Taz – the first PON to earn a Level II title in AHBA!

In a remarkable feat of canine achievement, Taz, a spirited Polish Lowland Sheepdog, has etched his name in the annals of herding history. He has become the first Polish Lowland Sheepdog in the world to earn a Level II sheep title in the American Herding Breed Association (AHBA). Taz’s remarkable accomplishment is a testament to his dedication, intelligence, and the unwavering support of his owner, Benigne Dohms.

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, also known as PONs, are known for their intelligence, agility, and strong herding instincts, have a rich history as working dogs, primarily used for herding livestock. Taz’s accomplishment stands as a testament to the breed’s heritage and the endless possibilities that can be unlocked through dedication and training.  The Level II title represents a rigorous training journey that both Taz and Benigne embarked upon with immense determination.

Taz’s journey to this historic accomplishment was not without its challenges. Herding trials require a dog to display impeccable skills in herding livestock, showcasing their ability to work with precision, control, and agility. Taz and Benigne’s journey was filled with long hours of training, practicing and fine-tuning their skills together.

Benigne Dohms, Taz’s proud owner, expressed her joy and pride in Taz’s achievement: “Taz has always been a special dog with a unique connection to herding. Watching him excel in the Level II sheep trials has been an incredible journey. Taz has truly shown the world the potential of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs in herding and demonstrated the power of the bond between a dog and its handler.  It’s an honor to be part of history as Taz becomes the first Polish Lowland Sheepdog to earn the Level II sheep title.”

The AHBA’s recognition of Taz’s achievement not only highlights the remarkable abilities of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog breed but also serves as an inspiration to dog owners and enthusiasts worldwide. Herding trials are not just about competition but a celebration of the strong bond that can be formed between a dog and its owner, as they work together to showcase the breed’s natural talents.

Taz’s accomplishment will undoubtedly inspire other Polish Lowland Sheepdog owners to explore the potential of their furry companions in the world of herding. It is a reminder that with hard work, dedication, and unwavering love for their dogs, remarkable feats can be achieved.

Taz’s success is a testament to the endless possibilities that await those who are willing to put in the time and effort to nurture their dog’s natural talents. It is a heartwarming example of the incredible achievements that can be unlocked through dedication, hard work, and a special connection between a dog and its owner. Taz, with the unwavering support of Benigne Dohms, has proven that dreams can be realized, one herding trial at a time.

Setup for Success Herding Style!

I have been training dogs and competing with them in a wide range of activities for over forty years now. The last eighteen years have included stockdog training. I’ve learned that when a new method or attitude toward training comes along to not poopoo it but take a serious look. I read the books, watch the videos and attend seminars. There are many new ways of training to get the results needed as competition gets tougher and tougher.

For a new person training a stockdog and perhaps new to livestock while also being bombarded with such a wide variety of information on training and trialling will be very confusing. The dog’s instinct driven reactions can add to the confusion. I’d like to make some suggestions that may clear the air and help the new stockdog enthusiast to move forward in training and reach their goals.

