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#1 appyridr

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

What is the difference between a shed and a split? Have had conflicting explanations. I was scribing at a trial and the judge said that a split was exactly that; dog comes through splitting the group. He changed it to a shed the next day because he said most handlers were doing a shed anyway; which to come through and turn on heads and hold them. At another trial, judge called for a split but when asked, said she wanted to see the dog hold the sheep too.
thx Lani

#2 juliepoudrier

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:12 AM

Honestly I thought I split meant divide the larger group into two halves. That is, that the term split was just a subgroup of a shed when an even number of animals was to be divided into two equal groups. The USBCHA judging guidelines don't even mention a split.

That said, from your description it sounds like the judge just wanted the dog to come straight through, split the sheep, and then what? Stop? Ignore the stock? Circle back around and immediately put them back together? If you think in terms of trials mimicking practical work, then what would be the point in splitting stock and not taking control of one group or the other (what the judge seemed to be reserving for the term "shed")?

Now, hopefully someone with judging experience will give his/her opinion. :)
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#3 Donald McCaig

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 04:41 AM

Dear Sheepdoggers,

Somewhat confusingly, three tasks are all "sheds". Depending on the trial one may shed from a flock of 3 or 20.

A shed is sorting off one or more sheep from a flock usually, but not always within a marked area. The dog then holds or take away the shed sheep (never the unshed remnant) but sometimes not - sheep shed at an International Shed may drift to the draw (previously shed sheep) without any dog pressure.

The International shed is shedding 10 or 15 unmarked sheep from four or five marked ones.

The split is shedding sheep, sometimes two and two, sometimes three and two, sometimes specified marked or unmarked sheep i.e. "You must shed one collared and one uncollared ewe".

The single is shedding one sheep.

The judge usually requires the dog to "take command" or "hold" the shed sheep at the split or single but, if the sheep are desperately difficult to keep apart (some will jump over the dog to rejoin), the judge may "call" the shed (making the task official and ending judging for that phase) the moment the dog comes through and effects a separation. Some judges don't care if the dog takes command of the shed sheep at a split.

When the flock is known to have peculiar habits the judge will usually announce his criteria for "taking command" or not. If the judge says nothing, one assumes that at the split or single, the dog must take (and demonstrate) command of shed sheep and that they may drift, without dog pressure at the International shed.

To novices, all this sounds terribly complicated but in practice it isn't. The judge or course director tells you how many sheep you will work and at what stage how many and which you and your dog should separate from the others.

Donald McCaig

#4 Smalahundur

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 04:54 AM

To novices, all this sounds terribly complicated but in practice it isn't.

Well, I am an absolute newbie at trialing (to the extend that I hope to be ready for my first somewhere next fall ;) ).

And yes it all seems a bit arbitrary and subjective. For me logic (ha!) would dictate that shedding is removing one or more sheep from a larger group, splitting is dividing the group into two more or less same size groups.

Here in Iceland the sheddings (or splits :D ) I have seen on trials was dividing the group of four in two groups of two, the dog keeping everything under control until the judge gives his approval.
No complicated things with marked sheep. But I suppose that has to with the fact that Icelandic stockdog trialling is still in its infancy.

Ah well at least I donīt have to worry about it too much personally, in the young dog level trials you donīt have to shed or split (though it might happen unvoluntary :P )

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#5 appyridr

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:21 PM

That said, from your description it sounds like the judge just wanted the dog to come straight through, split the sheep, and then what? Stop? Ignore the stock? Circle back around and immediately put them back together?

Good point Julie. I didn`t ask for clarification as to what the dog was to do after he comes through. I think a split is usually on just 4 sheep. And I think the judge called it as soon as the dog came through. I`ll have to ask him next time I see him. Because you are right; what is the point to just split them into two groups without doing something with one group or the other.
thanks for your reply, Lani

#6 Amelia

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:00 PM

Hello all,

This is a good question, and I know this confuses lots of people, including judges! I've had judges tell us to split sheep, then pointed me for not holding them. Judge didn't tell us to hold 'em, just split them. I've had judges point me for walking beside my dog that is taking the shed-off sheep away. The dog should have done it unaided, and I should have stood still. A single is a single, so not too confusing as long as the judge tells you how he/she wants it, off the back, or any way possible.

And, if you read the rules of shedding, there must not be too much handler intervention. In other words, the dog must cause the break to appear and come through to hold the sheep on his own. I've seen more than a few judges completely ignore this subtlety and allow hands to use waving arms, waving sticks, and all manner of distraction to aid their dog in creating a hole. Bad form. Sometimes necessary to get your shed at all, sometimes not, but you should be pointed for it always.

When you have an uneven number of sheep and you shed off a specific number, that is a "shed." Judge determines how many to shed off, usually 2 from 5, and how they want it. Off the back, off the front, on the nose, etc. Usually it will be 2 off the back on the nose. In other words, if 5 sheep are moving left to right, the dog comes through in front of the last 2 to stop them, and the sheep must be facing him when he starts his forward motion.

