Originally Posted by Lizmo
Yes, this makes sense.
These are all valid concerns for someone new to the breed. Here's my response:
To the first question concerning, "herd mode." This takes knowing the breed, meeting dogs. To the newb eye, Blaze comes off this same way. He walks with tail down, ears back, head low (but no sniffing) and in a way that looks "stalkerish." It's just the way he walks, he's always walked like this. Many, even dogs I've seen at agility (I don't know the breeding, but I'm assuming there is a good mix of lines at these events) walk similar to this, unless actively engaged with their handler. I think it's more a breed thing.
When he's infront of me walking, this is my view of him:
I have no problem with head low by any means. My Aussie is pretty low when she's not actively working. But there's a distinct difference when a dog is relaxed and when it's in a state of high arousal. Again, this poor dog walks around with the whites of its eyes showing, panting heavily, and hunched over like it's focusing on a herd of sheep. It seems like his herding instinct is very strong, and his ability to cope with the excitement of the outdoors is low. This is just a one-off example of course, and not a particularly good one, but it's something that I always think of when think of untapped arousal.