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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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Even stock dog people hesitate to work a dog on horses. You need the right dog. And chasing a stud around is begging for a dead dog.
I have been on ranches and farms most of my life, I have worked with dogs that moved horse herds for us, but never with a stud on the herd. And the skill set required to move horses is much different then other stock. Plus dogs either herd or don't, you can't really "teach" it.
Keep in mind that a stud will kill a predator, they don't run forever.
 

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Two important points....

1. Horses do not respond to dogs the way that sheep or cattle do. Dogs were not selected for generations upon generations for their ability to "herd" horses. These two species are not genetically programmed to work in a stock/stockdog relationship. If you want your horses to interact with your dog, you absolutely need a hands-on mentor who thoroughly understands both species.

2. You cannot "herd" one animal. One dog, going after one horse, is chasing.

A fundamental rule of careful stock work is "Bring the many to the one". If you get involved with good trainers, you will likely hear this repeated time and again.

Bring the many to the one.

You simply cannot "herd" one lone animal.
 

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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.
Haven't you used an e collar to punish her for chasing stock? You said her prey drive was activated and you yelled get him. Seems pretty contradictory.

I had used an ecollar to discourage goat chasing, and later wished my safer dog could help me with my goats. I taught her to follow directions to a target--basically a send out to various points in the pen. The goats would naturally run from her, so if they were making a break into a particular direction, I would send her to that direction, basically an obedience command in the presence of goats, and then would go away from her and so I would regain control of them.
 

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I think you should focus on training the stallion, not the dog. A gate buster is dangerous and can get someone hurt easily. Lots of ground work and teaching him manners, how to behave near gates, how to behave on lead and off lead, responding to your pressure by moving away, etc. Make sure you close the gate behind you when you go through it (I've been guilty of being lazy about that and learned my lesson while watching a horse's tail streaking away from me out the open gate. Oops.)

And if he does get out, chasing is the worst way to bring him back. Get him used to the sound of a bucket filled with yummy grain. When he gets loose, shake the bucket. Most horses will eventually stop their freedom flight and willingly come back to a bucket of yummies. I never ever run after loose horses. They will always outrun me. They usually don't outrun their stomachs, though.

I would never put my dog at risk of getting kicked or stomped or bit by a horse by encouraging her to chase after it. Even a mini, if pissed off enough, can do major damage to a dog. Stallions, being filled with testosterone, can have a hair trigger for aggression if they feel threatened. Nope, not a good idea at all.

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I actually do not understand the "problem". It seems like a matter of bad management regarding the little bratty stud. Get a solid fence and a smarter gate and work the stud. You should be able to outsmart a horse brain so you don;t have to risk our dog's safety. I have never , ever allowed my dogs in the same confinement as the horse(s). They went with me riding in the fields but they did their own thing, no herding/chasing, ever.
Have you seen the movie 'Buck'? There is a nasty behaving stud in there and it shows what they are capable of.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Inga does go riding with me in the forests and fields. She is trained to heel to a ridden horse and free running Dinky goes along too. Inga knows to avoid mama cows with baby calves who might run at her. She has some stock sense, she's a ranch dog. These two stallions are not dangerous killers either. They are not and have never been with mares so there is not that dynamic. They are extremely docile and well trained in their manners. Of course I can lure them with grain in a bucket. Heck, all I have to do is call them and they come running from out of sight beyond the far hill.

If I can toss some toys for Inga out on the lawn and point to various ones and say get it, bring it, seems like this is not too much to ask to bring a docile pony. I like the cowboysgirl's method of simple send outs to the area of the animals and causing them to move in the desired direction. I could train Inga to calmly move Dinky from corral to corral with her on a long line. I am going to try it. Sure chasing of animals should not be allowed ever. How about just walking after them and moving in the desired direction.
 

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Inga does go riding with me in the forests and fields. She is trained to heel to a ridden horse and free running Dinky goes along too. Inga knows to avoid mama cows with baby calves who might run at her. She has some stock sense, she's a ranch dog. These two stallions are not dangerous killers either. They are extremely docile and well trained in their manners. Of course I can lure them with grain in a bucket. Heck, all I have to do is call them and they come running from out of sight beyond the far hill.

If I can toss some toys for Inga out on the lawn and point to various ones and say get it, bring it, seems like this is not too much to ask to bring a docile pony. I like the cowboysgirl's method of simple send outs to the area of the animals and causing them to move in the desired direction. I could train Inga to calmly move Dinky from corral to corral with her on a long line. I am going to try it. Sure chasing of animals should not be allowed ever. How about just walking after them and moving in the desired direction.
Just keep in mind I was doing it with Nigerian dwarf goat does, not bucks. Well there were a handful of La Manchas in there too.

I got the crap beat out of me by a buck in rut one time and it was a memorable experience. My bucks would not go after dogs for no reason so the dogs could walk through their pasture with me, but I would not have sent the dogs to "mock" herd the bucks-- that particular buck would definitely have gone for the dogs under those circumstances and I obviously didn't want them to be hurt.

I carried a cattle prod after that when i thought that buck might corner me. I'm not a fan of stuff like that but let me tell you, once you've had a raging ball of testosterone pin you in the corner of a stall where you can't get away, repeatedly head ramming you...it puts a whole different spin on things. I could not fight him off, he made it so anything I tried to hit was his head which was basically like hitting a rock and equally effective. One of my animal philosophies is that anything goes if it is used in self defense. I wouldn't go after an animal with a cattle prod but if he comes after me, all bets are off.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I used to have Saanen milk goats and with milk goats you have to have bucks.... Most unpleasant creatures :D The herd buck I borrowed never attacked. He had been a prize winning show goat. Its was his young sons. You got to do what you got to do when its self defense.
 

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I used to have Saanen milk goats and with milk goats you have to have bucks.... Most unpleasant creatures :D The herd buck I borrowed never attacked. He had been a prize winning show goat. Its was his young sons. You got to do what you got to do when its self defense.
All of these adventures I'm missing, being a city slicker.

I don't think I'd like to subject my dog to an angry goat buck. Or an angry miniature stallion.
 
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