Stockdog Terminology – An Observation

The use of the word, “draw” to describe flocking instinct or herd behavior – the naturally occurring behavior of livestock (when a single animal or small group is separated from a herd or flock that they are attracted or “drawn” to the remaining animals) is a recent introduction into the stockdog lexicon. While the useage is not incorrect I never heard it used in that way in the livestock world. The “draw” was always the random group of stock selected for the run order (as in luck of the draw) at a trial.

As working livestock in trial competition continues to grow as an increasingly popular sport it attracts a wide variety of people….many of which are not from livestock backgrounds. Consequently, the intrinsic nature of livestock in relation to dog training has to be taught or learned and defined, so new terminology evolves.

The term, square flank(s, ing) is a modern addition as well. It wasn’t used until Glyn Jones used it to describe a type of flank as a dog moves around livestock in his book, A Way of Life (©1987) on pages 45-47:  “When we are teaching a dog to circle his sheep in the manner described above we are not only teaching him the verbal commands for left and right; we are also teaching him to go left and right in a square movement. I happen to believe that the flanking movement should be square in order to ensure that the dog turns off his sheep correctly. . . . Good, square flanking is very important in so many movements made on the trials field, and many trials are lost on the cross-drive because the handler cannot get the dog to flank properly.”

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