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Herding Instinct Test

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So sorry, that was the wrong link... that was a vid that i came across and watched. Nice Vid though huh!

anywho the above link should be the right one...

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Hi

I saw the video- what a beautiful field! Also, your pup looks a lot like my boy - same tail hair and ears :rolleyes: I have to say, I haven't seen a dog so intent on the head before (getting to the head and stopping the sheep). He definitely has interest, but before you can tell much, he has to get out of the sheep a bit, and see if he will gather/go around the sheep, without stopping them from coming to the handler. What did the tester say?

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Ok, I'll bite...I'll admit I only watched the first 2 and a half minutes, but my main question is this: does the person with the crook (assuming that's the instructor or "tester") ever step in and help the dog to understand what it *should* be doing? The dog continually singles off one poor sheep--you can see the sheep turning off the dog and trying to get away, to get back with the flock, but the dog doesn't allow that to happen, and, more importantly, neither does the instructor. That's not good stockwork, and it's not giving the dog any insight as to what would be proper work.

 

Ok, so at this point, I decided I should watch the whole thing before I posted a response. It never got better; in fact, it got worse. The instructor never gets herself in the right position, ever, to help the dog. As for the dog? It's having a fine time, but learning nothing. Based on this video, I'll go out on a real limb and say this person has no clue how to start a dog,

A

ETA: The dog's instincts? Enthusiastic puppy stuff, but other than that, hard to say without proper direction from the tester

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I have to agree. While I know squat about stock work, it does appear that this enthusiastic pup was allowed to harrass the single sheep far beyond what I thought was acceptable. The dog certainly is nice in that he wasn't charging or gripping, but appeared to be more interested in playing with the sheep, rather than gather them to the handler.

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Ok, I'll bite...I'll admit I only watched the first 2 and a half minutes, but my main question is this: does the person with the crook (assuming that's the instructor or "tester") ever step in and help the dog to understand what it *should* be doing? The dog continually singles off one poor sheep--you can see the sheep turning off the dog and trying to get away, to get back with the flock, but the dog doesn't allow that to happen, and, more importantly, neither does the instructor. That's not good stockwork, and it's not giving the dog any insight as to what would be proper work.

 

Ok, so at this point, I decided I should watch the whole thing before I posted a response. It never got better; in fact, it got worse. The instructor never gets herself in the right position, ever, to help the dog. As for the dog? It's having a fine time, but learning nothing. Based on this video, I'll go out on a real limb and say this person has no clue how to start a dog,

A

ETA: The dog's instincts? Enthusiastic puppy stuff, but other than that, hard to say without proper direction from the tester

 

 

What Anna said.

 

BTW - there are some good resources available in Antelope Valley and nearby. Try www.antelopevalleystockdog.com for a start.

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Yes I am going to bite too. What exactly is the purpose of a herding instinct test, do you get some sort of pass certificate if your dog passes said test? Would the powers that be like to have control over our dogs to say whether they are good enough, not good enough in their opinion to be called working border collies? Over here in Britain the kennel club would just love to have this sort of power and what a bonus for the show people. The only people to benefit from this sort of thing will be organisations like the above and you can bet your last dollar it sure as hell won't be the likes of us or our dogs. To the video clip, to be fair there's no harm in the dog but he's not working he's playing. The tail and head tell you everything and that tells me whoopeedo this is fun playtime, no concentration from the dog, no purpose to what he is doing. A nice looking border collie who has probably got a nice temperement to go with it but at the moment not working (I do not use the word Herding) material.

John

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JD, to be fair to the dog, its owner, and the person "testing" the dog, in this country, we often use that term--instinct test--just as a label to call a dog's first exposure to sheep. While the ACK does indeed offer something with the same label, and does indeed issue certificates along with it, it seems clear to me that in this particular setting, this was just a case of a person taking his/her dog to a "trainer" for that first exposure to sheep.

 

I will agree that this pup was not necessarily "working," but it remains to be seen if it *may have* settled in and started to work, if it had been handled better and given a bit more direction from the tester, IMO,

A

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Dear Doggers,

 

I don't favor instinct tests because they are pointless. Either (a) dog chases sheep or (B) dog doesn't chase sheep in which case (a) maybe he'll never chase sheep or (B) maybe he's not ready to chase sheep today.

