If you think managing employees is hard, try livestock. Russ Mann, CEO of the San Diego online marketing firm Covario, competes in stock dog trials, in which participants use dogs to guide cattle or sheep through obstacles in a field. He and his border collie, Cross, practice for three hours every Sunday morning. It's a relatively rare hobby; the U.S. Border Collie Handler's Association has about 700 members, and fewer than 50 of them make it to the National Cattledog Finals every spring. Mann and Cross hope to be there in 2010, and a trial they recently won in Malin, Oregon, put them well on their way. When she is not competing, Cross helps manage a herd of 30 goats on Mann's ranch in Temecula, California.
The price of a top dog
A good border collie or sheepdog costs about $2,500; the most prized have gone for more than $20,000.
Cows. "They're all about momentum," Mann says. "Sheep are delicate and flighty; they require more finesse. Goats are very stubborn and independent. They don't flock well together, so you have to manage them one at a time."
The Temecula ranch is also home to three horses, 20 chickens, eight cats, three parrots, and four other dogs.