  1. First you must have a good understanding of dog training. There are lots of thoughts on this subject but the end result should be a strong bond between you and your dog that isn’t dependent on food or other training aids to have your dog working consistently and reliably for you. Two excellent publications are Janet Lewis’s “Smart Trainers, Brilliant Dogs” and Bobbie Anderson’s “Give Your Puppy A Head Start For Competition”. You must be aware of the full progression of training from introduction of a new behavior to the complete reliable performance of that behavior. Your dog must consider you the leader and source of fun as well as discipline and not a littermate.
  2. Throughout your daily lives use your obedience and expectation of good manners so the dog’s basic premise toward his responsibility to obey will not drastically change when you go to livestock training. Consistency is very important.
  3. Read and watch everything available regarding Border Collies and their stockdog training. Some will be conflicting but get a general idea of the various ways to train.
  4. Find a trainer whose methods and results seem to coincide with the way you’d like your dog to handle stock. Keep in mind your own physical abilities to reproduce the type of training moves that the method would need to be successful. You can observe various trainers by auditing seminars, observing lessons given to others and attending trials.
  5. Once a decision has been made to follow a particular trainer’s method and progression of learning stick with your decision. Every training method has progressional errors. These are behaviors that most beginning dogs try out and move past with your help. These errors sometime vary with methods. When you have not trained a stockdog before you may blow these episodes of learning out of proportion. But with each new thing learned there has to be training so the dog understands what to DO and what not to do.
  6. As you work with your trainer make a note of your progress and in what order you are introduced to the various skills needed. Often skills are introduced as the opportunities present themselves and you cannot always go out with livestock and have them behave as you wish to teach a particular move. But good basic building blocks should be of major importance. When problems arise further up the scale of skills you can return to the building blocks to work through the problems.
  7. Make sure you understand the training you are getting. Don’t be afraid of asking questions as to why a certain move is taught or why the dog behaves the way he does. You should be learning to train a stockdog and not just follow given instructions.
  8. When setting your herding goals be realistic about the time that you have to put into the training and trial preparation. Do not expect more from your dog than you have reasonable expectations to receive. Stockdog training is very difficult. It requires understanding livestock as well as dog training. It also requires lots of practice of skills and using of the dog to gain experience for both dog and handler. Weekly lessons and daily practice are the ideal.
  9. Stick with your chosen trainer and his method until you have finished out a couple of dogs and fully understand the training method from beginning to end. That includes how to correct any problems that may result.
  10. If you decide to change methods again observe the new trainer and try to develop an idea of the flow from beginning dog to finished dog. Auditing seminars is very good. By now you have some experience and may need only to touch basis with the new method on an every three week or monthly basis. The key is that you must be aware of providing the dog with the correct building blocks for this new method. You cannot correct problems without the solid building blocks of that method.
  11. Don’t just run out and try a new skill just because you read it in a book , went to a seminar or watched a video. Without the correct building blocks you will only confuse yourself and your dog and fail at accomplishing what seemed easy. If you really would like to teach a new skill or correct a problem make sure you lay down a solid foundation to make it possible.

Stock Handling at Trials

I thought it might be helpful to send out a little reminder about one of a club’s hardest workers at a trial – the stock handler. Whether you are the Trial Chair/Course Director, the stock handler or an exhibitor here’s some things to keep in mind.

As the Trial Chair/Course Director:

You are hiring the *very best* and most knowledgeable person and dog team you can find to work in your pens.  You know that the quality of every run that day starts with how the stock for each run is set.

You want each set to be equal and set out as close to the same as possible.  You want them handled and set as quietly and calmly as can be – as that can have a direct effect on the runs.  In other words, your stock handler can make or break your trial.  Whether it’s your animals or you’ve rented them, you are ultimately responsible for them and how they are handled/cared for.  You must have complete trust in who you have hired to handle them that day.

Well in advance of your trial, confirm with your stock handler what time you need them there, what the parameters of the job are (types of stock to be handled, the estimated number of runs, etc.) and how they will be paid.  Before your trial make sure that the pens are suitable for the intended stock and can hold them safely and be safe for the handler and  dog to work in, too. It is not the stock handler’s job on the day of the trial to be continually fixing a jerry-rigged pen that’s collapsing.  Strong enough fencing is a must and loose nails or sharp protruding objects need to be taken care of.  Water hoses should be laid out and easily accessible to the stock handlers to keep waterers filled and the stock dog’s cooling tank filled.  Hay for set out should be close at hand.  Your stock handler’s job is to be at the pens and ready for anything, not to be running around the area trying to find another hose in order to get water to the hot and thirsty stock.  It would be helpful to leave a bucket with a pair of pliers, wire cutters, a hammer and some baling twine at the pens so in case of emergency, something can be fixed quickly.

Having some sort of shade or rain cover for the stock handler should be considered. Since your stock handler can’t just dash over to the hospitality table (like almost everyone else), put together a cooler with drinks and some snacks.  You might even ask them what they like to drink or eat!  Make sure the cooler is at the pens at the start of the trial. Every hour or so, check with the stock handlers to make sure they have everything they need and see if they need a break for the rest-room, etc.  Fill in for them, or find someone who can, if they do need  to take a quick break. I f your judge decides to take a break, make sure you let the stock handlers know that is happening.  Especially for lunch! A majority of the time, lunch is all that the “hired hand” is  being paid. So make sure they are well aware of when their “pay day” happens.   (Have walkie-talkies that work!)  

If you are smart, you will make sure your stock handlers eat first, or jump them ahead in line,  as they need to be back to work before anyone else.   If the judge chooses to work through lunch,  bring food out to your stock handlers.

At the end of the day, make sure you personally and *sincerely* thank each stock handler.  That’s about all we ask for after the heat or rain we’ve worked in, the dust we’ve eaten, the bruises we’ve gotten and the sore muscles/feet.

