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AKC - COURSE C

Section 1. Course C:

Course C reflects a tending shepherd's day, as he/she accompanies the flock, moving
to various unfenced grazing areas. The sheep must be allowed to graze peacefully,
HGH
C-Course
Herding
Glossary of Herding Terms
contained within specified unfenced areas, and safely guided on the roads between
those areas. The dog patrols to guard against sheep trespassing onto the adjoining
field, while the sheep graze and are moved along roads. The shepherd and dog are
responsible for the safety and good health of the sheep, in addition to protection of all
adjoining lands from the sheep. Only through a harmonious effort among the shepherd,
the flock and the dog can optimal success be attained in this type of grazing flock
management.

Only sheep are used on Course C. Although the minimum number of sheep allowed is 20, larger flocks give the best opportunity for success. The handler walks with the flock to lead or guide them along the roads and into graze areas. The Judge and Secretary also walk the course at a discreet distance from the handler, dog and stock. Spectators are not allowed on the course during the competition.

The site of the course should be similar to a farm or pasture area to allow the execution of all the exercises and obstacles. It should take advantage of as many natural features as possible. The order of the exercises and obstacles may be changed as necessary to accommodate the site, provided all are included in appropriate relation to each other.

Course C shall cover a minimum distance of 440 linear yards and a maximum distance of 880 linear yards.

Started 440 to 540 linear yards
Intermediate 540 to 780 linear yards
Advanced 780 to 880 linear yards

Section 2. Course Layout.
The Pen - The pen is used for holding the sheep at the beginning of the run and for penning the sheep at the end of the run.

The pen fence is of an inflexible, substantial material which is sufficiently high to hold the stock, prevent their escape and permit clear visibility for the sheep and dog. The size is 32 feet x 32 feet to 48 feet x 48 feet depending on the number of sheep used. The gate is located on one corner of the pen and must open easily. It may swing or be a panel that lifts out.

Exit from the Pen- Scoring for the pen begins when the handler opens the gate and ends when the last sheep or dog leaves the pen, whichever happens last. Before time begins, the handler and dog may walk around the pen in order to let the sheep become familiar with them. The dog may or may not be leashed. The handler may choose to enter the pen and walk through the flock.

The handler removes the lead from the dog before the gate is opened. The dog prevents the escape of the flock while the gate is being opened. The handler commands the dog to enter the pen, either by jumping in, or moving through the gate.

The handler will call the flock and set the sheep in motion. If the sheep do not begin the exit from the pen, the dog may move back, to assist in getting the flock started. Once the flock begins to move, the dog protects the sheep and fence from possible damage. The best position for this is inside the pen, close to the protruding edge of the fence. The dog's position should not be so far into the gate opening that it stops or inhibits the smooth exit of the sheep. The dog follows the last sheep out of the pen.

If on exiting, the sheep fail to follow the handler, and if the handler deems it necessary, the dog may be called out of the pen to control the flock.

Re-Pen - Scoring begins approximately 20 feet before the pen and ends when the gate is closed. To return the flock to the pen, the handler leads the sheep a few steps into the pen and then stands by the gate on the outside of the pen. The dog takes a position opposite the handler outside the pen to prevent any sheep from going past the gate. Should some sheep refuse to enter the pen, the dog may move along the flock to encourage forward movement. Once the sheep are moving, the dog returns to stand at the gate. The dog does not enter the pen. The handler closes the gate, which concludes the run.

Narrow Road - Scoring encompasses all work between the exit of an exercise and the 20 foot beginning marker for the next exercise. The narrow road connects all phases of the course and should be no less than 3/4 of the length of the course. It can be a natural lane, a mowed path or marked by plowed furrows. It should be about 12 to 15 feet wide and have a proportion (1/3 in Started, 1/2 in Intermediate and 2/3 in Advanced) out in the open, at least 10 feet away from any fence line, in order to show the dog's ability to work both sides.

The dog works the side of the flock where the distractions and possible dangers may occur, where the stock could cause damage to crops or damage the property of others. The dog works on its own, without excessive, repeated commands from the handler. In Started, the dog may receive some verbal commands from the handler, but excessive commands are to be severely penalized. It is the handler's responsibility to direct the dog to change sides as necessary. This action must not cause the flock to slow down, speed up or leave the road.

The Bridge - Scoring begins approximately 20 feet before the bridge. Scoring ends when the last sheep or the dog leaves the bridge, whichever happens last.

If a preexisting bridge is not available, a freestanding substitute may be built. The bridge should be no longer than 21 feet, nor more than 12 feet wide. If the bridge has wings, they may be no wider than the width of the narrow road (approximately 12 to 15 feet) and the panels leading in no longer than approximately 8 feet.

The dog will stay on the most dangerous side of the bridge, close to the panel and will be sent to this position early enough to prevent sheep from going around the bridge. If all or part of the flock are not crossing, the dog may go back along the flock to encourage forward motion, guiding the sheep on to the bridge. Once the flock is moving, the dog returns to the wing to guard against sheep going around the bridge. After the flock has crossed over the bridge, the dog follows them over the bridge.

