what are the most subtle herding charactaristics? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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what are the most subtle herding charactaristics?

Hi there,

This may sound like really dumb stupid question with a dumb comment or two accompanying it but I'm going to ask it anyway.

What are the most subtle herding characteristics a GSD would display? I'm asking because I don't see my two displaying any herding action but that's going by what I've read about herding which is really minimal. I'm sure I don't see what's probably there because I don't know what to look for and that's what I'm after. I figure they HAVE to have it in them, they're GSD's after all. They're 2.5 and 3.5 years old.

We're considering taking them to at least one herding activity to give it a go round and see if they seem to like it. However, since I really don't *want* them to start herding me, husband, family etc ... and they don't seem to be doing this now, I'm also leery to show it to them ... the thought "leave well enough alone" comes to mind A LOT. I've heard it can be really fun for them and I *do* want to find activities for them to do ... just not sure this is one I want to get into.

I'm not looking for people to talk me into or out of this, I just want to yakk about it and learn a little so I can make what's hopefully my own informed decision.

So, from a TOTAL herding dummy I could sure use your input. Thank you.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 07:11 AM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

the only herding behavior Tilden has ever shown in our day to day life is stalking other dogs at the park. the odd thing is that that particular behavior is not characteristic of the german shepherds herding style... and, when given the opportunity (we used to take herding lessons) he worked the sheep in a very different manner and never once stalked them. so was the original stalking an actual sign of herding instincts? i have no clue... or is it just his playing style?

i can say tho that herding lessons didn't have any affect on him attempting to herd other dogs or children as a result. he knew exactly where we were going (the ranch) exactly what he was going to do (herd) and what (sheep). there was no confusion there.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 08:13 AM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

What is the GSD style? Is stalking more a Border Collie thing?

I took Dottie the corgi jack herding a few times and she has a really obnoxious, confrontational, "all up in your grill" style. I hesitate to even call it herding. It was more just "bark, chase, bark, chase, pin the sheep into a corner, bark some more". It's almost like she was doing a schH hold and bark, teacup style. But she does not do that with us or the cats at home though, thank god.





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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 09:28 AM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

I have only taken my two to herding lessons twice so far but this is what I have observed:

Prior to going, Nadia used to circle the cats as if she is herding them. Zisso has never done this. I did get Nadi to leave the cats alone eventually, or to at least not 'herd' them. Chasing them when they are outside the fence is a different story that we are still working on.

Since going to the lessons, there is still no sign of 'herding' the cats at home. Lesson one, each dog was happy to run around the sheep in circles, but unsure of themselves in what they were supposed to do. Lesson two, they clearly remembered the place and had a more intense interest in the sheep. Once in the pen they did a great job; Zisso focused on the sheep more and not the fence of the pen and Nadi gave the sheep more room and would have stayed in there much longer than their 10 minutes. She truly enjoys this form of excercise and I think she will excel.

So in answer to your question, I don't think that it really teaches the dog to herd people, children, other pets as they know pretty much right away what the sheep are and that this is their job. At home I have seen no difference at all in their behavior! Nadi has NOT gone back to running circles around the cats. As a matter of fact, I have seen her interact with each cat in a loving and peaceful manner!

Persoanlly, I think herding is fun, interesting and educational.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 12:02 PM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

I have titled several dogs in herding, and none of them ever tried to herd the family. The dogs love it, and it is good for them.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 02:06 PM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

All of my dogs have been herding (and loved it!) and none of them have ever done anything at home that would lead me to believe they are herding me. Same for all the other activities. Nikon does not practice bitework on people that come over, Kenya is not doing agility on the furniture all day, lol. Dogs need a lot of drive, stamina, and courage to herd sheep and herd them well. It can be a tough, even dangerous thing for them and I've seen many a GSD have zero interest in it. If you can find a good place to do it, I would go for it! Our local place currently has a waiting list for training.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2009, 02:23 PM
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

We have taken the dogs herding off and on for a couple of years now and they never herd us or display any new herding type behaviors since going. Like Camerafodder said - they know what to do when the sheep are around. When they are with us - they are the same ol' dogs we have always had.

I have seen a Mal (actually a couple of them) who is trained in Ring Sport (and bite work) herd sheep - and she doesn't try to bite the sheep because she has been trained in bitework.

It is a lot of fun! And Lies is right - some dogs won't show interest, some dogs it will take two or three times for the light to click on and others take to it right away. You should go out and have an instinct test even if you don't pursue it - just for something fun to do and try!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-06-2009, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: what are the most subtle herding charactaristi

Thanks so much for all of your input. I had to chuckle at Liesje's answer .. never thought of it that way ... no agility on the furniture etc ... good comparison!

The first thing we'd do is to take part in the test that's offered at the closest herding place to us, which is probably what mskpiker03 referred to.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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