As the Stock Handler:

You are a very important part of the “team” of running the trial.  You and your dog have been hired due to your experience with stock and trialing.  How you handle what goes on in the pens makes a huge difference in how the trial runs.  The Trial Chair/Course Director is counting on you to know your job in order to keep the trial running smoothly.  The judge is counting on you to make sure each run is set as closely to the same as possible so they do not have to account for a “bad set” and to be “at the ready” if trouble occurs.  The exhibitors are counting on you to give them all a fair shake at a good set out and to have their stock as calm and settled as possible.

Bring the best dog you have for the job at hand.  This is not the time to train your young, barely controllable pup.  Having a dog that must be on a lead in the pens does not inspire confidence in your ability to handle the job.  Everyone is looking to you and your dog to be professionals.

Arrive at the site with plenty of time to check the pens to make sure you know how the system works and for safety issues. Make sure your stock has water available (and you know how/where to get more) and none appear injured or lame.  Know where the set out hay/grain is and where to get more.  If there are any problems or questions, go directly to the Trial Chair/Course Director and discuss them – that’s your “boss” for the day.

Meet with the judge and find out exactly where they want the stock set and when to set them out. In certain venues you will also want to discuss options of whether you and your dog are inside or outside the ring for set out.  It might be helpful to organize a “signal” in advance that lets you know if the stock need to be picked up. Sometimes it’s unclear if a run is over or not when you’re back in the pens.  If there are a series of holding pens, ask the judge which pen to start with.  That will ease everyone’s mind that maybe the stock handlers are “hand picking” sets for certain people.  (Though, we know you aren’t!)

Calm and quiet are the words to remember on trial day.  Yelling, hollering or screaming at your dog, the stock or another stock handler is NOT acceptable.  (Cuss under your breath if necessary.)  It only signals to the world that there is trouble and puts everyone on edge.  There should be no crashing or banging the pens, gates, etc.  It is true that in some pens noise is just going to happen due to what they are made of (aluminum gates are the worst), but do your absolute best to keep it as quiet as possible.  You could be the cause of a bad run if an exhibitor’s dog is startled or distracted by all the hullabaloo in the pens.  A huge cloud of dust arising from the pens is always a bad, bad sign…  The calmer and quieter you and your dog are, the better the stock will be.    If the stock are sent out acting like they are there for a walk in the park or a picnic, you’ve done your job well!

You are the caretaker of the stock until the run starts.  Then it’s up to the judge to make the call to stop a run or give a warning for wrongdoing by a dog.  It is not your job to yell (as a “correction”) if a dog bites stock unless it’s absolutely mauling and happens right in front of the set out gate and you don’t feel the judge can see it.  If an animal is returned to the pens and is obviously injured by the dog, you should quickly – and quietly – call the judge over so they may inspect it.

Stock handling can be an extremely rewarding experience.  Spending a day with your good dog buddy, good stock and having nice people around can be quite enjoyable. Knowing that you did your best to help others get those qualifying scores is icing on the cake.

As An Exhibitor: 

Please remember that we are there working hard to help you have the best run possible. We’ve been in your shoes!  Please don’t yell at us or get angry when you haven’t taken the time to check out how to open the gate.  We will be happy to help you if you are having a problem – we know some latches are tricky – just nicely ask (no matter how frustrated you are from your run).  Banish the thought from your mind that we are “hand picking” certain stock for certain people.  We just don’t have the time for that!

Usually, we don’t know who’s coming up next and we’ve already sorted out the next bunch, or the pen to be used has already been established.  If you see one of us running madly to the port-a-potty, please let us go ahead of you…we need to get back right away to putting out your stock!  A little “thank you” to the stock handlers as you shut your re-pen gate is always greatly appreciated.   I hope that all of this will make everyone’s trialing and stock handling experience a little better.  A smile, a thank you and some respect goes a long way for us all!

How to Have a Successful Duck Trial

One hears a lot of complaints about trialing on ducks. Blame is usually laid on the ducks themselves. While some trials do indeed have very bad ducks, most of the time the blame actually belongs to one or more of the following: the dog not working the ducks properly, the handler not understanding duck behavior, the course director having very bad set out practices or the facility owner having very bad holding pen locations, and/or too small arenas.