Pause (of the flock), Traffic Road - Scoring begins approximately 20 feet before the entrance onto the traffic road and ends when the last sheep leaves the traffic road. The flock is an integral part of the traffic pattern and travels on the right hand side of the road, the same as a car.

The Traffic Road must be at least 20 to 25 feet wide. This exercise is performed on a paved road, farm road, a lane or mowed path with sufficient width to safely accommodate a vehicle while passing the flock. The length of this road varies, depending upon the class. In the Started Class, with a parked vehicle, the road may be 100 yards long. The same holds true for the Intermediate Class, where the vehicle passes once. However, a minimum of 150 yards is required for the Advanced Class since the vehicle passes twice.

For the Pause, the dog is brought into a position in front of and facing the flock to stop their forward motion. The dog will hold the sheep from following the handler while he/she moves away from the flock, a few feet, to check for traffic. The handler returns to the flock, the dog resumes its work.

The handler guides the flock onto the road while the dog works the roadside boundary. When there is no traffic, the flock may cover the entire traffic road. As the vehicle approaches the stock, the dog comes onto the road and moves the sheep to the right hand side of the road. As the vehicle passes, the dog works between the vehicle and the stock to provide sufficient room for the vehicle to pass while protecting the stock and keeping all the sheep from moving in front of the moving vehicle.

When the vehicle has passed, the dog returns to the roadside boundary and the sheep may use the entire width of the traffic road.

In the Started Class, the vehicle will be parked with the engine running. In Intermediate, the vehicle will pass once from the front of the flock. In Advanced, the vehicle will pass once from the front and once from the rear.

The Vehicle - The vehicle must be as quiet as possible and provide a maximum field of visibility for the driver. A golf cart is the preferred vehicle. A compact or sub-compact car or van is preferable to a farm tractor because of the noise of the tractor. Bicycles and motorcycles are prohibited.

For the Advanced Class, if a car or truck is used, there must be two people in it when moving. The car may not be driven faster than 5 mph. If a pick-up truck is used it may not have a canopy. The driver must be licensed by a recognized motor vehicle department.

Wide Graze - Scoring for both wide and narrow grazes begins approximately 20 feet before the graze and ends when the last sheep or the dog exits the graze area. The wide graze may be laid out in a meadow, a field of stubble, lawn or pasture. The wide graze areas may be adjacent or parallel to the narrow road. Depending on the natural features, the individual wide graze areas may be grouped but need not be. The boundaries of each area may be marked by natural features such as a creek, a forest line, a strip of mown grass, a plowed furrow, sawdust or shavings. The area must be free of fresh manure. Since no single graze area may be used more than three times, the number of wide graze areas will be determined by the number of dogs entered. Each area will measure 25 yards x 50 yards and will be numbered. At the beginning of each run, the handler will be informed of the wide graze area to use (by number).

The handler may lead the flock into the assigned graze area. Once the sheep are in the graze area, the handler moves to the inside edge of the graze boundary. The handler may position him/herself to be opposite the area the dog is working and move along the edge as needed. The handler may not walk among the sheep without penalty during the graze.

The dog will move to the graze boundary, where it will patrol or move as needed to keep the flock within the assigned area. The sheep should not be disturbed while grazing nor permitted to stray over the boundary of the assigned area.

The time for the wide graze is 5 to 10 minutes, at the Judge's discretion and must be consistent for each run in a class.

Narrow Graze (Advanced class only) - The dimensions of the narrow graze are 7 to 8 yards by 60 to 100 yards for 20 sheep. Other than the size, the requirements of the narrow graze are the same as the wide graze.

The handler guides the stock to the assigned graze area. The flock is to graze in the narrow space which causes them to spread out lengthwise. The handler will stay on the edge of the grazing area, moving forward or backward to encourage the forward movement of the flock, while the dog moves to the opposite side of the stock. If necessary, the dog may change sides, working the same side as the handler. Throughout the exercise, the dog does not disturb nor permit the flock to turn around, fan out or leave the grazing area.

Placement Before the Flock (Intermediate and Advanced only) The handler will decide when this exercise will be performed and will so notify the Judge. The exercise demonstrates the dog's ability to be placed outside and inside the graze and to change the direction of the grazing sheep.

The handler sends the dog along the boundary to the head of the flock. At the handler's signal, the dog stands with its attention on the flock. The dog enters the graze and approaches the flock slowly. The approach is stopped three times with the dog standing, until the dog reaches the head of the flock. The last stop will be at the point where the dog is in contact with and turning the head of the flock. Once the flock has turned, the dog will exit the graze on command in the same area it used to enter the graze and returns to work.

Section 3. Classes
Started Class Course C - Description
Time Allowed: 30 Minutes
Directions: The distance for this course will be between 440 to 540 linear yards. The handler may assist the dog in removing the stock from pen, but may not touch the dog or stock without penalty once the stock have left the pen

1) Exit from the pen
2) Narrow road - connects all phases of work.
3) Bridge
4) Pause/Traffic
5) Wide Graze
6) Pen

Intermediate Class Course C - Description
Time Allowed: 45 Minutes
Directions: The distance for this course will be between 540 and 780 linear yards. The handler may not assist the dog in removing the stock from the pen and may not touch dog or stock without penalty.

