For me, what I think it boils down to is that if you are truly wanting to *learn* about the livestock, the dogs, and the handler, and their complex relationships, even if you expect you will never have livestock of your own, it's not a big deal if you (and the owner of the stock) respect the livestock, first and foremost
What would I call it? "Going to train my dog" because you will be training if you are using that time in a worthwhile manner.
Sue, it really appeals to me what you wrote because it deals with the entirety of the situation, and it includes both the people who don't have livestock as well as those who do. I know some pretty bad stories of people who have had livestock all their lives, and suddenly they see a well trained sheepdog, and they want one like that but without giving one thought to the welfare of the dog, or to the effort that need to be put into training and into making a team.
And it appeals to me because I know a lot of very passionate and wonderful people who love working with sheep, and its really not their fault that they have a mortgage and that their profession requires them to live in a city.
If I hear a newcomer say the word "play" or "fun", I explain to them what it is about, and it never happens again.
However, on the practical side simply saying "Going to train my dog" does not work very well:
- Hi, that's a nice border collie, what do do you with her?
- I do some agility and throw Frisbee, and you?
- I go training with mine.
So there is a need for something a bit more specific but not too specific.
I also had this thought this morning, that there is another really good thing about trials. Mr. Donald wrote that what he was afraid would happen did not happen. And partly it didn't happen because during trials there is an unusual gathering of stock-folks. They, as a group, are doing a huge amount of teaching not with just what they say but what and how they do. Otherwise a person goes to one trainer and that's that, but at t trial they meet lots of people and get a good sense of what it's about, and gradually most of them become part of it.