Herding Dog Training: Unlocking Your Dog’s Potential

Herding dog training is exciting, not daunting. Let me tell you a story; recently I loaded 3 kids and 3 dogs into the family truck and headed 8 hours towards home. My youngest fur baby, a Dutch Shepherd, then 8 months old – still just a puppy – I watched her as she jumped from the back seat to the front seat, her eyes both wide-open and dilated. She began to intensely stare at the cars approaching and with passion, she turned around and ogled them as they disappeared in the distance.

I have been a professional dog trainer for almost 20 years, and I knew what was going on in her doggy brain. She was impulsively needing to herd them, and it was too much for her. Her herding instincts were becoming overstimulated by watching the cars pass. And for a great video series that shows you how to deal with impulsive behavior click here.

Living with a sheep herding dog can be a bit of a challenge. I first noticed the malfunctioning herding instinct on Thanksgiving Day as I watched the Eukanuba Dog Show on TV and she began to pace and do what looked like a rain dance in my living room. 

At first, although admittedly I know better, I thought it was a bit funny.  However, as time progressed, she grew more and more out of control, and humor dissipated as I envisioned the TV crashing down on her head as she leaped toward it.

I have 3 herding dogs, 2 Belgian Malinois and my new Dutch Shepherd and both breeds are known for their enthusiasm and difficulty to train and handle. working dogs

That is why I like them; they are a challenge for my finely-honed doggy skills.

That said, I think one of the things that sets me apart as a trainer is that I understand the way they think and process information. 

For my little girl, accurately named “Fury”, there she was in the privacy of her own home when it was invaded by other dogs. 

Not only did they come into her home, but they consistently ignored her pleadings to play. 

Playfulness then turned toward anger, a complete lack of understanding and total frustration.

It is not like I had never watched pet related television programs until Thanksgiving, but at 7 months my pup is starting toward more adult type behavior that will undoubtedly increase for several months until she is about a year and a half to two years old.

Understanding is the first matter of business. Why is she all of a sudden displaying naughty behavior?

 

  —  The first reason, as we discussed previously, is her age. She is inching toward sexual maturity and with that comes behavior changes. Even dogs that are spayed and neutered still go through these changes, although often to a lesser    degree.

  —  Second, and possibly the most important factor, is that I was not meeting her exercise and mental needs. I had spent the day before Thanksgiving and that morning preparing the upcoming feast. If she had been tired or if her needs had been met, the odds of her noticing the television and caring about what was going on would have been significantly less!

  —  Third, SHE IS A SHEEP HERDING DOG!! And as such, she has instincts that have been developed and bred to be enhanced for my pleasure over hundreds of years. As the owner of a herding dog I need to familiarize myself with the traits of the category of dog, and her breed individually.

sheep herding dog

Herding Dogs are known for their intensity and ability, if not NEED, to work all day

 

Herding dogs:

The herding behavior of many dog species is modified from the predatory instinct, to hunt and prey on other animals. Through selective breeding, man has been able to inhibit the dogs’ desire to kill while maintaining and controlling the ability to chase and herd.

Herding dogs are also known for their abilities to guard to keep their flocks safe; therefore, their vision and hearing is exemplary, and they are often very vocal.

Due to the beauty, intelligence, and size of herding dogs, they are often chosen for family pets.

However, they need to be active physically and challenged mentally in order to be successful pets.

Instincts don’t simply go away, and if their needs aren’t met, then they can show up in inappropriate places. 

Herding dogs may often nip at their people’s  (especially children) heels in an effort to “herd” them. 

They may vocalize at any visual change in their environment (someone left the toilet seat up instead of its usual down position) or any sounds that they are unfamiliar with.

Sometimes this over stimulation of instinctual behaviors, if not dealt with, can get completely out of control and is increasingly difficult to deal with and repair.

Teaching Your Dog to Herd

One of the most common and most enjoyable modes of exercise for herding dogs is in their name – herding! By teaching them herding properly, they can learn when to nip and when not to nip, how to control their herding impulses, and get the necessary physical exercise that they need to be a healthy, happy dog.

Are you thinking of adding a new pup to your small hobby farm and want him to learn how to herd?

Or perhaps this is the first time that you have a large herd on your farm and you could use a little extra help?

No matter what the reason, teaching your dog to herd can be a great way to give yourself a little extra time, save you from running around the fields after a rogue critter, or to simply stay out of the rain while your dog brings in the herd.

Some of these are among many very good reasons to train your dog to herd.

Of course, those reasons aren’t the only valid ones.

For example, herding has become a national and international competitive sport. Not only that, but herding can be just as much fun for you as it is for your dog.

While some breeds – such as the Malinois or pretty much any dog with sheep in the name, to name a few – are more naturally inclined to herd, you can train most breeds to do so. It may take a little longer but is well worth the effort. 

The act of herding is when a well-trained dog can be commanded by using either hand or whistle signals to move a herd or flock of animals from one place to another on your farm or in competition.

No matter whether it is a group of animals, or even people, your dog is quite capable of being trained to herd them around.

Bear in mind, that this is a difficult series of commands for your pup to master and that some dogs are better suited to this than others.

Your dog will need to have mastered basic commands before he is ready to move on to complex training such as this.

You should also be aware that there is a significant risk of injury in this activity. As a result, your dog needs to be a young adult.

In other words, puppies aren’t really suited to this activity. Also, be sure to have your vet give your pup a complete exam to make sure he is healthy enough for this activity. 

Before training your dog to herd, it is essential that he or she must first readily respond to the most basic commands, including ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘lie down’.

You will also need to teach him the basic herding commands including ‘come bye’, which means turn the herd to the right and ‘away’, which means he should turn the herd to the left.

The other command he needs to learn is ‘walk up’ which indicates he should be behind the herd driving the herd towards you. You are also going to need access to a herd or flock you can practice with, plenty of time, and patience. 

There are 3 main methods of teaching your dog to herd. They are training your dog in a smaller herd before working your way up, training your dog with a whistle, or training your dog with a long leash.

Method Number 1: Easing Your Dog into Herding

Here is a step-by-step guide to training your dog with small herds.

  1. The last thing you want is for your herding dog to be scared of your herd, so start out small. Consider using chickens and a small training pen.
  2. In a small training pen, place a few of your calmest chickens in the center and bring your pup in on a leash. Have him sit at one edge of the pen.
  3. Give your pup plenty of time to get used to the chickens and once he settles down, give him a treat.
  4. With him still on his leash, walk your dog towards the birds, giving him the ‘walk-up’ command and stop when you are two feet away. If he stops and doesn’t fuss, give him a treat.
  5. Walk around the flock in circles using the commands ‘away’ and “‘come bye’ to get him used to associating them with directions going around the birds. Each time he gets it right, be sure to give him a treat.
  6. Once he is calm and behaves around the birds, you can take him off the leash. Continue using your commands to have your dog move the flock in the training pen. Keep repeating this training until your dog masters it.
  7. Now you can move the training outside to work with a bigger flock and bigger animals. Be patient and work with your pup. In time, he will become an excellent herding dog and keep your herds under control for you.

 

Method Number 2: Training with a Whistle

 

  1. Using a loud whistle, introduce your pup to the sound and treat him when he stops being startled by the sound. The traditional whistle commands are two short blasts for the ‘away’ command, one short-one long for ‘come bye’, and a short high/low pair of blasts for ‘to me’.
  2. Now take these whistle commands and introduce them to your pup as part of several training sessions. Match the command to the whistle and work with your dog until he has mastered them.
  3. Start working with these commands with small flock or herd to help reduce any excessive distraction.
  4. Since you are essentially introducing a new type of behavior to your dog, you need to start this process with your dog back on his leash to protect the flock or herd. Once he has shown you that he can follow commands on the leash, it’s time to move on to the next level.
  5. Unhook your pup from the leash and keep him close for the first few trials. Have him work with a small flock or herd at first and work his way up to working your entire herd over time. Remember, this is going to take a little time, but be patient and your pup will master the skill.

 

Method Number 3: Training Your Dog with a Long Leash

 

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide in teaching your dog to herd using a long leash.

  1. Attach your dog to a long-leash (one that is 20 to 30 feet long) and walk him up towards a small herd of animals or flock of birds while giving him the ‘walk-up’ command.
  2. Give your pup plenty of time to get used to being around the herd and reward him with a treat when he calms down.
  3. Take him for a walk around the herd on a shorter leash. He should walk around them instinctively without trying to bother them. If he does, give him a treat.
  4. Continue using your ‘away’ and ‘come bye’ commands as you reverse directions while he is on the leash. Once he has mastered behaving like this on the leash, it’s time to let him try his skills.
  5. Continue repeating the above until he has mastered the commands and then let the leash pay out as you back off 20 feet or so. Constantly practice the commands with him until you are fully satisfied that he can do as instructed. Continue working until you are all the way at the end of the leash. Once he can herd the animals on the leash, you can take him off the leash and keep practicing.

Training a young herding dog can be an exciting and nerve-racking experience.

It’s hard to believe that such a clumsy, comical little pup will ever become a useful partner in your livestock operation.

But when you see that young dog transform into an intense, quivering bundle of concentration as it turns on to stock for the first time, I guarantee your heart will leap.

There is absolutely nothing like the strength of a herding dog’s natural instinct to work.

That’s why it’s heartbreaking when your pup doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. If you don’t start its training right, that dog could become a liability.

 

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Keeping a Watchful Eye

 

It is essential during training that you keep your puppy away from dangerous or counterproductive situations.

Avoid any contact between your young dog and livestock unless it’s under your supervision.

It’s fine to get a pup used to being around your animals while you’re doing chores, as long as you can keep it safe and out of trouble.

You don’t want to set your dog up for failure during training.

It’s too easy for the dog to escape and get at the stock if you’re not attentive, and the result could be a disaster. Either the dog will get hurt and become fearful, or it will think it’s OK to harass or injure your stock.

Dog Training Age

 

It is very important to the health of your pup that you only begin training only when it’s mature enough to withstand the physical and cognitive rigors of training—usually 10 to 12 months old, though it depends on the individual dog.

If you’re having problems early on, don’t get mad at the dog.

You may need to wait a few weeks until it’s more mature.

Signaling Your Dog

 

Have a solid recall on your dog. If you can’t call it off when it’s chasing your sheep through a fence toward the highway or hanging by its teeth from a calf’s ear, then you’re in trouble.

A young dog is so excited when it first starts working stock that it may not listen, but a stern command that it’s been well-trained to obey will eventually get through to its crazed brain. 

Some people also train their dog to lie down on command (essential to stopping or calming the dog and livestock) before training begins, but asking it to lie down on the kitchen floor versus out in the pen with sheep racing by yields wildly different results.

 

When Training Begins…

 

When you are introducing your young dog to the farm, use calm livestock that are used to being worked by dogs. Four to 10 yearlings that are already “dog broke” are a good choice, because an older ewe or cow might challenge a young dog and make it fearful.

Remember not to expect much from your dog in the beginning. Don’t say anything; don’t correct it. Use a calm, encouraging voice. 

Make it fun! 

You want to keep those early lessons stress-free and reinforce the pup’s desire to work.

Every dog matures and handles pressure at a different rate, so wait a few weeks to resume lessons if it shows fear or a lack of interest, is easily distracted, or chases the stock indiscriminately. (Note: If the young dog is eating sheep poop or taking a bathroom break, it probably means it’s nervous.)

A dog that is ready for training should have enough instinct to circle the stock and respond to your body language.

If you step in front of the dog as it circles clockwise, it should change direction and circle in the opposite direction.

Using the dog’s natural instinct to circle and react to the movement of both you and the stock is what all the early lessons are based on.

It should be fun but productive.