When you have an even number of sheep, usully 4, and the judge says to split them, the dog comes through and splits them into 2 even numbered groups, usually 2 and 2. There is no "what happens next" because the split is called, and you move to the next element, or your run ends if it's the last element, the instant the dog has created 2 groups from 1. Sometimes the judge will ask you to hold 1 group, or take them off the back on the nose, but that is actully a "shed" not a split. I've never found it advisable to argue with the guy with the pencil, so I always say "yes sir, or yes ma'am, and shed the even numbered group as they've asked.

A single is to stop 1, single sheep from following the group. Depending on time, sheep difficulty, etc., it may be any sheep, such as off the front, or back, and you may or may not be required to hold it. Regarding a single, if the judge doesn't tell me how they want it, I ask. It's a lot easier to run one off the front, and if the judge is going to give me that head start in a foot race, I'll take it...for full points.

Hope this helps. Cheers all

#7 Smalahundur

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:36 AM

And, if you read the rules of shedding, there must not be too much handler intervention. In other words, the dog must cause the break to appear and come through to hold the sheep on his own. I've seen more than a few judges completely ignore this subtlety and allow hands to use waving arms, waving sticks, and all manner of distraction to aid their dog in creating a hole. Bad form. Sometimes necessary to get your shed at all, sometimes not, but you should be pointed for it always.

I have no doubt you are right.
That said I heard a judge comment on a handler not intervening "Why doesn´t he use his stick?"
This gave me the impression that helping your dog shedding was a bit like penning, allowed by all means necessary to get the job done.

I´d say this kind of confusion would call for clearer formal rules.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#8 Pearse

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

I have no doubt you are right.
That said I heard a judge comment on a handler not intervening "Why doesnīt he use his stick?"
This gave me the impression that helping your dog shedding was a bit like penning, allowed by all means necessary to get the job done.

Iīd say this kind of confusion would call for clearer formal rules.


I had the good fortune to scribe for Aled Owen. I heard him say the same thing over and over again; 'why doesn't he/she use the stick'. So, after the trial, I asked him what he meant. He explained that the goal in shedding was to let the sheep you didn't want go, and have the dog come in and hold the sheep you wanted to keep. The way to do that was to hold up the first of the sheep you wanted to hold and call the dog in on that sheep. He saw handlers trying to use their hands or bodies to do that which caused two problems.

First, they were putting themselves in front of the sheep which made it unclear to the judge whether it was the dog or the handler holding the shed sheep. He suggested that where you created that doubt, you were inviting the judge to deduct points whereas if the handler stayed out of the way it was clearer that the dog was holding the sheep and the judge had no choice but to give full points for the shed (assuming the dog got the job done)

Second, on sheep (like these) that were not too concerned about humans, the sheep would fold around the handler's back, if the handler leaned in to the gap to use his/her hand or body to cause the sheep to pause. Using the crook to hold up the first sheep to be held (by putting it at eye level) allowed the handler to use his/her body and other arm to discourage the sheep from folding around his/her back.

Both of these assume that the dog will come in and shed. Often when you see the handler doing all the work in the shedding ring or at the pen, it's because they don't trust their dog to do it.

Pearse

#9 Smalahundur

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:20 AM

Thanks Pearse, for that thorough explanation.
It does not come as a surprise things turn out to be a bit more subtle than my simple presumption.
Ah well, it will take us at least a year before we have to do shedding, and that is the optimistic scenario.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#10 Amelia

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 10:43 PM

Here are the rules as they are written by the ISDS

"c. For the Shed to be complete and deemed satisfactory by the judges, the dog is required to shed two of the un-marked sheep within the ring and show control of them, either in or outside the ring.

d. The important aspect here is to test the dog's ability to shed or separate the two unmarked sheep from the rest of the flock"

And as written by the USBCHA

"(E) SHEDDING (10 points)
Shedding must be done within the ring. Two sheep are to be shed off and the dog must be in control of these two otherwise the shed will not be deemed satisfactory. Judges will apply suitable penalty in the case of ragged work, sheep moving out of the ring, splitting the stock wrongly, when the shed is done by the handler, when opportunity to shed is missed etc. The test here being to ensure that the dog can shed off and control the required sheep."

Emboldened emphasis is mine. So, when in doubt, I go to the rules, which is why I know them. Not to suggest that Aled Owen doesn't, but there's much can be lost to subtlety. And sometimes it's better to suffer the point loss from handler intervention than to time out in the ring.

Running under Alaisdare Macrae, I once lost 7 of 10 pts possible on a split that was good except for my intervention, which I didn't understand at the time. After the trial, I asked him why 7pts off my great shed. No missed attempt, no sheep outside the ring, no grip, etc. He said "oh aye, too much handler." That was 12 years ago, and I've never let it happen again.

