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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd start a herding thread. If any of you guys are herding with your dogs, please chime in.

I've been taking herding lessons with Mesa since she had her herding aptitude test when she was 5 months old and we fell in love with it. Our instructor starts newbie dogs on goats rather than sheep. So far I haven't handled her yet but I probably will be in the next month or so. The instructor likes to get the dogs to the point where the clueless handler won't screw them up before she throws them in together.

Mesa is signed up for her JHD next weekend with the instructor handling her. We'll see how it goes.

 

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I would love to do herding with my dogs. I tried it once and Ember particularly seemed to have good aptitude for it. Unfortunately.. I absolutely hated the instructor. Extremely corrective in a way that seriously scared me from ever trying again with the trainers around here. I can only hope and dream one of the more positive trainers I know brings it closer to me someday.

Mesa looks like she enjoys it! It is so neat to have a dog actually doing what they are bred for. Good luck with the JHD!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would love to do herding with my dogs. I tried it once and Ember particularly seemed to have good aptitude for it. Unfortunately.. I absolutely hated the instructor. Extremely corrective in a way that seriously scared me from ever trying again with the trainers around here. I can only hope and dream one of the more positive trainers I know brings it closer to me someday.

Mesa looks like she enjoys it! It is so neat to have a dog actually doing what they are bred for. Good luck with the JHD!
Thanks! It really is so instructor driven. Many years ago I took the collies for their herding aptitude test to a different woman. The first thing she said to me, before even bringing my dogs into the pen was, "I don't like collies. They get their feelings hurt too easily." Needless to say, I didn't go back to her after the aptitude test (which both did well on). The woman we bring Mesa to is great. She's really in tune with the dogs and her stock.
 

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Trieball will probably be the closest we get to herding.
 

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I would love to do herding with my dogs. I tried it once and Ember particularly seemed to have good aptitude for it. Unfortunately.. I absolutely hated the instructor. Extremely corrective in a way that seriously scared me from ever trying again with the trainers around here. I can only hope and dream one of the more positive trainers I know brings it closer to me someday.

Mesa looks like she enjoys it! It is so neat to have a dog actually doing what they are bred for. Good luck with the JHD!
This is me. Molly is great, but she cannot handle harsh corrections at all and that's exactly what I have available locally. Not happening.
 

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Ralphie is a herding mutt and I have no idea if he's got much of any herding instinct in him, but I would love to try! Our herding dogs on the farm were trained, but they couldn't do anything "fancy". It was mostly put the animals here, guard the gate, bring that stupid cow back. We don't have any formal classes around here, but there are some people who have working dogs who could probably be talked into teaching someone. I'm also afraid of too many corrections, though, because Ralphie is one of the "feelings are easily hurt", too. He gets sad in agility if I look at all displeased, haha.
 

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Actually treiball. Evidently my table didn't like the proper spelling. Anyway, it's herding balls instead of livestock. There are a couple of different organizations that I know of. This FB groups is for one of them.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/treibball/
Oh, I saw that before! Years ago they had a seminar on it at a local park, but they don't have any classes you can actually go to, and I've never heard any mention of it since.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Actually treiball. Evidently my table didn't like the proper spelling. Anyway, it's herding balls instead of livestock. There are a couple of different organizations that I know of. This FB groups is for one of them.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/treibball/
I just looked it up. Interesting! I like that you can do it indoors in an arena. AND there's no goat poop for them to munch on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mesa passed her JHD! I'm so happy! She had to pass 2 attempts with 2 different judges. I'm so jazzed!
 

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Congratulations!
 

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We just spent a 3 day weekend doing herding. I'm completely obsessed now that I've begun handling her. We're still on goats but will probably start on sheep soon. This weekend we introduced outruns, which she loves, and doing some driving, which is much more difficult for the dogs to wrap their heads around. I just love when you can watch the dog thinking about what she's supposed to be doing and figuring it out!
 

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We just spent a 3 day weekend doing herding. I'm completely obsessed now that I've begun handling her. We're still on goats but will probably start on sheep soon. This weekend we introduced outruns, which she loves, and doing some driving, which is much more difficult for the dogs to wrap their heads around. I just love when you can watch the dog thinking about what she's supposed to be doing and figuring it out!
That's just so neat, I like hearing about Mesa's herding adventures! I wish we had something like that around here.
 

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I had a farm and used my dog to herd cattle. One thing to remember in herding.. it is about the livestock and not about the dog in a professional setting. In lessons it MAY be about the dog.. but in the real world it is about the dog being a tool to handle the livestock.

If you are herding with a dog you cannot have the dog dive in when not appropriate of bite the stock when not necessary. With sheep, if the dog bites and only grabs wool.. they can tear a sheep's skin and it takes very little for that wound to become infected and to lose the animal. That is why there are often serious corrections involved.

With sheep and large herding dogs (Boucheron, German Shepherd), controlling bites are to the neck and they are deep and calm. The bite is firm and calm and does not damage the sheep and is only enough to deliver a message. Release is also calm. A dog that is a bit less confident.. shallow bites or nipping and grabbing wool.. is not a good sheep dog candidate. Border Collies rarely punish a sheep for being naughty.. and if you watch them herd sheep they do it with eye and positioning.

With cattle you need more than one collie or a lot more dog.. and so we move up to Australian Cattle dogs and Rottweillers etc.

Dogs have different genetics for herding and different jobs. Tending, gathering, driving.. close and distance work.

In the end, it is NOT about the dog. It is about the stock which make the farmer or rancher a living. The dog is a tool and while I loved my dog who handled cattle, the learning curve required clear corrections and boundaries. If the dog had not worked correctly she would not have been allowed to work at all. The cattle were what paid for the dog (and everything else).

Here is some good information on Tending and the German Shepherd.

http://www.german-shepherdherding.com/german-shepherd-herding/
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I agree completely with that. My instructor will NOT allow any dog to abuse the stock. Some biting is necessary and appropriate, but aggressive or inappropriate biting or treatment of the stock means, at the very least, the dog goes back to the car to think about what she/he is doing. But the instructor has also told people not to bring the dog back. Respect for the stock is not negotiable.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My Heelers do herding. We're thinking about getting my Blue's instinct title at specialty.
Nice! This is the first time I've been back to this thread in a while. Did you do the instinct test yet? Which livestock are they herding? My instructor starts dogs out on goats and then moves to sheep and then possibly cattle depending on the dog and the handler.
 

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How has your herding been going? I'm a sheep and beef farmer in New Zealand, and I have a 5 year old heading dog, Chum, who I use to herd sheep and cattle. I love seeing him do what he was born to do, and seeing how happy he is when he's been working!
 

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It's going well, thanks. She's only 1 1/2 years old, so she's young and not consistent. The days when she's "on" we've been working on outruns, driving and penning the goats. The days she's "off" we work on her impulse control. lol. Either way we're having a lot of fun.
 
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