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Fetch and Zig-Zag


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There are 2 fetches

 

#1 the sheep move off line 10 yards the dog recovers without any commands and brings the sheep to the handler in a straight line missing the fetch panels.

 

#2 the sheep move off line 10 yards the Handler gives the dog a command to recover the dog does not take the command then the dog is commanded to lie down which he does then the dog is commanded to recover and he does and then lies down then commanded to walk up drive the sheep back to the fetch line then commanded to continue on the fetch line which he does through the fetch panels to the handler.

 

How would you score these fetches?

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Miles,

The scoring of either fetch would not depend on whether the handler gave the dog commands nor on whether the dog took those commands. The fetch is scored on the line on which the sheep travel. That line has to be within the 21-foot lane described by the fetch panels. If the sheep were offline outside the fetch panels for the entire fetch, then the fetch would get a pretty low score from me. If the sheep started out off line and were brought back online, with or without commands, then that fetch would get a higher score relative to the fetch that was offline the entire time. I would take points off for the length of the fetch that the sheep were offline. For the first run that would be the entire fetch. Additional points would come off for missing the fetch panels. The second dog would also lose points for the length of the fetch that the sheep were offline, but obviously wouldn't lose the points for missing the panels, since they weren't missed, and wouldn't lose points for the bottom half of the fetch because presumably the sheep were on line.

 

Trials are scored on the basis of the movement of the sheep on prescribed lines of travel through the course. Commands or lack thereof to the dog make no difference, except for perhaps the subjective "overcommanding." The dog's actions are counted only if it does something like ring the sheep, cross the course, etc. What counts is the line of travel of the sheep.

 

I hope that helps.

 

J.

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  • 2 weeks later...
There are 2 fetches

 

#1 the sheep move off line 10 yards the dog recovers without any commands and brings the sheep to the handler in a straight line missing the fetch panels.

 

If the sheep stray offline, by 30 feet, I'd take a couple of points for the dog allowing them to drift. I'd take more points if they remained offline (the line being from the point at which they were lifted to the center of the fetch panels and then straight to the handler). One to two points per sheep for missing the fetch panels. So, for a set of four sheep, eight to twelve points depending on how far off line they drift and how long they stay offline.

 

 

#2 the sheep move off line 10 yards the Handler gives the dog a command to recover the dog does not take the command then the dog is commanded to lie down which he does then the dog is commanded to recover and he does and then lies down then commanded to walk up drive the sheep back to the fetch line then commanded to continue on the fetch line which he does through the fetch panels to the handler.

How would you score these fetches?

 

Same point or two for the sheep drifting offline. A point for the dog not taking the first flank. Perhaps a couple of points more depending on how quickly the dog gets the sheep back online. So, three to five points if the sheep are brought back to the line and stay on it with decent pace.

 

c. The dog should require few commands and where the sheep stray from the true line the dog's ability is judged by its control of them and its immediate answer to all commands.

 

The question is, which is the greater sin? The dog that allows the sheep to be offline all the way down the fetch and miss the fetch panels, or the dog that requires commands to hold the line that the handler wants the sheep to travel on. I would say the former and would penalize that more. A dog that brings sheep in a straight line but the wrong straight line is doing less practical work than the dog that responds to commands to bring the sheep on the desired path.

 

The dog that lifts sheep properly and brings them on a dead straight line, through the center of the fetch panels, with perfect pace, without any commands will lose no points. Haven't seen a dog yet that can do that consistently. That's why handler/dog pairs are called teams I guess.

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The question is, which is the greater sin? The handler that allows the dog to be offline all the way down the fetch and miss the fetch panels, or the handler that gives commands to hold the line that the judge wants the sheep to travel on. I would say trust your dog to work the stock with out comands. A dog that brings sheep in a straight line to the handler but the wrong straight line "according to us humans" is doing more practical work than the dog that responds to commands to bring the sheep in a "zig-zag" motion in order to stay on line in a non stockman like desired path.

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But Miles, you're asking about a judged run at a trial not practical stock work. So the answer is going to depend on who is judging.