A successful duck trial first begins with the holding pens. The worst place to locate them is right next to the trial area. Sadly, the majority of trials have them so that they either share the same fence as the trial area or are parallel to the trial arena fence with just a very narrow alley separating them. The closer the ducks in the trial arena are to their buddies in the holding pens, the more they want to get back to them. When the holding pens are next to the arena fence, the ducks in that end of the arena become absolutely frantic to get back to their buddies that they can hear as being right there. They can become so frantic that their minds become absolute mush. The dogs are not able to communicate with the ducks their mental state is so bad. If the dogs can’t communicate with the ducks, then they can’t herd them no matter how hard they try to do so. Some dogs refuse to even try, because they know there is not point to it.

I’ve seen trials where the dogs were having an awful time getting ducks off the back fence in which the ducks were held in crates right next to the fence. When the holding crates were moved some distance away from the fence for the next day’s trial, the trial ran much smoother without the problems at the back fence. I’ve seen dogs struggle with ducks at the back fence. The dogs often barely agreeing to work the ducks at the back fence. But then when the somehow managed to get them away from the back fence, everything transformed. The dog was totally on with the ducks. This is because at the fence the dogs were sensing there was nothing there to communicate with. But once off the fence and away from the holding pens, the ducks’ minds cleared and the dogs found something they could communicate with. And so they went to work herding the ducks.

My observations given in the previous two paragraphs have convinced me of the necessity of having the duck holding pens well away from the arena if one is to have a successful duck trial. One can construct a long chute from the holding pens to the trial arena. X-pen chutes go up and down very quickly. Or one can bring sets down one at a time in crates when it is time for them to be run. No spare sets waiting right next to the arena to hurry things along as quickly as possible. But that’s ok because having only the set being worked anywhere near the trial arena actually speeds things up because the runs are more efficient when you’ve eliminated all the angsts caused by having the holding areas too close to the arenas. Holding ducks well away from the arena is critical to having a great duck trial. I strongly encourage all course directors to make sure the trial is set up this way.

It is a good idea for Ducks should spend happy time in the area prior to the trial. At the opposite of the end of the arena from the set out / exhaust, they should have a real happy place with sprinklers, wading pool, and food. Give them good memories of the arena rather than having them think of it as that dreadful place with those awful dogs.

Another thing that would help increase qualifying scores / smoothness of runs is to increase the size of the arenas. In a minimum sized 100 x 100 arena, a dog does not have much room to get off the birds. Often the room available is less than the flight zones of the fowl. This makes it hard to do free standing obstacles. The AKC A course cross drive especially suffers in this regard. The cross drive would go much smoother if both the length and the width were well above minimum. When a dog has room to work, he is able to control the stock much better. Thus, there is less loosing of stock and less “tour de courses.” So, even though the course length is longer, the ducks will end up actually covering much less ground. The ASCA C Course with all its obstacles off the fence is extremely difficult in a minimum arena.

There are many different ways to set out ducks. I will not go over them here as that is an article in itself. Instead, I’ll just cut to the bottom line: Ducks should never be set in a manner which results in stress to them or which gets them riled up.

When a course calls for ducks to be put at a set out point, such as in AKC A Course, they should be set out and not just dumped out the gate. I believe that when the arena is too small for dogs to get far enough out to be off contact on their out runs, the ducks should be held at the set out until the dog can get behind. Give the dog a chance to start his run off properly. To not hold them, means the ducks run to the home fence before even a wide running dog can get behind and taking ducks off a fence is far more difficult than trying to take sheep off a fence. Though if the holding areas are well away from the arena as I advised above, then this may become a non-issue.

Also important in success of the trial is choice of birds. The best birds are those used to being nicely worked by dogs and those that have had a lot of interaction with people. It is said that ducks don’t fetch well. And this is generally true because most ducks are very wary of people and don’t want to go anywhere near them. However, this is not because it is a basic behavior of ducks, but because most trial ducks have limited interaction with people. Those who were hand raised or whose owners have had a lot of interaction with them fetch very well. The worst ducks I ever worked had never really seen people. They had an auto waterer and the feed was just thrown over the fence. They would not go anywhere near people and were nearly impossible to get into the AKC B course pen with the handler required to stand there and hold the rope. On the other end of the spectrum, handraised, very people-friendly ducks are a bitch to shed.

Prior to the trial stock should have been dog broke and worked only in non-stressful manners. They should be worked mostly in the open, even when being prepared for a trial that is mostly along a fence line. They should be used to going into trial obstacles/pens. They should get enough regular exercise so that they are “legged-up” and have the endurance to hold up over several trial runs. They should not spend >99% of their time shut up in a small pen. Poorly conditioned ducks will quit from exhaustion in the all too common runs where they get ying yanged all over the course.

