Beginner questions on herding. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner questions on herding.

I have plans on doing some herding with Stark in the future and thought I would get some base information from the experts.

1. How old does your dog have to be to start herding?

2. What are the first steps that an owner should take to get their dog started in the sport?

3. Any recommended sites, books, or articles that I should read (besides the ones on here - will read through this section soon)?

4. What are some characteristics in your dog that will hint at him/her being a good "herder"?

5. Are there clubs? Associations? or is this an individual sport?

6. How do you find a trainer for this? I have been looking but unable to find one on the internet so far - will ask at the Schutzhund club next week as well.

7. What are the commands that are used?

8. What type of training does the owner/handler need?

Thanks everyone!

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:42 PM
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

1. How old does your dog have to be to start herding?

I don't know the answer to this question because my dog was already 5 by the time we took her herding instinct test. I'm not sure there is a minimum age.

2. What are the first steps that an owner should take to get their dog started in the sport?

You should find, preferably locally, someone to do a herding instinct test. The tests are often offered at herding events, but you can also find individual herding trainers that will test your dog. The idea is to see whether the dog is interested in and has natural ability to herd.

3. Any recommended sites, books, or articles that I should read (besides the ones on here - will read through this section soon)?

http://www.german-shepherdherding.com/
http://www.glenrosefarms.com/instinct_test.htm
http://www.herdingontheweb.com/

4. What are some characteristics in your dog that will hint at him/her being a good "herder"?

I'm sure those who are more involved in training can answer this question better than I.

5. Are there clubs? Associations? or is this an individual sport?

This site has a listing of herding clubs and groups - http://www.herdingontheweb.com/programs.htm

6. How do you find a trainer for this? I have been looking but unable to find one on the internet so far - will ask at the Schutzhund club next week as well.

A good place to start would be herding organizations, to see if there are any trainers local to you. Herding events in your general area might also help you find a trainer. I found both places I trained with Abby through Google.

7. What are the commands that are used?

When you first get started, your dog should have a pretty solid sit and down command so you can "drop" them and get them to stop running after the sheep. A lot of what we did was directing the dog using a stick, for going left and right, and the verbal commands for sit/down/stay. But we never ended up trialing, so I'm not sure whether it would be any different for people doing it on a higher level than we did.

8. What type of training does the owner/handler need?

You learn to direct your dog during lessons.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:45 PM
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Ciana and Doerak were taking herding lessons for a while. Unfortunately, finding a trainer that's close enough for frequent practice is tough. I know people who have bought their own sheep or Indian Running Ducks just so the dogs get daily practice.

1. The age the two of my trainers recommend starting at is about 9 months. Before then you can expose your dog to sheep on or off leash depending on the amount of interest.

2. Find a good trainer.

4. Any dog that shows an interest in livestock has good potential. Although, dogs can be trained to herd if there is no instinct, just like obedience training.

5. Sometimes you'll find a club, or more likely a training facility where the same members meet often, so it's very club-like.

6. There are websites that list herding trainers online. Some by region. Also, check the AKC herding judges on the AKC web site.
http://www.canadasguidetodogs.com/do...g_training.htm


7. http://www.ranchdogu.com/herding.htm

8. Human training is concurrent with the dog's. (?)

That can get you started.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Thanks so much Chris!

I am not sure if we would do it for titles and such but I think Stark would very much enjoy it.

He tries to herd my cats (3 of them) all the time.. haha..

But seriously, I think it would be a blast for him. I am always looking for things to keep him busy both physcially and mentally. I think this would be a good thing.

With Stark only bring 5.5 months old his sit/down stays are not reliable in this type of situation just yet, but we are getting there.

The hard part is finding someone/somewhere to train.

Thanks again for the information.. off to look at those sites you posted.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:47 PM
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Also check with members of your local dog training club for tips on trainers. There's always somebody who is herding.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 04:59 PM
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

I did the herding instinct test with Abby because I wanted to know whether she would be able to do it. When I saw how much FUN she had doing it during the test, we started taking lessons.

Our trainers (we trained two different places) felt that we should be able to trial if we wanted to pursue titles, but I never really had an interest in titling, and eventually Abby was no longer able to continue with it, anyway, due to her arthritis.

We were SO lucky when we lived in southern VA because our trainer lived literally 15 minutes away, across the river. It was a really nice facility, too, unfortunately it has since closed down (the trainer is moving). In northern VA, we drove about 1.5 hours to get to the trainer, which wasn't *that* bad, but it's still a long drive.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: BlackPuppyAlso check with members of your local dog training club for tips on trainers. There's always somebody who is herding.
Thanks, I just contacted the CKC and they got me in contact with a lady who could point me in the right direction (I hope). I emailed her so I will wait and see what comes of it.

I have yet to join a club, but am headed out this weekend to the local Schutzhund for a visit so I will ask around there as well. If all goes good I will be a "new" member there and hopefully be incontact with others who do other sports besides just Schutzhund who can help me out.

Thanks again everyone!

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Chris, the Schutzhund club is about 1 - 1.5 hours from us too.

Our obedience instructor is literally 10 minutes from our house so we are lucky on that part and our tracking instructor (who we see maybe once or twice a month) comes to us.. hopefully I can find someone close.. this is farm country after all!

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 06:12 PM
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

A lot of the people who do herding are not real experienced with GSD's. It is a completely different style of herding, GSD's were bred to do tending-style herding. It is very different so I would try to find someone who knows about tending dogs if possible.
I was always told not to do an instinct test before 8 months of age or so, and closer to a year was better at least to start actual training.

I only have experience with tending-style herding, so if you are looking at other styles of herding my input may not be very helpful.

Herding dogs need a good amount of prey drive to be successful. They also need to be biddable (willing to please) but also be able to work independently. Brains are also important!

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-29-2009, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beginner questions on herding.

Can I ask what the difference is between I guess, "regular herding" and "tending-style herding" is?

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