Last update May 25, 2002
DOG OWNER'S HOME VETERINARY HANDBOOK (3rd Edition) 2000
James M. Giffin, MD & Liisa D. Carlson, DVM
Howell Book House Publishers
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Herding is a sport where real teamwork between dog and handler is a necessity. Dogs must cooperate with the handler even under the most difficult distractions. The dog must also be capable of using their own judgment and instinct.
There is nothing more rewarding than to watch your herding dog work sheep for the very first time. If you think your dog would be keen on working sheep the first step is to have your dog tested for his/her herding instinct. This will show you your dog's aptitude towards sheep herding. On going instinct testing is available throughout the year at various locations.
The dog is brought into a 60' round pen on leash by their owner. Also in the pen is the tester along with 3-5 sheep. The sheep, which are used for this test, should be well accustomed to being worked by a variety of dogs. The sheep move freely but are not easily disturbed. Sheep of this type will stay grouped and will readily move with the tester helping to give the dog the right "feel for the situation". The dog is quickly taken off leash and approaches the sheep. The tester guides the dog around the sheep keeping him at a short distance, helping the dog find the best position. At this time the dog is moving the sheep away from the fence and starting to circle keeping the sheep together with the tester. At the tester's discretion the dog is stopped usually at a point when the dog is keen on working the sheep.
At this point if you are interested in further training towards either trialing or just allowing your dog to get out and work sheep, lessons are available in British Columbia's Lower Mainland and in several other locations and provinces.
Please see our Club pages for groups in your area that can refer you to an Instinct Test in your area.
Most of the trials available to all breeds are arena trials set in an arena 100x200. The Canadian Kennel Club offers titles to all purebred dogs - they are
There are usually 2 trials per year offered in BC's Lower Mainland. There is usually an AHBA (American Herding Breed Association) and also ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) trial held in there once a year. These trials are open to all dogs registered or unregistered.
For comprehensive information on all aspects of sheep herding contact the CKC Representative in your area.
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