Every Dog has its Day: Molly learns on the job

David Fraser and Molly. PICTURE: Jeremy Bannister.

David Fraser and Molly. PICTURE: Jeremy Bannister.

YOU can teach a not-so-young dog new tricks.

After a bit of a false start, Molly the three-year-old kelpie is learning the tricks of the trade as a working sheepdog.

David Fraser, who runs about 650 hectares near Clunes, took on Molly a couple of years ago. She was bred by respected kelpie breeder Wayne Glennie but needed a new home after her first placement did not work out.

In terms of training, Molly is starting a bit behind the eight ball. Ideally she would have had more training as a pup but Mr Fraser says she is picking it up as she goes.

"I'm no dog trainer. Wayne (Glennie) did most of the training but she has had to learn a bit of it herself," Mr Fraser explains.

"Molly is not a great working dog yet but she is a very affectionate dog. I'd say she is treated a bit like a pet I suppose. And she can be a bit of a sook too.

"Having said that she has learned a lot using her instincts. She has those kelpie instincts. She's still a work in progress but it shows you can teach an older dog new tricks."

Mr Fraser has about 1500 sheep, and also does some cropping on his property.

Molly sometimes gets it wrong with the sheep but Mr Fraser says she also gets a fair bit right as well.

Molly, by golly. VIDEO: Jeremy Bannister

"Molly will always go to the right of the sheep and will push them left, so you have to work around that," he says.

"She is good at bringing the sheep in and has just started working in the yard and the shearing shed. She is getting better at it."

Curiously enough, Mr Fraser has also had to learn the farming caper a bit later than most. The 46-year-old took over his father's farm six years ago.

"I am a diesel mechanic by trade and I've only been out here farming for half a dozen years," Mr Fraser says.

"My old man got crook with Parkinson's disease and I had to take over.

"That said I have enjoyed doing it. It is a lifestyle choice."

It is a lifestyle choice which is working out quite well for Mr Fraser and his mate Molly.

* The Courier is always looking out for the region's best working dogs. If you know a dog who deserves its day in the paper, email: gavin.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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