Can you train a herding dog not to herd? A Comprehensive Guide

Step 1: Teach Your Dog Some Impulse Control

We love impulse control games. I think this dog could particularly benefit from #11 on this list, “Ready, Set, DOWN!” as well as #12, Nosework.

Playing these games with your dog outside of the meadow will help teach your dog to think through her own excitement.

These games will also help teach your dog that the fun doesn’t end just because you leave the meadow. This herding behavior could be related to your dog trying to stop you from leaving the park, because she doesn’t want to go home. It does sound frustration-based.

The Ready, Set, DOWN! game will really help your dog learn to go from excited to obedient.

Nosework is an incredible calming tool that is exhausting for high-energy dogs. You might want to consider hiding treats and playing nosework on your way home from the meadow, in fact!

Step 2: Give Your Dog Other Outlets

Playing treibball is a surprisingly great way to reduce unwanted herding behaviors in your dog! This sport allows your dog to start learning basic herding behaviors. Once your dog has an outlet for that instinct, you may see a reduction in herding behaviors elsewhere.

Treibball has another benefit for stopping dogs from herding. As part of the sport, you’ll also teach your dog cues that you can use to interrupt her behavior. Once you can control the herding behaviors, it’s a lot less nasty!

Going along with what we said above, it’s also important to make sure that daily romps in the meadow aren’t the only exciting part of your dog’s day. Feeding puzzle toys in an Easter egg hunt (as described in step 2 of this article) can do wonders for giving your dog more to look forward to.

Mental stimulation will help your dog “cool it” elsewhere.

Which breeds are best-suited for herding?

Some dogs were bred to herd. After hundreds of years of careful breeding, today’s herding dogs are true masters of the practice. It comes to them instinctually.

And, you’ve probably already got a few of the big names in mind: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Australian Kelpies. These dogs are fine-tuned in the art of herding!

But, there are many other dog breeds who can herd quite impressively. Australian Cattle Dogs, Old English Sheepdogs, Corgis, Shelties, Bouvier des Flanders, and Rough Collies were all bred originally as herding dogs. Even the German Shepherd has roots in this long-held doggy tradition!

To be sure, this isn’t an exhaustive list of dogs who can learn how to herd. In reality, any dog with the interest and stamina can try herding. If they take well to it, there’s nothing stopping them from honing their skills! And they may even qualify for competitive trials! Even the breed-strict AKC herding trials are open to Samoyeds, Boerboels, and Schnauzers. Many other competitions are open to mixes of all shapes and sizes.

Herding Dogs – Can You Unlock Your Dog’s Secret Power?

There’s a range of psychological and physical benefits of learning how to train a dog to herd. Whether your pup is a traditional herding dog or not, they’ll enjoy a brilliant workout, mental challenge, and bonding opportunity with their favourite human: you!

But, how do you even get started on an activity like this? What can you do if you don’t have a herd of sheep? And is there a risk that your dog will start herding everything that moves, from the family cat to their friendly Pet Sitter?

In this article, we’ll talk all about what it takes to train a dog to herd and other things you should know about this centuries old practice. If it sounds like something you’re interested in trying, your doggo will be sure to step up to the challenge!