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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2yr old aussie I would like to start in herding. I'm looking for advice on what to do before he meets animals. What are the fundamentals, building blocks we need to know to make herding a success. Any advice from dog herding trainers would be appreciated!
 

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I have a 2yr old aussie I would like to start in herding. I'm looking for advice on what to do before he meets animals. What are the fundamentals, building blocks we need to know to make herding a success. Any advice from dog herding trainers would be appreciated!
I would suggest reading articles that are available on the AKC herding site and other herding organizations sites such as the USBCA, ASCA, AHBA, and others.

The 2 most critical things that comes to mind in my opinion is

1. Do not let your dog engage livestock without supervision at any time.

2. Establish really high standards to obedience commands so that you will have some chance to control a high prey drive dog in the initial stages of herding lessons. Otherwise your first exposer will not only be a wreck but may result in injury to dog,human,property, and livestock. livestock are really keen at jujdging a dog that is out of control and will react accordingly. Teach your dog to wait before going through gates and not pull you while on leash.

And finally there is a huge difference beteen stocking, chasing, and herding.
 

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I would contact kennel clubs in your area that might be able to set you up with information about an "instincts test" They will put your dog on sheep (with a skilled handler present) and show you how to begin working your dog. It is so cool to watch a dog do what it is bred to do. Especially when the dog may never have even see sheep or cows but all of a sudden they start doing what they were bred to do. It is amazing.
I am hoping to get my boys to an instincts test soon. :)
 

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Another recommendation is to take the dog to get an informal herding instinct test done to see how strong his instinct is. I did that with my Betty, and the previous owner did it with Nell and they both had excellent results. After that, then start scheduling some herding classes with a trainer, you will have lots of fun with it.

Another thing that the trainer worked with me on is the dog should stay along with you while you are walking towards the livestock. If the dog tries to get ahead of you, you stop, or turn away and walk away. The dog doesn't get to work livestock if it's not going to stay with you. The dog should also be able to sit/down on command when approaching the livestock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the feed back. There's a place about an hour away that has herdng clinincs. They have herding instict tests as well on occasion, I'll have to look into their next test. On second thought I don't know if I want to encourage herding till our obedience is MUCH better.

I have checked ot ASCA and not found much information on herding fundamentals and most other places want you to pay for the information.

I had an incling that good obedience was what was generally neccessary to start herding, aside from the herding instinct that is :) Thanks for all the feed back!:D
 
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