The ability to read and handle stock proficiently is critical to positioning your dog correctly to
achieve the movement you are seeking. Whether in trialing or general farm work, understanding and
reading your stock is the key to really advancing.
Simon specializes in educating and working with dog handlers utilizing principles of low stress
stock handing – teaching them to work stock without unduly stressing them. In his
clinics, he introduces handlers to the zones in a stock animal’s eye,
and the influence you can have by applying pressure and release from each of those zones. He teaches
handlers to correctly read flight zones, and to watch stock for clear indications of what is
about to happen.
Simon also addresses how to educate a trainer flock for dog training. Inappropriate stock handling
can set a young dog back in his training as he constantly has to adjust to sheep or cattle doing the
wrong thing. Flocking animals should flock if handled properly, understanding that there is far more
pressure away from the flock than there is when staying with it. Working with your stock to achieve
this and protecting it from over zealous dogs is key to appropriate stock behaviour.
Releasing pressure when movement is achieved rewards the stock for moving in the direction you
want. Understanding those principles and seeing them correctly applied is exciting even for the most
seasoned stock handler.
With the animal welfare microscope clearly focused on Sheepdog trials, organisers will come under
increasing pressure to ensure their animals are subjected to as little stress as possible.
Understanding how livestock move and the best way to handle them has become more and more a
priority when running trials. Imparting those skills is a priority in the Simon Leaning stock
dog clinics and demonstrations.