Dogs have a great way of signaling whether they’re serious or not—if their tails are up, they’re playing. If their tails are down, they’re thinking. Once you see that tail go down, you’ll know the pup recognizes that it has a purpose for interacting with your livestock.

The pressures of training quickly exhaust a young dog. End your session if the dog shows signs of stress, fatigue or inattention. That’s when it misbehaves and learns bad habits. Short, sweet lessons are the best for the dog’s early training. Above all, be patient. Work on a single skill at a time, and have it solid before progressing to the next.  If the dog isn’t progressing the way you’d like, it’s usually the fault of the trainer—not the dog!

 

Advanced Dog Training

It takes time and commitment to train a good stock dog. If you plan to train the dog yourself, be aware that it’s easy to make major mistakes with a young dog. It could turn the dog off of herding forever. Do your research and educate yourself. If you are new to working with young dogs, get help from a respected trainer. You want to do the best for your dog. The joy of working in partnership with a good working dogs and the invaluable assistance they will give you in managing livestock is well worth it.

 

What are the herding breeds?

 

Before we get to the specific skills of herding dogs, let’s talk about their traits as a group.

These breeds have varying appearances and personalities, but they also have a lot in common.

Physically, herding breeds tend to have athletic builds and hardy coats for working outdoors in all sorts of weather.

Personality-wise, every dog is unique, but herding breeds tend to be super-smart and devoted to their people.

Some common herding dog breeds in the United States include Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and Collies, to name a few.

Do you have a rescue mutt you suspect may be part herding dog? Look for these additional common traits of herding breeds:

Herding dogs are known for being active and alert (at times even anxious), agile, athletic and hardy, high energy, intelligent, protective, and they are loyal and work well with humans.

Of course, the biggest indication of herding breed heritage is an inclination to herd! If your pup is intelligent, active, and prone to rounding up other creatures (including the cat and/or kids), you just might have a herding dog.

 

Proper Stimulation

 

Herding dogs’ brains and athleticism mean they need a mix of mental and physical exercise to keep them happy. One word of advice for caring for your herding dogs it to check out some types of dog sports.

Some herding dogs are content with long walks, jaunts in the yard, and training sessions, but others need even more activity.

Thankfully, these athletic dogs excel in sports!

Here are some dogs sports to try with your herding breed:

  —  Dock-diving: Dogs leap from a dock into a regulation pool to see how high or far they can go. If your herding dog likes water, start with this Ultimate Air Dogs guide to gradually teach your dog to swim and retrieve toys in the water. From there, we recommend a class or professional training session to teach you and your dog the rules of the sport.

  —  Agility: Dogs run obstacle courses made up of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, and more. Herding breeds are the stars of the agility world, with border collies, Shetland sheep dogs, and Australian shepherds topping the best-of list.

  —  Herding: As previously stated in this article, you can train your herding breed to do her ancestral job. Herding training teaches a dog to use its instincts to control livestock.

Whatever sport you try, we recommend working with a professional trainer or group class. You’ll see better results, and your dog will get plenty of stimulation and socialization.

 

Socialize, socialize, socialize

 

Herding dogs have a ton of energy, but sometimes they get a little too excited.

They’re also very sensitive to sound and movement, and can be reactive without proper training. 

Socialization training is key to helping your herding dog use her powers for good.

Socialization isn’t only about getting along with other dogs. With time and training, your herding dog should be able to:

  • Walk calmly on leash
  • Be comfortable in a variety of environments
  • Greet humans politely

Basic obedience classes are a great way to start socialization because they involve other dogs, humans, and concentration in an unusual environment. For more tips on how to socialize your dog, click here.

Conclusion

 

 

Like all dogs, herding breeds benefit from patience, training, and lots of love. They’ll repay you with a lifetime of fun and affection. One thing is for certain: life with a herding dog is never boring!

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Comments

  1. gail montgomery says:

    VERY informative – thanks for the great info. The dogs are beautiful !

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  2. Diane says:

    I am a very proud owner of two tri-border collies, Jeep and Rhubarb! Jeep is amazing, highly intelligent,and thus far, fortunately no issues… AS YET!!! But Rhubarb is a law unto herself!! Thanks so much for this article. I will try some “magic” on Rhubarb … hold thumbs!!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Love the names!! Is Jeep a male? Females are often more of a “challenge” good luck!

    [Reply]

    Diane Reply:

    Jeep is male.. yes! A macho at that! Altho Rhubarb who is 2 years younger, and female, definitely is the dominant one and is an absolute TART!!! Hence the name!! Teehheee

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    Cindy Reply:

    I have two young border collies, the female is a pedigree and is named Gypsy, we call her “Gypsy, demon dog”, she is very vocal and chases planes and even thunder! Then we have Griffin our gentle boy who gets totally intimidated by demon dog. We have a real challenge on our hands and it takes a lot to remain patient! Love will have to conquer all.

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    Lu Reply:

    I have had two herders at one time and one is always more dominate than the other. I found that giving both dogs some extra exercise; and I mean Mental challenges as well.

    I would have both dogs sit/ stay as i walked around the yard. We would do other commands so they wouldn’t get bored. I would first practice one on one then together. They would come when the release command was given but it would be amusing to see them check eachother to see who would flinch to be first. It seems they would work together and their bond became closer.

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    Cindy Reply:

    Thanks for the reply Lu, I will definitely try to stimulate them more mentally. I have found that Gypsy is much calmer after exercise. The collies have a strong bond now fortunately and play all the time. My daughter takes them for walks often. I want to get a treadmill as I think Gypsy could handle more than what we give her at the moment. I also added a Pomeranian in the mix, he thinks he is just as big as the other two, but only the attitude is huge! As you can hear, we have few dull moments here at home with our zoo (adding in the birds and cats).
    Cindy

  3. Julie Blight says:

    Very informative, great reading thank you.

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  4. Debbie, Spain says:

    Thanks for that! You write very clearly and it is obvious that you know and love your subject. My own pack includes one German Shepherd, but she is now very old and her herding instinct, once strong in that she was never happy until she had everyone together in the same room, have now fallen off to the level where she needs only to be near one of us as much as possible.
    Your dogs are beautiful and obviously very happy xx

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  5. Cheryl Clark says:

    This was very informative for me as I have a Border Collie. I find that working dogs (herding dogs) are very intelligient. My dog herds my cats until they have had enough of it.

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  6. Sanjit Mitra says:

    Thanks a lot , That was very informative. I own a 3 year old pedigreed GSD . he is gorgeous and wel trained. But I face typical problems with him , which are related to getting very excited too fast and are most probably related to the herding instinct you are talking about . while I am trying some of Chet’s training techniques I would keep this information in mind.

    regards

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  7. Lois says:

    I have two 6 month old Aussie sisters (both spayed). They are polar opposites. Thank you for your instruction on keeping the unusual behavior like alerting to my purse when it is “in the wrong place”, or watching the TV when dog shows are featured. I have my work cut out for me, but now I have a place to start training them to an appropriate behavior. Thank you!

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  8. Mary says:

    Great info except I have a dutchy too ! Trying to keep him going in the right direction is difficult. He is almost 2 (we rescued him at 8 months) he is doing exactly what the initial email states. Barking, protective is o.k. but sometimes over the top, and the aggression is starting. Has been to training but seems to forget sometimes. I am worried a little bit because he’s pretty imposing if you know what I mean. Any more advise ?

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    Minette Reply:

    Have you lived with a Dutchy before? They are an extremely difficult breed! I have friends that are cops and active military K9 trainers that have no desire to live with a Dutchy!

    If he is not neutered, I would do that ASAP! If he is he is still just now reaching his sexual maturity and this is why you are seeing an escalation in his protectiveness and aggressiveness.

    He was bred to bite people and work as a police dog, and that is what makes your life so hard, you have to fight an even stronger instinct.

    You must make a choice, as to what your expectations for him are…you want him to bark or you don’t, vacillating in between sometimes its ok and sometimes its not is confusing for him.

    Lets face it, if called into action, he would protect you no matter what, so I would adopt a strict no barking and no protecting rule. He must see you as a strong enough leader to care for yourself. Let him know you make the rules! This is how I raise my dogs! They would die for me if they needed to, but they know I am a tough leader so they trust me and therefore enjoy other human contact instead of being leery of danger all the time.

    You own a difficult dog/breed (I know!!! I do too) so you can’t EVER (well almost) stop working on obedience. Dogs don’t forget, they choose not to do things they don’t want!

    Make him work for everything he gets, down stays at dinner time. Split his meals and work obedience throughout the day. Don’t play with him without adding some obedience to your play time (control games)! Don’t pet him without having him do something for you! This will help change his attitude.

    Don’t accept his naughtiness! Take privileges away if he barks or growls, and praise him for good behavior and paying attention to you and adhering to obedience! Carry treats with you or a toy and make it fun!

    Dutchies thrive on fun and love, just make him work for it and good luck!!

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    Peter Reply:

    I just finished Turig Rugas’s (?sp) book “Bark”. He talks about “calming signals” including positioning yourself between the dog and the object and facing away from the dog extend your arms a bit out to the sides and face your palms toward the dog. Supposedly this signals to the dog that you are taking responsibility for protection and it isn’t his job anymore. I haven’t tried it yet but I will.

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  9. rose grinham says:

    I think that this applies to a lot of breeds, I have a PWD and she has the same traits, especially with joggers, My friend has a hound/lab mix and he re-acts like this also when going for a walk. How about letting us know how to correct this bad behavior. Thank you.

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  10. Julie Peterson says:

    I loved this. I have a 1 year old mini aussi. She is wonderful. However, she is definitly full of energy. I could use all the advice I can get.
    Thanks lots:)
    Julie

    [Reply]

  11. Cliff Abrams says:

    Interesting— our dog is mostly Australian Shepard, and we’ve noticed some of the behaviors you note, though not all. He’s a rescue dog and is getting better every day, but really starts bouncing off the walls when he’s not, frankly, tired out.

    I was kind of hoping for some suggestions of energy-draining exercises or games. These would be especially useful in winter when (as now) we are snowed in!

    Thanks very much.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Look back through the articles and the 12 days of Christmas, there is a game or a challenge for every day leading up to Christmas and most are indoor games. Mental stimulation can be just as exhausting as physical exercise!

    [Reply]

    Judy Reply:

    Where would I find this 12 days of Christmas article – I would like to find these games that may be played inside (or outside). I have a border collie and we’re always looking for new “games”.
    Thanksyou

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    scroll back through our blogs and there is a new challenge everyday http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/ if you scroll way back through I have many games and even some scent detection information (nose work) listed!

  12. Kenny says:

    Good information. I assume that this is one of the reasons my herding dog is the only one that chases cars. He also has gotten less intent on nipping at heals but has developed a one quick bite to the calf technique only to larger males usually and very often when I am around. This is a country dog on a private airstrip. Any suggestions getting him to stop the biting and chasing? By the way, he also chases some airplanes, specifically the ones I fly.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The calf biting worries me, because it is a definite liability to you!!! You must keep him on a leash and prevent him from doing this, we live in a sue happy world.

    Excessive prey drive and chasing will require desensitization and teaching him other coping mechanisms which will also require keeping him on a leash and working together on your obedience in the presence of cars, and airplanes.

    [Reply]

    Peta Reply:

    Hi everyone,

    I have 2 Smithfield Stumpy Tailed cattle dogs. Scout is 9 months old, and Drover is 8 weeks old.

    Scout was an ankle nipper and a lets hang off the leg of Mums jeans. After several hours of this i was totally fed up so I mustered all the strength that i could and gave her one heck of a wack on her rump…since then she has not nipped anyone. I also instruct her with gentle when she looks like she might have a breakout.

    With regards to he chaseing cars and motorbikes a. she is never alowed out on the street unleased or alone b. from the time we got her we have taken her out to meet the postman who rides a motor bike….. they are the best of friends. c. we take her walking on a busy road and teach her road sense so she is exposed to allkinds of traffic.