 

I would say though, if it's an open run then it's more of a sin to have to overcommand on the fetch. If it's novice then not so much.

 

Laura

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The question is, which is the greater sin? The handler that allows the dog to be offline all the way down the fetch and miss the fetch panels, or the handler that gives commands to hold the line that the judge wants the sheep to travel on. I would say trust your dog to work the stock with out comands. A dog that brings sheep in a straight line to the handler but the wrong straight line "according to us humans" is doing more practical work than the dog that responds to commands to bring the sheep in a "zig-zag" motion in order to stay on line in a non stockman like desired path.

 

I disagree.

 

If I don't care about which line the dog takes to get the sheep to my feet (for example, I'm working in a large flat field with no obstacles), then the dog who just brings me the sheep in a straight line without any commands from me is doing the most practical work.

 

If I do care about the line the sheep take to my feet (for example, I'm working on a steep hill and a non-straight path is the safest or I'm working on a trial field an required to hit the fetch panels), then the dog who works with me to move the sheep where I want them to go is doing the most practical work. I may also want the dog to take one group of sheep to another group in another field, and then bring me the whole flock so I need a dog who will work with me to get the job done as I need it to be done, not as the dog wants to do it.

 

A "zig-zag" motion is not what I'm after but a dead straight line is not always the most practical line (the real world contains many dog leg fetches). I once watched a farmer and dog bring a flock of sheep down a long valley through eight fields, each with a gate at the opposite corner. That meant that the most practical line was a diagonal from the top right corner of one field to the bottom left corner of the next, and then from the top left corner to the bottom right corner (no idea why the gates were set up that way). So, the overall path was zig zag but each leg was pretty straight.

 

Every year someone trots out this judging guideline as the basis of starting an argument over "over commanding on the fetch" but I think you are missing the spirit of the guideline. It's not the number of commands that matters. It's why the commands are being given. If they are being given to correct errors the dog is making, then points should be deducted. If they are being given to assist the dog in maintaining the precise optimum line on a trial field, then it would be inappropriate to deduct points. It often takes a skilled judge to know the difference, in my opinion.

 

Real work is about what is practical and efficient. Trialling is supposed to go beyond what is practical and efficient to what is precise and perfect. That's why it requires more interaction between handler and dog and why it requires such mental discipline on the part of the dog.

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#1 the sheep move off line 10 yards the dog recovers without any commands and brings the sheep to the handler in a straight line missing the fetch panels.

 

I'm no judge, but looking at it from a practical view, if I saw this happen, knowing that the requirement was to take the sheep through the fetch panels, I would have to ask, why didn't the handler give commands to the dog to correct the line? Would it stand to reason, that if it was practical work with fencing on either side of the openning, the only reason to not fix the dog is because you can't, so you end up waiting for the sheep to find the openning on their own? Personally, I would rather see a dog that can hold a line on his own, but if the dog failed, I'll take the dog that demonstates the ability to be assisted via commands so the line ends up where it needs to be then one that makes whatever line it sees fit.

 

To me if the dog allows the sheep to move off line that a recovery would not happen until the sheep are returned to the correct line. Regaining control of the sheep recovery is different then recovering from a bobble that ends up re-establishing the line. How do you tell if the dog is holding a required line or if the sheep are defining the line, the sheep may have dictated the 10 yard adjustment initially. The only way to prove that the 10 yard adjustment was not dictated by the sheep is to require that the dog get them back on line and on through the fetch panels, to me it shows more ability of both dog and handler then to accept the incorrect line.

 

I hope that wasn't too confusing.

 

Deb

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I'm no judge, but looking at it from a practical view, if I saw this happen, knowing that the requirement was to take the sheep through the fetch panels, I would have to ask, why didn't the handler give commands to the dog to correct the line? Would it stand to reason, that if it was practical work with fencing on either side of the openning, the only reason to not fix the dog is because you can't, so you end up waiting for the sheep to find the openning on their own? Personally, I would rather see a dog that can hold a line on his own, but if the dog failed, I'll take the dog that demonstates the ability to be assisted via commands so the line ends up where it needs to be then one that makes whatever line it sees fit.

