instinct is part of the survival instinct to hunt with a pack
(prey drive) and to please the pack leader (pack drive). The
prey drive inspires the dog to work with intensity; the pack
drive forces it to obey its pack leader. Instinct can be very
indiscriminate. It can show up strong in some pups and weak
can you and your dog
expect at an HIC?
HIC is one of the only avenues open to most hobby-herding
dogs and people and can be very informative. A knowledgeable
trainer who understands the relationship between the stock,
the dog, and the handler performs it. A dog and owner/handler
does not have to have any previous experience on stock but it
is helpful if your dog knows some basic commands such as: come;
stay; and down. The sheep used for an HIC will be what is called
'dog broke'. Dog broke sheep mean that the sheep have been actively
worked by trained dogs, preferable different breeds and want
to stay with the trainer. They will behave in an expected manner.
is instinct testing
an instinct test is done in a round pen. The rounded pen shape
is to ensure that the sheep don't hold up in a corner making
it difficult for an inexperienced dog to get them to move. Small
pens are preferable (they give the tester more control over
the situation). On occasion the round pen is too much pressure
for some dogs and going to a larger space may be more suitable.
The dog is often brought in on leash with the tester usually
taking the dog and introducing them to the sheep. The tester
will be watching how the dog and sheep react to each other.
The tester or evaluator will also determine when or if the leash
will come off. Some evaluators will let the dog drag its leash,
which can make it a bit easier to catch if the dog refuses to
quit and will not come to the owner. The dog is encouraged to
move to and among the sheep as the evaluator judges the dog’s
is the Evaluator looking for?
can vary from tester to tester. Generally, the tester or evaluator
is looking for a non-aggressive dog that watches the stock and
controls or tries to control their movement. They will evaluate
whether your dog is "gathering" the sheep or trying
to "drive" them. They will look at the way the dog
approaches the sheep to see if it likes to work wide or close,
whether they bark or work quietly; whether the dog readily adjusts
to direction or is easily distracted; how responsive the dog
is to the tester, seeing them in the picture, and willing to
work "with" them; how the dog groups the sheep or
whether it wants to split them; and whether the dog has a natural
"balance" on sheep.
do I get if my dog
passes the HIC successfully?
of the greatest things you will get out of the HIC is joy and
satisfaction watching your dog do what it was bred to do!! Most
clubs or individuals who put on an HIC will also distribute
a certificate, stating that your dog passed the HIC. In addition
you will usually get a written critique from the evaluator on
your dog and how it worked the sheep.