    We also invested in a training collar…. it is used only when she isnt listening to me……Love your dog Peta

    [Reply]

  13. Cheryl O'Connor says:

    Thanks for the info, it was a good reminder of why Tio, my Aussie, the “dog with issues,” has them. It was a great suggestion as to how to deal with the inappropriate behavior, i.e., by instituting obedience. Have signed up for an agility class to begin next month. Tio is a beautiful boy who I hope will enjoy the challenge of the class.

    [Reply]

  14. BarkingDog says:

    Great information! I had a Belgian Malinois for 14 yrs. and she was the best and smartest dog I had ever had – and very athletic! They are wonderful!

    [Reply]

  15. Martin says:

    I have a 2 year old rescue that is a Sheppard/chow? mix. Loves dogs and would rather be alone when he is indoors than with people. Extremely gentle indoors and outside anything that moves is a stimulent. This is all normal behavior I guess but i would like to know more about how he thinks

    [Reply]

  16. Lynn Hesse says:

    I have a 9 month old female border collie Maggie. At 3 months I trained her to lay down by verbal and hand command. She then learned to sit and stay on command. And then the hardest command of all, to come when I call. She is still a dog in training. We walk, play soccer, and soft frisbee, in the spring, summer and now winter. She loves her toys and knows them all by name. I had the luxury of having a great deal of time to train her. I lost my job. But she has been my job.
    I have never been so mentally and physically fit and Maggie is the reason.
    The one thing I can not stop her from doing is jumping on people when she greets them. We’ve tried kneeing her- sending her to her kennel. She literally climbs up their legs and hugs them. Not very good for Grandma. Anybody have any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put her on a leash and don’t allow it or teach her to go to a bed, mat or “place” when the door bell is rung. You have to give her other behaviors when people come over. She can’t lay down and jump on someone, or sit and jump on someone. Also don’t allow anyone to pet her if she is not sitting or laying down! She should only be rewarded for good behavior, and jumping can be self rewarding if it is allowed to continue! Read this
    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/break-command/

    [Reply]

    Roland Reply:

    I have a 7 month old Borador and had the same problems with him jumping up on people and know that this sounds like a commercial but what worked me almost instently was putting a thunder shirt on him. When I know someone is coming over I allways put it on him before they get to our house. If someone arrives un announced I take a minute and put it on him. It has made such a difference it is unbielevable. Look them up Thunder Shirt

    [Reply]

  17. Kim Jaconette says:

    Great article. We have a beautiful black GSD mix (per my vet possibly border collie but all Shepard in looks)rescue. He is definitely a herder. Mostly with me. He nips at my heels but not my husbands. We have about an acre and a half and play Frisbee every day for long periods of time (even in snow). However, there are times after exercise that he is more aggressive towards me, like I’ve ignited the herding instinct just by playing with him. Any ideas? He is always glued to my side from the minute I get up in the morning and from the minute I get home at night. Unless he is completely exhausted, I can’t go from one room to another without him following me.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Play can definitely ignite the prey response! I often use this response to channel my dog’s energy toward whatever we are working with, but it can be difficult and sometimes dangerous if you are not sure what you are doing. You need to incorporate my obedience into the play! It is called control games, if you lay down I will throw your Frisbee, if you stay and leave it when I tell you, I will then allow you to chase the Frisbee. Nothing is free, make him obey a command. If he cannot accommodate your wishes, you may have to back up and work on your obedience. You may also have to find alternative exercise that can be less exciting and demanding. Don’t let him be a bully, and if he is refuse to play with him…this will make him rethink his attitude.

    [Reply]

    catherine Reply:

    what if he refuses to play outside because he’s too distracted?

    I was never able to play with my border collie because he does not show interest in play when we are outside the house.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Find something that is his favorite and try playing with it, with him outside…or play together inside!

    Stefanie Reply:

    I have a Border Collie/Shetland Sheepdog mix and she is just not a ball dog. What I found works with her, is taking her to the dogpark and allowing her to herd other dogs. I first worked on commands, such as come, down, sit and stay at home until she could do it without a treat. Then we worked on it outside in the backyard, where there are more distractions. Then I introduced her to some friend’s dogs, because she was very relaxed and if Ralph showed aggression, they would put her in her place. Also, I was able to relax around her, which is key. If you are tense, your dog will be tense.
    Ralph took a long time to learn to come from a distance, because she would focus so much on herding another dog, that she wouldn’t pay attention to me. What I did in this case, would be to go up to her and break her concentration. If she still wasn’t listening, I would put her on a leash and lie her down. When she was paying attention to me, I would let her go again and test the “Come” command. It took a few months, but now, Ralph will come from far away when I whistle.
    Everyday, I take Ralph to the dogpark and let her herd other dogs. She has learned not to nip and bark, although the barking is still a hit or miss. I praise her a lot when I tell her to bring a dog to me and she does. The best way to stop the barking is to calmly tell her to “Relax” and praise her when she stops barking. If I raise my voice though, she will bark louder!
    Hope this helps!

  18. chris mauriello says:

    question please? why would you not want your dog to bark? we have a 5 year old male GSD. max is high energy, high prey drive. we have had several robberies in our neighborhood. my husband and i want him to bark to warm us of a possible problem. he is a hand full on walks however- goes nuts when he sees a rabbit or a coyote. chases them with me on the end of his leash. thanks

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My dogs are allowed to alert bark (2 barks) only, I control their barking so it doesn’t get out of control (woof, woof, a leaf fell…woof woof, look at the squirrel..etc.)

    They absolutely bark when someone comes to the door or they suspect something is awry! But, they are quiet when I tell them to be!! I trust them and their instincts and i like quiet dogs!

    [Reply]

    Penny Reply:

    Hi. agree with you on your dog barking. You want him to warn you or keep people away, but too much barking desensitizes you from his bark. BUT, heres something most people don’t think about, Do You Understand Your Dog’s bark? My dog, a pedigreed intact male, has a different bark for different things! It’s like women who can tell their baby’s cries (hunger, cold frightened, etc)
    My boy has a quiet bark for me when he is downstairs and is either hungry or needs to go make a pit stop. He will continue this for a while then come up and bump my bedroom door. I keep it closed to keep the cat out or when I’m working. He has a serious bark when he sees a stranger and don’t let anyone come into our driveway! For the mail/delivery person he always comes up stairs to my door (if I’m not getting it) frantically wanting me to see who he’s barking about. When kids are out there his bark is more a ‘let’s play’ bark and you can get knocked down by the tail wagging. He stops barking on his own when the person is gone, and his bark is not quite as loud or intense unless it’s the mail delivery person or someone is in our driveway. If the mail lady does not enter our drive way he is not as intense, but he IS happy to let me know he has successfully made her go away. He definitely dislikes the UPS and FEDEX people. USA

    [Reply]

  19. Tracy says:

    Great article and comments from others! i do not own a herder as such but find my two small dogs exhibit similar herding behaviour particularly with tv programs based on any living creature… yes, even snakes but especially anything with 4 legs! I have a 9YO Maltese X (male)and a 2YO poodle X Japanese Spitz (female).We had a brief encounter with a herding collie at a lead off park where the collie decided it was his job to do the herding, not my little guy which resulted in a bit of an arguement! I think the best option will be to use some of the suggestions given here and apply them to my dog. As for our younger female, she seems to be following the other dogs lead and is now barking when he does. Seems like she is learning by example!!! Can you give us any advice?

    [Reply]

  20. Andie Chandler says:

    Hi Minette,
    So interested to read your blog. We have recently adopted a stray who was living on the streets, who is a border collie cross. He is between 3 and 4 months old. We have beeen advised not to walk him too much, as we are told that this can have negative consequences in the future for his joints, leading maybe to arthritis etc.
    In the meantime, he plays with our 3-year-old (dalmation-labrador cross, so also pretty active!), but this can get quite manic, so I often have to intervene to calm them down.
    He has so much spare energy and runs in crazy circles around our small garden, throwing up the turf with his pounding paws, jumping on our cats and on his big canine brother.
    I am doing basic training with him to stimulate him – he chases and retrieves a ball very well already, and I try to wear him out with this, but he just seems to have ENDLESS energy (which I don’t have!)
    If you have any advice on how to burn up some of his hyper-energy while not damaging his growing joints, we would be so grateful.
    Andie and Andrew Chandler, S.Africa

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    scroll back through the blog for more games http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/ and fun things to do like scent detection (nose work) and other things. Tricks and games are some of my favorite things to write about and work on so check back often!

    Also regular non-athletic walking is no problem especially if you stay on grass, but yes pounding the pavement can affect joints! When he is old enough, full grown, and gets your vet’s approval you can start exercising hard together!

    [Reply]

  21. shell says:

    herding breeds are the best ever….but only if you have the time to spend with them

    [Reply]

  22. Sonya says:

    What great information ! I have 6 dogs and 18 foster rescue’s. One of my own dogs is a Border Collie 14 years old now, who we rescued when he was 18 months old. Your information is spot on, herders need challenging, even now at 14 he can’t run much but likes to ensure all the others are under control.

    [Reply]

  23. Sarah says:

    I really have a problem teaching my anotolian sheep dog the female just dose not want to listen. The male is better They walk with the lead very nicely but other things are really difficult. What must I do

    [Reply]

  24. Kim Bennett says:

    Thank you so much for the great article! We have a 1 year old Sheltie who is full of energy! We regularly walk in my neighborhood and parks, etc. My biggest challenge is keeping him under control when a car passes us. We live in a neighborhood without sidewalks but we have very wide streets and usually will only encounter 2-3 cars on our walks. But when he sees one or hears one coming…he immediately sits down and stares at it. As soon as it gets almost by us…he goes crazy. He jumps, barks and tries his best to run after it. I have to hold him tightly by the collar to keep him still. He does very well with sit/stay command until we get in this situation. I’m not sure if the cars scare him or if he’s trying to herd them! I’ve taken the clicker with me and praised him when he sits and lets the car go by without jumping at it, or if he will continue to walk with me. Once in great while, he will do this…but not often. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!

    [Reply]

  25. Trish The Dog Trainer says:

    Thank you Chet, I love reading your dog training tips as it keeps my game sharp for the family problem dogs I run into here in the Kern Valley. I have now 2 Queensland Heeler females. I have been training them for a little over a month. They are very smart and in comparison to the Border Collies I have had they are a bit more suspicious of things than the Collies. I think they could really be trouble for someone not prepared for all the bumps in the road…Thanks again for your help!

    [Reply]

  26. Jo-Anne says:

    Interesting article. I’ve a 1.5yr old neutered male GSD/Boxer Mix. Rio he is a only child:) & protective, listens well & is very smart. Recently he’s started the “Stink Eye” in the car especially towards other dogs he sees & has started when we are out on walks, hackles come up, growls & sometimes barks but the stub tail is wagging.
    Was wondering what to do about stopping this aggressiveness before it get out of hand
    Thanks

    [Reply]

  27. Chuck Widdop says:

    We just got a female puppy from our sister-in-law she’s part Feist, and part Cattahoula Abby. She is no where near completely trained. She was born Oct 31, 2010, so she’s not quite 3 months. Our problem is we have a 16 year old Rat Terrier named Ginger. Abby jumps up on Ginger nimps her on the neck. I have Chet Womach’s online Hands Off Dog Training Secret. Have not found anything to address this issue. Only thing that comes close might me the leave it command, or something about aggression. I have already taught her to sit, stay, and come. She is still mouthing. What do I need to do next. My wife and I are keeping them separated until we have a fix on this one. Thanks in Advance – Chuck Widdop

    [Reply]

  28. Yolande Harrison says:

    Hi, your dogs are beautiful. I own a Belgian shepherd tervuren so when I saw your photos of your Belgies I got excited. My puppy is 5 months old and beautiful. I think she going to do superbly in the breed ring. I also have the jumping up problem but she also barks at [people and dogs when we go walk a nd gets so excited and shrieky when I get to a puppy park or anywhere for that matter. She is so loving and beautiful though. That is the only two real issues with her. She plays with dogs and generally not scared of people too much. She also can go to peoples houses with dogs if they are friendly and get on there.

