Herding Information - FAQ Style
What is a Herding Instinct Test?
A herding instinct test is a test for herding breed dogs (NOT HANDLERS) to see if the dog has any natural herding instinct. (We can't stress enough that the handlers don't need to know anything about herding but that the dog should have some obedience training like a stop and recall - although not necessary).
How do you test for natural herding instinct?
The dog and handler enters a yard approximately 10 meters diameter with two pylons (A & B) placed at each end of the yard. Three or five livestock are placed near one of the pylons (B). There is also a tester (judge) in the yard to assess the dog and help the handler. The aim is to see if the dog attempts to shepherd the stock in any way that is controlled and consistent with easy movement of stock going from end to end around the pylons with changes in directions by voice, whistle, movement of a crook or rake (rake can only be used at instinct test level). The test can last 10 minutes but if the dog has done enough to show instinct in less time it is up to the handler to use his/her discretion on whether to continue the exercise, likewise if there is no control and the dog has no recall or stop and is worrying the livestock the judge can cal a stop to the test and ask the handler to take their dog out of the yard. (At the instinct test you can leave your dog on a lead.)
What if my dog doesn't show any instinct or very little?
If your dog is only a young pup, give him more time and more exposure to livestock. If your dog is older, it may need more time also as you probably conditioned it not to touch other animals or sometimes it just doesn't have the instinct to shepherd and has now gone past the time of learning.
Here's a few pics of our Herding Instinct Test held June 9, 2002;