Famous for their keen intellect and quick footwork, herding dogs are amazing pets. They are a good family dog. Yes, they sometimes bark. And when you have a herding dog, you have to be prepared with a lot of herding. These dogs might keep you on your toes.
A joy to watch in action, these dogs will make your life more entertaining for sure.
Common Herding Dog Breeds
Today, we will talk about a nice trick you can use in training with herding breeds. But what are some of these breeds? The most common herding dog breeds in the US according to the American Kennel Club are:
- Australian shepherd
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Border Collie
- Bearded Collie
- German Shepherd
- Belgian Malinois
- Old English Sheepdog
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Shetland Sheepdog
They have different appearances and personalities, but they have a common herding trait. Bred for herding sheep, these puppies have an athletic build and energy that will amaze you.
You Know You Have a Herding Dog When
How to know if you have a herding dog? Well, you might have a rescue mutt or a crossbreed. But if you want to be sure you have a working dog, these are the traits to look at.
- Active and alert, sometimes even anxious
- Athletic and hardy
- High energy
- High intelligence
- Work well with humans
Fun fact: the term Velcro dog was invented for herding dogs.
The Trick You can Use in Training
Now let’s talk about a neat trick you can use in dog training with herding dogs like Australian Shepherd and Border Collie. Or any other herding puppy.
These herding breeds were bred to herd cattle, sheep, and similar animals. They need their exercise. Naturally, they want to herd things. The problem and even mistake most dog owners make is they punish their dog for its herding drive.
Why not use it as a training tool to exercise? The trick is to use the problem as a reward. What is the trick? Well, it is more of a command you need to teach your dog.
And that is to teach your dog to run circles around you. With a herding dog breed, it comes easy. Why? Because it comes naturally thanks to theri herding instinct. This makes your puppy happy.
Have your dog run circles around you when he gets a job done. It is the same trick with other dog games and toys. Using the problem as a reward will make dog training easier. In your dog’s mind, running circles around you is the same as sheep herding.
Say, you play tug with your dog. Your dog doesn’t want to let go. But what happens if you teach your dog to let go, and then have him take the toy again? This puts the dog in a cycle. Instead of holding tight to the tug toy he will let it go because you will give it back.
How Much Exercise do Herding Dogs Need?
We said before that herding puppies have a lot of energy. They can get too excited. Because they are sensitive to movement and sound, these working dog breeds can be reactive without proper obedience training and socialization.
Yes, because of their barking, they can be a great guard dog. But if you want a sheep dog as a family pet, you need to socialize it.
When it comes to physical activity, two times per day of playtime is a must. Or walkies. Or, you can play some dog sports. These highly intelligent puppies will enjoy dog sports.
And if your dog loves to play fetch or tug, even better. Swimming, if your dog loves water, is another option for obedience training and exercise.