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Herding in Canada ~ Calendar

Following are some basic commands used in herding...some are commands to use with your dog, others relate to trials and working livestock on the farm or ranch.

ATTEMPT: When the livestock crosses the plane of the obstacle.

AWAY OR AWAY TO ME: The traditional command that sends the dog in a counter-clockwise movement around the stock. 

BACK OUT, GET BACK : A command that sends (widens) the dog out in a flank or on an outrun.  Used in conjunction with your stock stick to keep the dog farther away from the stock as it moves. 

BALANCE: The point, usually opposite the handler, in which the dog has the most influence on the stock, to control the behavior of the stock and move them in the desired direction.

COME-BYE/GO-BYE: A command to move the dog clockwise around the livestock - to circle to the left.

COURSE: A designated pattern of obstacles through which a handler directs the dog.

DISQUALIFIED: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog has attacked or attempted to attack a person. A dog which is disqualified is no longer eligible to enter any AKC event, and the dog is not eligible to be entered unless and until, following application by the owner to The American Kennel Club, the owner has received official notification that the dog's eligibility has been reinstated.

DRIVING: Moving the stock away from the handler. When driving, the dog is usually positioned between the stock and the handler.

EXCUSE: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is attacking or attempting to attack the stock or gripping abusively. A separate report is made to AKC when a dog is excused. When a dog has been excused three times, the owner is advised by AKC that the dog is no longer eligible to be entered in AKC Herding events until the dog has been successfully re-evaluated.

FETCHING: Moving the stock toward the handler. When fetching, the dog is usually positioned so that the stock are between it and the handler.

FLANKING: Circling the sheep from the right or left to keep them in a group or change their direction.

FLIGHT ZONE: An invisible area around a group of stock into which a dog cannot pass without causing the stock to feel threatened and attempt to escape from the dog.

FLOCKING: The tendency of the stock to instinctively cluster together in a compact group that functions as a unit. Generally, cattle do not have a strong flocking tendency.

GATHER: The dog collects the sheep from their scattered grazing positions into a compact group.

GET OUT: A command used to tell the dog to turn away from his/her stock, move out (farther away), and then turn to face them after having moved.  This command is used to take the pressure off the stock. 

GO BYE OR COME BYE: The traditional command that sends the dog in a clockwise movement around the stock. 

GRAZE: Allowing the stock time to settle and feed in a designated area.

HANDLER'S POST: Point at which the handler and dog begin the run.

HEAVY STOCK: Stock that requires a great deal of pressure from the dog in order to be moved.

HERDING INSTINCT: The inherited balance in a dog's temperament, between the predatory drive and the dog's submission to its master. The stronger the herding instinct, the stronger must be the desire to comply with the commands of the handler.

HOLDING PEN: The pen on the outside of the course where the stock are kept before and after their use on the course.

LIE DOWN: The dog should lie down and not get up until given another command. 

LIFT: The moment the dog reaches the opposite side of the stock and moves them directly toward the handler. Also, the moment between the outrun and start of the fetch.

LIGHT STOCK: Stock that are moved with slight pressure from the dog and have a flight zone a substantial distance from them.

LOOK BACK: A command given to make the dog stop, turn around and look behind him/her to look for livestock that have been missed. 

OBSTACLES: Objects placed in strategic locations to make up a trial course.

OFF CONTACT: When the dog loses control of the stock, either by being too far away or by losing concentration.

OUTRUN/CAST: The dog runs in an arc to move from the handler to the balance point on the far side of the stock in order to move the stock back to the handler. A pear-shaped or semi-circular course taken by the dog to get to the far side of the flock without alarming them.

PEN/RE-PEN: To put the stock into a specified holding area.

PENALTIES (To be noted in the Judges' Book):

PRESSURE POINT: The exact position and distance the dog needs to be at in order to move livestock in the desired direction. This position is directly influenced by the livestock's natural inclination to be drawn to the pen from which they were released, a gate to pasture, a known food source, other livestock or a water source if they are thirsty.

PRESSURE/POWER: The influence of the dog's presence on the stock. The authority of the dog's character. The extent of this latent force within a dog will determine the behavior of stock and their flight zone for that particular dog.

READ: The ability of the handler to understand and anticipate the thoughts of the stock and/or the dog in order to maintain control over both. The ability of the dog to anticipate the behavior of the stock.

REMOVE FROM THE RING: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is lame, sick, unproductive, etc.

RETIRE: At the request of the handler, the run is ended.

RUN: Each individual dog's trial performance.

SETTLE: Allowing the stock time to calm and adjust to the situation.

SHED: The dog separating the livestock and holding a group or individual for a specific length of time. Separating certain animals from the flock or herd.

STAND OR STOP OR THERE: The dog should stop moving, but remain on his/her feet. 

TAKE TIME, EASY, SLOW DOWN: A command given to slow the dog down. 

TENDING: The supervision of the flock by the dog while the flock is grazing. A style of herding used when pastures are unfenced and the dog serves as a living fence.

THAT WILL DO: The command releasing the dog from his work.

WALK ON: A command for the dog to walk toward the sheep.

Walk Up: A command given for the dog to walk in a direct line straight to the stock from wherever she or he is. 

WATCH’EM, WATCH YOUR SHEEP/COWS/DUCKS: Command given to get the dog to pay attention to the livestock.

WAY TO ME: A command to move the dog counter-clockwise around the livestock - to circle to the right.

WEARING: When the dog holds the flock up against the handler by running back and forth on the opposite side. The dog will bring the sheep after the handler wherever the handler walks without additional commands. It is also used to mean holding back animals that have been separated from the main flock.


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Eckville, Alberta, Canada TOM OXO
Jeni Cell ~ 403 - 877 - 4629
Foss Cell ~ 403 - 896 - 0724
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