Is Your Dog an Athlete?

If herding sheep is what your collie craves, Alasdair MacRae's your man

On a raw Sunday morning in the desert uplands north of Los Angeles, 15 disciples gather by a wire fence to absorb the teachings of a visiting guru. "Are you nervous?" the guru asks Katie Stangler, 16, in his thick Scottish brogue. Katie nods. "Ah, you don't have to be. Just do your usual thing, and forget I'm here. I'll come in and help you if you're struggling."

Katie is struggling within seconds. Her Border collie lunges at a trio of sheep, sending them skittering in panic. "Down, Tess," she yells, to little effect. The guru takes her elbow. "We'll try...

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