Herding :) Any tips?

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!


Barked: Sat May 19, '12 9:02pm PST 
I'm looking to start taking Skarlet to herding classes soon and I was just wondering if anyone had any tips or lessons to pass on. Also, is there anything in particular I should look for or avoid when looking for a trainer? Or anything she should learn before starting classes that would be helpful? She's very obedient in general, has a good sit/drop even at a distance and pretty good impulse control.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sun May 20, '12 7:48am PST 
Also, is there anything in particular I should look for or avoid when looking for a trainer?

Yeah- if the trainer takes a whip out on your dog or hits them with a stick, don't go back.

Spoken from personal experience :/

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Mon May 21, '12 2:12am PST 
First, chances are good that her impulse control will slip at first if she shows interest in stock. It's normal, don't be concerned it will start to return when she get's more used to it.

Second... there is only one thing that should Ever make a trainer strike a dog.. .and that is a dog that is seriously grabbing the sheep.. not a quick grip btw... but grabbing.

Watch the trainer if possible before you're dog is worked (most trainers will not let novice dog and novice handler in the ring with livestock) If the trainer loses their temper easily then it's best to stop before you begin. If the trainer loses their temper with Your dog... it's time to stop, and don't go back.

Some really old school trainers are harsh and overbearing with dogs and that will not be the best way for your dog to learn.

And overall... just have fun, if it's not fun for you and the dog it isn't worth doing.

Member Since
Barked: Mon May 21, '12 7:58am PST 
Well, herding is one of those things that for some dogs is very elusive and for some dogs is built into their psyche. Usually, dogs that come specifically from dogs that work for a living are far more likely to display instinct then just a pet dog that was not bred to work.

I noticed on your profile that you bred your girl yourself, but I don't know what kind of stock she comes from, and I didn't see any titles or anything.

Typically, dogs are started out at 6 months to a year on sheep, with gengle introductions to sheep starting at puppy age. Also, dogs that have done obedience in the past (again, not sure if you do that with your pups) often have trouble letting go to actually chase sheep around.

I would not expect a whole lot out of your dog the first time she sees sheep unless she has previous experience, in other words. That's not to say she won't have some kind of reaction, but just bcause a dog shows interest doesn't mean that they have any herding instinct.

Good luck with your dog and I hope you guys have a good time!

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Tue May 22, '12 7:11am PST 
If you or your dog decide that working live sheep isn't for you...you could try trieball. It's an up and coming dog sport that uses a lot of the same basic skills and techniques. It's a great mental workout for dogs.

Good luck and have fun!

Barked: Wed May 23, '12 7:37pm PST 
Thanks everyone smile
We are going to our first class on Tuesday. We're going early to watch the lesson before ours to see if we like the trainer before letting her work with my dog. Looking into trainers I have discovered two things: herding is pricey and trainers are few and far between. So I hope this one uses good methods!
Skarlet does come from working lines. No titles, but a lot of good farm dogs. I'm hoping she will follow in their steps, I could use a farm dog. Just have no idea how to train one. She doesn't have to be amazing for what I want. But I'd like to at least know what is good and I should encourage, and what is not.
I'm very glad the trainer will be starting out teaching her until I understand more. I just hope Skarlet's interested in the sheep enough to not think about the fact it's not me handling her. I will let you all know how it goes Tuesday! smile