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Nickelsberg's Farm

German Shepherd Herding

Guidelines for Herding Competitions

SV-BUNDESLEISTUNGSHÜTEN ’93

 
Guidelines for Herding Competitions
 
  
HGH = Herdengebrauchshund

Exit From the Pen – (Maximum of 6 Points)


The shepherd either goes around the pen or into the pen in order to establish contact and familiarize himself with the sheep. The dogs are placed or tied outside the pen to avoid any disturbance. After the shepherd has familiarized himself with the sheep, he removes a panel from the pen to make a 4-meter wide opening. The position of the opening is up to the shepherd unless directed otherwise by the judge. While the shepherd removes the panel from the pen, the HGH must stand in front of the opening to prevent any sheep from escaping.

After the shepherd secures the panel he removed from the pen with a stake into the ground, he goes to take the place of the HGH in front of the opening. Then, he sends the HGH over a panel into the pen. The HGH stays quietly on command in the proper place. The shepherd coaxes the sheep forward by slowly moving backwards away from the pen.

If the sheep don’t follow the shepherd, the HGH cautiously puts pressure on the sheep. As soon as the first sheep begin to move out, the HGH moves around to stand just inside the pen at the opening to insure an orderly exit.

If circumstances require, the HGH is allowed to go back to exert more pressure on the sheep, but then he must return to his place just inside the pen opening. When the last sheep has left the pen, the HGH may leave the pen on his own or be called away.

If the flock, or a portion of the flock, does not follow the shepherd coming out of the pen, the Beihund is used. Under normal circumstances the Beihund stands at the pen opening opposite the Haupthund. A stand/stay is not required.

Faults
Opening more than one panel unless told to do so by the judge.
Unnecessarily long exiting.
HGH is led into the pen.
HGH does not react to verbal commands or signals.
HGH sits or lies down.
HGH stands outside the panel.
HGH stands too far away.
HGH is called away too early from his position.
HGH disturbs the sheep.
HGH needs too much help.


Obstacles / Traffic – (Maximum of 10 Points)


This exercise is to be demonstrated on a sufficiently wide road. The shepherd leads the flock while the HGH pushes the sheep far enough to the side so that a car or vehicle approaching slowly from the front and then from the rear can pass the flock. The HGH must patrol back and forth between the flock and the vehicle to make room for the sheep and to provide for traffic safety around the obstacle while at the same time the shepherd watches out that no damage occurs to crops in the adjacent fields.

Also with regard to other obstacles on the ground like farm equipment, the HGH should at all times either patrol back and forth between these obstacles and the flock or stand/stay in front of them to prevent any possible injury to the sheep.

Faults:
HGH is afraid of the vehicle.
HGH goes around the vehicle.
HGH works behind or too far in front of the vehicle.
HGH pushes too far into the flock causing alarm.
HGH chases a single sheep out of the flock.
HGH does not make enough room between the vehicle and the flock.
The vehicle can not pass the flock on the designated roadway.
The flock is pushed too far over onto the Beihund side.


Wide Graze – (Maximum of 10 Points)


The shepherd leads the flock and in this way directs the sheep to the wide graze. He allows the flock to pass around him to enter the large, multi-bordered pasture and to slowly spread out. While the shepherd stands on the corner, so to say, with his Beihund, the HGH must diligently work the opposite side, patrolling back and forth and – when necessary – moving with the flock. However, the shepherd may also stand at the corner on the same side as the HGH if at the beginning of the graze the shepherd finds the border on his side poses an unusual risk because of tempting crops or a road.

Where there is an existing furrow, the HGH should stay neatly and correctly in it and without command stay in the furrow closest to and level with the sheep. Repeated passes back and forth are desirable. Where there is no furrow, then the HGH must patrol on the boundary of the pasture and hold the boundary the same as the furrow. The HGH is not allowed to leave the boundary either to the outside or to the inside (disturbance).

If there are several boundaries to patrol then the HGH should go around the corner. The HGH must keep an eye on the head of the flock at all times and go along with it without any voice or hand signals. If it is necessary for the dog to change sides, it must always do it in front of the flock.

Faults: HGH does not stay in the furrow or on the border. HGH only patrols on voice or hand signals. HGH drastically cuts the corners. The flock is unnecessarily disturbed. HGH lies down, sits, sniffs. HGH shows little interest.


