Sound breeding of Practical ‘Utility’ Stock Dogs always takes into account the assessments of their practical working ability and merit of these dogs – to collect, control and move stock (both sheep and cattle). Sensible selection depends upon it.
Assessments – Emphasis is not on: ‘what’s been done’, but ‘how it is being achieved’
Assessments are determined through testing dogs in AUSDS Inc. sheep trials and cattle trials. This combination tests the ability and merit of as many Essential Natural Traits as possible, and is based upon the four major ‘utility’ aspects:
(a) long searching casts and mustering, (b) paddock and obstacle work, (c) yard work and (d) cattle handling.
Assessments of (a), (b) and (c) can be obtained from sheep trials, and (d) can be obtained from cattle trials.
*NB (a) and (b) can apply to both sheep and cattle work; (c) applies to sheep work only.
Points are assigned for a whole array of tests. Various sections are made-up of these points, which in turn make-up points allocated for (a), (b), (c) and (d). These four major ‘utility’ aspects are of equal importance and percentage value. The combination of (a), (b), and (c), for sheep work, make-up 3/4 of the maximum percentage scores allocated (75.0%), and (d), for cattle work, make-up the other 1/4 (25.0%).
The four separate assessment percentage scores are tallied to derive at the total percentage scores given (out of 100.0%). Percentages taken to the nearest decimal point gives a relative and precise account.
Assessment scores are derived at by giving a score out of a maximum allocation for each section, based on ability and merit, rather than points being deducted for inferior and erroneous work.
Assessment scores are given for completed sections of trials AND those sections attempted and partly completed, including the stock work undertaken between one section and the next obstacle.
If time expires before completion of trial runs, appropriate assessment scores are retained.
Assessments have a greater degree of accuracy when dogs are allowed to work naturally – using their own initiative. (see AUSDS Inc. Judging Guidelines for Trials)