Herding Terms - Malinois Herding Terms

A Glossary of Herding Terms for Malinois owners
considering herding with their Belgian Malinois.

Air Snapping/clacking
Clacking or air snapping is when the dog snaps in front of the nose of a difficult animal to move or turn it around.
Aggressive Heeler
An aggressive healer is a dog that loves to heel and looks for opportunities to do so.
The manner in which a dog moves toward the stock. A "smooth" approach is most desired, i.e., when the dog moves steadily and surely without bounding around, weaving, or jumping at the stock.
When the livestock crosses the plane of the obstacle.
Away to me
The traditional command directing the dog to his right, with his left shoulder closest to the stock. The dog would be moving in a counter-clockwise motion or "away" from the stock.
Bad Sheep
Bad sheep are uneven, ragged movers, liable to break at any moment or turn and fight the dog. One individual may constantly seek to leave the rest.
The position taken by the dog to take control of the stock, have the most influence on the stock to control the behavior of the stock and move them in the desired direction, staying back so as to be in a balanced position. The position the dog needs to be in to be able to cover and control the stock no matter what direction they may try to break and run. A dog with balance is economical and uses only enough pressure and force on the stock to make them move when and where he wants them to go.
A naturally inbred working style; some dogs are very quiet and will never bark at stock, others use barking to move the stock instead of biting. A dog may bark as a precursor to a bite when challenged. Others may bark as their means of showing power.
Body Biter
A dog that bites over the hock or grips the sides or flanks of an animal.
Two dogs working simultaneously with one handler
Broke Stock
Stock that have been worked by dogs before and which understand that they should move away from the dog and do so without panic or fighting.
The act of sending a dog out in an outrun.
The act of a dog stopping and can't be gotten up again. Usually appears in very strong-eyed dogs that get "stuck" and just lie there looking at the stock.
A dog who runs in very close to the stock, trying to get as close as possible to the stock while it goes around the stock.
Come/Go Bye
The Traditional Scottish command directing the dog to go to his left, with his right shoulder closest to the stock. Clockwise movement around the herd or "by" the clock.
A designated pattern of obstacles through which a handler directs the dog.
The act of the dog controlling the stock, covering any possible escape.
A long cane carried by handlers to lean on during trials. Also used to catch sheep or direct their movement.
A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog has attacked or attempted to attack a person. A dog which is disqualified is no longer eligible to enter any AKC event, and the dog is not eligible to be entered unless and until, following application by the owner to The American Kennel Club, the owner has received official notification that the dog's eligibility has been reinstated.
The dog's interest in working stock and controlling the stocks' movement.
Dog Sour
Stock which have been overworked by dogs and consequently have been taught that they should move away from the dog and do so without panic or fighting, no matter what the dog does. This typically happens with stock that are used for trial practice. Stock will become so trained or "sour" that they will practically go around the course by themselves and may have lost all fear of dogs.
To lie down, even at a dead run, to ease off the amount of pressure being applied to the stock. A stop command.
Where the stock want to go. This might be a gate, a barn, a feed bucket, or other livestock. The dog must be able to put pressure on the stock to prevent them from escaping to the draw, unless that is where the handler wants the stock to go.
When the dog works between the handler and the stock, the dog grouping and pushing the stock forward, away from the handler.
Easy is a slow down command, similar to steady.
A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is attacking or attempting to attack the stock or gripping abusively. A separate report is made to AKC when a dog is excused. When a dog has been excused three times, the owner is advised by AKC that the dog is no longer eligible to be entered in AKC Herding events until the dog has been successfully re-evaluated.
To remove the stock from an area or pen.
An intense gaze used by the dog to control stock. The border collie commonly displays this working style. Eye describes the degree of concentration the dog has in watching the stock's movement. Eye can be a settling or quieting style if the stock is used to this type. It can also be ignored by stock not used to working with dogs showing eye or the eye breeds. A dog can display too much eye in that it does not have the force necessary to keep the stock moving, that it will not go in and create movement, but will simply gaze intensely at the stock.
When the dog groups and pushes the livestock forward toward the handler. When fetching the stock should be between the dog and the handler.
Feint Biter
A dog who rarely actually nips, but instead lowers his head and goes through the motions without actually connecting.
