Trialing Tips and Judging

We can measure success of the training by performance at the trials, and whether you’re a seasoned handler, or completely new to trialing, you can benefit from our trialing tips and insights. It’s important to us that our dogs are confident and positive in their work, while effective at competition. Another extremely important aspect of trialing is judging, and furthering your understanding of judging, will further your effectiveness at the trials.
This section features insights into all aspects of trialing and judging.

Videos and Articles

Ten Things to Do At the Trials to Help You Set Your Dog Up for Success [Article]
Judging the Lift [Video]

In this nearly 10 minute arm chair conversation Alasdair discusses and explains why the 10 points for the lift are important.
He also details how to evaluate this phase of work and why it should not be regarded by handlers or judges as, “just a gimme” .
What is a “Running Style” and how you can adapt yours to best suit your dog [Article]

There are many ways we can help our dogs including adapting our style of running to best suit our dogs attributes.

Analyzing the Fetch - Four Fetches from the 2019 Steve Munson Memorial Trial [Video]

Alasdair analyzes and details the running styles, point deduction, sheep reading and effectiveness of four fetches. This video helps to not only understand the content presented, but how to evaluate your own running style and effectiveness.

An Armchair Discussion About Judging [Video]

Alasdair discusses why being a “hard judge” reveals a lack of confidence, and how critical it is to have a balanced judging system as well as examples of what this means and anecdotes from his time judging in Scotland.
Alasdair does a split screen analysis, comparing the gather of Patricia’s Jim and Nell, at the 2018 NC State Championship. [Video]

This video breaks down gather of Jim and Nell, assesses their individual running styles and addresses how you can adjust your style, to adapt for your dog.
Patricia and Nell, NC State Championships [Video]

Alasdair judges and analyzes Patricia’s run with Nell at the 2018 NC State Championship.
Patricia and Jim, NC State Championships [Video]

Alasdair judges and analyzes Patricia’s run with Jim at the 2018 NC State Championships.
Judging the pen, shed and preventing point loss as you transition from one to other, Vashon SDT [Video]

How you proceed from the pen to the shed is extremely important and this video illustrates how to prevent losing points in that transition, assessing the penalty in this example, as well as analyzing and judging both the pen and the shed.

The 3 C’s - the key to YOUR success at the next trial! [Article]

Doing consistently well at competition requires training. In addition to preparing your dog, you also need to be prepared. The most successful handlers follow the 3 C’s every time they step to the post:

Alasdair judges and analyzes his run with Tweed at the 2018 Bluegrass Classic [Video]
The Pen - an Analysis [Video]
In this video, Alasdair analyzes, judges, and reflects on his and Tod’s pen, with savvy dog-broke sheep from the Happy Hollow Trial.
Nite and Dot - Trial Debuts [Video]

This video includes their full runs, analysis of their performance and development, as well as next steps in their training.
The Five Ps of Sheepdog Trials [Article + Video]

This Article + Video explain what the 5 P's are & provides a look inside how Alasdair addresses this concept, prior to running Dot at her 1st trial.
Encouraging Confidence While Training for trials [Video]

An in depth analysis of how handling one aspect on the fetch can profoundly impact your dog's overall enthusiasm, enjoyment of work as well as performance at the trials.
Analysis of Jim's Single (shed) [Video]

Patricia analyzes 3 critical aspects of Jim's single at the Steve Munson Memorial SDT 2017.
Bending or re-directing a dog on the outrun [Video]

Jim illustrates a 90 degree bend on his outrun.

Fetching with Sheep That Won't Stand [Video]

How to practice fetching when your sheep won't stand at the top of the outrun.
How the "Lie Down" can help you, help your dog [Video]

The lie down - how it helps you, help your dog at every stage.

5 Tips: Best practices for turning the post at the trials [Article]
An analysis of Alasdair and Tweed's pen and shed [Video]

Alasdair reflects and analyzes his pen and shed from the 2017 Cedar Stone SDT
Judging the shed [Video]

Whether you aspire to compete at trials or judge them, this video, in which Alasdair judges many competition style sheds, is an excellent and very valuable tool.
4 Tips when working at hand [Video]

Four things to look for when working at hand -an analysis of Wisp’s flanks and shed.
Teaching Your Dog to Turn Back Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought [Article]
Putting a dog on his feet [Video]

Putting a dog on his feet, without moving forward, is one of the little things that can make a huge difference in your training.
Don't make excuses for gripping [Video]

Jim demonstrates that a dog doesn't need to bite to move livestock.

What Working a Single Can Tell You About Your Dog (shed) [Article]
7 Tips for Setting Sheep Successfully [Video]

Seven key tips to help you and your dog be a successful and effective set out team.
The Importance of Working a Single Sheep (shed )[Video]

Working a single is an excellent and important way to evaluate your dog.
Alasdair and Bill, Double-lift, International Shed Final [Video]

Alasdair analyzes his and Bill's winning run from the 2004 Blue Grass Classic Double Lift International Shed Final.
Choosing the right whistles for your dog [Article]

4 Tips to Increase Enthusiasm at the Shed [Video]

Four key tips to increase your dog's enthusiasm for the shed. Learn more in our online course, The Shed.
A Key Training Tip for Competition Shedding [Article]
Preparing for the US National- An interview with 12-time champion [Article]
6 Tips for the International Shed [Video]

Six ImportantTraining tips for practicing the International Shed.
Should you watch your dog or watch your sheep? [Video]

This Mythbuster interview addresses whether you should watch your sheep or watch your dog, when training and trialing, including the turn at the post.
The Importance of Developing Your Dog’s Outrun [Article]
Can your trial dog also be your chore dog? [Video]

This Mythbuster interview explains why it's very important to us that our dogs are successful at chores and trials.

It’s all in your head-The Mental aspect of Trialing [Article]
Can a top trial dog live in the house? [Video]
This Mythbuster interview addresses whether a top trial dog can live in the house.