It's back to school time for the new generation of young collies that are hard at work herding flocks on Ulster's sheep farms.
And the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is advising farmers that it's the ideal time of year for young dogs to hone their handling skills on the farm.
"If we look at the sheep calendar, this period can involve quite a lot of routine work such as weaning, dosing, dipping and drafting as well as preparation work for next year's lamb crop," CAFRE short course manager Geoffrey Read said.
"This presents the younger generation of collies and their handlers with the ideal opportunity to practice and develop their skills during this busy period on the farm."
The college is offering places for farmers and their collies on a series of sheepdog handling courses across the province.
"The sheepdog handling course has been running for a number of years across the province during which time many of the participants - both two and four legged - have found it both a practical and beneficial course," Mr Read said.
"In many cases it has helped them develop their dog handling skills and given them an opportunity to talk to other sheepdog handlers.
"The course runs for one day per week over a three-week period and is delivered at a number of local venues including Armagh, Ballynahinch, Broughshane, Dungiven and Broughshane. "
Anyone interested in attending one of the forthcoming autumn courses should contact Short Course Administration at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Greenmount Campus, tel: 028 9442 6704 or e-mail: charlene.graff email@example.com.
Places are limited on this course so applications need to be in early.