    [Reply]

  29. Allison Bernhisel says:

    Minette,
    I have two border collie mix breeds who are both exceptionally wonderful and each a handful in their own way. Nesta is a 3 year old male with tendencies of excessive barking/whining/growling at any time of day if he hears anything walking by or even for no apparent reason at all. The whining is the most obnoxious and I feel awful because I do not know what he is trying to communicate to me or how to make it stop for my own sanity. He also nips at my toddler nephews and other family members when they try to enter my room. Torrey, on the other hand is a 5 year old female who is more easy going in the apartment but growls at the occasional passer by which sets off Nesta’s excitement and a bark-fest between the two begins. Also, when we are leaving the apartment morning, noon and night for our walks and park dates, Torrey becomes a deranged beast. Tugging on the leash or barking persistently until a toy or whatever object she can carry is in her mouth. (If we ever lose a ball at the park she has to carry the Chuckit(TM) so as to not make everyone– including herself– deaf. She has even ripped a doggy waste bag out of my hand thinking it was something I could throw for her to chase.) They both get worn out first thing in the morning at the park and two or more other times during the day. I am not sure what to do anymore. PLEASE HELP!

    [Reply]

    Lynne Reply:

    Hi. I have found that many herding dogs need something in their mouths to help calm them and shut them up. My first ACD who went thru obedience and agility training would get so hyped when we rode to work on an island in a golf cart (while he raced us) that we had to start throwing plastic bottles to him so he could grab one while he ran. That shut him right up and he then learned to automatically pick something up to soothe him. I now have a couch potato ACD and a border collie mix, both 5-6 yrs old. The BC mix has to make up games and we help her. Her latest thing is to be happy attacking a rope we tied around a tree. When excited we “sick” her on her rope and she growls and pulls and takes out her frustration on the rope. She is a nut! We will be inside clipping our fingernails and she hears us and goes nuts. Or if we use packing tape and she hears us from outside she goes nuts. Maybe it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard for her! We love them both and they are both nutty in their own right.
    The BC mix however seems to be getting crazier. She is a rescue we’ve had for 3 years. She was limpy when we got her but she gave herself plenty of rehab exercise. This is the first summer she hasn’t had any lameness at all! She runs ALL DAY long and never tires! She prefers sleeping out on our porch in the summer to protect our sheep (has a heavy coat).

    [Reply]

  30. Ernest Pease says:

    Thank you for sharing this great synopsis. Together with the comments, it provides a great education for the uninitiated, and encouragement for those who have experienced similar challenges, and know that it is all about “understanding” first, and then “control”.

    ernie pease

    [Reply]

  31. Penny says:

    Hi. Glad NOT to have one of these types of dogs. I know GSDs are from the herding group, but my dog tends more toward the guarding group. I never have problems with TV with my boy. He will watch bits of TV or the PC, listen to other dogs bark or make sounds that he is familiar with, but he never gets antsy about it. He likes to ride in the car, go to PetSmart to be around other dogs and check them out, but he never gets weirded out by them. He is intact (not neutered) just made 2 years old and is more interested in finding a female, besides playing with me, his cat, going for walks (chasing the occasional bird or squirrel) and keeping the mail lady or delivery people at bay. He has a sweet personality and really wants to find that girl of his dreams. I’m more interested in getting him in a closer conformation class for show. Just for stress training I take him farther away from home in different directions and let him lead us back. This is fantastic for the German Shepherd brain. He has an awesome memory, and I do everything I can to encourage him to use it. He most definitely does not have a ‘pea brain’. It amazes me how much he picks up day to day, and shows me he understands. Sometimes it’s scary when he does things, and I find I have underestimated his mental capacity. Exercise is very good for keeping him in shape and wards off boredom, but talking to him and even asking him simple questions using the same few words gives him the time to find a way to let me know he understands, if this is what he wants or if he just wants my attention for playtime. You’d be surprised to learn just how smart your German Shepherd is as apposed to some other dogs.

    [Reply]

    Sherri Reply:

    Hi Penny, I was wondering where you live and if your GSD found the girl of his dreams. We have an 8 month old beautiful purebred but not papered GSD, Mikayla. I wanted to let her have at least 1 litter of pups before we spay her.

    [Reply]

  32. Staci says:

    Lovely article 🙂
    I have a female German Shepherd Dog, Indie.
    She sometimes does display some of these problems, but she gets around 2 hours of exercise a day so she is well behaved pretty much all the time. I love her 🙂

    [Reply]

  33. Mei Ling Wong says:

    Thank you for this great article on herding breeds. Yes I too am a fan and have had 3 GSD guide dogs over a 16 year period. My first 2 only displayed herding behavior when playing. However my current guide dog is by far my most challenging. She is 5 now and wants to herd things sometimes even while working. I can feel her body tension and changbe in pull trhougth the harness and yes sometimes she vocalizes. I lived in downtown Portland and had problames wiht skateboarders constntly targeting my guide dog riding at us comeing inches from us sometimes. I know part of her problme was although she was getting physical exercise walking and mental stimulation working she was not getting adequate play time. I had moved to 400 square foot studio apartment and she did not have a yard or any play space (my first and last time to ever make that kind of mistake). Maturity, more play time and more focusing work have helped. I do make her sit and use food to refocus her. I initially did not want ot use food thinking i was rewarding her however after doggie pushups (sit and down routines) were inaffective, good 2 handed leash corrections were ineffective I did find makign her sit and holding the treat up to my face making her focus on me really helped. She does much better. I know herding breed are rarely used any more for guide dogs but I love them and love the challenge of the breed adn excatly what you mentioned I love how they think but also recognize that they can easily become over stimulated in a hectic urban environment. Do you have any other suggestions for working on herding with skateboards? It would be much appreciated.
    By the way I commend you for taking on the challenge of Malinoise. I love them but they are a handful. I see you like a dog that keeps you mentally stimulated too. I admit a personally get bored with a dog that presents absolutely no challenge in its every day work, I guess that is why I have not given in to the now common retriever you see working as guides for the blind.
    Thanks
    Mei Ling Wong

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Mei,

    I would work on desensitization, and get her at a safe level around skate boards all of the time. If the organization that placed her is around, I would request help from them! It is a good organization’s duty to help when their clients are struggling with behavior problems. If that is not possible I would request help from another sighted friend who can see the problem before you “feel” it. Then I would redirect with commands and a firm leave it! Working at a safe distance and then slowly approaching until the skateboards mean nothing. It will take some time, but I bet she will learn to ignore them and they will become less exciting the more she sees of them!

    [Reply]

  34. Ruth Cote says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have a 6 month old Chihuahua & she gets up every morning @ 4 a.m.
    We go outside she goes for a small pee then wants to come back in to play. She will NOT return to her crate.
    We walk 3-4 kil. a day to try & play her out but all she does is sleeps most of the day then goes to her bed on her own by 8-9 p.m.
    What does evryone agree how could I change this habit of her’s.
    Thanking You in Advance,

    [Reply]

  35. louise bella says:

    I have a 1 year old sheltie who carries on barking every time I leave or close a door in front of him….He stops after a minute or two when I do not return …..He really carries on and is quite loud .
    Does the same thing when someone pets him on the outside and then they leave …
    any suggestions?

    thank you in adviance

    [Reply]

  36. Jannelene says:

    We recently got a pure white German Shepard puppy. Her name is Rhoska and she is about 4 months old now. I know she will grow up to be a beautiful dog some day. And I can already sense that she is very intelligent.
    So far we don’t experience too much problems with her, but she has the tendancy to urinate whenever she gets happy or excited or even when she thinks she is going to get scolded for doing something bad.
    Will this pass over time or is there something I could do to teach her to stop doing it?
    And do you have any other advice on how I can nurture her to be the beautiful dog she could become?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    check out my other article, it will help you!

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/submissive-urination/

    [Reply]

  37. hill robinson says:

    a great article thank you

    [Reply]

  38. Darlene says:

    Weasel, my 8 year old Pembroke Corgi is a great big dog in a little body. He gets along well with my inside cats (9) and his brother, Doug The Pug. Occasionally chases the outside cats, but follows commands to stop well. Graduated near the top of his obedience classes. Great traveler! We drive to Florida every year and he rides in the back quietly and is a great motel dog. I love the little herders, Pembrook and Cardigan Corgis, Blue Healers are the only ones I have personal knowledge of. An Invisible Fence allows him to run the double city lot and keeps him and Doug safe. I’d recommend a Corgi to anyone who likes the herder attitude. DAR

    [Reply]

  39. Rejeanne says:

    Hi there

    Thank you for the information. I have a 1yr old Sheltie female Molly and she can be a challenge but I wouldn’t change her for the world. If you have any more info on how to deal with them let me know. Thank you again this article is a Godsend. She wakes both my husband and I at 5,30 every morning now I understand the herding instinct.

    [Reply]

  40. Pat Emmerson says:

    Consider “scootering” or other pulling exercises for dogs who need an outlet for excess energy. I attended a pulling clinic that featured 4 dachshunds pulling a scooter together, a pair of Border Collies, several pit-types (Staffies and the like) and some Golden Retrievers in addition to the expected husky types. In the winter, these dogs go skijoring (pulling a person who is on skis) and sledding. In summer, they go “scootering.” Some of the larger ones also pull carts. The exercise requires only a handful of commands, can be done by dogs of all sizes and is fun for everyone!

    [Reply]

  41. Carol B says:

    We have a Briard, Allie, and when we take her to the dog park, people either love her or hate her, depending on whether they “get” her natural instinct to herd their dogs! It’s a wonder to watch her race them at top speed and start circling them in tighter and tighter circles. I doubt she even knows why she’s doing it. Instinct is an amazing thing! Makes me wish I had a few sheep for her.

    But those who don’t understand that herding instinct think she’s just being aggressive and, in all fairness, not all the dogs at the park particularly want to be herded! So it’s sometimes a problem. Definitely need to keep them busy.

    Carol

    [Reply]

  42. Patti says:

    Great article on herding breeds. I did some research before buying my GSD. I’ve always adopted dogs but was willing to go through a breeder for my GSD, having never had one and knowing their reputation for being aggressive and stubborn. Kai just turned 2, and is beautiful, intelligent dog. I had him neutered at 18 months. At 3 months he was an ankle bitter, jump up, rip mom’s clothes pup, until a started swatting him on the rear with rolled up magazines. the behavior stopped in a day. I took him through obedience school at 7 months. He did well I used pinch collar because of his tendency to yip, spin, and melt down when he saw someone in the neighborhood on our walks that he wanted to say hi to. I could then walk him past anyone; kids, joggers, cats sitting on lawns, other dogs. He was perfect on leash. At about a year he went through a very painful ear infection and would growl at me when i got near him. I corrected him sternly, but it had little affect. At about 18 months, our walks became nightmares. He lunges( dislocated my finger once trying to hold him), at people walking down the street. The same with cats, although I have 4. He’s a barker and ignores me when i tell him quiet! He has more energy than anything I’ve ever met. I’ve given up walks for fear I won’t be able to hold onto him someday. The strange thing is, I can take him to Pet’s Mart and he’s an angel. people come up and pet him and he loves kids. I’ve resigned us to playing frisbee in the backyard. i try to give him at least 40 minutes of hard running exercise a day. We could go out at midnight and he would be ready to play. He also seems to be afraid of alot of things, I think that’s where alot of his aggression is coming from. I’m looking for ways to keep him busy and give him some confidence. He seems quite bonded to me but often doesn’t listen and other times he’ll do exactly what I want.

