Today we are used to seeing the German Shepherd as a guard dog, police K-9, bomb dog, and family friend. What many people are not aware of is that these beautiful dogs were originally bred to herd sheep and cattle. They make wonderful guard dogs and will give their all to protect their family and their herd.
Shepherds are exceptionally intelligent, willing to please, and ready to learn new tasks. They are very powerful and fast, making them the perfect choice to help with herding your cattle. Keep in mind that when working with cattle, there is always the risk of an accident resulting in your dog being injured. Keep a close eye on your pup until he learns how to keep himself out of harm's way.
Your Shepherd is a working dog and is at his happiest when he has something to do. Working is in his blood and, of course, so is herding cattle. But, despite this natural instinct, your pup really has no idea how to put it to work. It is up to you to choose a training method and then continue working with your pooch until he masters the skills.
He should easily learn the four basic herding commands within 6 months. But, it can take several years if you want your pup to master the complete list of competition maneuvers if you wish to take him that far. Take your time, keep working each step of your chosen training method and in time, you will have one of the best herding assistants you could ask for.
Your pooch will reach his herding best between the age of 4 and 8 years. However, if you want your pup to become a "master" herder, you need to start as soon as your vet clears him to work around cattle. Typically, this means when he has reached an age where his bones have started to fully harden, this will reduce the risk of injury. Your fuzzy friend must also have mastered the four basic commands, 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'stop' before you start working on herding.
You will also need:
On top of all of this, you need an ample supply of time to work with your pup and the patience to keep working with him until he gets it right.