#11 Pearse

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:50 AM

Emboldened emphasis is mine. So, when in doubt, I go to the rules, which is why I know them. Not to suggest that Aled Owen doesn't, but there's much can be lost to subtlety.



I'm pretty sure he does, and I'm pretty sure that the point he was making is the same one you are. Any failure to communicate that is mine, not his, because I was pretty clear on what he was saying when he told me.

The point he was making is covered under 5.2.6 ( b ) in the ISDS rules (and specific to the case in the last paragraph where the sheep weren't responsive to the presence of the handler at all - not uncommon with farm flocks):

"Shedding necessitates negotiation of the sheep within the ring by the handler anddog to the best position for effecting the deliberate shed by the dog of twospecified sheep."

Many handlers don't trust their dog in the shedding ring or at the pen. The dog is too tight on its flanks or comes forward at the wrong time, so they lay the dog down and try to do all the work. Shedding and penning is supposed to be a team effort and in the shedding ring the dog should be used, not just to hold the side but to move the sheep into position to effect the shed.

It's a rare dog where the handler can just point to the fourth sheep in a line of five and the dog will come in between the third and fourth where no gap exists and shed off the back two. It's not that uncommon a move in a yard or pen, but it's an even rarer handler who'll try it in a 40 yard shedding ring at a trial where they have a shot at being in the prizes, except in desperation when time is running out.

When you do see it, it's awesome!

More common is for the handler and dog to work the sheep so that they line up and the fourth and fifth hold up just long enough to make a gap and give the dog clear indication that you want the last two (or one). It's most fun on sheep who respond to handler pressure almost as much as to sheep pressure (so that the handler and dog can work together) and it's toughest on dog broke sheep who'll let the handler stand there and scratch their ears in the shedding ring without moving (the handler can't hold his/her side, and will resort to interesting forms of modern dance to keep the sheep from folding around him/her).



#12 Donald McCaig

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:47 AM

Dear Sheepdoggers,

Yes, but . . .

The rules were designed for shepherded UK flocks and the biggest US trials where the sheep are from large commercial flocks. Some of our western sheep may rarely have seen a dog or a man on foot.

In contrast, some flocks one finds at eastern trials were trailed last weekend and the weekend before and in between were used for AKC "herding" lessons.

Some hosts don't bother to ask for a shed because they deem it impossible. I disagree - if two or three of seventy dogs get their shed and it's the last task, that's fine.

But, I guarantee, it won't be pretty and, probably the man not the dog will make the hole.

In such circumstances, the judge deducts for failed attempts, turning on the wrong sheep and not controlling the shed sheep or GRATUITOUS handler making the shed.

But, with practical shepherding as the guide, asking the dog to make the shed under those circumstances is,I believe, legalism.

At my first New England trial, many years ago, there were thirty (?) sheep for fifty dogs. Yeah, yeah, I know - they don't do it that way any more, These sheep had been trained on and trialed on every day and probably twice a day. They were velcro sheep and nobody got a shed until Mike Canaday jumped in the air and kneedropped a ewe. I wouldn't have given him that shed but I can understand why the judge did.

Donald McCaig

#13 Pearse

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

Dear Sheepdoggers,

Yes, but . . .

[edit]
Some hosts don't bother to ask for a shed because they deem it impossible. I disagree - if two or three of seventy dogs get their shed and it's the last task, that's fine.

But, I guarantee, it won't be pretty and, probably the man not the dog will make the hole.

In such circumstances, the judge deducts for failed attempts, turning on the wrong sheep and not controlling the shed sheep or GRATUITOUS handler making the shed.

But, with practical shepherding as the guide, asking the dog to make the shed under those circumstances is,I believe, legalism.
[edit]
Donald McCaig



I disagree with you Donald based no the same argument you make for including the shed on hard to shed sheep (or the pen on impossible to pen sheep); someone's going to do it.

If I was judging a trial where the sheep stuck together like they were velcroed and 99% of the handlers had to get in there an pry them apart with a crowbar, I'd still take some points for the handler doing too much of the work. Maybe not as many as I'd take on sheep that acted like sheep, but still one or two. The reason is that there will be that one dog who will come in between the back legs of the third sheep and the front legs of the fourth, even if the gap is only a few inches, make the gap, and hold the shed. That dog needs to be rewarded with a higher score.

The rules are there to reward the exceptional dog, and superior work. Even when the circumstances are exceptionally difficult, one needs to leave room to recognize the team that rises to the challenge. There are a few handlers out there who would rather lose the trial than take a shortcut. There need to be points there to reward that when they succeed.

Like I said before, seeing the dog who can do it well when none other is succeeding is an awesome thing. Most of us have been at trials where it has happened and it's; silence - collective gasp - pause - wild applause, from the other handlers. If handlers know they won't get away with substandard work just because they are running on tough sheep, there's a strong incentive to do it right and get better at working "impossible" sheep.








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