Quick Guide to Sheep Dog Terms / Commands

Do you know any other terms / commands we haven’t included? Let us know, and we’ll add them in.

 

  • Brood Bitch - Female dog - usually a good mother and from excellent working lines - used primarily for breeding
  • Crossdrive - After negotiating the first drive gates, the sheep are driven across the course to the second drive gates
  • Disqualified - The judge asked the competitor to leave the course because of a rule infringement
  • Dogged Sheep - After being used repeatedly for training sheepdogs, sheep can become dogged. Dogged sheep will rush to the handler as soon as the dog is sent off to fetch them. They will crowd around the handler's legs and become extremely difficult to work with
  • Double Gather - At some open trials dogs have to collect a group of sheep and then go to another location on the trials course to collect a second group and bring them to join the first before continuing around the course
  • Drive - Having completed the fetch and driven the sheep around behind the handler, the sheep are driven around the course by the dog
  • Drive Gates - A pair of gates or hurdles - through which the dog should direct the sheep as part of the drive in sheepdog trialing
  • Electric Fence - Fencing energised with high voltage (but low power) electric current - often used to keep farm animals in an enclosed space
  • Exhaust Pen - Pen into which sheep are driven after each run at a sheep dog trial
  • Eye - A good sheepdog needs what's known as "eye". This is a kind of powerful glare the dog can fix on sheep to make them move in the direction the dog wants. A dog with "too much eye" can become entranced - standing rooted to the spot and glaring at the sheep - ignoring all commands
  • Fell - Hill or mountain pasture - usually in the North of the UK and populated with sheep
  • Fetch Gates - A pair of gates or hurdles - through which the dog brings the sheep during the fetch at a sheepdog trial
  • Fetch - Dog brings the sheep to the handler via the fetch gates
  • Flanking - The dog moving around its sheep
  • Grip - or Gripping - A case of the dog biting the sheep. Usually brought about by fear - and can be a sign of lack of confidence shown by the dog. Definitely not allowed in sheepdog trials - instant disqualification being the normal punishment but if the judge considers the sheep to have been sufficiently awkward it is sometimes acceptable for the dog to nip the nose of a particularly difficult sheep
  • Heavy Sheep - Stubborn sheep which are difficult for a dog to move. They will sometimes even attack a dog - and can have a disasterous effect on its confidence. Heavy sheep are normally large, lowland types
  • Hurdles - Lightweight frames similar to a small gate which joined together, make an enclosure for containing sheep
  • ISDS - The International Sheepdog Society - based at Bedford, England. Keepers of the Stud Book and governing body of sheepdog trialing in the UK
  • Left Hand Drive - The sheep must pass behind the handler in a clockwise direction and be driven towards the left hand drive gates
  • Letting out Pen - Pen from which sheep are released for each run at a sheep dog trial
  • Lift - The dog's first contact with the sheep - they begin to move under the influence of the dog
  • Light Sheep - Sheep which are easy for a dog to move - sometimes too easy as they run away with little or no provocation. Usually smaller breeds from hill or mountain farms
  • Look Back - The designated point at a double gather where the dog must leave the sheep it's working and turn around to look for more sheep. An advanced "look back" can be done in such a way as to indicate to the dog which direction the new sheep lie in
  • Novice Trial - Open to less experienced dogs (rules vary but normally for dogs which have not been placed in an open - or won a novice trial) - will include outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed and pen
  • Nursery Trial - Trial open to inexperienced dogs (rules of entry vary but usually for dogs which have not been placed in any novice or open trial) - will include outrun, lift, fetch, drive and pen
  • Open Trial - Trial open to anyone - will include outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed, pen and sometimes a single
  • Outrun - When the handler sends the dog away to the sheep
  • Pedigree - Family tree of a dog - showing generations of ancestors
  • Peg - Point at which the sheep are located before each run at a sheepdog trial
  • Pen - Enclosure into which the sheep must be driven during a sheepdog trial
  • Post (THE Post) - Point at a sheepdog trial where the handler stands
  • Powerful Dog - A dog which commands instant respe ct from sheep. It will stand no nonsense - if they stop, it will just keep coming towards them in such a confident manner, the sheep will continue on their way
  • Registered Dog - Dog whose birth has been registered with the ISDS. Normally, the parents must be registered before a puppy is eligible for registration
  • Retired - Competitor left the course without completing it and scores no points
  • Right Hand Drive - The sheep must pass behind the handler in an anticlockwise direction and be driven towards the right hand drive gates
  • Shed - After the drive the sheep arrive at the shedding ring where dog and handler sort out and separate a number of sheep
  • Shedding Ring - Marked circle where the shed takes place
  • Single - At open trials a single sheep may be required to be separated from the main bunch and driven away
  • Square Flanks - Used to describe a dog which when facing it's sheep and given a command to flank one way or the other, will turn sharply and move around the sheep without altering its distance from the sheep
  • Started Dog - Partly trained dog - usually able to work around sheep and stop on command
  • Stud Book - Books kept by the ISDS for many years - recording the ancestory of registered sheepdogs
  • Stud Dog - Male dog - used for breeding
  • Timed Out - Competitor could not complete the course in the allocated time - but still earns points
  • Weak Dog - A weak dog has little confidence around sheep. It may be extremely obedient and work well with light or co-operative sheep but when faced with a difficult situation a weak dog will either stop and just stare, grip or turn away from the sheep

Commands

  • "Away" or "Away to Me" - Move around the sheep in an anti-clockwise direction - but in some areas it means the opposite! But generally you can remember it by: A is for Away and Anti-clockwise
  • "Come-Bye" - Move around the sheep in a clockwise direction - but in some areas it means the opposite! But generally you can remember it by: C is for Come-Bye and Clockwise
  • "Get Back" - Keep further out and give the sheep more room
  • "Get Out" - See "Get Back"
  • "In Here" - Move through a gap between sheep to separate them (when shedding)
  • "Lie Down" - Stop, lie down, slow down or just stand still (intelligent things Border Collies - good ones can usually tell which the handler means at any particular time)
  • "Look Back" - The dog must leave the sheep it's working and turn around to look for more sheep. An advanced "look back" can be done in such a way as to indicate to the dog which direction the new sheep are located
  • "Stand" - Stand still - the dog must stop but remain on its feet
  • "Take Time" - Slow down
  • "That'll do" - Stop what you're doing and return directly to the handler
  • "There" - Stop flanking and move straight towards the sheep
  • "Walk Up" - Move straight towards the sheep

 

Terms courtesy of the The Herding Sheepdog Website

 


Highly Recommended DVD

First Steps in Border Sheepdog Training - From Chaos to Control
Produced by The Herding Sheepdog Website

DVD Price – £26.95 inc. UK delivery

A sheepdog training programme that explains what's going on and shows you how to get started.

Demonstrated by Andy Nickless - 2010 edition - 2xDVD set

Available from our online shop


Highly Recommended Website

A great website that covers everything you will ever need to know about sheepdogs, including having trained dogs for sale, is The Herding Sheepdog Website.

 

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