This photo shows Chris, a young dog, in his very first herding lesson. He is circling the sheep and handler so as to keep the sheep trapped between himself and the handler. This is the most basic aspect of all herding instinct and all training begins by building on this genetically hard-wired instinct. I had rescued Chris from Modesto Animal Control at the age of about 6 months. This picture was taken a couple months later. Chris is NOT a purebred Bouvier , nor a purebred anything. When asked what breed he is , I always reply "he's a Yurgess" meaning "your guess (is as good as mine)." But somehow he does have herding instinct and as an adult he has the valuable trait of never over-pressuring his stock. He never alarms stock, but they do move off of him and they do so very calmly.
(update : I've improved this photo, which was too dark, by brightening it for better visibility)
Chris went on to earn many herding trial titles. At one of his early trials, he won the Pre-Novice-Novice class, beating the other entrants which were all Border Collies. At that trial a man tried to buy him, wouldn't understand my polite reply that he was not for sale, saying that every dog is for sale at the right price. I got a bit annoyed and said sharply "you will get him away from me when you pry his leash from my cold dead fingers."
Chris was an extremely lovable dog and a social genius.
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