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Some questions on herding

Discussion in 'Herding & Tracking' started by Pam, May 24, 2017.

  1. Pam

    Pam Forums Regular

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    OK, so Beau is doing really, really well. A while ago his breeder suggested he learn some herding as a way to channel his energy and learn both control and movement (something he could definitely improve). I know nothing about herding. There is someone about over an hour away who teaches it, and I am thinking of going a few times although continuing herding would be difficult due to both the expense and the distance--I live very close to NYC and there are no farms around me LOL. I should add Beau was born onto a sheep farm so was around sheep until he was sequestered on my tiny lot at 8 weeks old.

    Questions:
    1) do I need to worry about brucellosis?
    2) Is herding something you can just occasionally take a dog to?
    3) Would it really help his control (he is getting much better but still has the lunge/bark for squirrels/rabbits/cars on walks thing going on sometimes)

    Thanks for the input.
    Pam owned by Beau 14 months
     
  2. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

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    1) you'd need to contact the herding instructor but I doubt that his/her stock would carry it..
    2) not if you are serious about it- my instuctor wants me to come at least once a month which I can't always do and it's a 2 hour trip for me.
    3) the herding instructor will most likely want some basic obedience before working the dog on stock. they might be willing to do an instinct test to see if Beau would/could be trained to herd. not all dogs are into it....
    after that, you need a sit/down, stay and come just to get started
     
  3. Pam

    Pam Forums Regular

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    Beau is pretty well obdience trained--not for trials but he definitely has sit/down/stay with distance and distraction. I also expect him to get his CGC very soon, he passed on the trial day test but then I have had bronchitis for the past 3+ weeks and we did not go back for the actual test, but (fingers crossed) I think he will pass. He does bark/lunge at oncoming cars sometimes (and the very fast squirrel) so...

    I am not really into herding, especially since I live in a generally urban/suburban area. His breeder suggested and I thought I would find out what it is all about.
     
  4. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

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    I am not really into herding either- it's very hard for me to react in time to tell the dog the correct thing to do. however, the herding instructor has told me for years that Cranberry has it so I thought it was only fair to give him the opportunity to do some of what he was bred to do. we've been to several workshops with other herding instructors and all have said that he is a nice dog which is good in the herding world- so my instructor's opinion is worth following up. Cranberry and Dixie got their herding instinct on sheep but Dixie has never been as interested as Cran. She sees the stock but feels no need to do anything about it. Destin just passed his herding instinct on ducks. He and Jocu failed sheep instinct test a couple years ago- Destin's recall was really non-existent at that time and that is likely why he failed. He did show interest but.... and usually you get a copy of the sheet that the judge marked so you know where the problems were but I don't remember getting that for Destin or Jocu. Jocu was intimidated by those particular sheep and now he won't even look at the sheep. He was showing some interest in the ducks but that seems to have worn off.
    Cran has also passed his HT (herding tested) and PT (pre-trial tested) in AKC and he got his junior herding dog title in AHBA (American Herding Breed Association)- it's almost the same as the PT in AKC.
    the thing about obedience training and herding- no matter how well they do at home, in class, or even in obedience, rally or agility trials- herding is a whole new ball game. There are sheep and they move and if your dog has instinct to work the sheep, all that other stuff goes out the window...... It takes several times of seeing/working with the sheep before you get some control.
    I'd say contact the instructor and see if you can go and get initial instinct testing- official instinct testing usually occurs at herding trials but you really need to know before that if there's anything to work with. Most instructors are pretty honest about it as if there's no instinct to start with, training is very difficult. The dog can be trained to respond to commands but judges are looking for the dogs to be doing most of the work without being micro-managed by the handler. If the dog wants to do it, that makes everything easier- then the handler is the one who has to learn what to say and when in order to get the sheep where you want them.
     
  5. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

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    I'm actually taking Spirit and Skylar herding for the first time in a few weeks. I think it will be a lot of fun to watch them do what they bred to do :) The place we are going is 2 hours away, but if they enjoy it as much as I think they will, it will be worth it.
     
  6. ClantyreSheltie

    ClantyreSheltie Forums Sage

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    Questions:
    1) do I need to worry about brucellosis? - Probably not. MDR-1 sensitivity to stock wormers is a much bigger issue.
    2) Is herding something you can just occasionally take a dog to? - depends on how serious you want to be about it and what your dog can remember from one time to the next.
    3) Would it really help his control (he is getting much better but still has the lunge/bark for squirrels/rabbits/cars on walks thing going on sometimes) - no more than any other kind of training would. And herding is a very expensive/slow way to do it.

    Herding is a very different kind of training. It's not all happy and clickers and cookies like agility and obedience/rally. You are shaping instinct into what you want. That takes years and a lot of hard work and a willingness on your part to say "NO". I don't think it's going to touch your rodent chasing problem.
     
  7. Pam

    Pam Forums Regular

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    Rachael, Thanks. I knew herding was not really a "sometimes thing" in my heart. I think I will take Beau for instinct testing and see what it is about, how he is with sheep (he was born on a sheep farm so it will be interesting to see how he does/does not take to it), and how I like it.

    Re: willingness to say "No" I don't see that as a problem once I know what I am doing. I am a Speech Pathologist and deal with multiply challenged, mostly non-verbal many with ASD, children and adults with cognitive issues. I need to say "No" frequently and correctly. LOL. I think Beau just has the better of me as he is 1) a dog and 2) so darn cute--I sometimes forget all my SLP training.

    Beau has gotten immensely better at the "rodents" but there are still issues. We just keep working at it. Overall he is really coming along with training. Has a rock solid stay outside with distance and most distractions (rodents maybe only 50% of the time), good sit/stay/stand/leave it and lots of cute tricks.

    How do I find out about MDR1 senstivity. His sire is normal for MDR1--registered with OFA. His dam doesn't have that particular test listed with OFA.
    Owned by Beau, the bouncing beast, 14 months old
     
  8. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Most people I know use the Washington State University swab test to test their dogs. It's really simple. You order the swab from their website (https://vcpl.vetmed.wsu.edu/cheek-swab), and it arrives in the mail. You just swipe it through the dog's cheek for a few seconds, put it back in the tube, and send it back.
     

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