Breed of poultry can also make a difference. Indian runners are very commonly used in herding. Though they have great flocking instinct, they are extremely neurotic and easily frazzled. They are also the most fence clingy of all the common duck breeds. I just can’t understand why they are trialed on as much as they are. The other egg production breeds (Kaki Campbell, Welsh Harlequin) are all derived from the Runner and have all inherited its nervousness, though watered down just a bit. General purpose breeds are much calmer and less fence clingy and I wish they were used in trials much more than they are. Ancona and Blue Swedish are my favorites. Cayuga have taken a long time for me to dog break, but once broken work very well. Therefore, it would be a disaster to put unbroken or barely broken Cayuga in a trial. The Meat breeds (i.e. Peking) are very heavily built and don’t move very well and are therefore unsuitable for herding trials. Call ducks are the only common Bantam breed. I don’t have much experience with them, but folks in some areas seem to really like them especially the strain Joyce Norris developed especially for herding.

Geese are another option. For years, no one ran geese in trials despite it being allowed to substitute them for ducks. I think this was out of fear that they would be super aggressive and just terrible to work. When my Klaatu had earned all the AHBA titles available at the time except for geese, I bought twenty goslings, raised them up and started having goose trials. They worked wonderfully. So much calmer than ducks and no fence clinging. One friend described them as like ships sailing on water. Aggression in trials has been minimal and usually a response to being over harassed by the dog. (In fact, at one goose trial I was at, I predicted both times a goose turned on a dog.) Folks started kicking themselves for not having run geese before. There are now many facilities running geese in trials and loving it. Be sure to think tall run chutes, holding pens etc. for geese as geese can go over low barriers more easily than ducks. And use large pens in the trial as geese take up a lot more room than ducks.

The preceding is what the trial organizers can do to make the best trial possible. The remainder now falls on the handler being knowledgeable on the idiosyncrasies of ducks. Too many handlers block their way, give crook signals to the dogs that also effect the ducks, walk into ducks or allow their dogs to put too much pressure on the ducks. When handling in the duck arena, the person needs to be able to recognize when the dog is working inappropriately and then to immediately start handling to get the dog to work properly.

History of the American Herding Breed Association

The American Herding Breed Association was founded in 1986 in response to the increasing interest in herding activities by owners of a wide variety of breeds.  The AHBA was set up to help provide information in response to inquiries from those interested in herding and the herding breeds.  The focus of the AHBA program is on practical herding work.  While recognizing that many individuals will not be in a position to use theri dogs daily in practical work, the AHBA desires nonetheless that herding be taken seriously and does not desire that it be viewed as a casual hobby.  The AHBA has an interest in all aspects of herding and the herding breeds, and the investigation of canine behaviors which relate to herding ability.

– Introductory paragraph on the American Herding Breed Association website

In the 1980s a general trend was building directed toward the development of organized programs for working-oriented canine activities. There had, of course, long been sheepdog trials for the working collies that became the registered Border Collie. In the 1970s stockdog trials were established for the Australian Shepherd, first limited to Aussies, and by the early 1980s other breeds were allowed to take part and earn ASCA titles. Some local all-breed stockdog herding groups became active in the 1970s and 1980s.

Prominent among the influences that led to the development of the American Herding Breed Association was the herding program of the American Working Collie Association. The AWCA was formed in 1980 with the goal of acknowledging and encouraging a variety of working activities for Rough and Smooth Collies. Among those activities was herding. Around this time the Bearded Collie Club of America developed a formal herding instinct test and began issuing herding instinct certificates. Learning about this, members of the AWCA adopted a similar program for Rough and Smooth Collies. Wishing to go further in encouraging work at higher levels, the AWCA’s Herding Committee set up a trial titles program, with the titles HTD (for Herding Trial Dog), HTDX (Herding Trial Dog Excellent), and HTCh. (Herding Trial Champion), acknowledging both open field work, adapted from the traditional trials for Border Collies, and arena work of the type used in the ASCA stockdog program.

