FRANKLIN, Ind. — Stanley Poe II employs the help of some
four-legged friends to help take care of the 500 sheep on his farm.
For many years, Poe Hamps, located near Bargersville, has
used border collies to move its herd to different locations around the
Poe said that they use the dogs for work purposes every day,
which is why he keeps two around.
“One is a spare or a backup, in case one is hurt or the
other is hot,” he noted.
Poe mentioned that the main job of his two dogs, Jan and
Dee, is to move the sheep. Their primary instinct, he explained, is to stop
anything that moves and bring it back.
He added that is why many sheep dogs get injured, because
they will run out into the road to protect something or someone that has
separated itself from a pack.
Although border collies are good dogs, are full of energy
and are intelligent, those very reasons can make them tough to keep as pets,
unless they are kept busy.
Poe noted that this particular breed is known for its
agility, which is makes the dogs great for working with sheep.
Poe said that the dogs don’t attack the sheep because they
are not an aggressive breed, which is why he chooses to use collies, but they do
have a bite command for those sheep that are a bit ornery.
He added that the dogs also know right, left, up, down and
“Border collies use their eye to move and stalk the sheep,”
To the sheep, Poe pointed out, the dogs resemble predators,
which is why the herd will move away from them, and the dogs don’t have to bite
or bark like other breeds of sheep dogs.
Poe said it doesn’t take long to train the dogs, and, in
fact, they don’t have a dog trainer — they do it all themselves on the
He added that the border collie usually has to be around 6
months old before training is started, so the dog is big enough and won’t get
“The longer the dog stays, the longer they learn,” he
Poe noted that 90 percent of the dog’s ability is natural
instinct — either they have it or they don’t.
He mentioned that after exposing the dog to the sheep, they
introduce the bite commands, along with the other directions that are necessary
for the dog to successfully complete its duties.
Poe’s older dog, Jan, came back with him when he was on
vacation in Scotland with another man who was looking for a new herding
Unlike in Scotland, where they can use three or four collies
at the same time, Poe said that he normally only uses one at a time since he
uses voice commands to control them.