Herding breeds like the Border Collie, the German shepherd, and even the Welsh Corgi are all born and bred to work. These dogs are highly intelligent and require almost constant exercise and mental stimulation to keep busy. Without the necessary environment, their need for something to do can easily turn into a problem behavior. While cows and sheep may need the occasional nip at the heels to get going, a toddler isn’t going to take so kindly to the behavior when he’s trying to run around and play. You might not either.
This behavior is inherent in these dogs, but it’s not unmanageable. Herding dogs can thrive in urban environments with the right training and exercise. Providing these dogs with the appropriate outlets to expend their vast energy can be fun and very rewarding, though it can also be hard work and require some discipline. Starting early while still in puppyhood with this type of dog is best, but even adults can benefit from training. Within just a few months, your herding breed can become a well-behaved pal instead of a nipping nightmare.
A herding dog’s intelligence can sometimes be off the charts, so you’ll need to be on your toes. Gather up some treats as a reward or a favorite toy, a leash to keep your dog close by during training, a clicker if you have one, and a whole lot of patience. Work in an area free of distractions like noisy children or lots of people walking by. If you’re going the competitive route, consider making your own obstacles out of spare materials around the house for your dog to jump over or climb through.
It can be difficult to get these dogs to focus, but once they do, you can bet they’ll pick up what you want from them very quickly.