 

What have you learned? Not a whole lot. I've never been able to know whether I'd like to continue a dog ( a highly personal thing) until I've had the dog in a small ring a half dozen times and even then, these dogs are youngsters: although I may spot an unusually good one early, some late developing dogs can turn out very good too. And, an awful lot at the novice level depends on the dog's relationship to its handler. A handler who really, really wants to learn and a dog that really, really wants to please its handler can outstrip more talented dogs with handlers who don't want success as badly. I've seen mediocre dogs brought along to win sheepdog trials while talented dogs fell by the wayside.

 

If you want to work a stockdog, find a mentor - as a starting point: someone who has won an open trial - and get on with it. Neither you nor your dog are getting any younger. If your mentor thinks your dog has no talent at all - or that he's too much dog for you to handle - he/she will say so and find a solution.

 

Donald McCaig

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Yes I am going to bite too. What exactly is the purpose of a herding instinct test, do you get some sort of pass certificate if your dog passes said test? Would the powers that be like to have control over our dogs to say whether they are good enough, not good enough in their opinion to be called working border collies? Over here in Britain the kennel club would just love to have this sort of power and what a bonus for the show people. The only people to benefit from this sort of thing will be organisations like the above and you can bet your last dollar it sure as hell won't be the likes of us or our dogs. To the video clip, to be fair there's no harm in the dog but he's not working he's playing. The tail and head tell you everything and that tells me whoopeedo this is fun playtime, no concentration from the dog, no purpose to what he is doing. A nice looking border collie who has probably got a nice temperement to go with it but at the moment not working (I do not use the word Herding) material.

John

Not with regards to this particular video as I don't know whether this was a formal "herding instinct test" or an informal assessment of a dog, the AKC just loves having the "Herding Instinct Test". It is a source of income and it is also provides a certificate (if passed) which show dog owners are proud to claim as their dog having "earned a herding title" (don't laugh, I've heard this from AKC people).

 

This is what the BCSA (AKC parent club for the Border Collie) says about it: "The Herding Instinct Test is designed to show whether the dog has any interest in working livestock. It does not test actual ability."

 

The AKC states this: "The initial test is called Instinct Test and it is a test for herding breeds, Rottweilers, Samoyeds, Standard and Giant Schnauzers, Pyrenean Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds, Norwegian Buhunds and Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs. The dog needs no training before entering this class and may be handled by the judge, owner or a designated handler. The judge is looking for the dogs ability to move and control livestock by fetching or driving. As soon as you get a puppy, you can get them to chase things and then get them to stop on command. Have them stay while you throw that favorite toy. Basically you are putting rules on the game of chasing. Take your young dog to a facility and just get them use to listening to you while around livestock and pens. It is important that you own the game."

 

You can see that these two statements are a bit contradictory - one says that the test "does not test actual ability" and the second says that "The judge is looking for the dog's ability to move and control livestock by fetching or driving."

 

AKC is not the only oganization that offers this type of test (AHBC and ASCA both do). I think all of them are essentially meaningless in terms of working ability. In my opinion, offering a formal "herding instinct test" for the AKC (and these other organizations) is simply another way to make money for the person(s) administering the test and for the organization, and an opportunity for the people having their dog tested to be able to add those letters to their dog's registered name and brag on their dog having "a herding title" or some validation of "herding ability".

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I agree with what you say, Sue. The reason I stated earlier that it was clear to me that this was *not* a "formal," certificate-awarding "test" is the fact that it is in the middle of a field. If it were a "test" in one of those venues, it would be in a small pen. But, the OP's question was asking for an honest assessment of the dog's instincts...

A

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Thank you for all your honest replies. This is my first time dealing with anything regarding sheep. The instructor said he does have an interest in sheep (obviously) and that he showed qualities that she likes to see the first time. I really do not remember everything she said because one, its all a new language for me, two, she talked so much (not in a bad way) that she lost me at he has interest. During the evaluation i really didnt hear her say anything to him or do anything. I guess im asking because i was under the impression that if he passed an instinct test that he would be trainable to work livestock. But after reading your posts i guess instinct test really do not say much or at least my instinct test didnt say much.

I see what youre saying about my dog just playing with the sheep and i know that was exactly what he was doing thats why i posted the vid. I just want to make sure i wasnt being buttered up to join one of her classes.

 

Thank you again for not really sugar coating your replies. If you have any tips for me (a new newbie) on how to get started or what i should be doing, looking etc. for please let me know.

