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German Shepherd Dog Club 

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Bred to Herd


GSD's  Bred to Herd

                                                         Go to --->     Update: October 25, 2008                                                                         



 AKC Herding    AKC Herding Regulations    Herding on The Web  

  GSD's In Herding   Glossary I    Glossary II   


Wynthea's Odin, HIAs, HSAs, STDs, PT, HT, CD, CGC

Supreme Norse God  of Wisdom, Poetry and War -  Father of Thor


Odin  first experienced sheep when he was 2 1/4 years old.  It was during the Diamond State GSDC Herding Instinct Test, November 14 , 2004 at the Animal Inn, Smyrna, DE.  Odin took to it instinctively and passed with flying colors.  Yes, Born to Herd!!!  

The following three pictures were taken in one of Odin's first lessons ...





May 21 - 22, 2005 with just 15 lessons over a six month period Odin entered his first Trial for the AKC Herding Test Title.  Odin passed with remarkable performances on both days.  The first day he was timed at  1:11:47 hardly enough time to turn my camcorder on/off!  The next day was 3:10 which gave me time enough to record.  The Judges' remarks were very complimentary "Good work" and "nice wide worker, lots of talent and drive".

Now Odin is being trained for the Started Level with the goal of the Advanced Level.  That's a huge step from where we are today.  We'll continue weekly training lessons under trainer/handler K.T. Spence.  In about a year's time if all goes well, Odin will enter at the Herding Started level, HS Course A level.  In the meantime we'll have a Pre Trial entry for more ring exposure.

We continue doing our daily workouts which are quite vigorous.  Nearly everyday Odin runs for 25 minutes chasing balls.  A great herding exercise for conditioning and it also helps build his legs for the time if or when he comes back to competitive obedience involving the jumps.  We also do  weekly obedience work with formal 'run thru's and several training sessions at home.  Obviously, Herding is Odin's niche.   

One more comment about the "herding experience" ... this is a tremendous time for me and Odin.  Just watching Odin during his lessons and at the Trials gives me so much pleasure.  Odin is so happy and exuberant and I am really gratified.  What a wonderful activity for anyone with a GSD.  We all know they were truly bred to herd and seeing it is believing it!  

The following pictures were taken on the second day of Odin's HT Trials ... 

Photos by Liz Lenard












Odin Herding Up Date:

June 14, 2007 and so much to report on Odinís progress with Sheep Herding.  The biggest thrill was when Odin qualified for Herding Started, HSAs  on May 20, 2006.  It was a spectacular weekend for us.  Odin was 2nd Place, Saturday (score 93) and HIT on Sunday ( 93 Ĺ)!!!  Odin has qualified  in all his Herding Trials.  I am so proud of him.  He is such a fine GSD.  KT Spence, Odinís Trainer/Handler, does an excellent job.   

Since May of 2006 Odinís been training in the Intermediate Class.  Hopefully, heíll be ready for the HI Trials in the Fall of 2007.  Heís looking good!!!   



The following Chronology details Odinís progression   ...  




Significant events :


                       Herding Instinct Test, November 14, 2004, age 2 Ĺ years

                       Herding Tested Title, BCKC, May 22, 2005, six months and 15 lessons later, both days remarkable performance   

Pre-Trial Tested Title, BCKC, October 2, 2005

Herding Started Class, BCKC, May 20 Ė 21, 2006, 2nd  Place, score 93; HIT, score 93 Ĺ 

Herding Started Title, HSAs


Started Trial Dog Class, June 14, 2008, Brandywine Valley Australian Shepherd Club, Second Place

Started Trial Dog Class, June 15, 2008, Brandywine Valley Australian Shepherd Club, First Place

Awarded Started Trial Dog Title STDs, Australian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASCA)


Intermediate Class, May 17, 2008, BCKC, Second Place

Intermediate Class, September 28, 2008, BCKC, Fourth Place

Intermediate Class, October 24, 2008, Del Bay Herding Club, Second Place

Intermediate Class, October 25, 2008. Del Bay Herding Club, Second Place 

Intermediate Sheep Herding Title, HIAs, October 24,  2008, Del Bay Herding Club, Scarlets Mill, PA  


                   Wynthea's Odin, HIAs, HSAs, STDs, PT, HT, CD, CGC 

The following photos are a video extract of Odin's performance on October 25, 2008:










 AKC Herding copied from the AKC Herding website.


The AKC offers a variety of herding Tests and Trials with different styles of herding and different livestock.

Course A is done inside an arena.

Course B is open field with obstacles.

Course C is open field with road, grazes, obstacles and pen. 

