Still Off Duty! – our new sheepdog DVD is taking shape

Today we've been working on the artwork for the new DVD, and it's really starting to feel as though we're making progress! I'm impatient to see the finished article, but I know there's a way to go yet.

The proposed cover of our latest Border collie fun DVD includes a Chihuahua, a Papillon, a Great Dane and a lurcher
You CAN judge a DVD by its cover - Border collies are joined by friends this time round

We still haven't finally decided on how many chapters to include; there's so much footage we can't bear to leave out that it's in danger of becoming a 2-DVD set and not being ready 'til Christmas 2012.

As it is, we're still on schedule for delivery in loads of time for this Christmas. We're aiming for at least eight chapters, including several chapters dedicated to puppies at various stages from birth up to 6 months old. There are two chapters of atmospheric wintery scenes from winter 2010/2011 - the hours spent filming in sub-zero temperatures have paid off (all thanks to Muck Boots - it wouldn't have been possible if we hadn't discovered them just in time). (Any sponsorship deal would be considered here!)

This is the case and disc of our new DVD - Border Collie Sheepdogs & Friends - Still Off Duty!
The cover and disc of our new DVD - Border Collie Sheepdogs & Friends - Still Off Duty!

Of course there's plenty of general dog activity and interaction. We've taken the opportunity to bring together some scenes from pack life to illustrate just how all these dogs, of varying ages and different dispositions, manage to get along (most of the time) or resolve their issues without anyone appearing in the least bit put out by it afterwards. There are adults rough-and-tumbling with puppies, puppies rough-and-tumbling with puppies, and some of my favourite scenes show how Chester, our first "little" dog, proved that size would be no obstacle to him and just threw himself into the general mêlée, particularly with his special Lurcher friend, Eris.

We've also got planned a brief introduction to sheepdog training. We've met a surprising number of people who assumed that sheepdogs were bred, but not trained because they didn't need it. (Anyone who's watched Jean Donaldson's DVD of her "Predation in the Family Dog" presentation will be aware that this misconception goes quite far up the dog trainer food chain.) Breeding is part of it, of course, but as any of us who've tried to work sheep with our dogs will confirm, training is a major factor. A good trainer can overcome very many shortcomings in a dog's natural ability, while a poor handler can make even a great dog look amateur.

Speaking of great dogs, this is the first time I've sat working at my computer with a live feed of the World Trials results on my desktop. How exciting! As I write, Serge van der Zweep with Eve have just been toppled from their leading position by James McGee with Becca. OK, it's not the same as being there (the shopping alone makes the trip to the World Trial worthwhile) but at least I don't feel completely out of touch in our Kings Green bubble.

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