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I would just suggest to seek out a trainer that is a bit more adept at starting young dogs and giving them more guidance,

A

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I would just suggest to seek out a trainer that is a bit more adept at starting young dogs and giving them more guidance,

 

... like Anna. She's worth the drive. You'll see.

 

J

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I agree with Anna and Jodi. It's hard to tell much from a first exposure to stock (short of yes or no, the dog shows interest of some sort, though even a dog that didn't show interest the first time shouldn't be written off). Where, with who, and how you start a young dog can set the tone for the rest of your journey, so you're smart to seek advice and choose carefully.

 

It's not enough to just look for an experienced/successful open handler in this case. Some handlers never or rarely train a young dog, but either start with fully trained or started dogs, so you'll need to find someone who has started youngsters and brought them along successfully to the upper ranks.

 

Go with your gut as well. If the trainer is using techniques that you know you'd never be able to replicate or manage on your own, then find another trainer. It does you and your dog no good to try to train in a manner that is unsuitable to *you.*

 

I don't know locations in CA, but if you are within a reasonable driving distance of Anna, she's a good choice. She routinely starts youngsters for herself and others. If she's too far, she can probably point you in the direction of someone suitable who's nearer to you.

 

J.

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It's hard to tell much from a first exposure to stock (short of yes or no, the dog shows interest of some sort

 

This is so true! My guy showed tons of interest his first time with sheep. Interest in running the other way! Wanted nothing to do with the wooly creatures. But as he matured, he clicked, and now is doing well in his training. For me, the "instinct test" was rather dissappointing, but in the end he did good. I'd just find a good trainer and sign up for a set of lessons. Evaluate after a dozen outings, you'll get a better idea then. :rolleyes:

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I see what youre saying about my dog just playing with the sheep and i know that was exactly what he was doing thats why i posted the vid. I just want to make sure i wasnt being buttered up to join one of her classes.

 

Thank you again for not really sugar coating your replies. If you have any tips for me (a new newbie) on how to get started or what i should be doing, looking etc. for please let me know.

There are trainers who will say something encouraging because, after all, it's a business and a person with a dog is a prospective client. I am not saying that that is what this person was doing. So, I always take what is said with a grain of salt, in addition to many first (in particular) exposures not being indicative of future results.

 

I would certainly agree with checking out if you could work with Anna - she comes with a glowing recommendation from my Danny-boy.

 

Glad you are open-minded and willing to take good, honest advice - very best wishes!

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Thank you for your help! i emailed Anna and she is about a 2 hour drive 100 miles away. Hmmm... kinda far but we will see.

I did read something that some trainers are more on the AKC "side" and that they really are not recommended. Why is that? I know AKC seems to be the "devil" to a lot of people, i can understand conformation (especially with BC) and agree with it, now working livestock id love to know. :rolleyes:

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Thank you for your help! i emailed Anna and she is about a 2 hour drive 100 miles away. Hmmm... kinda far but we will see.

I did read something that some trainers are more on the AKC "side" and that they really are not recommended. Why is that? I know AKC seems to be the "devil" to a lot of people, i can understand conformation (especially with BC) and agree with it, now working livestock id love to know. :rolleyes:

 

mainly I think because the people train for ACK are interested in getting titles. The lowest levels of the ACK are very simple - they encourage very untrained dogs to trial; Even the top level of the B course is at most a PN level with a shed; AKC trainers train all different dogs, mostly loose eyed dogs. What they are saying is focus on the ones that work with Border Collies at a high level of work.

 

Cynthia

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Thank you for your help! i emailed Anna and she is about a 2 hour drive 100 miles away. Hmmm... kinda far but we will see.

I did read something that some trainers are more on the AKC "side" and that they really are not recommended. Why is that? I know AKC seems to be the "devil" to a lot of people, i can understand conformation (especially with BC) and agree with it, now working livestock id love to know. :rolleyes:

AKC trials/tests are designed for all breeds and as such suffer from the "lowest common denominator" effect. Add to that the fact that many use such dog broke stock that you don't even really *need* a dog to get them around the course, and it just isn't much of a real test. People tend to be motivated by gaining titles more than actually teaching/shaping dogs to learn to read stock and react to them appropriately. This is, of course, a gross generalization, but suffice to say that with strictly AKC herding you won't begin to scratch the surface of what working border collies are all about.

 

J.

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