The Traveling Herding Teacher contains the teachings of Bob Vest, a herding dog trainer in high demand, who traveled endless miles and conducted hundreds of clinics and private lessons annually. Before Bob’s passing in 2009, he traveled to Scotland to have his teachings put together as a collaboration with Kathleen Freeman Kelly. The result is a collection of herding concepts, philosophy, and instruction that represents his years of development and experience as a stockman, herding judge, and herding instructor. The Traveling Herding Teacher should provide an invaluable reference for anyone interested in herding, whether for use on the farm or ranch or in competitions, with many animals or a few, and with any breed of herding dog.
“When you are working your dog, you have to believe that the dog can do it, that you can do it, and that you and your dog can do it together. If you will be persistent, keep your sights on your goals and believe in yourself and your dog, you will be able to accomplish many things.” —Bob Vest
About the Author
Bob Vest was born in Vinton, Iowa, in 1937. Bob credits the work ethics instilled in him by his parents as one of the building blocks in his dog training program. That is, that you never start a job that you don’t finish and that you never rush to complete a job at the sacrifice of not doing it correctly.
Bob’s parents provided great support for him. He credits his mother’s support as giving him the freedom to pursue his dreams, whether it was with horses or dogs. His father and grandfather both were quite accomplished dog handlers and horsemen. Their influence on Bob taught him how to work with dogs and horses to obtain the best the dogs and horses had to offer.
Bob’s father allowed Bob to own and train his own dogs throughout his childhood. Even when Bob’s training techniques were not always the ones that his father would have chosen, he was allowed to pick his own path.
It wasn’t until years later that the full impact of his father’s approach became apparent to Bob; to find our own path and the balance that exists within each of us. Bob believed that this balance within ourselves is what we transfer to our dogs in our training programs.
Bob’s philosophy and experience of over 50 years of handling dogs and people was a great asset. He always liked to get ‘into the minds’ of the dogs and the people with whom he worked. His philosophy and experience provide the content of this book, The Traveling Herding Teacher.
Remembering Bob Vest
How this book came about. Look Inside
Just Who Is Bob Vest? by Melanie Snyder Block (originally published in the Aussie Times) Look Inside
“Herding Instructor’s Dogs Stolen,” Channel 12 KFVS News, Jackson, Missouri Look Inside
From Canine Dog Training USA – Memories of Bob Vest, herding clinician, dog trainer, and friend
Tribute Wall from VSRFH
About the Co-Author
Dr. Kathleen Freeman Kelly
Kathleen Freeman Kelly is a veterinarian specializing in clinical pathology (laboratory diagnosis). She grew up showing horses in the mid-West, later developing an interest in dog training (obedience, tracking, and herding). She first started herding the U.D.T. Shetland Sheepdog, competing in newly organized A.K.C. trails for herding breeds, as well as A.S.C.A and A.H.B.A. trials. She moved on to working with Border Collies and trialing in the USA in U.S.B.C.H.A. recognized events. She first met Bob by attending clinics on herding and formed a lasting friendship with Bob and his wife, Rachel.
After moving to the United Kingdom, Kathleen continued to correspond with Bob and Rachel and gained experience in sheep farming and trailing in the UK with her late husband and well-known trialist, John Angus MacLeod. She and Rachel eventually persuaded Bob to visit the UK and put his philosophy and techniques on paper. Following Bob’s death the project lay dormant for several years, but she finally decided to complete the project as a tribute to Bob and his teaching.
Kathleen continues to farm on the shores of Loch Tay and the hillsides of Ben Lawers and Ben Ghlas in Perthshire, with her husband, Iain Kelly. She enjoys judging, training sheep dogs, and working with sheep, as well as doing her clinical pathology for a laboratory based in West Yorkshire, England. She has trialed extensively in the UK and in Scandinavia, as well as judging sheep dog trials in the UK and continental Europe. She judged the Scottish National Finals in 2011, with Mr. Neil McVicar. She tries to help anyone interested in learning more about sheep dogs and trialing. She is proud to be involved in the production of the book, The Traveling Herding Teacher.