My first exposure to herding was in the summer of 1992.
I began with the simplest of goals.... I wanted to see if my
German Shepherd Dog could pass an herding instinct test and 'earn' a
I assumed that since Chelsea was a herding breed she would, of
course , herd. The fact that she was from a long line of
non-herding, show dogs would have little to do with it.
I confidently informed the evaluator, Linda Franklin, that Chelsea
herded my cats. When harassing the cats, Chelsea would use a movement
similar to a cutting horse working a calf. I thought that was
Despite my ignorant impressions, Chelsea demonstrated a great deal
of instinct & we began training.
There's a saying, something to the effect "youth is wasted on the
young". From my own experience with Chelsea in the tests & lower
trial classes, I had some measure of success, but I didn't have a
clue what I was doing!
I didn't have a plan for completing the course & I couldn't
read sheep. Heck, most of the time I wasn't even watching them (I was
watching the dog)! I didn't understand the importance of square
flanks..... Why train a speed control if you can stop the dog?... Who
cares if she over flanks?... YIKES!!
Since '92, I've learned a great deal, but I've barely scratched
This is what I've figured out thus far: