Why do farmers keep their sheepdogs outside rather than in the home?
It seems harsh to treat dogs differently to the domestic pets when it comes to worknig dogs. Farmers often have both, but keep the sheepdogs outside and the pets inside. I would like to know why this is when often there is plenty of room in the farmhouse for all the dogs.
I think a lot of it has to do with how dirty the sheepdogs get from being outside. From my own personal experience (spending weeks with my grandparents on their farm in Mississippi), this was largely the case. The dogs would get filthy from being in the cow pasture and hay fields all day. It got to the point where it was just too hard for my grandmother and grandfather to give their dog a bath every day; so it was much easier to just leave them outside.
I don't think that is the case here Larry. In the UK the sheep are in green fields, not usually very muddy, and often the pet dogs go along with the farmer as well but they get to sleep in the house and the sheep dogs have to sleep outside
The dogs need to be out with the sheep at all times to protect them from wolves, which could come at any time.
We don't have wolves in the UK Tamara, and the farmers tend to keep their sheepdogs in outside kennels or barns when they aren't out using them to round up the sheep. Sheepdogs as in Border Collies are trained to round up sheep not protect them.
For the same reason they don't keep the livestock in the house: they're not pets. Working dogs are trained to work with the livestock, and stay with them. They are not considered members of the family, the way pets are.
This is part of a bigger issue: the disconnect we have, in treating some animals as friends and companions, while others are workers or food. Would you have a sheep in the house? Or barbecue a dog? Why is it OK to eat some animals, while we love and cherish others?
Here in the U.K. the sheepdogs don't stay with the livestock though, they are taken back to the farm and put in a kennel, a barn or similar. They are only with the sheep when the farmer takes them with him to round up the sheep to move them.
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by Peeples 9 years ago
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