Revised 6/15/2005

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An evaluator may be an AKC approved herding judge, an ASCA approved herding judge, an AHBA evaluator, an AIHDA evaluator, any competitor who has placed in Novice, Pro-Novice, Ranch or Open ISDS style trials, or any BCSA Herding Committee member. Anyone other than the AKC, ASCA, AHBA, or AIHDA approved judges or evaluators must submit credentials to the BCSA Herding Committee for approval as a BCSA approved evaluator.

No evaluator may test a dog if the evaluator or any member of his/her family or household owns or co-owns the dog. No evaluator may test a dog if the evaluator is the breeder of the dog. An evaluator may not test a dog that he/she has trained within the previous twelve (12) months; nor may an evaluator test a dog belonging to a handler who has been a student within the last twelve (12) months. Student is defined as one who has taken private or group lessons, but not an entrant in a herding clinic.

The evaluator is responsible for making herding tests meaningful and challenging, but never beyond the level of the dog and handler who may have never been in the presence of livestock before. (It is recommended that dogs have some exposure to livestock before testing for better performance). The evaluator's function is to educate as well as to evaluate.

It is also the evaluator's responsibility to ensure that the dog is physically fit enough to perform the test. Any lame dog will not be evaluated. Lameness is defined as any- irregularity or-impairment of-the function -of locomotion irrespective-of the cause or how slight or severe. An evaluator may charge a fee for his/her services in the evaluation of a dog.  

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BCSA SPONSORED OR SUPPORTED TESTS - The producing club or group will set a fee to be charge per dog tested, pass or fail. The suggested breakdown of fees is as follows for a $25.00 entry fee:

    Evaluator's own livestock - $12.50 for evaluator
    Other owner of livestock - $ 10.00 for stock owner - $ 5.00 for evaluator
    BCSA - $5.00 per dog to cover insurance if insurance is requested

If the event is BCSA sponsored all entry checks should be made out to --BCSA. Please provide complete information to the treasurer so that the appropriate parties can be paid. If cash is given, please convert it into a check. The treasurer will send a payment check in the appropriate amount to the stock owner, evaluator and to cover other production costs.

Events which are BCSA supported need only to submit $5.00 per dog. A check made out to BCSA must be sent to the treasurer. The group or club producing the event will pay all other expenses directly.

Remittance of fees to BCSA, if needed, should be done within 7 to 10 days after the event.

TESTS HELD UNDER THE SANCTIONING OF OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OR ARRANGED PRIVATELY - There is no fee to the BCSA for tests done under the sanctioning of another organization or done individually. They require their own fees already.  There is not a fee for the certificate issued by the BCSA

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The suggested minimum time allowed to test a dog is ten (10) minutes. The maximum time suggested is twenty (20) minutes. A dog showing instant awareness and instinct toward stock may be approved earlier. Dogs must be a minimum of 9 months of age on the day of the test.

All evaluation areas should be no less than approximately 15 yards by 20 yards or more than 35 yards by 35 yards. If a round pen, the diameter should be approximately 20 yards.

The stock must be sheep, cattle, or ducks, but need not be of any specific breed. The minimum requirement of stock is three to five head per dog. Livestock must be sufficiently conditioned to being worked by dogs. They must work in a normal grouping manner and must be accustomed to dogs working closer to them than well trained trial dogs. Fresh water and shade must be available for both the stock and participating dogs at all times during the evaluation.  

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The evaluation is a simple instinct observation requiring, no training or previous exposure to livestock, but does incorporate some elementary herding training of the dog during the course of the evaluation. Either the evaluator or the handler will initiate the basic guidance of the dog.

Experienced individuals may handle their own dogs with direction as necessary from the evaluator. If the handler of the dog is inexperienced, especially if it is the initial exposure to livestock for both handler and dog, the evaluator may do a large share of the handling. An evaluator should provide a great deal of instruction and explanation for the dog's handler. The evaluation should be free form. The dog should show attempts at controlling the stock, but its work may be unrefined. It should be able to put freestanding stock into motion, change direction in response to strong body language on the part of the evaluator or handler using either the long line and/or voice.

The dog should be brought into the evaluation area on lead into the testing area on lead. If the evaluator feels it is necessary a long line should be attached to the dog's collar. At the evaluator's direction, the long line is dropped or removed as appropriate. The dog maybe encouraged to work, as would be the case with a dog being given a training session. Most dogs benefit from frequent encouragement and praise. Efforts at controlling the dog must not be intimidating unless the dog is actually aggressive towards the stock.

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Various techniques of body position, crook handling, and voice will help reveal the dog's herding style, balance, attitude toward the stock, and trainability. Concurrently, the evaluator will be providing instruction and example for the handler. At this point the evaluator or handler will be making movements that will cause the stock to move about the area (e.g. giving ground by backing up, walking with the dog to allow the stock to move away, changing direction to elicit a directional change from the dog).

A dog, which shows sustained interest in herding livestock for a minimum of five (5) minutes, either circling or attempting to gather them will qualify as having instinct, provided the dog is amenable to control.

A dog that works quietly, that may feint as though to grip, or that actually grips the stock (provided there is no danger to the health of the livestock) is acceptable.

It is to be remembered that many dogs through simple inexperience will make mistakes in the first exposures to livestock, but at all times the evaluator must see clear-cut evidence of herding instinct. It is the responsibility of the evaluator to guide the dog toward correct herding behavior without exerting undue pressure on it.

A dog that, after a period of introduction, fails to show sustained interest in herding, that repeatedly leaves or attempts to leave the working area, or does not show some definable style as determined by the evaluator, will not pass the evaluation. Likewise a dog that shows aggression so strong and of such a nature as to be a threat to the health and safety of the livestock and/or the evaluator will not pass the evaluation.

Any dog that repeatedly splits the group and attacks one or several of the stock with its teeth or who grips any animal and holds on and will not let go, will not pass the evaluation. Excessive barking will also be a failure. Some barking is expected on an inexperienced dog, but excessive barking will not be tolerated. Any dog that for whatever reason cannot be evaluated off lead or with the lead dragging in a fenced area will not pass. Any dog that shows fear of the stock in such a fashion that the dog is unable to demonstrate herding instinct will not pass.

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If in the opinion of the evaluator, a dog's performance was prejudiced by peculiar and/or unusual conditions, the dog may be reevaluated.

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During the year, all BCSA members who have received their herding instinct evaluations will be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement. All herding instinct evaluations will be recognized if the information is forwarded to the Herding Chairman. Also, all nonmember Border Collies are also eligible to be evaluated and will receive a certificate.

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Evaluation forms are to be filled out in their entirety and mailed to the BCSA Herding Chairman. There is NO fee. All names will be published in the "Borderlines". It is the dog owners' responsibility to see that the completed evaluation form is sent to the Herding Chairman within ten (10) days of the event.

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The Border Collie Society of America, Inc. is very concerned with keeping the herding instinct alive and well in the Border Collie. This instinct evaluation program is an effort to facilitate this goal at the very basic level. Passing such an evaluation and receiving a certificate of passing does not endorse the dog’s herding abilities at the time of the evaluation or his trainability and usefulness in the future.

Claudia J. Frank, BCSA Herding Chairman - 5373 SR 138 NE, Greenfield, OH 45123-9518 - (937) 981-2443  

Page Updated 09/19/2010

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The Border Collie Society of America, Inc. was founded in April 1993.  This site is owned by the Border Collie Society of America, Inc. and was established 12.94.