    Patti

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/utilize-gentle-leader-similar-head-halters-dog-training/

    Try this, it will give you more control and you will be better able to control his aggression. Continue to use positive reinforcement, no more stern corrections!!!! Look through my articles for more help!

    [Reply]

    Patti Reply:

    Thanks so much for your input, buy I’ve tried the gentle leader, no good! I also think, and I’ve known some of the best dog trainers around that a stern correction is sometimes warranted with an animal who always wants to be in charge. I’m not talking about abuse or hitting them over the head with a 2 by4, but they need to know you are the dominant force, and need to be obeyed. He gets plenty of love and affection and positive reinforcement also. I’m just baffled at the change in this dog. Maybe it’s just his age and the fact that his protective drive kicked in a little too strongly. As with people, they’re all different, and what works for one may not work for another. Thanks again.

    Patti

    [Reply]

    ADRIEL STEWART Reply:

    I have a 17yr. 5yr. and 2yr. old austrailian shepherds… They can be a handful…but your blog has given me some helpful hint on the breed…My two males (17/2)are laid back and always listen to me…my female lynnelou is a runner and refuses to listen when outside…shes outta sight until she decides to come home so I have to keep her on leash because we live on the edge of town…for the two yrs. Iv’e owned her I have tryed to break her of this habit..with limited results… the other two stay at my side until I send them off..could it be because she was tied to a box for three yrs…when I take them for a ride her eyes bulge out and she wants to go after anything that moves…including oncomming cars..It took a yr. for me to teach her not to jump from the truck while it was moving…she’s come along way but still has a ways to go… when I got her she did’nt know any commands..now she know all I require but the running…any sugestions?..would be a help..I have tryed food…would run her in stripmines if she’d stay with me but last time I tryed she was gone for a day..regardless thank you for your blog I will look at her as a herder not as my girl and try to give her more activites…

    Sue Reply:

    Years ago I had a rescue, Ruffian (picked his bloody body off the road after he was hit), If there was any way for him to run past anybody at an open door, hr shot out like a bullet. I never could break him of it but found early on that he felt he owned the car and would go with it. I would hop in the car and drive up and down the neighborhood allies as fast as he could run. In 10 minutes or so he was glad enough to have me open the door and allow him to collapse on the back seat.

    This is no good for training but it kept him out of trouble and off the busy streets.

  43. Janet says:

    I have an almost two year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She has a very pleasant temperment. She only barks for alert and is submissive. She had stopped nipping but recently started it again when someone new comes and she wants their undivided attention. She does not jump on me, but she always jumps on guests unless controlled on the leash. I have tried to practice with willing friends, but it seems to take about 3 – 5 minutes for her to calm down and obey. Then she lays calmly at my feet. This is getting tiresome. I have trained her to be a certified therapy dog going to kindergarden, nursing homes, etc. and she is fine after the initial time to calm down. Of course, she is always leashed in those situations. Am I just lazy and not being consistent? I want the verbal command to work. Thanks for your help.

    [Reply]

  44. cookie says:

    i have five dogs three ratterriers and one jackrussell and one jackrat puppy .there was peace in the house until the jack russell came. when she was a puppy they all played fine when hannah the jack russell was coming into heat she started getting agressive with mattey the smallest of all the rats she almost died .i nursed her back to health and she made it .and yes my dogs are spoiled not to the point they run me or the house. i’ve babied mattey but there all my babys and i love them all.the agression got pretty bad if anyone came to the door and they all went in there hannah the jack would attack mattey to the point of drawing blood and i had to reach in and pull them apart. there where two times i got bit and my hushband also when breaking them up. my hushband is not as patient as i am but hes not abusive . he had me get a shock colar and it worked while it was on her but i hated it. things slowed down and got better. hannah had puppys and i’ve just always kept an eye on both of them. it still happened if hannah thought mattey was going to get the attention so mattey kept her distance. it all stopped for a long time as i kept working with them without the colar and staying aware of the triggers with hannah. now the puppy is 4 months old and its starting up again and now shes going after my oldest rat cassie which is 9 years old. she wants to dominate and i see how she wants me for herself alot of times tryed everything i don’t want to give up on her because i love her shes apart of our family and she has alot of good in her and shes alot of fun. don’t know what else to do

    [Reply]

  45. Pat says:

    I have a 17 month old australian shepherd male. He exhibits all the traits you mention for herding dogs but the one thing that really upsets me is he doesn’t only herd my cats, if he gets hold of one he grabs it by the neck and shakes it. he has actually drawn blood. When he was about 5 months old he almost killed one of my cats who was then a kitten. how do i stop this. i do know he needs more exercise and attention. My daughter wanted a pup for my granddaughter so i bought him for her last year. she was supposed to do the training and care. she moved out in january of this year and i was left to take care of him. i am 65 and i work full time. do you have any suggestions as to how i can best train him and exercise him. i have some health problems so i’m not very energetic but i do love him and i don’t want to get rid of him. i hope some day my daughter will be in position to take him. right now he’s too wild for her to have in an apartment. I desperately need help. What will neutering do for him?

    [Reply]

    Gordon Reply:

    Pat, I’m on my second Aussi. My first one lived for fifteen years and I now have a six year old mini Aussi and I understand the issues you are having and I fear that if your Aussi does not get some training she could possibly bite someone or a your granddaughter. His behavior will only get worse. Please see if you can’t find it a good home with someone who understands this wonderful breed and its need for exercise.
    I trained my mini to chase and catch a Frisbee. He loves it and we do it a minimum of every other day. We take walks if we can’t play catch.
    Good luck, Gordon

    [Reply]

  46. Kenneth Greely says:

    I have a standard poodle. Would he be considered a herder?
    Thank You
    Ken Greely

    [Reply]

  47. Zoe says:

    thanks for the info; I have two border collie puppies at this time: the male just turned one and is much easier to handle then the younger female! the female Is turning one next month also and is more aggresive with children and other dogs. she likes to herd kids as well as men and I admit I am lacking in the mental stimulation. She barks and growls aggressively as well as nips other dogs both at our house and when she is a guest. We have just stopped taking her out as a result. any advice to what i should start with? it would be very appreciated!

    Zoe

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    work on obedience and teach her impulse control! She is trying to control her world but needs to learn that you are in control!

    [Reply]

    Zoe Reply:

    Ok sounds good, i’ll give it a try! 🙂 thanks!

    [Reply]

  48. Sarah Baucom says:

    I have a Great Pier – born ll-ll-l0
    He is wonderful
    Large- very smart – very much a puppy yet
    will reread this article – thanks

    [Reply]

  49. Sylva says:

    My tri-colored Sheltie (Jet) is so much happier when he gets enough exercise. I good frisbee session, long walks and our weekly agility class does the trick. (Although he still enjoys trying to herd our two cats)

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    hehehe my cats get herded occasionally too! Such is the life of a cat living with a herding dog!

    [Reply]

  50. kathleen morris says:

    Hi,
    Well have a Belgian sheepdog female, spade and she is a certified therapy dog and also the Red Cross Dog for our community. Super smart, very obedient, super going to care homes, great at home, but has one very annoying problem. Before I get to a home or the Post Office or home or wherever she has once been and taken out she starts barking……She will not stop have tried everything known and of course will not put an electric shock collar on such a great dog, so maybe you have an idea????

    Kathleen

    [Reply]

  51. Clark Caldwell says:

    Thankyou for the letter. I have a Blue cattle dog ( Shadow ) who has been showing many of the characteristics you mentioned. I will endeavour to try and stimulate him more both mentally and physically.

    [Reply]

  52. Tracey Bruenr says:

    Hi Minette,

    I have just adopted a Shepard mix but he looks more of a Boxer mixed with Irish Setter. My issue is that I have a 13 year old cat and she is good with dogs, but the new dog Dorado he is 6 yrs old, and he has no aggressive manners nor is he being mean, but he wants to heard my cat and it really scares here. I tried to introduce them and he just lunged at her and so I put her up stairs but that is not fair to her since this was her house first; I have called several places about this type of manner and asked if it is trainable? I have been told that it will take time, with some training; I have gone on line to look up this issue and not much is out there for this type of issue so I am asking for some helpful insight.
    Dorado is very smart, well mannered, he obeys simple commands, likes his create, lets you know if he has to go out side, I put a pincher collar on him for walks so he does not pull, takes a bath well, he is very affectionate. What are some of the things to do to stimulate him I do live in a large farming community but I don’t know anyone yet since we just moved here to WI.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You are going to need to put him on a leash in the house. I would not use the prong collar on him during this, as you don’t want him to associate the cat with pain or discomfort.

    Also make sure the cat has a place to get away from him, she should have her own little room free of dog smell or surprise visits.

    Now you must teach him to leave it and to do down stays at your feet until he shows absolutely no interest in the cat at all.

    I have taken hundreds of dogs from shelters and brought them into my home, my first rules were that the dogs were always on a leash and never able to get to my cats and that my cats had their own room in case they were just so disgusted by the dog they needed a place to go 🙂

    Good luck, set boundaries and you will see success in no time!

    [Reply]

  53. ANjjohl says:

    We figure my Jagger is part Collie, part Spitz, and he has a unique disposition. He is very dopey and docile to humans, but has literally boundless energy if you give him things to do. He will lie around all day if you let him, but I have literally taken him on 20 kilometer hikes, and he barely seems to even tire.

    He has what I think is a herding instinct, as his favorite game is when you startle or lunge at him, at which point he will run in large circles around you. He wants you to startle/lunge again when he gets close to you. He will do this for 10-15 minutes straight if you have the patience! What a character! He certainly keeps me going.

    [Reply]

  54. Trish says:

    I have two border collies and have experienced a lot of the above behaviour with them. The youngest is 9 months and male (unneutered) the female is 12 years, and definately the boss.
    He is very poor at recall if something more interesting is going on, especially with his doggie pals, and I notice she is copying his disobedience at times. She has never been naughty before he came along – will this pass?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I think sometimes dogs are like kids and they can feel like “if he gets to do it so can I!!”

    Go back to training and working with her. She probably feels a little neglected even if that is not the case. Give her more time and affection and work on her recall just like you would if she was a puppy.

    And, work with him! Naughty behavior is still naughty even in a 9 month old puppy! so work on his obedience, as his gets better I bet hers will too! And, I would neuter him ASAP you are fighting a losing battle with a dog with a dog coming when he has testicles that make him want to do things on his own.

    At 12 (I have one that is 12.5) they just need to feel like they are still our #1 so take her on rides alone and give her one on one time. She has given you 12 good years, I bet she just wants to feel like “the only child” still sometimes!

    [Reply]

  55. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much for your very helpful information on herding dogs. Will continue to follow your advice.

    [Reply]

  56. Sandy says:

    I have a 10 month border/Aussie mix, and she is definitely a herder. I love her and she is a sweet dog, but she definitely does have an independent streak a mile wide, and is very suspicious of strangers. We’re working on these behaviors, but she is definitely the most challenging dog I’ve ever had. I have 2 labs as well, and she is just worlds different, and I can see why herders often end up in shelters when their humans don’t understand or appreciate their unique characteristics.
    Plus, it’s fun to watch her herd all of her toys into a certain part of the yard and then play fetch with them all at the same time.
    We are working on the “wait” command now.

    [Reply]

  57. Kathy says:

    I have a 3 year old Shetland Sheepdog who is a sweetheart. He loves to “go” whether it be walking or riding in the car. However, the car riding is a problem because he wants to “herd” the passing cars. I have tried everything I can think of to quell this behavior. I have asked several local trainers and their response was that it was a “breed” thing and probably no way to stop it. It really makes riding with him not so fun and I would love any suggestions!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would crate him and cover his crate if you are looking for a quick fix.

