Does your dog nip at your heels, chase children, or round up other pets? These actions are typical herding behaviors. Really it's no surprise that some dogs have such a strong herding instinct, because that's what they were bred to do.
If you have a Border collie, Australian cattle dog, or even a corgi, then it is no surprise they want to round things up. After all, their distant ancestors were selectively bred because they showed such skill in thinking on their paws and keeping sheep or cattle in order.
The only thing that's changed is the dog has come out of the barn or kennel and into the home --often bringing a deep instinctive drive to herd with them. But if their herding habit means rounding up kids then safety becomes a big issue. Therefore for the sake of all involved, it's best to take control and teach your dog not to herd.
Success in training a dog not to herd, means interrupting their behavior so they return to your side (or perform a command such as 'down'). The idea is to teach rock solid obedience of a command that is incompatible with herding. For example, 'come' has them run back to you, while 'down' has them lie down and stop moving.
The urge to chase and herd is deep-seated, therefore it's as well to start training in a place with few distractions. And when you move out into the park or fields, keep the dog under control on a longline. Remember, the act of chasing is a huge reward for the dog, so you need to prevent this source of satisfaction so he's ready to listen to you.
As with most training, start as you mean to go on with a puppy. However, if your adult dog has an ingrained herding habit, don't despair. You can break the habit but it will take longer, so be patient.
You will need:
Training a dog to stop any ingrained behavior takes considerable time and dedication. Aim to practice with the dog at least twice a day, for around 15 minutes. Keep the sessions fun and stop before the dog gets mentally tired. It's also a great idea to end on a high note, with a command the dog already knows, so he's left feeling good about himself.