The flanks or sides are the directional commands the dog must learn in order to understand in which direction he must travel around the stock. The commands are always given in relationship to the dog's position to the stock.
Circling the sheep from the right or left to keep them in a group or change their direction.
Flight Zone
Flocking animals naturally bunch together for protection. The flight zone is the invisible area around the animals, which, when crossed by an outsider, causes movement in the bunch. Although the angles of movement are predictable, the flight zone itself changes under different circumstances. A dog cannot pass through the flight zone without causing the stock to feel threatened and attempt to escape from the dog.
Flocking is the tendency of the stock to instinctively cluster together in a compact group that functions as a unit. Generally, cattle do not have a strong flocking tendency.
Force Bark
A dog that works silently except to bark to move challenging livestock, usually at the head and sometimes as a precursor to a nip.
In a trial situation, the obstacles through which the dog must move the stock are called gates.
The dog collects the sheep from their scattered grazing positions into a compact group.
Gathering is a style of bringing animals to the handler.
Get Back/Get Around
Usually, sending the dog to the opposite side of the stock from the handler, without concern for which direction the dog takes to get there. This is to send the dog to the back side of the stock.
Get Out/Out
Moving the dog OFF the stock and away from the stock when the dog is too close.
Go Bye
Come bye
Allowing the stock time to settle and feed in a designated area.
When the dog actually bites the stock. A grip can be a bite to the heels, hocks, or nose (the preferred locations because no bruising will occur to the meat of the animal to be butchered). Some breeds have a preferred style and location for gripping.
The human giving the dog commands.
Handler's Post
Point at which the handler and dog begin the run.
Hard Biter
A dog that bites very hard, occasionally drawing blood.
A dog that nips or barks at the head or nose of the stock in order to move it is a header.
When the dog moves in front of the stock to turn them. In Australia "heading" is the same as fetching or gathering, or bringing the animals to the handler.
Heavy Stock
Heavy stock is livestock that requires a great deal of pressure from the dog in order to be moved. Cows are generally heavier than sheep which are heavier than ducks. Different breeds of sheep are heavier than others. Usually wool sheep or large meat sheep are heavier than the lighter boned hair sheep.
A dog that nips at the hind legs (heels or hocks rather than the meaty part of the leg). Dogs can be low heelers (below the hocks), moderately low heelers (at the hocks), body-biters, cherry pickers (genital area biters), or tail riders (grabbing the tail).
Nipping at the lower part of the hind legs of livestock to move them forward. Cattle dogs are often heeling dogs.
Herding Instinct
The inherited balance in a dog's temperament, between the predatory drive and the dog's submission to its master. The stronger the herding instinct, the stronger must be the desire to comply with the commands of the handler.
Here t'me
Come here; here here. Come toward the handler
The act of a dog keeping one or more head of stock in a certain area.
Holding Pen
The pen on the outside of the course where the stock are kept before and after their use on the course.
The degree of interest the dog shows toward stock. Keenness can change over time, increasing or decreasing.
The point immediately after the dog has reached the maximum extent of its outrun and the stock start to move. It is often a fleeting few seconds or less but is important since the stock take their cue from how the dog acts at this time and react accordingly. It is the sheep's first impression of the dog and determines how the stock will react to the dog. It is also defined as the moment between the outrun and start of the fetch.
Light Stock
Stock that are moved with slight pressure from the dog and have a flight zone a substantial distance from them. The opposite of heavy stock (see above).
Look Back
Command to inform the dog that he has allowed some stock to lag behind or he missed some and needs to go back and find them and bring them up to the rest of the group.
Loose Eyed
A dog that doesn't show an intense gaze on the stock at all times. These dogs look around, glance at the handler, look away from the stock to reduce pressure, etc.
Low Heeler
Nips at the cow's fetlock area.
Medium Eye
Show "eye" but without the crouching approach.
Moderate Low Heeler
Low heeler that bites anywhere from the fetlock to the hock area.
Objects placed in strategic locations to make up a trial course.
Off Contact
When the dog loses control of the stock, either by being too far away or by losing concentration.
Command to tell dog to move off the stock. Also Get Back, Back-up, Outa There, AHHHH-AHHH. Also used to get a dog to release a sheep or cow when holding on with the grip.
