I think three things make a competition ranch herding course fun and challenging to do:
1. You are herding in wide open spaces without having a fence-line to “catch” your mistakes.
2. Pushing, pulling, and repelling the sheep, draws and pressures exist everywhere on a ranch course that distort the straightforward movement of the flock. @#$%^&*!!!!! It is real life!
3. The larger number of sheep provides a different challenge for many dogs & handlers.
My goals as your herding clinician are to provide you with additional training techniques you possibly can use on your dog and also to give you my insights-- as a herding judge and as a competitor on these courses-- so that you and your dog can perform better on any ranch course.
There is a six dog maximum at this clinic. Each dog will have multiple opportunities to practice the “little stuff” = obstacle practice, sheep practice. We can do full runs but most handlers will benefit by focusing and at most, stringing a couple of obstacles together.
This all-day clinic will introduce handlers to obstacles we typically use here at Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm on the AKC’s D Course and on the AHBA’s HRD and RLF courses. I cannot hope to cover all topics, but let me know what your choices are (My plan is to focus on at least 3-6 topics depending on your interests—Please rank-order your top 3 choices and email the text below with your rankings to firstname.lastname@example.org:
___1. How to control a large flock from running away from you and your dog in a large field– (developing your dog’s gathering & holding & containment skills).
___ 2. Pen Exit strategies from a fence-line pen, and a large free-standing pen (Which—circle).
___ 3. Bridge/Maltese Cross (Which—circle).
___ 4. Footbath.
___ 5. Figure 8.
___ 6. Drive leg (up to 125 feet).
___ 7. Drive leg (up to 125 feet and halt).
___ 8. Flock halt (without having your dog run over by “vehicular traffic”).
___ 9. Drive leg up to 125 feet and calling your dog off to return to your (moving) position.
___ 10. Training your dog to hold sheep in a designated graze for 5 minutes.
___ 11. Keeping a large flock of sheep on a narrow road (side flanking).
___ 12. Gate-sorting sheep.
___ 13. Reading and reacting to sheep (for you and for your dog).
___ 14. Teaching a dog to have useful, uncommanded default behaviors around the sheep.
___ 15. Positioning yourself around a flock of sheep to help your dog be more successful.
___ 16. Other: ________________________________________________________________
My Dog’s Training Level (describe): _____________________________________________
*Each dog will have a minimum of 3 separate, supervised training sessions on livestock.
*One training session will be for humans to herd livestock on a Ranch Course without your dogs.
* With Carolyn’s permission, some people/dogs will be able to practice on obstacles elsewhere on the farm and not under Carolyn’s direct supervision during this clinic.
Note: No lunch or beverages will be served; please bring your own.