    Otherwise you are going to have to teach him to down on command and not look out the window when you drive which is what I have to do with my Dutch Shepherd when she does that in the car!

    [Reply]

  58. Rashelle says:

    Hi, I have a blue heeler who is about 8 months old. He is showing quite odd behaviour and I would like some tips on how to train him properly as he was almost taken to the pound for an incident with a child. I am 17 and can’t afford puppy pre-school or training classes so would like to do it myself. The odd behaviour is- barking at ANYTHING from bats to the trees swaying but the most odd is that if he can hear voice but can’t see us he will bark at our family until we tell him to shush. Another one is he can’t stand children, he growls, nips, barks, raises all the fur on his back like a cat and hasn’t yet actually bitten one but I’m scared he is going to. He lunges and jumps a lot too I don’t know if he got that off my other dog (American bulldog x) who always jumps as well but when he lunges for toys he tends to bite your hand or knock you over in the process. He also licks A LOT like he will lick my feet and hands and if he get down to his level he will try climb in my lap and lick my face. he is very affectionate towards me and very loyal but he lacks discipline. He is also getting very fascinated with digging and chewing which I know is normal behaviour but any ideas/tips on how to stop him and train him to be obedient without the expensive costs before he gets too old to train?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You are in way over your head. I would need advice and help training if he was mine. He needs the help of a veterinary behaviorist so he doesn’t bite a child or maul one.

    Not only can you and your parents be liable he will get put to sleep and a child will be traumatized.

    I can’t give you advice over the internet, I can’t see the behavior, but I can tell you he needs the help of a veterinary behaviorist!

    [Reply]

  59. shale says:

    A year ago I acquired a 6 year old queensland from the pound with a broken back right leg. Several surgeons have said leave it alone since she is not bothered by it and runs like the wind.
    My problem is she runs after runners, kids running, bikes, motorcycles and she is addicted to the chuck it for throwing a ball. She nips at all of the above and has drawn blood inadvertently.
    I was thinking of using a safety muzzle to stop her.
    I would love suggestions.

    [Reply]

  60. Lilly says:

    Those are Belgian Tervurens… definitely not Malinois.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Well you should write a defaming message to the AKC because two of those dogs are AKC register Malinois and one is a Dutch Shepherd.

    You should really do your research on the breeds before you speak out about things you don’t understand.

    [Reply]

  61. Carol Beahan says:

    Hi, We have a one and a half year old Sheltie, a 13 year old Border Collie and a 6 year old setter. We have had the Sheltie for 11 months, she was 8 months old when we got her. She had lived with family with two children and no problems. The Mother said she was allergic to the dog and had to get rid of her. She next lived with an eighty year old lady , who hit her with a wooden spoon and a yard stick and said the dog attacked her from day one. We knew she was a problem but not details or how she had been hit with these objects. She attacked us every time we came in the house. She barked, growled, put her mouth over our arm and constantly leaped on us. We kept a lead on her at all times and could grap the lead, have Madison sit, pet her and tell her what a good dog she was. Usually she would relax and enjoy the affection and love. If she persisted we gave her a time out in her crate where she would relax and sleep. We took her to two vets and the one recommended euthanizing her. He put her on Elavil which does nothing. The second vet put her on Prozac 30 mgm daily which does help. She has gradually improved with occasional episodes. She also herds , but not the horses. She attempts to herd us and our younger dog. She seems to really care about this dog. She does well with our grandchildren and the cats. We live in the woods and she runs loose, stays close and checks in frequently. We wonder what else we can do for her. You can tell she really likes being a “good dog”. I can say we have never been afraid of her. She attacks sweepers, brooms etc but this has improved also. One when she was chasing the broom I picked up a newspaper and said “no”. She flew into me , barking , growling etc. When I had hold of her, petted her, talked to her and told her her was a good dog, she became quiet, trembling all over and buried her head in my arm. I held her until she was calm. This was about out two weeks ago. We really want to help her more, she is very special. We really can not afford a trainer.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/?s=veterinary+behaviorist

    Dogs are an investment, you have already invested in two vet visits why not find someone who can help with the behavior of the dog?

    Just like we can’t do surgery without going to vet school sometimes we can’t help our aggressive dogs with out a veterinary behaviorist

    [Reply]

  62. Mary says:

    Thank you for your post. Both relieved and a bit concerned with our Dutchy as he is growling at us sometimes. Since I will be gone for one year and my husband works long shift hours this may be his way of telling us he is bored. I prefer he remain in tact since we may work him later. Besides exercise and intellectual stimulation do you know of a school he could attend while I’m gone? Perhaps he could be utilized by an organization and we could have him returned. Happy Trainig!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Your best bet is a veterinary behaviorist. I would not send him to anyone else for training if he is already growling at you they may return him as a scary dog that is even more likely to bite.

    My dog is neutered and still does sport work including bite work and has no problems but it curtailed his aggression. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/recommend-veterinary-behaviorist-dog-trainer/

    [Reply]

  63. Mary says:

    So glad I found this thread.
    I recently adopted an older rescue dog who is clearly part border collie and although he’s a LOVE of a dog, this is a learning experience for me (always had retrievers before). He is super respectful of my little female dog, likes her company, won’t mess with her, but he is clearly bored.
    I am starting obedience training with him, in hopes that “we” learn a more appropriate behavior toward other dogs on the street and that his need for structure is satisfied. I have no doubt he will improve, as he already has since coming to his “forever home” (he was found on the streets down south).

    I don’t know his history, but can guess, as he has a disfigured front leg that was badly broken at one time and never tended to. It has healed, strangely, causing him to favor it at times, and it gives him a funny gait. That said, if he is playing hard with a buddy (or obnoxiously herding one) he’s fast and turns on a dime! The vet has advised we leave his leg be, as he’s probably had it for a long time and has adapted. I’d like to do so much more with him, as he is smart and energetic for an older guy. I imagine he’d be amazing at agility or herding or doing tricks if a) he had a better functioning leg and b) I can get his bad habits redirected. Those are: barking and announcing EVERYTHING he notices to me; barking and pulling on the leash when he sees other dogs, not consistently paying attention to me if he’s focused on herding/barking. He stares at me, as if he’s waiting for me to give him a job (or he’s hoping I’ll move so he can bring me back!).
    So what do you think? Am I on the right track? Any further suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes, you are on the right track. I would teach him eye contact and focus on you so you can control a lot of his behaviors. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    And, I wouldn’t discount his leg. Although I wouldn’t hit herding or agility hard (meaning doing it constantly in preparation for trial) I would still let him play.

    You will notice if you take him to agility or herding training that you will gain control of him in all of those ways and then can control his herding behavior. Plus both are super fun! The more you do with him the better behaved he will be.

    I keep my herding dogs running, retrieving, dock diving, doing agility and all kinds of other things just so I can entertain them long enough to live with them!

    [Reply]

  64. Jo says:

    Hi there, I’ve got a collie x (think whippet) who is generally well behaved, however she seems to get really excited by children particularly if they have balls they are playing with or on scooters. We’ve done a lot of general training with her, eg heeling, stop, emergency down, leave it (not to chase) and she’s run off onto a hockey field full of kids and just chased the ball but I want her to just ignore them but I’m not sure how to desensitise her?

    I got her at 11 months old, she is two now and as long as the child isn’t doing anything exciting she seems fine. Any tips on how I can reduce her excitement?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Obedience and experience.

    I used to take my herding dog to the skate park (where she would get over excited) and I taught her no matter what was going on she had to pay attention to me!

    Find a place to train and then make it harder and harder and harder until you have control over it. Then you can command the dog to do a down stay or give eye contact and focus and have less to worry about.

    Also read this so no one gets inadvertently bitten http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/redirected-aggression-dangerous/

    [Reply]

  65. Teresa Hollums says:

    I have a small LapsoApso-heeler mix ( I think) –not sure –who was in a no -kill safe house for dogs. He seems about a year old. He is loving to everyone even to my husband, but only when my husband is seated. When he moves with his cane, the small dog barks and tries to herd him. I am working on the training– we have had him only 5 days, but we need him to not bark or try to nip at his heels when my husband moves–even to the bathroom. I also have a well behaved Cavaschon who is trying to adapt to his noisy new buddy.

    [Reply]

  66. Jen Lyons says:

    Hi. I’ve had my dog for 4 weeks now. He was a stray so the shelter didn’t have much information about him. He seems to be a lab/pitbull mix and is about 6 months old. He’s become very devoted to me in a short time but he goes to puppy play class, comes with me to largely populated functions, leans into my friends to receive pets and praises and overall is very socially adept. The issue is that as of two days ago, I had a male housemate move in. Noodle (my dog) is fine when its just the two of them or the three of us but when Bill and I are in separate rooms, Noodle becomes very aggressive with Bill. He will bark and snarl and steadily decrease the distance between them. Bill is frightened and I’m confused. What makes such a sweet, social guy such as Noodle, suddenly lose his noodle?

    [Reply]

  67. Jen Lyons says:

    P.S. we start training classes on Monday and I’ve asked Bill to come with us. I hope this will help us resolve this issue.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Good!

    [Reply]

  68. Lori says:

    I have a young herding dog with nothing to herd. She walks around whining.

    Can I strategically place things around the house for her to herd??

    She is a rescue.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You can only truly herd live animals… but you can find herding classes in your area, I’m sure

    [Reply]

  69. I have a 2 year old Aussie that we adopted. He is an outside dog most of the time. He chases anything with wheels and tries to herd the neighborhood kids and will nip at them. He chased the yard man and tore his shorts. I am afraid he will bite someone. I contacted a dog trainer who will take him for a week and says she will break him of the idea that he is leader of the pack. He gets along well with other dogs. Is it possible to break a dog of the herding instinct? AS the training is expensive, I am trying to decide if its possible to change him so that he will not feel so territorial that he bites at people. I have tried rescue groups, but they will not take a dog that nips or chases bikes and cars. HELP me please! Thank you so much for any suggestions.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I think you are misinterpreting and mis-seeing this problem. I think the dog is doing this because he is mostly outdoors and his relief from boredom is chasing and exploring his instincts. I think it sounds like a product of his environment.

    And, anyone who says they can fix it for you, somewhere else doesn’t understand or wants to just take your money and then blame you later. No one else can fix this for you on their property. This is a problem with his environment and your property and should be fixed there.

    I would get him inside and work more on training and stop leaving him out to entertain himself.

    [Reply]

  70. Kassie says:

    Great post! I have a question for you regarding my badly behaving dog, Muffin. She is a mixed breed, her mother is a purebred mix of border collie and Queensland heeler, and her father was a stray, he looked like maybe a chihuahua/pug mix. I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old, and even from that age she has been mouthy and aggressive. She is three years old now, and her bad behavior seems to be escalating. She knows most the basic commands, sit, down, stay, etc. and she comes when i call. The only time i have trouble with her not coming is when the neighbors dog is barking and clawing at the fence and she engages. When that happens i stomp or make a loud noise and call her again and she comes. She also doesnt like when our other dog, Moose is doing anything sudden or out of the ordinary, like a sneezing fit or scratching and making her tags jingle. She will run over and bark in her face and nip at her neck until she stops. She also does this when other dogs play. Especially if its my brothers dog, Tater, her best friend playing with other dogs. We have to remove her from the room if he’s playing with another dog. Is this a herd dog behavior? We’ve started calling her the fun killer because she doesn’t want anyone to play but her. One behavior that i am mainly worried about though is that she has become a bit unpredictable. Apparently she decided she didn’t like our landlord. She barked and acted protective when she first met him but relaxed later on, because he’s been around quite often. He pet her before when we were in the other room, though, and he asked later if she shows her teeth to everyone, and I told him no, she doesn’t and told him to maybe not touch her. Well, he came by again this week and she was acting normal and relaxed. I was watching for her warning signs because of the last incident, but she was acting normal, a bit jealous when he was petting our other dog, but nothing defensive. But when he reached down to scratch her ears as he was leaving, she nipped at him. No warning, no flash of teeth first. She didn’t bite him, but it startled all of us. I wrapped my hand around her muzzle and said no and my husband put her in another room until the landlord left. She will definitely be locked up when he comes again.
    Why would she suddenly behave like this? Her mother is the same way, but worse because she wasn’t socialized as much, and mostly when she percieves that something is a threat to her owner.
    Also, her bad behavior has gotten worse since we moved across the country, away from Tater. She has become more obsessed with what Moose and our cat are doing at all times.
    I just don’t know what do do with her. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    you are not in charge of your home, the dog is and unfortunately the dog is a bully.

