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What is an Instinct Test?

The Oxford Dictionary says instinct is 'a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse or capacity - a largely inheritable tendency of an organism to make complex, specific responses to environmental stimuli, without involving reason'

Below is a printable booking form you can fill in and return to me. Just high light the relevent wordings from title to telephone nos at bottom. Left click and select Print.



Comebye Working Pets Glebe Farm

‘All Breeds’ Herding Days

                              Instinct Test Booking Form


Event date



Name and address of handler




Mobile/landline  number

Name and address of Owner 




Mobile/Landline number


Number of un-entered dogs


Pet name of dog

Registered name of dog

Age of dog

Sex of dog

Details of any health or temperament problems, any previous experience with stock, any other discipline successes


Number of accompanying guests for Spectator Pass



'I understand that, whilst every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of myself, my dogs and any members of my party at this event, I agree to indemnify the owners, organisers or assistants from any injury, accident, loss or damage which may occur.'

Signature of Owner



Return to

J Goulder, Glebe Farm, Westgate Carr Rd Pickering YO18 8LX

mob. 07796158467                           Landline 01751 470 172


A herding instinct test should be set up to make clear to observers, with the absolute minimum stress to all concerned, especially the animals being used as test subjects, whether a dog shows appropriate responses.

Rolly the boxer

And your name is?

A kelpie in the test pen


There are two reasons to test a dog for herding instinct.
1. To test as a one off, to further knowledge of the inherent abilities of the line, of interest to breeders.
2. To assess the chances of the owner having a trainable sheepdog (I say sheepdog; this facility does not work with cattle or ducks) as a long term commitment.

How old should the dog be?

Age is less important than physical fitness for both owner and dog! Even the controlled set-up we use requires agility and stamina from the dog and handler.

Is it an advantage if it is obedience trained?

Not always, but it will help if it is obedient! There is a differance, sometimes... For the one off, 'breeder's notes' type instinct test, other training is less important. Obedient, well balanced owner and dog teams are at an advantage when it comes to testing with further work in mind.

Is further training available?

Yes, if you are persistent, and this situation seems to be improving as other training places become aware of your interest. Training a sheepdog is expensive in terms of miles travelled, even if - especially if! - you buy your own sheep!

How much effort is appropriate to 'turn' a pet or show dog 'on' to sheep?

Unless the owner has plans to train seriously, the test situation must  be used to see what the dog offers, NOT overstimulating sheep into wild chase objects. Trainer and owner must be realistic; the ultimate responsibility is the owner's.

Be sure they recognise the implications of a switched on, untrained dog.

Keen turned on dogs are no more likely to cause you problems than keen untested dogs,so long as you are vigilant and sensible.

We need an understanding of the breed we are looking at: how does it work, historically?
We are looking for a dog which moves confidently around the sheep, takes directions from a handler well and maintains interest throughout the test. Close working, barking and 'loose eye' are to be expected and understood. Heeling breeds will be treated with caution.

'Heeling' of sheep is not acceptable in the testing and training situation.





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