Teaching to herd - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching to herd

How do you teach a GSD to herd? All I want is for Inga to bring a pony to me when he escapes from his pen. It is a a rather irritating miniature horse stallion less than 3 feet tall. He does chase her away from his feed at times and is not afraid of her at all, not like a sheep or anything. Inga does know Get It and Bring It, but only with objects.
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 12:38 PM
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How do you teach a GSD to herd? All I want is for Inga to bring a pony to me when he escapes from his pen. It is a a rather irritating miniature horse stallion less than 3 feet tall. He does chase her away from his feed at times and is not afraid of her at all, not like a sheep or anything. Inga does know Get It and Bring It, but only with objects.
Maybe some better pony-proofing might help? If he's securely contained then you wouldn't need to involve the dog at all.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 03:05 PM
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A dog with true herding instinct will herd naturally, and only needs to be taught to look to its handler for guidance and direction, and learn the different herding commands. Before my uncle's border collie was a year old, they had to spell the word 'cow' or the dog would be off to the fields to round the cows up, whether it was milking time or not!

What's the problem with the stallion? Is a better containment system the answer? How about gelding him to get rid of his attitude?

A GSD's herding style is to act as a 'living fence', patrolling a well-defined boundary to keep the animals contained. It's quite different from the way collies herd.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 03:49 PM
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A GSD's herding style is to act as a 'living fence', patrolling a well-defined boundary to keep the animals contained. It's quite different from the way collies herd.

No comment on the stallion situation, but a GSD can most certainly be used for ranch tasks. They can pen and sort and both fetch and drive stock (I have done all three successfully with three different German Shepherds, some being better than others). But a GSD will work in a different style than a border collie - that doesn't mean they can't.

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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe some better pony-proofing might help? If he's securely contained then you wouldn't need to involve the dog at all.
I want to train her to herd. She is a ranch dog.

Its 30 degrees with a fresh wind. Just now Dinky ( stallion) made a break for it out the stallion pen gate while I was feeding. I yelled to Inga Get Him! Dinky just stood there. I ran at Dinky, he bolted and Inga's prey drive was activated. Get him! I yelled. Away after him she went. Bring him! I yelled and he just happened turn back against the pasture fence. As it were, she was bringing him. Away past me they went and out into the 50 acre bull pasture. Off down the hill almost out of sight Dinky happened to turn back, not wanting to leave the other stallion. By golly, he ran back into the stallion yard. Down! I yelled and Inga hit the dirt. So far a pretty good. I have no idea how to train for this.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 07:02 PM
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I want to train her to herd. She is a ranch dog.

Its 30 degrees with a fresh wind. Just now Dinky ( stallion) made a break for it out the stallion pen gate while I was feeding. I yelled to Inga Get Him! Dinky just stood there. I ran at Dinky, he bolted and Inga's prey drive was activated. Get him! I yelled. Away after him she went. Bring him! I yelled and he just happened turn back against the pasture fence. As it were, she was bringing him. Away past me they went and out into the 50 acre bull pasture. Off down the hill almost out of sight Dinky happened to turn back, not wanting to leave the other stallion. By golly, he ran back into the stallion yard. Down! I yelled and Inga hit the dirt. So far a pretty good. I have no idea how to train for this.
If you want to teach her to herd I highly suggest NOT allowing her to run after the stallion like you did above.

Chasing is not herding. At best it will teach her bad habits that will be hard to break and at worst it will ruin her for herding all together.

Look into herding organizations in your area and sign up for a herding instinct test. If she passes then start working with an instructor. It's going to be a while before she can work your own stock. I am partial to the ASCA. You have the opportunity to work multiple types of stock and the things they train for in trial have real world applications for ranch life.

Also keep in mind... "Herding" a single stallion is very very different than working multiple heads of stock. I mean "herd" itself implies multiple animals. Not every dog is going to be able to safely work a single ornery stallion. And not all stallions will allow themselves to be worked by a dog. Your plan to have Ingna herd your little guy with a big attitude may end up with a seriously hurt horse or dog.

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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 07:46 PM
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That little stud could severely injure her if he kicks back. Get a solid fence for him with an electric wire on top. I don't know of any farmer who would put his dog at risk by herding horses.
The horses I have known were trained and not defiant, even stallions so he may need more training.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 07:52 PM
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Have the dog ignore the pony/ horses is the safest for the dog. A little mini can break a dogs jaw easily at right angle. I donít think itís worth it.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, but I am only interested in training to bring one animal. Inga is completely broke from chasing cattle and calves (as well as crittering) with an e collar. Working multiple heads of stock is not an issue here. Cattle come in to the honking of a truck horn in cow/calf country. The two stallions are in a steel pipe corral system or multiple corrals. Its not a fence problem. Its a little bitty wiseguy stallion who pushes gates open problem.


Inga is very wary of both stallions. Every day she likes to come up and eat their feed pellets that they drop and she quickly avoids their moves on her. She avoids coming up close behind them, and I can prevent her biting the animal with the No command and e collar correction if needed for disobeying a command she knows.

There are no herding organizations or instructors here or ASCA. It is not sheep or urban country, it is a vast cattle country and herding herds is not needed because cows come in when called. There was once a bull that had gone wild in the river bottom and some cowboys unloaded horses and some Blue Heelers and brought the bull out of the brush. They all ran off and the bull came back without them, went into the river and swam downstream. This is the only herding I have seen. One good thing is I can set up this situation to bring the tiny stallion in at any time by simply letting him out. How do you teach the send out to bring back a single animal?
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 09:04 PM
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Thanks, but I am only interested in training to bring one animal. Inga is completely broke from chasing cattle and calves (as well as crittering) with an e collar. Working multiple heads of stock is not an issue here. Cattle come in to the honking of a truck horn in cow/calf country. The two stallions are in a steel pipe corral system or multiple corrals. Its not a fence problem. Its a little bitty wiseguy stallion who pushes gates open problem.


Inga is very wary of both stallions. Every day she likes to come up and eat their feed pellets that they drop and she quickly avoids their moves on her. She avoids coming up close behind them, and I can prevent her biting the animal with the No command and e collar correction if needed for disobeying a command she knows.

There are no herding organizations or instructors here or ASCA. It is not sheep or urban country, it is a vast cattle country and herding herds is not needed because cows come in when called. There was once a bull that had gone wild in the river bottom and some cowboys unloaded horses and some Blue Heelers and brought the bull out of the brush. They all ran off and the bull came back without them, went into the river and swam downstream. This is the only herding I have seen. One good thing is I can set up this situation to bring the tiny stallion in at any time by simply letting him out. How do you teach the send out to bring back a single animal?
If you don't have any herding instructors in your area you are pretty much out of luck. Herding is a lot like bite work in the sense that you should NOT attempt to teach it on your own.

It is very easy for a green dog to get over excited and very drivey while working stock and being pushed into the wrong prey sequence. You have to be an expert at both reading the dog AND the stock. The safest way to start a dog is going to be on easier stock that have already been habituated to being worked by dogs.

What you are proposing just isn't safe for your dog or your horse.

Also working a single animal without a herd is problematic at best. A big part of herding is working with the stock's instinct to flock. If a single animal breaks loose from the herd - putting a bit of pressure on it will get it to regroup instead of fight back or panic. A single herd animal is very different. That is NOT something I would trust a green dog to do. Especially on a stallion. I wouldn't trust most seasoned herding dogs for that task.

I honestly don't think training Ingna to bring back your stud is the best solution to your problem.
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