What jobs can I give my herding dog? Here’s the Answer

Pull a cart or sled.

This is a great job for dogs like huskies and malamutes that were bred to pull sleds and breeds like Rottweilers and Swiss mountain dogs that were bred to pull carts.

Just make sure you introduce your dog to a cart or sled slowly so she is confident and doesn’t get spooked by noisy wheels following her.

Besides a cart or a sled, there are a few accessories you’ll need for carting and sledding, including a specific harness.

See our post on training dogs for the Yukon Quest.

Benefits of Giving Your Cattle Dog a Job

Your Australian Cattle Dog has more energy than he knows what to do with. If left unattended, the Cattle Dog will find its purpose.

Likely, this will come in the form of destruction, mischief, and other undesirable behaviors. However, giving them a task or job can give them a sense of fulfillment.

They will live longer, stay happy, and act out less if they have an outlet. Even if this is something like watching over the children, the Australian Cattle Dog benefits greatly from having a task.

While ACDs are extremely independent, they are also fiercely loyal and want to please you. Giving them the tools to perform well can keep your Cattle Dog happy.

1 Nosework.

Nosework is also known as scent work. Compared to other sports like Agility or Flyball, it’s a slow activity that asks dogs to locate different odors using their nose in return for a treat or verbal praise.

The sport is geared towards dogs of all sizes and breeds as long as they like to follow their nose, and which dog doesn’t, right?! Scent work can be particularly beneficial for older dogs and those who are moving at a slower pace due to physical limitations.

Many dog training schools offer Nosework classes, and there’s probably one close to you! You can read more about nosework on our friend’s blog here.

~ Types Of Jobs For Your Australian Cattle Dog ~ Jobs For Your Blue Heeler ~

They are still used to herd sheep, hunt and guard livestock ”“ jobs that have been theirs for thousands of years. And dogs are now used for jobs that their forebears could not have dreamed of – going into combat with Special Forces operatives, or, say, being employed at an airport.

Herding dogs have been particularly good at getting jobs. They are a classification that includes famous working breeds like the German shepherd, the border collie, and Australian shepherd.

These highly intelligent, trainable breeds have such a strong instinct for herding that off-duty dogs have been known to gently round-up small groups of children or even their owners.

Herding dogs and sheep are an obvious pairing. But what about dogs and goats? Goat lawn services are a rising industry in the eco-conscious millennium. Noisy, gas-eating lawnmowers are replaced with animals that are happy eating shrubbery all day long. Goat Green LLC offers the services of 11,000 goats to businesses and homes throughout the western United States. While the company wouldn’t exist without goats, owner Donny Benz relies on both guard and herding dogs to keep them in line.

“When we first started we didn’t have border collies so it was really tough and hard to do,” he said. “We would move fences and keep the goats inside the fencing so you would never let them out ”“ if they did, you had to chase them on foot.” Today they have seven Border collies of mixed ages ”“ the wiser old dogs teach the younger, faster dogs so Goat Green always has a trained team.

Dogs can herd sheep and goats because the ruminants are herd animals that naturally travel in a flock – but they are not the only kind of animals that do this. Often-troublesome Canada Geese also exhibit a flocking instinct, making them the newest recipient of the working dog’s predatory stare. A recent study in the American Journal of Microbiology reported that beaches “treated” with border collies had a significantly lower presence of E. coli than control areas. Companies with names like Goosebusters or Goose-Off have sprung up to take advantage of contract goose removal services.

Brandon Smith, a lifetime border collie owner, runs a business called B&B Goosebusters in Washington state. “You have them as a pet and then you transition over because they’re naturally working dogs,” he said. Though Smith is happy to put in the hours to train his two dogs, ridding areas of geese can be hard to do with herding dogs. “You don’t want a herding dog; you want a chasing dog.” As with most breeds, it’s simply a matter of selecting a pup with the right temperament for the job.

The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Meyers has owned a bird dog since 1999 to keep the runway clear from geese and other birds that can cause severe safety issues for planes. Sky, their current bird dog, (the first two were Jet and Radar) works in shifts with two handlers in the airport’s operations department. “It’s considered a Port Authority employee,” said Barbara-Ann Urrutia, an airport spokeswoman. “We pay for food and shelter as well as the dog’s previous training.” A flock of geese might ignore humans but not a charging collie headed their way. Dogs are a predator and therefore a threat.

Herding dogs’ tough side might be part of why they’re commonly used in combat and security. Though you’re unlikely to see a border collie working in a K-9 unit, other members of the herding group like German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois have been an official part of the armed forces since WWII. These dogs are valuable tools to the military. As military dog trainer Michael Ritland writes in “Navy SEAL Dogs”, “The Navy invests well over $50,000 in the acquisition, training, and handling of a single dog… before the animal gets deployed with its handler.” Though it’s unlikely these dogs use their herding instincts in battle, they’re so tough, trainable, and adaptable that they’ve become the ideal combat dog.

“Herding dogs have various jobs throughout America,” B&B Goosebuster’s Brandon Smith said. “They have collies in the Navy that remove geese from the runway 365 days a year. Down in Florida they’re doing search and rescue. They’ve really evolved. They can be put in any job and they excel at any job you ask them to do.”