As the AWCA program became established, people with other breeds began attending AWCA events. Interest grew in these kinds of programs, and it became apparent that there was a place for an organization that could provide for standardized testing and record-keeping for all herding breeds. In June 1986 the American Herding Breed Association was founded by Linda Rorem, Rita Carr (now Rita Crawford), and Peggy Prater. Linda was one of the members of the AWCA Herding Committee, and Rita and Peggy were Sheltie owners who were involved in performance activities with their dogs. The first program of the AHBA was an all-breed herding certification program like that of the BCCA and the AWCA, with certification earned by passing a one-leg test.

The response was very positive. While the initial activities of the AHBA were focused on instinct tests, plans soon were made to develop a trial program as well. Several AHBA members in Southern California held a few small trials in the process of developing ideas, and in December 1986 the first AHBA-affiliated trials were held. The first AHBA newsletter appeared on Jan. 1987, with a list of dogs certified for herding instinct in 1986 and an article explaining the working style and characteristics categories on the herding instinct certification form, and the next issue featuring articles about herding trials in France in the present and in 1898. The first published trial rules appeared in the Sept./Oct. 1987 issue of the newsletter. The early courses for the Herding Trial Dog (HTD) title varied to some extent, while requiring basic skills such as gathering, driving and penning. Trial runs at that time weren’t scored numerically, but judged on a pass/not pass basis, as was the case with the instinct tests. For the first several years the instinct test program was the largest part in the AHBA, but the trials program was growing. On January 1, 1988 the revised trials program began. Course suggestions were provided, but variation continued to be allowed in the courses, again with basic elements being required. At this point, both pass/fail or numerical scoring were acceptable — the sponsor could choose which to use — with the qualifying percentage for numerical scores being 60%.

Many of the people involved with the early Bearded Collie, Rough/Smooth Collie, Belgian Tervuren and AHBA herding programs were also involved in the development of the AKC program. There was some thought that with the advent of AKC herding program, the AHBA would come to an end. It proved to be the case, however, that a herding-focused all-breed organization was still desirable, and, along with some growing pains, the AHBA programs continued to develop. For a period in 1989 and 1990, while developments involving the advent of the AKC program were being worked out, only a standard course was used, essentially the HTD course as it is today. In January 1990 the one-leg HIC became the two-leg Herding Capability Test (HCT). The Junior Herding Dog (JHD) program was established. Titles became stock-specific and scored numerically, with the percentage for qualifying continuing to be 60%.

New trial rules were published in the Oct.-Nov.-Dec. 1991 newsletter. In addition to the standard course, alternate courses were again allowed and reference was made to ranch courses. Over the next few years, more attention was given to these variable courses, and by 1995 some ranch-type trials and a large-flock French-style trial were being held.

New for January 1995 was the Herding Trial Championship (HTCh.) program, the criteria for which remain essentially as they were established then. Trials continued to increase in number, and in January 1996 the Herding Ranch Dog (HRD) program was approved. At the same time, the qualifying percentage for qualifying in trials was raised to 70%. Because sizes of HTD courses continued to vary considerably, from minimum-sized arenas to large open fields, there was some concern about consistency in the HTD titles. The eventual solution was to set up separate titles for trials held in arenas. After considering several options, it was decided to add an arena course title to the program, and the Herding Trial Arena Dog (HTAD) program was established in January 2005. Four basic courses were set out, from which a sponsor could choose, with some standard variations allowed on the courses. In January 2007 the Ranch Large Flock (RLF) option was added to the program, to encourage the holding of trials using larger groups of stock – sheep, goats, cattle or geese. The newest development, added in March 2012, is the mixed stock designation for HRD and RLF trials that utilize different types of stock in the same class. For several years occasional thought had been given to ways in which more than one type of stock could be used on a course, and the advent of the ASCA Farm Trial program, which allows a mixed stock option, provided an impetus. In the case of the AHBA’s mixed stock trials, the groups of animals may be worked concurrently for suitable stock, such as sheep and goats in the same group, or consecutively, such as working sheep or goats and then ducks or geese, etc.

The sources of the AHBA program are varied and many people have contributed to AHBA over the years. The programs of the AHBA were influenced by earlier programs of other organizations, such as the instinct tests held by the BCCA and AWCA, the trial program of the AWCA, the traditional courses of France and the ASCA ranch courses, among others. Adaptations were made, original ideas proposed, proposals discussed, and the AHBA officers and board, with input from the membership, would ultimately decide on the implementation. While some individuals have been more active and involved than others, it is not accurate for any single person to claim that they “originated” or “developed” this or that program or came up with this or that concept. The programs of the AHBA always have been the result of collaborative efforts, with influences and ideas building upon one another.