Adding a new pup to your small hobby farm and want him to learn how to herd? Maybe this is the first time you have a large herd on your farm and you could use a little extra help? No matter what the reason, teaching your dog to herd can be a great way to give yourself a little extra time, save you from running around the fields after a rogue critter, or to simply stay out of the rain, while he brings in the herd. These are all very good reasons to train your dog to herd.
Of course, there is the other side of the picture. Herding has become a national and international competitive sport. One that can be just as much fun for you as it is for your dog. While some breeds such as Border Collies are more naturally inclined to herd, you can train most breeds to do so. It may take a little longer but is well worth the effort.
The act of herding is when a well-trained dog can be commanded using either hand or whistle signals to move a herd or flock of animals from one place to another on your farm or in competition. No matter whether it is a group of animals, or even people, your dog is quite capable of being trained to herd them around. Bear in mind, that this is a difficult series of commands for your pup to master and that some dogs are better suited to this than others.
Your dog will need to have mastered basic commands before he is ready to move on to complex training such as this. You should also be aware that there is a significant risk of injury in this activity, your dog needs to be a young adult, puppies are not suited to this activity. Also, be sure to have your vet give your pup a complete exam to make sure he is healthy enough for this activity.
In order to get started training your dog to herd, he must first readily respond to the most basic commands, including 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'lie down'. You will also need to teach him the basic herding commands including 'come bye', which means turn the herd to the right and 'away', which means he should turn the herd to the left. The other command he needs to learn is 'walk up' which indicates he should be behind the herd driving the herd towards you. You are also going to need access to a herd or flock you can practice with, plenty of time, and patience.