The run the dog makes to get to the far side of the stock, the balance point, by going out behind the stock. Ideally this should be a pear shaped run, moving away from the handler but staying close to the line between the handler and the stock, and then widening out as the dog approaches the stock with the largest part of the pair being when the dog is even with the stock and going behind the stock. The arc can also be semi-circular. The dog should be far enough off the stock on the outrun to not alarm them.
To put the stock into a specified holding area.
Strong self-confidence. All references to strength and power reflect solely on the dog's attitude toward the stock and have nothing to do with the physical characteristics of the dog. A strong dog can move stubborn or fighting animals.
The dog's exhibition of confidence and physical appearance. Many times this alone will cause the stock to move without the dog barking, biting, or showing any aggression at all. Large hairy black dogs often have a lot of presence and may cause the stock to move by just changing positions from a down to a sit. Usually, once the stock have time to assess the dog, the presence of the dog takes on less importance and the power of the dog increases in importance.
The influence of the dog's presence on the stock. The authority of the dog's character. The extent of this latent force within a dog will determine the behavior of stock and their flight zone for that particular dog.
Pressure Point
The exact position and distance the dog needs to be at in order to move livestock in the desired direction. This position is directly influenced by the livestock's natural inclination to be drawn to the pen from which they were released, a gate to pasture, a known food source, other livestock or a water source if they are thirsty.
The ability of the handler to understand and anticipate the thoughts of the stock and/or the dog in order to maintain control over both. The ability of the dog to anticipate the behavior of the stock.
A dog taking a new command or a dog taking a command against his natural instinct, obeying because you ask him to.
At the request of the handler, the run is ended.
Remove from the ring
A Judge's decision to end the run because the dog is lame, sick, unproductive, etc.
Also called orbiting. A dog that constantly circles the flock without any purpose. Running around the stock in circles.
Each individual dog's trial performance.
Allowing the stock time to calm and adjust to the situation.
The splitting of one animal from the bunch. Not a good thing if the dog does it on it's own, not by command. Usually represents that the dog is in prey drive rather than herding as it has separated out the animal it wants for the kill.
Parting one or more specific stock from the rest on command from the handler and driving it or them away from the other animals. Separating certain animals from the flock or herd.
A command used to slow down a moving dog that is pushing the stock too hard or closing in on the livestock's flight zone at too great a speed. If no reduction in speed, the livestock may split or run rather than move off the dog in a controlled manner.
Steady Approach
A dog who moves in calmly and easily upon the stock.
This is a command to halt all forward motion of the dog. The dog can lie down ("lie down", "down", "lie there") or sit or stand. The most functional stop for most dogs is the stand, remaining on their feet so they are ready to move again if need be.
Characteristic of eye, but to a marked degree. A dog with strong eye rarely takes it's eye off the stock, if at all, and will usually show the characteristic crouching approach to the stock. Looks like wolves or coyotes hunting.
Tail Rider
A dog that grabs the bushy end of a cow's tail. Usually a non-qualifying run in trial situations.
The supervision of the flock by the dog while the flock is grazing. A style of herding used when pastures are unfenced and the dog serves as a living fence.
That'll do/That will do
This is a recall command. The dog quits whatever it is doing, stops working completely, and goes to the handler. As a recall the dog may then be redirected. Also used as a command to tell the dog that herding is done for the day. The command releasing the dog from his work.
A command which may be used as a stop command. "There" is also used to pause or settle the dog's approach to the livestock. It can also indicate to turn into the stock right "there".
Turning Tail
A dog that turns tail and runs from cattle/sheep that face and challenge it, letting itself be backed down and/or chased by the cattle or sheep.
Walk up/walk on
Walk calmly directly at the stock from whatever position the dog is now in.
Way t' me/Way to me
Away to me.
Wide Running
A dog that makes wide passes going around the stock, naturally keeping a good distance off the stock.
The side-to-side movement of the dog in a pendulum motion or half-circle pattern in an effort to keep the stock grouped.
Wool Pulling
Nipping or gripping at the bodies of sheep, bruising or marking the flesh by tearing out hunks of wool. Also called "flossing". If the sheep are meat sheep, this bruises the meat under the skin and if they are wool sheep for shearing, it destroys the wool for shearing.
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