 

To me if the dog allows the sheep to move off line that a recovery would not happen until the sheep are returned to the correct line. Regaining control of the sheep recovery is different then recovering from a bobble that ends up re-establishing the line. How do you tell if the dog is holding a required line or if the sheep are defining the line, the sheep may have dictated the 10 yard adjustment initially. The only way to prove that the 10 yard adjustment was not dictated by the sheep is to require that the dog get them back on line and on through the fetch panels, to me it shows more ability of both dog and handler then to accept the incorrect line.

 

I hope that wasn't too confusing.

 

Deb

I'll answer this post but really I am answering all of them. Pearse has covered most of it quite well but just a few things that I would like to add. We all start out teaching our dogs to fetch in a straight line and a dog that will hold that line is very valuable. However, the dog is required to take commands from the handler which means he may be told, for whatever reason, to change the line that he is on. If the dog doesn't do that he is not a trained dog. I have judged many a trial where there is a straight fetch through the fetch panels from the set out to the handlers' post and the dog has done well and scored well and then into the double lift final with a dog leg fetch on both fetches and he's fighting the handler all the way because he has never been trained to take flanks and do as he's told on the fetch. It wouldn't be any different with a farmer wanting to get sheep from point A to point B with a dog that wouldn't take flanks on the fetch. Not going to hit a gate anyplace or maybe wind up in a pond someplace. Leaving the dog natural and not overcommanding are fine and a desireable trait but the dog still must do as he's told at all times. I use the term that the handler must be in control but not controlling! The dogs that point the best at trials are those dogs that have enough presence to move the sheep, read the sheep, listen well and do as they are told. The dogs that get the job done well on a ranch or farm are also pretty much the same but are probably left a little more on their own to do chores that, quite likely, have become somewhat habitual. Leaving dogs to bring sheep or cattle straight when they need to be going somewhere else is an exercise in frustration and is not getting the job done.

Bob

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Guest carol campion
There are 2 fetches

 

#1 the sheep move off line 10 yards the dog recovers without any commands and brings the sheep to the handler in a straight line missing the fetch panels.

 

#2 the sheep move off line 10 yards the Handler gives the dog a command to recover the dog does not take the command then the dog is commanded to lie down which he does then the dog is commanded to recover and he does and then lies down then commanded to walk up drive the sheep back to the fetch line then commanded to continue on the fetch line which he does through the fetch panels to the handler.

 

How would you score these fetches?

 

Miles, in my mind, the biggest factor in this is "the sheep move off line 10 yards" In this lies the flaw and the reason for following points lost. This very fact makes the continued off line fetch a huge flaw. For the sheep to have moved off line, the dog either slipped off the pressure or wasn't using its natural balance and/or is showing some kind of weakness. To me, the ability to keep the sheep on line, which is what you feel is commendable, is the very thing lacking in the first place to have let the sheep go off line. If it didn't occur on the fetch but on the lift, again—a flaw in the dog not to land right at the top.

 

Therefore, it is better to have the handler step in asap and help the dog with commands to put the sheep where they belong.

 

I agree with Pearse & Bob. In a real work situation, such as in the Scottish highlands where I helped lamb a flock of 3000, straight lines were sometimes dangerous. A dog holding to a straight line in certain gathers would take the sheep off a cliff into a ravine on more than one occasion. To keep the flock safe, the dogs had to be flexible and strong enough to be asked to let go of the very thing you admire.

 

That is what is being tested at a dog trial. The ability for a dog to let go of its opinion when asked and put the sheep somewhere other than where their own instincts may tell them the sheep should go and/or to put the sheep somewhere other than where the sheep think they should go.

 

Now, if the sheep were off line because the set out released the sheep before the competing dog had a chance to take hold of them, the line still is from where the dog picks them up TO THE CENTER OF THE FETCH PANELS, and from there straight to the post. But if the dog is at fault and puts the sheep off line due to coming up short on its outrun or pushing them off line on its lift, points are lost until that dog/handler team puts the sheep back on line.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Carol

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