While the German Shepherd Dog can and does compete in all of the offered styles, it is the TENDING style of herding that is the natural one for this breed. "Course C" is the AKC version of this style, trial is in open areas, with a flock of at least 25 sheep and testing dogs on how they maneuver the livestock in and out of the pen, on roadways with traffic, on grazes, and over bridges. While simplified, this is a version of what the dog may actually encounter when doing the required work of a shepherd. This style highlights why the GSD has the qualities that make this a unique breed -- trainability, independence, responsibility, assertiveness and courage.

Complete AKC Herding requirements are available on the AKC WebsiteAKC Website.


Glossary of Herding Terms

ATTEMPT: When the livestock crosses the plane of the obstacle.

BALANCE: The point, usually opposite the handler, in which the dog has the most influence on the stock, to control the behavior of the stock and move them in the desired direction.

COME-BYE/GO-BYE: A command to move the dog clockwise around the livestock - to circle to the left.

COURSE: A designated pattern of obstacles through which a handler directs the dog.

DRIVING: Moving the stock away from the handler. When driving, the dog is usually positioned between the stock and the handler.

FETCHING: Moving the stock toward the handler. When fetching, the dog is usually positioned so that the stock are between it and the handler.

FLANKING: Circling the sheep from the right or left to keep them in a group or change their direction.

FLIGHT ZONE: An invisible area around a group of stock into which a dog cannot pass without causing the stock to feel threatened and attempt to escape from the dog.

FLOCKING: The tendency of the stock to instinctively cluster together in a compact group that functions as a unit. Generally, cattle do not have a strong flocking tendency.

GATHER: The dog collects the sheep from their scattered grazing positions into a compact group.

GRAZE: Allowing the stock time to settle and feed in a designated area.

HANDLER'S POST: Point at which the handler and dog begin the run.

HEAVY STOCK: Stock that requires a great deal of pressure from the dog in order to be moved.

HERDING INSTINCT: The inherited balance in a dog's temperament, between the predatory drive and the dog's submission to its master. The stronger the herding instinct, the stronger must be the desire to comply with the commands of the handler.

HOLDING PEN: The pen on the outside of the course where the stock are kept before and after their use on the course.

LIFT: The moment the dog reaches the opposite side of the stock and moves them directly toward the handler. Also, the moment between the outrun and start of the fetch.

LIGHT STOCK: Stock that are moved with slight pressure from the dog and have a flight zone a substantial distance from them.

OBSTACLES: Objects placed in strategic locations to make up a trial course.

OFF CONTACT: When the dog loses control of the stock, either by being too far away or by losing concentration.

OUTRUN/CAST: The dog runs in an arc to move from the handler to the balance point on the far side of the stock in order to move the stock back to the handler. A pear-shaped or semi-circular course taken by the dog to get to the far side of the flock without alarming them.

PEN/RE-PEN: To put the stock into a specified holding area.

PENALTIES (To be noted in the Judges' Book):

RETIRE: At the request of the handler, the run is ended.

REMOVE FROM THE RING: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is lame, sick, unproductive, etc.

EXCUSE: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is attacking or attempting to attack the stock or gripping abusively. A separate report is made to AKC when a dog is excused. When a dog has been excused three times, the owner is advised by AKC that the dog is no longer eligible to be entered in AKC Herding events until the dog has been successfully re-evaluated.

DISQUALIFIED: A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog has attacked or attempted to attack a person. A dog which is disqualified is no longer eligible to enter any AKC event, and the dog is not eligible to be entered unless and until, following application by the owner to The American Kennel Club, the owner has received official notification that the dog's eligibility has been reinstated.

PRESSURE/POWER: The influence of the dog's presence on the stock. The authority of the dog's character. The extent of this latent force within a dog will determine the behavior of stock and their flight zone for that particular dog.

PRESSURE POINT: The exact position and distance the dog needs to be at in order to move livestock in the desired direction. This position is directly influenced by the livestock's natural inclination to be drawn to the pen from which they were released, a gate to pasture, a known food source, other livestock or a water source if they are thirsty.

READ: The ability of the handler to understand and anticipate the thoughts of the stock and/or the dog in order to maintain control over both. The ability of the dog to anticipate the behavior of the stock.

RUN: Each individual dog's trial performance.

SETTLE: Allowing the stock time to calm and adjust to the situation.

SHED: The dog separating the livestock and holding a group or individual for a specific length of time. Separating certain animals from the flock or herd.

TENDING: The supervision of the flock by the dog while the flock is grazing. A style of herding used when pastures are unfenced and the dog serves as a living fence.

THAT WILL DO: The command releasing the dog from his work.

WALK ON: A command for the dog to walk toward the sheep.

WAY TO ME: A command to move the dog counter-clockwise around the livestock - to circle to the right.

WEARING: When the dog holds the flock up against the handler by running back and forth on the opposite side. The dog will bring the sheep after the handler wherever the handler walks without additional commands. It is also used to mean holding back animals that have been separated from the main flock.