In only their second dog trialling competition, Tain Laing, of Clyde and Kaiwera, and his dog Smudge (18 months), won the Tux Yarding Challenge Maiden competition in the South Island dog trial championships at Kakahu, near Geraldine, on January 12 and 13.
Mr Laing (18), is a second-year cadet at the Salvation Army’s training farm, Jeff Farm, Kaiwera, near Mataura, and comes from a non-farming background in Clyde.
As a result of their win, the pair will be going to Taumarunui, in the North Island, to compete in the Tux New Zealand Championships on January 26 and 27 against the North Island’s top maiden triallists.
He was thrilled with the win, despite not being able to finish the first round of the competition on Friday when the sheep failed to co-operate.
However, they managed to pen them during Saturday’s competition.
There were five in the competition and they were up against composite sheep, which he described as “flighty”, which made them harder to work.
“They were not easy sheep to handle. It was quite rewarding that my dog knew how to handle them.
“It was a team effort.”
He said he used a quiet whistle, and just enough voice so that the only the dog and he could hear.
Before taking part in the South Island championships, the only other competition he and Smudge had entered was the Otago regional Tux yarding and handy dog maiden competition at Jeff Farm, on November 20 and 21 last year.
The pair won the event.
Mr Laing said Smudge was bred by neighbour Brendon Dayle.
“I trained him from scratch.”
He and Smudge work on the farm during the day and after dinner they would spend a further 10 minutes doing some extra training, with an additional session on Sunday afternoons.
He thanked farm manager John Chittock, dog trainer Lloyd Smith, Matt Lane, and Chris Hunter, all of who had been big influences on his dog training.
Mr Laing said he enjoyed the training and the competitions.
“It is good to have one-on-one with my dog.”
Mr Chittock, who is also a keen and successful dog triallist, was thrilled with their success.
“I was over the moon for the young fella,” he said.
“He certainly took the bull by the horns.