    The dog is allowed to bully other animals so it is no stretch of the imagination that a human was next.

    I am not trying to make you feel bad, but you need to make some significant changes.

    I am the ruler at my house. If one animal wants to bully the other, I intervene and take away privileges.

    When my female is a bully, I put her on a leash and make her do a down stay on her bed. The privilege of wandering the house and doing what she wants is taken away. So next time she thinks about bullying she thinks about it harder because if it always = something she doesn’t really want then the behavior is no longer rewarding.

    But, that takes good obedience and listening skills. So obedience is a must. If the dog’s obedience isn’t 95% or better you should go back to daily training of the basics and sharpening skills. So when you say “Leave It” the dog will without hesitation.

    [Reply]

  71. Sophie says:

    We have 2 female de-sexed GSDs. One is 5 & the other is 3. The 5 yr old we have had from a puppy & the 3 yr old since 18 months. The older dog will run up & bark, & basically tell the younger dog off. To stop this I will put the older dog into a down position & keep her there to indicate that it is unacceptable, This works for a while but then she will do the same thing again & again. The younger dog is good mannered and generally just ignores the bad behaviour. I feel that the older dog is indicating jealousy, & trying to reinforce some dominance with the younger dog particularly when we are with them. There are no dominance or problematic issues with people. Both dogs have beautiful manners when in the house, have their mats on the floor when inside and have their beds when outside, receive exercise each day & attend regular obedience classes & are well socialised. It is just this issue that I find difficult to find a solution for & I would greatly appreciate some ideas to try. I know that part of this issue is due to herding instinct, but part is also unacceptable behaviour. Again any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    If you are saying this only happens outside, I would let them out in shifts.

    I have dogs that can coexhist while I am around but don’t necessarily like one another. So I let them out one at a time and monitor them together.

    I do what you do, using obedience to take away freedom and privileges. But I respond immediately and try to make it something that they don’t care for, for instance time alone outside or time alone in my room (my dogs like time with me so time away is more of a punishment) You have to find what your dog likes most and dislikes most

    [Reply]

  72. Brenda Lee says:

    We have a beautiful Red Cloud Kelpie. She is well behaved and so intelligent. We only have problems with her when our 2 year old granddaughter is over. She tries to nip our granddaughter. At times she will be so nice to our granddaughter, then suddenly lunge at her, then our beautiful Kelpie will be put in our bedroom with the door closed for awhile. When we let her out she is nice toward our granddaughter for awhile then she tries to nip our granddaughter again. Our granddaughter is cautious around our dog but not afraid of her. We would love for our Kelpie to be able to be with the family the entire time our granddaughter is visiting.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put her on a leash and teach her what you want. Make her do a down stay, teach her leave it.

    People don’t just take their herding dogs out and put them on sheep without proper training. Dogs are put on leash and taught when to herd and when to lay down and which direction to go.

    you won’t be teaching the herding… but you do need the same if not better obedience on the dog.

    [Reply]

  73. Gwen says:

    I have a new Aussie puppy(12 weeks) and a very patient 6 year old neutered boxer. I walk them together on extendable leashes–boxer’s is slightly longer. I am using the command “no herd” when the Aussie herds and nips. I praise him when he simply herds by “shouldering” into the boxer. He is getting better, but…when he refuses to stop, I “short leash” him until he stops trying to sneak attack the boxer. He is getting plenty of exercise with walks and time outside with the boxer in the yard and playtime/training time with me on his own in the yard. Should what I am doing eventually work?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Dogs have trouble learning together, I separate mine to teach obedience. And, personally flexi leashes are horrible for any kind of training.

    i also prefer my dogs in heel position so that they don’t pull or compete with one another.

    [Reply]

  74. Tim says:

    Howdy. I have an 8 month old blue heeler border collie mix, Dixie. Reading these comments I can definitely see the two breeds coming together! I live on a farm with cattle and hogs. When I let her outside to run around, she runs right to the hog pen and tries to herd them through the fence. How do I get her to mind her own business whilst she is running around? Thank you. (If you can’t tell I am very new at this)

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    She needs to be on a leash and taught! Have you taught her to leave it, or to lie down on command when you tell her and she is off leash? We can’t expect that she was born with control, she was born with herding instinct but control must be taught.

    [Reply]

  75. Jamie Sloan says:

    I have Daisy, a 4 yr. old golden/border collie (I think, as one of her eyes is blue and the other brown, and she tends toward more herding like behavior than husky). She is a very mellow, agreeable dog who gets significant excersize. We have just “rescued” an 8 month old Australian shepherd/corgie mix. Her name is Ginger. She is very sweet for the most part but is extremely food motivated. She and Daisy fought the first day they met while in the kitchen because Ginger was feeling protective of the garbage (unbeknownst to me). Since then, they have not fought, but Daisy shys away from Ginger when food and toys are in the mix. Since then, they play and wrestle together and seem to really like each other…Ginger is especially fond of Daisy. My question is…do I need to do any kind of correcting when Ginger and Daisy are out in the yard playing and chasing balls/toys etc. or should I just let them work it out? Inside, Ginger comes running and often puts herself between Daisy and me when I give Daisy attention, but not in an obvious aggressive way. We also have two cats and Ginger is very interested in them, though we have made a good deal of progress around respecting the cats, so I am hopeful that we can get past that. I have two 11 year old girls who are a bit wary of Ginger because she is mouthy and sometimes nips at their heels. I would like to be able to keep Ginger in the family but am trying to figure out if our family is a good fit for her. I am very willing to work with her, but will that be enough?
    Thanks for your help.
    Jamie

    [Reply]

  76. Virginia says:

    I have a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, spayed and 10 years old. She is very active and vocal. I am newly married and Maggie follows my husband around closely on his heels. I am quite aware that she is herding him but he finds it annoying. Any way to stop this? I guess she does this with me too but I’m just used to it. Best guard dog in the world and watch over us constantly.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Give her something else to do! Even the best herding dogs don’t herd on their own; they do it when asked. Otherwise many lay down and watch. Make her do down stays and teach her appropriate obedience, and if you can find someone who will teach her to herd so that she can use her instincts but also learn to control them

    [Reply]

  77. Alex says:

    I am having having behavior issues with my Border Collie/Heeler mix. He goes absolutely crazy when he sees car driving down the street. He will literally lunge at the car while I am walking with him.. Distraction methods do not work with him. His new thing has become dog aggressive. I need your advise

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You need to get eye contact and focus read this and look into our companion dog program which will show videos on how to achieve this technique http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/eye-contact-focus-behavior-broken/

    email dana at info@thedogtrainingsecret.com

    [Reply]

  78. Gloria says:

    I just got my purebred Sheltie who is 9 weeks old. I want to give it more exercise by having it run next to me while I’m biking on errands. I know he is too young to run far now, but I want to start building his stamina slowly. My biggest concern is his herding instinct that he will accidentally pull me off my bike when he chases after cars and/or other animals during our exercise. Is there a way to teach him so i can safely ride my bike with him trotting along? Thanks very much for any advice!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He is much too young for that now. concentrate on obedience and retrieve games with obedience, then when he is old enough his obedience will be spot on!

    [Reply]

  79. Donna says:

    I have a 3yo Aussie who we’ve had since she was 12 weeks. She’s a great and friendly dog and very protective of our family. We have one herding issue that is getting progressively worse. She seems to know when it’s nearing time for the kids to go to bed. She starts slow by pacing and whimpering and then starts getting much more anxious. When the kids start heading up the stairs she starts barking incessantly and running circles around them, running up and down the stairs. She even starts to nip at them and us and many times one of us nearly falls down the stairs. Not until both kids are in their rooms and in their beds will she settle down and go to sleep. How do we get this under control? We’ve tried training her to stay but she gets so upset and anxious it’s like she can’t stop herself. Are we better off keeping her on a leash when bedtimes gets near or using the crate? Any other ideas?

    [Reply]

  80. Jennifer Cavin says:

    A million thanks! I adopted two herding dog mixes, Lab/Australian Shepard and a Border Collie mix. I am working on obedience, but it is often hard to keep their attention. Understanding that some of their behavior issues are related to their herding instincts and not that I have two “bad” dogs, will help me better explain this to other people.

    [Reply]

  81. Jet says:

    Hi, I feel a bit out of place here, as I have a breed who is not known for a herding ability, though seems to be showing all the signs of wanting to be. Now, please don’t laugh… I have a 3 year old pure bred Coton de Tulear. He goes crazy with any quick movement. Joggers, bikes, skates, even baby carriages. He has a horrific bark for a small dog, and has knocked people off their bikes at twenty feet with only his bark. When strangers enter the house he tries to nip their ankles. No matter how calm we remain, no matter what commands he has learned and we try to give, he is bent on having no quick movements, especially from someone or something that is unfamiliar. I realize patience is the key, however, I was wondering if I should look into herding classes for this headstrong little guy, or do you think we’d simply be out of our leauge among larger dogs, whom he also has issues with…

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The sheep could seriously hurt such a little dog. It is better to teach him good obedience and manners

    [Reply]

  82. Julie says:

    We have a 4 year old Labrador-Bergamasco mix, who we rescued at 9 months old. We have two main problems. She has quite strong herding tendencies and lunges at bikes and/or skateboards, the faster they are going the stronger her reaction. She also has some enemy dogs in the neighborhood and when she sees them will jump into the leash and become extremely difficult to control. I usually keep my eyes way ahead to avoid potential interactions with them, and if I see them, take my dog in a different direction, but these issues remain. Normally, she is pretty obedient, and we have done lots of basic obedience classes. She goes to a dog camp with other dogs 3 days a week to run and play and socialize and we play lots of games (hide and seek, fetch, identifying different toys by different names) and she is very good at learning new things, but still I find that we continually have these issues with the bikes/skateboards and enemy dogs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    [Reply]

  83. Sandra says:

    We have a 9 month old Australian Shepherd who we’ve had since he was 12 weeks. He was the best puppy and so obedient and friendly. I know that they are wary of strangers but the past two weeks we’ve had two awful encounters. The first was a waitress at a cafe who asked to pet him and he barked and lunged at her. The second was when our 18-year-old cousin was smothering him (hugging, etc.) and he growled, then turned around and bit her/broke skin. I should have taken him out of the situation and read the signs and feel responsible for this interaction. There were many other stressors that day (new place, dogs next store barking, people entering). But now I’m very wary of letting anyone pet him and tell them to let him “come to them.” Since then he barked at a kid in the dog park. We have a trainer coming this week, but I hope to find more advice. We had been using aversive training (a collar that we’d pull if he barked and lunged on the leash) at the advice of another trainer and the new trainer said this was a bad idea and may have made his aggression work. We plan to use positive reinforcement moving forward but I can’t help but worry that he’ll bite again. We are planning to start a family in the next few years and the last thing I want is for him to dislike kids/strangers. He’s always been a bit fearful and is very submissive but I hope socialization will help him improve. Thanks for your advice!

