Whether you are interested in competitive herding events or just in testing your dog to determine its level of instinct or interest, there are a number of herding programs available to you. You can use one program exclusively or a combination to provide the herding experience you desire.
The primary trialing programs are offered by the following organizations:
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
American Herding Breed Association (AHBA)
Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
Border Collie Club of America*
*Information will be added soon
Instinct Testing -- These tests are generally performed in a small enclosed arena or round pen and are designed to evaluate your dog's interest in livestock. No pretraining is required. Tester will generally work dog or assist particularly on the first leg. Instinct testing is available through the following trialing programs: AKC and AHBA. See Events.
Pre-Trial Tests -- These tests are performed in a small arena - generally 100' x 200' - they require pretraining for you and your dog. Tests are "Pass" or "No Pass" and are not scored. You and your dog must demonstrate certain skills. It is important for success at this level for your dog to have a "stop" or "hold" while on livestock. Test level events are available through the following trialing programs: AKC - two courses (HT - Herding Tested and PT - Pre-Trial), CKC (HT - Herding Tested), AHBA (JHD - Junior Herding Dog)
Each of the above programs have classes available to meet the experience level of you and your dog. In general, the programs have started, intermediate and advanced level competitions. Several of the programs offer more that one type of course - arena, open field, boundary/tending, ranch dog. This provides a huge variety of courses and venues for you to conquer with your favorite dog or dogs. Participating in several different trialing programs can provide additional trialing experience and provide more opportunities for success as each is slightly different and different training techniques and levels of experience are required at the various levels of each program. All of the organizations listed above have trialing programs. Please visit their websites for specific information on courses, livestock, hosting events, etc.