Placement – (Maximum of 8 Points


This exercise should show that the HGH can be placed by voice or hand signals in front of the flock without disturbing its grazing. During the wide graze exercise, the HGH is sent out along the furrow or border in a wide arc in front of the flock where upon a signal from the shepherd the HGH stands still directly facing the flock. On voice or hand signal the HGH goes forward until given the command “Stand”. The closer the HGH comes to the head of the flock, the slower and more cautiously he should advance. The exercise continues this way until at least three interruptions are shown and until the head of the flock comes to a standstill and then slowly begins to turn.

Afterwards the HGH is called away with a single voice or hand signal. On the way back to the furrow or boundary the HGH should follow the same path that he came in on. The shepherd is not allowed to be too near the dog during the placement exercise; going with the dog detracts a bit from the effect.

Faults:
Too many commands or signals.
HGH makes too narrow an arc to the head of the flock.
HGH does not go straight toward the head of the flock.
HGH disturbs the flock.
HGH does not stand quietly.
HGH goes toward the shepherd and not toward the head of the flock.
HGH goes too quickly toward the head of the flock.
HGH lies down, sits, sniffs.
HGH charges into the flock.
HGH stands on the corners incorrectly and uncertainly.


Narrow Graze – (Maximum of 10 Points)


The narrow graze can be a small pasture, a harvested crop field or a narrow strip of grass about 30 meters wide. The flock must graze in the narrow area. This automatically results in stringing out the length of the flock. When entering the narrow graze the shepherd behaves the same as when entering the wide graze. When the shepherd works with one dog, the dog stands on the corner and the flock files around it. On entering the narrow graze the dog must be ready to punish stray sheep and to prevent sheep from straying. The HGH stands at the corner until all the sheep are in the narrow graze. He then shifts to the far side on voice or hand signal where he independently moves with the flock and strictly holds the furrow or the boundary.

When herding with two dogs, the shepherd stands on the corner with his Beihund while the sheep enter the graze and the HGH immediately crosses to the far side on its own. On command the HGH must change sides at least once; the same also applies when herding with two dogs. The HGH should be repeatedly sent from the exposed side of the flock in a wide arc to the front. At this time the sheep should not be disturbed and certainly not turned. The HGH should drive back stray sheep without command and punish stray sheep if necessary.

If the behavior of the flock does not require patrolling allowing the HGH to relax his activity, he should not be penalized; otherwise he should continuously patrol along the flock. The most effective place for the shepherd to be is along side the middle or the last third of the flock.

Faults:
HGH does not stand on the corner while entering the graze.
HGH keeps leaving the furrow or border.
HGH charges into the flock.
HGH does not cover the whole length of the flock.
HGH changes sides too close to the sheep.
HGH stands too close in front of the flock.
HGH causes the flock to turn.
HGH does not show enough enthusiasm.
HGH remains standing too long, sits or lies down.
The shepherd helps the dog too much changing sides.
The shepherd is in front of the flock.


Narrow Road – (maximum of 8 Points)


The road should be narrow and at least 200 meters long. The shepherd leads the flock while the HGH works on the endangered side. The HGH is to patrol the whole flock from front to back without being told to. When all the sheep are on the road, the dog does not need to patrol all the way to the rear every time; he only has to go all the way back to the last sheep when necessary. If necessary, he has to change sides in front of the shepherd. He can follow a straying sheep back into the flock and punish it. Faults: HGH lacks interest, shows little enthusiasm. HGH does not patrol the whole length of the flock. HGH changes sides between the flock and the shepherd. HGH chases sheep and follows them. HGH grips unnecessarily. HGH breaks down, always remains standing, sits and lies down. HGH is heat sensitive. HGH is bothered by the weather, The flock moves too far over onto the beihund’s side, HGH goes too far away from the flock.


Bridge – (Maximum of 6 Points)


If there is no natural bridge available, then one must be set up. It should be reasonably wide and long. When the bridge is being crossed, the HGH is to stand on an acute angle. This should be done as soon as the first sheep enter the bridge.

The HGH should stand so that he has the shepherd and the rest of the flock in view. The HGH should prevent the sheep from going around the bridge and possibly being injured. When all the sheep have crossed the bridge, then the HGH is called away or allowed to follow on his own initiative.

Thereby the HGH must also go over the bridge and without delay resume patrolling the length of the exposed side of the flock.

