (NEBCA). Mark Sutherland, Manger of Historic Sites at the Morris County Park Commission, stated, “The event expects approximately 40 handlers and 80 dogs. Participants hail from Ontario, Canada, New England, and the Middle Atlantic States, as well as Virginia and Maryland. Spectators will be in awe of the unique relationship between Border Collie and handler as well as the intelligence, skill, and patience of these trained dogs. The event provides fun and excitement for the entire family!”
Since this is a competition, the top ten dogs each day receive a ribbon and a cash prize. The overall winner for both days merits a special award. In addition, rewards are given for the most promising young dog, and for the handler receiving a placement at the Open Trial for the first time.
The fee to attend Sheep Dog Trials is $8 for adults; $7 for seniors (65 +); $6 for ages 4 – 16; $4 for ages 2 – 3; and under 2 are FREE. Please do NOT bring your own dogs to the sheep dog trials. For more information, please call 973.326.7645, or visit morrisparks.net.