1) Exit from the pen
2) Narrow road - connects all phases of work.
3) Bridge
4) Pause/Traffic
5) Wide graze
6) Placement before the flock
7) Pen

Advanced Class Course C - Description
Time Allowed: 45 Minutes
Directions: The distance for this course will be between 780 and 880 linear yards. The handler may not assist the dog in removing the stock from the pen and may not touch dog or stock without penalty.

1) Exit from the pen
2) Narrow road - -connects all phases of work
3) Bridge
4) Pause/Traffic
5) Wide graze/Narrow graze
6) Placement before the flock
7) Pen

Section 4. Judging Course C.
SUGGESTED SCORING
Points will be deducted in 1/2 or whole point increments only. Scoring indicating point loss for the stock "speeding up and fanning out" refers to excess, not to any slight quickening of pace.

Scoring is for the actual obstacle, which is marked using a visible safe material indicating the beginning (approximately 20 feet before the obstacle) and ending as the sheep or dog exit the obstacle. The rest of the scoring is under Narrow Road.

In all exercises and obstacles, a dog which responds independently and properly to a problem which arises will receive a higher score than a dog which must be directed by the handler.

A. Exit from the pen
1. Up to 2 points deducted if the flock escape the pen while the handler is opening the gate.
2. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog not entering the pen on command or not jumping in if commanded to do so.
3. Up to 2 points deducted for disturbing the flock upon entering the pen.
4. Up to 2 points deducted for not guarding the gate opening to protect the sheep and/or fence from damage.
5. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog leaving the pen before the last sheep, unless directed by the handler.
6. Up to 10 points deducted when the dog fails to respond to situations on its own initiative.
7. (Re-pen) Up to 2 points deducted for the dog quitting before all the sheep have entered the pen.

B. Narrow Road
1. Up to 1 point deducted for stopping the sheep at undesignated places during their forward motion.
2. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog not working the complete length of the stock when necessary.
3. Up to 2 points deducted if the dog does not change sides when commanded.
4. Up to 3 points deducted for the dog splitting the flock.
5. Up to 3 points deducted for the dog causing the stock to speed up or fan out.
6. Up to 5 points deducted for the dog being off contact at an excessive distance from the sheep.
7. Up to 5 points deducted for the flock off the road (off-line).
8. Up to 5 points deducted if the movement of the stock is not peaceful because of concern about the dog's presence (crowding one another, packed tightly, nervous).
9. Up to 10 points deducted if the dog fails to guide the flock using its own initiative.

C. Pause
1. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog being unable to stop the stock.
2. Up to 2 points deducted if the dog fails to hold the flock.
3. Up to 3 points deducted for the flock not settling.

D. Traffic
1. Up to 2 points deducted for the vehicle having to slow down due to dog or sheep.
2. Up to 2 points deducted if the dog runs around the vehicle.
3. Up to 5 points deducted if the stock stops its forward movement.

E. Wide and Narrow Grazes
1. Up to 3 points deducted for the dog working inside the line, too close to the flock.
2. Up to 3 points deducted for the dog working too far outside the line.
3. Up to 10 points deducted if the dog causes or allows the flock to split or leave the graze area.
4. Up to 10 points deducted for the dog disturbing the stock and preventing it from grazing.
5. Up to 10 points deducted for the handler out of position.
6. Up to 10 points deducted for the dog constantly going around the graze.
7. Up to 10 points deducted if the dog fails to work on its own initiative.

F. Placement Before the Flock (Intermediate/Advanced)
1. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog not stopping promptly.
2. Up to 3 points deducted for the dog disturbing the flock while being sent for the placement.
3. Up to 3 points deducted if the dog does not exit on the same boundary as it entered.
4. Up to 10 points deducted if the handler is unable to send the dog for the placement.

G. Bridge
1. Up to 2 points deducted for disturbing the stock while they are entering or exiting.
2. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog breaking its stay while guarding the bridge wing, unless commanded by the handler or if the sheep have refused to cross the bridge.
3. Up to 2 points deducted for the dog crossing the bridge before all the sheep pass.
4. Up to 10 points deducted for the stock not crossing over the bridge or going around it.

H. General Deductions
1. Up to 5 points deducted for touching the dog or sheep.
2. Up to 5 points deducted or removed from course for an unacceptable grip. The dog must be excused for an abusive grip.
3. Up to 5 points deducted if the dog marks the course.
4. Up to 8 points deducted if stock does not respect dog.
5. Up to 10 points deducted if the dog needs repeated commands to perform tasks.
6. Up to 10 points deducted if the dog fails to control situations on its own initiative.

Maximum points available:
Course C - All Classes - 100 points
1. Exit from Pen and Re-Pen 15
2. Narrow Road 20
3. Bridge 10
4. Pause/Traffic 20
5. Graze (Int. and Adv.) 25
(Started) 35
6. Placement (Int. and Adv.) 10

TOTAL 100

In order to receive a qualifying score in any class, a dog must have a total of at least 60 points, provided none of the above point categories are scored at less than 1/2 of the available points.