Because I have a Cattle Dog and don’t live on a ranch I was excited to find out that I could take Jinx sheepherding in Long Beach, California. A quick google search and I found links to Jerry Stewart’s website. I watched a clip of Jerry with Cesar Millian and I love they were working to rehabilitate a rescue dog. Jinx is two years old and she is a rescue dog from Paw Parent Animal Sanctuary. Jinx is working on her confidence and sheepherding seems like the perfect activity for that.
The Nitty-gritty Details
The Long Beach location is only open on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There isn’t a phone number to call, you just show up. Jerry’s website is updated on Thursday mornings so check it out before driving there. Really, just show up rain or shine and he’ll be there. You need to bring a chair, a leash, water, and cash. The sheepherding lesson is $50 and it is cash only. Any dog can try to herd and they do not need to have the experience to try it.
Good luck, I suggest you check Jerry’s website and look at the map. He has posted pictures of how to find him. I think the first time trying to find the ring is the hardest. I can’t find an address to put into a GPS, but we just used the pictures as a guide.
From: The 710 S/Long Beach exit Del Almo Blvd. Head East on Del Almo Blvd. Immediately turn right at unmarked driveway right under the SCE power lines. The corral is sandwiched in between the 710 freeway and the LA River. There is plenty of parking.
Signing a Waiver for Sheepherding
The first time you show up to train you need to sign a waiver. Basically, you can’t hold Jerry liable for anything that happens in the ring. Furthermore, you are financially responsible if your dog harms his sheep. We signed the waiver and paid our training fee.
First Time in The Ring
The first time in the ring is to let your dog get used to the smells, the sheep, and having the freedom of being off-leash. When it was our turn Jinx and I stood on one side of the ring with her leash on and Jerry stood on the other side. When he was ready he told me to let her off-leash and for me to walk over to him. My job, while I was in the ring, was to walk next to him. He is training the owners as well as the dogs. The first time he is watching to see how they react and their instincts. We walked around the ring and in between the fences in the middle. Jinx did a little chasing and a whole lot of sniffing. Her best doggie friend “Kona” was on the other side of the fence cheering her on. When Jinx did something Jerry liked he gave her lots of positive verbal praise. Our first round was probably only 10 minutes and then we came out and got water and let Jinx cool off.
Second Time in The Ring
Kona took her second turn before Jinx. At first, she didn’t realize what her job was, so Jerry went and got one of his dogs. Once the other dog was in the ring herding the sheep it was like a light-bulb went on and Kona knew what to do. She ran around and herded the sheep. After she came out it was Jinx’s turn. As soon as I let her go she immediately started herding. There’s a difference between chasing the sheep out of prey instinct and actually herding. Jinx was a natural and she only got in trouble one time for growling at the sheep. Barking is okay, but growling or biting is not. Jinx’s turn was over when Jerry thought she had done enough. You are paying for training and not for time. He will spend as much time with you as he thinks your dog can handle.
The day we were in Long Beach it was over 80 degrees even though it was at the beginning of April. After the dogs come out of the rink Jerry likes them to jump into a kiddie pool he filled up with water which helps them cool off. After our turn, Jerry told us how he thought our dogs did and what we can expect the next time we train with him. The goal will be for Jerry to be on the outside of the ring and just Jinx and myself inside the ring with the shepherd’s crook.
Should You Try Sheepherding?
I had a feeling Jinx would like to herd sheep, but I was a little nervous for her to try it. We had a great time and the experience wore both dogs out. They did a lot of running and a lot of sniffing. I would go back more often, however, Thursday on a work week and traffic to Long Beach will make that tough. If you think that your dog has any herding instinct then I would for sure give it a try. Jerry is a gem and he has a great rapport with the dogs. Jinx is standoffish and she even gave Jerry a kiss on his hand. If you are anywhere near Long Beach, California on Thursday afternoon you should stop by.