Faults:
HGH stands on the wrong side of the bridge.
HGH shows little attention facing the flock; stands under pressure — is stressed.
HGH sniffs around, sits or lies down.
HGH lets the sheep go around the bridge.
HGH splits the flock.
HGH does not respond well to voice or hand signals.
HGH changes sides behind the sheep or behind the bridge.
HGH stands fidgety and unsure.
HGH or beihund allow sheep to go around the bridge.
HGH needs a lot of help with placements.


Grip – (Maximum of 8 Points)


In every flock there are sheep that have little or no respect for the HGH, sheep that know exactly what they want and sheep that need to know precisely who is in charge. In order to obtain the respect of these sheep, the HGH now and then must demonstrate a skillful grip.

For the grip to have the desired effect it must be a quick, full mouth grip exerting adequate pressure for only a short time. Gripping too often and unnecessarily are faults.

The HGH must move along with the sheep while gripping; he is not allowed to tear at the sheep; damage to the sheep ought not happen.

Permitted grips are on the neck, on the ribs and on the back of the hind leg. When the shepherd gives the command to grip, the HGH must grip immediately; he is not allowed to hesitate. One or two commands should be enough; the same holds true when the HGH is told to release the sheep if the grip lasts too long. This accurately tests whether or not the HGH can command the necessary respect from the sheep and command the attention of the lambs. Barking alone does not accomplish this.

Faults:
HGH is afraid.
HGH does not grip.
HGH grips too often.
HGH tears.
HGH holds on too long.
HGH damages sheep.
HGH does not pay attention to the lambs.
The grip is too hard.


Obedience – (Maximum of 10 Points)


Obedience is the basis for training. The HGH must be willing and biddable. The HGH must respond immediately and diligently to the voice and hand signal of the shepherd. Useful and rewarding shepherding is composed of wise and judicious education beforehand which should result in a mutually satisfying sense of cooperation.

Obedience permeates all herding disciplines. All voice and hand signals must be carried out immediately with joy and enthusiasm even at great distances as in the wide graze. The dog should not go after wild animals. The essential characteristic of enthusiastic obedience is produced by the way the shepherd handles the dog.

An essential point of evaluation for leadership ability is how calmly and confidently the shepherd behaves toward the animals as well as how much love, good sense, understanding and empathy he has toward them.

Faults:
HGH is badly trained.
HGH is afraid of the shepherd.
HGH does not obey willingly.
Voice commands and hand signals are carried out slowly and without enthusiasm.
HGH needs repeated voice commands and hand signals.
The shepherd and the HGH do not have a trusting relationship.
HGH stands under extreme pressure.
HGH chases wild animals.


Diligence – (Maximum of 10 Points)


The HGH must always express a joy and readiness to work. He must always have an eye on both the shepherd and the flock. The good HGH demonstrates liveliness and speed while working as well as diligent patrolling. Any spectator should get the impression from watching him that all the HGH wants to do is to constantly count the sheep. Faults:
HGH is lazy, tired or even breaks down.
HGH does not listen to commands.
HGH does not pay attention to signals.
HGH shows no joy in working.
HGH shows no interest


Independence – (Maximum of 10 Points)


Independence is revealed by how well the HGH on his own initiative stays on the boundaries, covers the important places where needed, patrols on several sides when necessary, does nor disturb the sheep, pushes stray sheep back and punishes them if necessary. The independent HGH patrols without voice or hand signals, goes with the flock and watches the sheep while they graze. Faults:
HGH shows little or no independence.
HGH fails to pay enough attention.
HGH lacks drive and spirit.
HGH does not patrol the length of the flock.
HGH does not have the courage or the strength to punish the sheep.
The shepherd gives concealed help (wide graze).


Re-Pen – (Maximum of 4 Points)


During the re-penning the shepherd stands where the HGH stood during the exit from the pen with the only difference being that the shepherd positions himself outside the pen instead of inside. He lets the sheep go past him into the pen. If necessary he goes in front of the sheep into the pen.

The HGH is placed on the furthest end of the removed panel. He can leave his place if the flock refuses to enter the pen. The HGH must prevent any sheep from going past the pen. If the last part of the flock refuses to go into the pen, the HGH can go slowly on command behind the flock and walk up to the middle of the entrance.

Faults:
HGH is placed too far away from the panel.
HGH is placed to close to the entrance.
HGH sits and sniffs.
HGH makes the sheep nervous.
HGH allows sheep to pass the pen.
HGH breaks into the flock.
The shepherd stands inside the pen.

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