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This post is not meant in any way to diminish or insult the sport of herding which I understand is serious business and takes great effort, time and training. You all have my total admiration! :wub:

With that said, I've seen on dog training TV shows where they take a GSD or other breed to a farm to "fulfill their need" of herding. Is this something that farmers allow? Do most shepherds just instinctively know to run the sheep? I've noticed Addie trying to herd other dogs (mainly poor K-bar who just does what she wants) so I was thinking it would be great fun for her to experience an actual herd of sheep. I am probably totally naive, but please don't bash me if so. I am truly curious. I know a lot of things, but herding is not one of them :)
 

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Instinct plays a big part BUT there is a right and wrong way to herd. I do herding with my GSD and he is very driven and likes to bite the stock A LOT, he is not gentle about it. There's no way a farmer would ever let him near their stock as he is now, the stock are their livelihood. Herding is definitely not as easy as just letting the dog run around with sheep and not something I'd advise you do especially if you might ever want to trial, a very good way to teach a lot of bad habits. I work very hard with my dog, I wish it were that easy!
 

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I suggest if you want to expose your dog to livestock take her to a place that actually does herding training and get a proper instinct test done! Much better and safer way to go about it. :)
 

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Instinct plays a big part BUT there is a right and wrong way to herd. I do herding with my GSD and he is very driven and likes to bite the stock A LOT, he is not gentle about it. There's no way a farmer would ever let him near their stock as he is now, the stock are their livelihood. Herding is definitely not as easy as just letting the dog run around with sheep and not something I'd advise you do especially if you might ever want to trial, a very good way to teach a lot of bad habits. I work very hard with my dog, I wish it were that easy!

Okay, thank you! So there are people who have livestock specifically for training herding.. Got it. Now I feel very dumb :D

I'll look online in my area to see if we have anything like that nearby!
 

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Okay, thank you! So there are people who have livestock specifically for training herding.. Got it. Now I feel very dumb :D

I'll look online in my area to see if we have anything like that nearby!
Yup! I train at a place that does nothing but herding training, they have sheep, cattle and ducks. I got lucky finding such a good place near me. It's a real job but also is a sport now where you can compete and do trials and earn titles and ribbons. :)
 

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Yup! I train at a place that does nothing but herding training, they have sheep, cattle and ducks. I got lucky finding such a good place near me. It's a real job but also is a sport now where you can compete and do trials and earn titles and ribbons. :)
Sounds like so much fun!
 

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Carriesue has the right idea... not only will the herding instinct test give you a better idea of your dogs temperment and drive but it also provides a safe and controlled environment where the sheep have been worked so much they already know what to do.
There are individual styles of herding and some dogs need their natural instincts refined more than others if nothing more than to keep both the dog and sheep safe.

during their first exposure one of my dogs charged right at the sheep attempting to bite them.... was really pushy and controlling and aggressive by most standards - had I put her on a larger herd without an instructor and a long line... it would have been a mess.

my other did a lot more displacement sniffing and circling, even lost focus several times and the instructor had to manipulate the sheep to get him excited and engaged... posing no threat, his line was taken off right away and I ended up continuing with him for a few lessons just for confidence building and basic command response.

just as protection sports differ from personal protection training... it's the same with herding.
 

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Carriesue has the right idea... not only will the herding instinct test give you a better idea of your dogs temperment and drive but it also provides a safe and controlled environment where the sheep have been worked so much they already know what to do.
There are individual styles of herding and some dogs need their natural instincts refined more than others if nothing more than to keep both the dog and sheep safe.

during their first exposure one of my dogs charged right at the sheep attempting to bite them.... was really pushy and controlling and aggressive by most standards - had I put her on a larger herd without an instructor and a long line... it would have been a mess.

my other did a lot more displacement sniffing and circling, even lost focus several times and the instructor had to manipulate the sheep to get him excited and engaged... posing no threat, his line was taken off right away and I ended up continuing with him for a few lessons just for confidence building and basic command response.

just as protection sports differ from personal protection training... it's the same with herding.
Interesting, thank you!
 

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Everything Carrie said.

I've taken private herding lessons for years, love it.

That being said, I would never let an unpredictable dog "work" my own livestock. Never, nope.

Good herding instructors have very calm, "dog broke" sheep, goats, ducks, etc. that you pay to expose to your dog, under the instructor's control. People who own livestock typically have it for a certain purpose, be it breeding, market, or otherwise. Being herded by a rookie dog is VERY stressful, and it runs fat off a market lamb and is not even considerable for a bred ewe. I only let my own (6 year old) dog move our goats and geese. and it will be a while yet before I expose them to the stress of being worked by my puppy. No way on earth I'd subject them to someone else's dog "for fun".

If you are interested, find a good herding instructor that keeps appropriate stock. It's a wonderful (but difficult) sport, enjoy!
 
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