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shedding question

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In this video:



the sheepdog trial is described. When they get to the shedding part of the trial the dog and handler separate a group of four sheep into two pairs. But none of the sheep are wearing collars. So it seems that in this instance any two sheep could be shed off. The sheep do have spots of paint on their wool, but the spots are all the same color. It seems that it would be much simpler to separate the sheep this way, as one doesn't need to shift them around to get at specific individuals. Is this how it is done some places, or was I missing some other identifying marks on the sheep?

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Someone more experienced in trialing than I can add or correct me, but here's what I know:


"Shedding" just means splitting a group of sheep and taking control of one set. A marked shed is when some sheep are wearing collars (or are marked in some way). Which sheep you must shed off & take control of all depends on the trial course. In an unmarked shed, it could be "take two on the head", which would mean you have to take control of two sheep by having the dog come through at their heads (ie, the shed only counts if the dog comes in front of the two sheep's heads, not between two pairs of sheep who are facing opposite directions). A marked shed could be take any two collared, or any two uncollared, etc. That's a really basic description; the particulars of shedding are complicated.


Basically, not all sheds involve marked sheep.


There's also a "single", which means the dog must take control of one single sheep, be it marked or unmarked, all dependent on the trial rules.


There's an awesome shedding video out there. I think it's by Alasdair MacRae. It does a great job of explaining the details of shedding.

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When four sheep are used, it's common to just have the dog "split" the sheep, that is, take any two and wear them away to the judge's satisfaction. But Ben is right, what the judge wants to see in the shed is defined at the beginning of the trial.



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