Clinics in Illinois

John and Connie Seraphine are happy to have Gordon Watt back at Heatherhope Farm, Sycamore, Illinois, and happy to invite sheepdog handlers for a clinic Thursday through Sunday, November 1-4, 2018 and again April 25-28, 2019.

Post by John Seraphine

We first had Gordon at Heatherhope in 2007, prior to his judging the Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Trial in Portage, Wisconsin, and for many years he has offered his expertise here both in early November and in April. It has been a wonder to watch him quickly get raw dogs comfortable with being in their “zone” for working sheep quietly and smoothly. It has also been a revelation to see him impart real skill and confidence to handlers—some of whom had become discouraged with past failures, only to be given new hope and motivation.

Of course, everyone has a good laugh as well. We develop thick skins as Gordon uses his Irish humor on us to keep us humble. And we even sometimes turn the tables on him and get to give him a rough time. Gordon assures us this is all a vital part of sheepdog handling.

We plan to open up 10 working slots a day for the clinic. If you get in touch via email we will keep track of you, but those slots are guaranteed on a first-come-first served basis for those who get their full $130 in for two times out with Gordon on that day. If you must pull out, refunds will be made if we can fill that slot with someone on the wait list or someone who begs for that slot at the clinic. In the past we have just about always been able to make those refunds.

The $130, or the cost for a one-time-out lesson, which is $75, or the cost of a day’s audit, which is $45, also covers the cost of a continental breakfast and a full lunch. Dinner is on your own, and a couple of nights we will go off to a restaurant with Gordon. Connie is well known for her down-home-friendly meals of breakfast and lunch. Speak up soon if you want to reserve one of a handful of camper spots on the farm, and consider slipping John a fiver for a day and night’s  electricity.

These are the most common questions asked about Clinic’s with Gordon. Here is how we handle it at Heather Hope Farm:

  • Do you have to sign up for all the days? No. You pick-em.
  • Is it a themed clinic? Only if “whatever you need to work on” is a theme.
  • How many work spots does a person get? For us a “working spot” entails two times out with Gordon. You can go out with two different dogs or one dog two times. Keep in mind that a very young, inexperienced dog may only be able to mentally handle one time out a day.
  • Welcome to Heatherhope

Please make contact with John Seraphine at, or 815-895-9736 for further information. But mail in your check payable to John Seraphine, 22417 Airport Road, Sycamore, IL 60178 to guarantee your spot. You can also see Heatherhope’s web site for directions to the farm.

We hope you can join us for the good doggy times this November and again in April.

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