The HCT is a Herding Capability Test from the American Herding Breeds Association. When Freeway first met sheep he was only semi-interested in the sheep. We have been doing lessons since then, and his attitude has changed. Unlike the clinic we attended earlier this was a very traditional process. Usually the judge handles the dog as typically the handler knows nothing. The dog is brought in on leash. The next steps depend upon how the dog responds. If the dog seems controllable the judge will ask the handler to remove the leash. We got to that point immediately as my description to Sandi Moore of his behavior was sufficient.
Freeway surprised me, but he didn't disappoint me. He did exactly what I said he would do, except that, unlike our practice sessions, he never really quit working the sheep. The judge marks a record sheet with information on the dog's style (gathering), approach (runs close), eye (loose), wearing (some circling), bark (works silently), temperament (a little distraction), interest (sustained interest), power (sufficient for stock), responsiveness (responsive to guidance/control, grouping of stock (keeps stock grouper/regroups) balancing stock with hander (adjust position) and add a comment "Really nice. One sided Likes Away. Will have fun!"
So what surprised me? First was that he kept working consistently. Second that he has started to adjust from chasing to herding. Now when a sheep splits off he drops away from it as soon as it is going back where it should go. He does a fair amount of bumping. His mouth is often open like he is going to grab a sheep, but he doesn't. Here are some pictures:
|Judge Sandy Moore works Freeway on his first leg of the HCT.|
|Thank-you to Daniel Dodd and Barbara Erwin for taking the pictures.|
If you look at the pictures you can see that in nearly all of them he is going counterclockwise. That is what the judge meant by "Likes away." He likes that direction more than the "Come Bye" which is clockwise. At one point she was trying to turn him to the "Come Bye" side and he wasn't doing it so I said "He has been introduced to the commands" and she said "Come Bye" and YAY! he turned the way he should.
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Copyright © 2005 Diane Blackman Created: June 7, 2005 Updated November 12, 2007
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