Lacamas Valley Sheep Dog Trial 2012 August 16-19, hosted by Johnston Dairy in Camas

August 18, 2012

Dogs and people from all over the world enjoy the herding dog challenges

Handler Dave Imas whistles signals to his dog Tipp during Friday’s round one Open Class trials (photo Martha Martin)














By Martha Martin—-Johnston Dairy Farm is the setting for the Lacamas Valley Sheep Dog Trial which started Thursday August 16, and runs through Sunday August 19.

Lynn Johnston, owner of Johnston Dairy, watches the herding trials (photo Martha Martin)

According to information listed on the website, the Lacamas Valley

Handler Dave Imas and Tipp (photo Martha Martin)

Sheep Dog Trial is a sanctioned and competitive event featuring many of the most talented handlers and dogs on the West Coast and British Columbia.

This is the 8th year that Johnston Dairy has hosted this event, and this year brings 190 dogs from the United States and other countries to compete.

“We are really trying to build this up”, says Lynn Johnston, owner of Johnston Dairy.  He sees this as a world class event that deserves high recognition.

Johnston Dairy, which is located in a valley near Camas, Washington, provides a venue which offers an international style course which is challenging for the handlers and provides exceptional spectator viewing.

This year’s Trial is being judged by Bruce Fogt of Sidney, Ohio.  Fogt has extensive trial experience both in and outside of the United States, traveling as far as South Africa.

What to see at the herding trial

Handler and dog await their turn on the course (photo Martha Martin)

Dogs and handlers work together, with the handler directing their dog through whistles and voice commands.  Each handler’s run begins with the handler and dog waiting at the handler’s post for the sheep to be set out at the end of the field.  Each team starts the course with a full set of points.  Points are deducted during the run for less than ideal work by the handler/sheepdog team.

Spectators watch as herding dogs run the trial course (photo Martha Martin)

Throughout the course, the dog should be in firm command of the sheep, keeping them on a straight line from one obstacle to another, and moving them at a steady pace.  The handler is responsible for “reading” the sheep well, anticipating their actions and reactions, and for directing the dog to successfully complete each phase of the course.

The course for each class will vary, with the shortest course and fewest elements in the Novice-Novice Class and the longest course and most elements for the Open Class.   Courses for all levels will include an outrun, lift, and fetch.

Allison Johnston holds her Border Collie pup Carley (photo Martha Martin)


A typical open course, including the trial course, will include an outrun, lift and fetch; a drive; a shed; and a pen.  It may also include a single.

All these terms are described on the website located at

Sunday, August 19, will offer the highly challenging Double Lift trial, where the top 14 Open dogs from the preliminary rounds will compete on a more complex and demanding course.   Sunday’s events are from 9am to 2pm.

Concessions with food and dog products are available, and General admission is $5.00; Seniors 65 and older $3.00, Children 6-11 $3.00, and under 6 years Free.  Parking is also available at no charge.

For more information, visit  Johnston Dairy is located at 104 NE 252nd Ave., Camas, WA.