All three parties can then decide how to proceed. If, as a leader, you are not sure how to proceed in the training of a certain team of 4-H’er and dog, contact a professional handler. The “Resources” section (page 12) lists national and local clubs. Contact the club secretary, who will refer you to a local handler.
This information is not intended to discourage you from teaching or training a working dog. However, even in the best circumstances, failure is possible. Unlike dog obedience, where patience and time will allow any dog to learn basic obedience, not every dog can be a working dog. Professional handlers know that many dogs can be useful workers on the farm, but the excellent dog may come only once in a lifetime, if at all.
The basic commands on pages 10–11 will work a handler through an average working day, providing the handler is using a strong- instinct dog that wants to work and please its handler. Always have strong enforcement on the “stop” and “that will do” commands. This will allow you to correct any situation before it can get too far out of control.
Sheep Dog Trials
In starting each run, the contes- tants and their dogs shall take position at a designated point near the pen—this position to be “fixed” position for all work until the completion of the second gate and preparation for the pen. With the sheep in place, and upon a signal from the Course Director, the run for each dog begins. On the outrun, the dog may be directed to go either “right” or “left,” and each dog shall run a pear-shaped outrun until beyond the sheep (approxi- mately 10 to 11 o’clock position). Crossover, or disposition to crossover, shall cause deduction of points at the judge’s discretion.
The introduction of dog to sheep should be cautious and done calmly, without frightening the sheep. Properly done, the lift requires the dog to control the sheep quietly and firmly, without unduly startling them, and move off in a straight line with complete control.
The fetch should be on a straight or near-straight line through the fetch panels from the point of contact and lift to the handler. Swerving, zigzagging, wide and hard flanking, or other deviations from the near-straight line will cause loss of points. The nature of the work, conditions, and handling of the sheep are all considered. The fetch ends when the sheep are around the handler and in control.
The drive begins with driving the sheep behind the handler and, normally, behind the pen in a straight or near straight line to Gate 1, left gate; driving the sheep through Gate 1 (away from han- dler), then horizontally across the field to and through Gate 2, right gate, in a straight or near straight line. Points can be deducted for failure to completely send all sheep through the gates (usually 1 point deducted for each sheep), for any sheep coming back through the gate after it has been attempted, or for deviation from a straight or near-straight line during any part of the drive. Scoring will stop at fetch if drive is not attempted.
The drive ends when the sheep are through Gate 2. Once the sheep have passed either gate, no reentry is allowed. The contestant shall proceed to the pen. The dog is required to bring the sheep up for penning.
The pen is set not less than 10 yards outside the driving field. The pen shall be anchored securely at three points, but in such a way that the gate may open to the right or left, at the discretion of the handler. The opening corner of the pen shall