    [Reply]

  84. Danielle says:

    We have a 6 ,month old Australian Shep – we got him about 3 months ago. The family we got him from gave him up as he was nipping at the mom and she was worried he would start nipping at her young kids. My husband and I love him but he has started trying to heard me and nips at me but not my hubby…….I am not terrified but it does worry me and my husband initially said we had to give him up over it. I want to keep him and work with him, but I am slightly disabled so don’t move too fast. Suggestions appreciated.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sometimes finding a herding trainer and teaching them to herd on command will help you control the herding when don’t want it.

    [Reply]

  85. John says:

    I definitely agree with Lilly, the coat of the dog on the left is way too long for a malinois, and would not be acceptable in most countries, including Belgium. Even according to the AKC standard, the long hair on that dog’s legs would be considered a major fault (and so would the huge white marking on the middle dog’s chest). The long coat is required for a tervuren though. But since in most countries the tervuren and the malinois are considered two varieties of the same breed (the Belgian Shepherd), differing only in coat length… I guess it ultimately doesn’t matter, they’re both Belgian Shepherds

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Does it really matter? Both were AKC registered Malinois from Malinois short haired parents. If you understood genetics you would understand the why

    [Reply]

  86. Bill says:

    Our seven year old Aussiemoved to a ranch and nipps at the horses legs when the owners go on rides. They want to have him along but are afraid he might agitate the horses and cause someone to get hurt. They are considering getting a muzzle for the walks. Will that help teach the dog not to bite?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The dog needs to be put on a leash and taught how to act around horses by someone who isn’t riding.

    Muzzles can frustrate the dog and make the behavior worse. A muzzle can also kill a dog that is hot and exercising and can’t cool itself.

    [Reply]

  87. Laurie says:

    My daughter has an 8 month old Red Heeler and has had him since he was 7 wks. old. He was great as a young pup and loved everyone. She goes to college and comes home every summer for break. She worked 2 jobs all summer and her father & I (mostly myself) “puppy sat” for her. At around 3-4 months Cooper started showing major dislike towards very small children. He would lunge, snarl and act like he wanted to eat them. We have a fenced in yard and it didn’t matter if he was in the yard or on a walk. As long as they were lets say 4-5 ft. away he was fine, but once they got closer he would show his dislike. My daughter had a friend of hers bring her 2yo daughter to the house a few times to try and socialize him with a small child, but his reaction was the same. He is not like this w/older children; just toddlers up to about 7yo. That is one concern that she has and does not know how to go about reversing. The next concern is that since they went back to school he has been misbehaving terribly. He becomes aggressive when she has people over and she has kept him on a leash until he accepts them. Sometimes he doesn’t need to be on a leash and he will act shy, but normally eventually warms up to them. At times these same people will visit on another occasion and he goes through the same ritual all over again or he may not. This does not happen if she has him at another house or a gathering. He is fine during these times. He also started to stop listening to her commands. She finally hired a trainer and after 2 sessions he did show improvement. The trainer had these sessions w/my daughter present where they live. He decided after the 2 (over 2 hr. each session) sessions that my daughter was following his tips and w/persistance he would improve. He was fine for about a wk. and has since regressed. She walks him at least an hr. daily, has play sessions daily inside and outside, but he constantly requires her full attention and if he does not get it he misbehaves or sits and barks. Cooper is neutered – this was done @ almost 5 months. When she is home he listens to my husband and my 2 sons – he listens to me most of the time. Also, she can leave him uncrated w/no one home while she is at class for up to 3 hrs. and he does nothing. He sleeps most of the time, and does not bother a thing. This past wkend she came home and left him with her roomate whom he considers one of the family and he was the perfect dog 99% of the time. She has not contacted the trainer about this issue which he told her she could contact him anytime w/questions, etc. It has been almost 3 wks. since the last session and he is scheduled to touch base w/her after 3 wks. I just thought since she is so frustrated w/what is happening that I would reach out and try and get another view about her situation.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Dogs that are having aggression issues with children need the help of a boarded veterinary behaviorist! http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/recommend-veterinary-behaviorist-dog-trainer/

    [Reply]

  88. Kathy says:

    Hi-I have a Belgian Malinois, german shepherd, staffie mix (according to the DNA test) who is 50 pounds of stubborn, driven, naughty. She was sent for expensive e-collar training for 2weeks and is about 20% more manageable. She persistently chases and nips at other dogs including my other 110 pound German shepherd, Anatolian shepherd who apparently enjoys being chased as he eggs her on. She has managed to puncture his skin. Walking them together for more exercise is not an option as they feed off each other if another dog walks by, so I do take them to the dog park. How do I get adequate exercise and stimulation for her while preventing her from excessively nipping and chasing other dogs? I do work full time, so has to be within reason. Also, she is not interested in chasing balls-only chasing dogs chasing balls.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Taking the dog to the dog park is only worsening your problem.

    You need to work on more obedience and control, and not with a shock collar.

    You also need to make time for a dog like this, if that means you get up an hour or more early or stay out late then sometimes that is what you have to do.

    I have my Malinois pull me on my recumbent trike, he gets excellent exercise but he also has nearly perfect obedience, so if there is a dog off leash or a distraction he listens when I tell him to lay down or give him a command.

    [Reply]

  89. Maya says:

    Hi Minette, thank you for your work it’s inspiring to see that you can master 3 large herding dogs, and the rest! My partner & I have recently welcomed a shepherd mix (looks like an Australian Shelpie) into our lives. The vet says he is about 1 year & 6months old. He was a rescue off the street in our local village, we are in the Alpujarras in Spain. He’s a gem really, Benny had befriended everyone, got snacks from his mates & went for walks with other dog walkers, he had a pretty good life but was howling at night since his owners had dumped him. He is good with other dogs and his street time has made him well socialised, maybe he was on the street for 6-8months. He’s a bit scared of groups of children as here some kids throw rocks & do nasty things to strays, times are changing but its slow to grow out of the culture. Benny has some anxiety if we leave him & we are working on that, coming & going with treats to the car and so on. Soon we will have a crate to train him to be in & build a kennel so he has a Benny zone for his own space. For now he is in the house but cannot be left alone (we do sleep next door with the door open & the elder cat keeps her eye on him). If we leave him tied any where he escapes, he’s a master Houdini. He’s such a sweet dog but his energy levels are getting lively now that he’s in full health.. when we got him he had erlikius (an infection from ticks), we treated this with antibiotics but he still has glaucoma in one eye as a result of the condition which we are treating with the vets help. For now he is not castrated but we would like to have this done so there’s no accidental puppies (most females are not neutered here). As he was chewing things I’ve given him toys & cardboard to chew. He’s good with the cats indoors but chases them outside, I’m working with that & hope that he will leave them be outside as well. He’s learning commands with treats & is a fast learner, however, To the problem.. recently he’s started to nip, more by the day & it wasn’t something he did before. The nipping started when friends come round (the first months he had been totally fine with everyone who came) but now he is protective & nips at peoples hips when they come in the house. He’ll rest but has an eye on them & if they come deeper into the house he’s behind them to nip again. Tail down, head low. So far he’s been good with our neighbours children when out working together. We plan to have children soon & to have friends around regularly, to run a B&B, so it’s concerning. Can we train the nipping out of him, is it herding? If protective how can we let him know he’s safe & doesn’t need to nip? Even with people who had been over twice before & he knew from the street he has nipped at recently, is he trying to protect us? Sometimes friends will need to care for him when we are away & they need to be able to enter Benny zones safely. He also sometimes nips at me recently if I’m telling him to go to bed, sometimes its playfully, I give a sharp “No” and tap his nose. He often does a kind of chatting type of thing too which I’d usually think was nervousness but he does it when he playing & seems happy. Any advice welcome please, kind regards, Maya

    [Reply]

  90. Jen says:

    Hi. We have a 4 year old mix we adopted when he was 4 months old. He looks like a tall beagle mixed with maybe collie. He is friendly with the family. Protective though when strangers are around. The biggest problem is that he tends to her our 2 older dogs, especially when we go to leave them outside. His mood changes and he nips at them and of course they start barking. A few times it has resulted in a scuffle. He will follow them outside and stay right with them. They driving me nus with the barking and occasional fight. What can I do?

    [Reply]

  91. Julie says:

    Hi there-

    Love this thread so thank you! We recently (4 weeks ago) adopted a 1yr old BC/ACD mix as a rescue so we do not know much about his history. He’s wonderful (sweet, cuddly, good with our kids and cat) and the more time he’s with us, the more his personality comes out-which we love so far. He is super smart and has sit, stay, and down mastered (even does it for our 9 year old). We are working on recall and he’s great at it on the leash and long line. However, he likes to bolt to the neighbors when we try to work off leash with him. He will not stop or come once headed there. They have chickens and ducks so maybe he is looking to herd them? Any tips for training that out of him? We want him to be able to be off leash and be able to roam our five acres but we want him safe also.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He has learned that the chickens are more rewarding than anything that you have… this makes for difficult training. I would probably recommend invisible fencing so he simply can’t make this choice anymore and reward himself or get run over by a car. Then you can work on the recall.

    [Reply]

  92. Michelle says:

    I have a 7 year old male Border Collie who is obsessed and aggressive towards our other male dog in the house. He is a small male Chihuahua terrier mix, who does reciprocate the aggressive behavior, His behavior continues to worsen, he shows his teeth and growls at the dog. I am not sure what we can do to help diffuse his obsession!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Not all dogs get along! I have two that aren’t fond of each other, so I watch them when they are together and they go outside separately and when I command them to stop doing a certain behavior or lay down they are quick to comply. in order to successfully live with two dogs that don’t get along, the obedience needs to be nearly perfect.

    [Reply]

  93. Kim says:

    I have an 8 month old pure bred German shepherd. when he wants me to do something, whether it’s to go out for a walk, play, or get a treat, he “herds” me to where he wants me to go by “nipping” with his front teeth to get me to move. It doesn’t hurt but is very annoying. I have tried to discipline him but realizing that he does this when he NEEDS to go out puts me in a difficult situation because I don’t want him to stop notifying me when he needs to relieve himself (he has NEVER gone to the bathroom in the house. Do you have any strategies for stopping this behavior?

    [Reply]

  94. Michelle Johnson says:

    Hello. I just rescued a 14 month old male non – neutered Shiloh Shepard 90 lbs who is mild manner around the house. He is getting fixed this week. We have a five acre property in Colorado with 5 foot fences and after a couple of days on the leash we let him outside. First thing he did was get under a fence and started herding two very large mules. He had them going around the 4 acre pasture at their heals and then the mules would turn around and go after him. The neighbor thought he was a wild wolf and had his rifle out. Got him under control and the neighbor. Second instance was I had in on a leash and he started tug-a-war with me and the only out I had was to take the leash and me around the tree for leverage to get him under control.

    Now what do I do?

    [Reply]

  95. Cindy Jatras says:

    Hi, I am so glad I found you and this thread. After reading all the comments I am convinced that ordinary folks shouldn’t own herding dogs, myself included…

    I have a beautiful, sweet, loving 9 month old red merle Australian Shepard.
    He has developed a couple behavior issues that have me desperately lost. We went through puppy kindergarten and are enrolled in obedience I.
    He is eager to please.
    First he is a large Shepard at 62 lbs at 9 months. He has an issue with my back door and the backyard. When letting him out he aggressively and violently catapults out the door while trying to bite the doorknob on his way out. I often get hurt and have even been knocked over as a result. For 3 months I have worked with him on this by making him sit and stay ( holding a spray bottle) until the door is open and I say “release”. Recently I’ve started holding him by the collar holding him back while he goes out to slow him down. This is all to no avail.
    Once he is out (and this has shifted around a bit due to my interference) he bolts to the back corner of the yard and lunges his body up in the air and slams into the fence. I rebuilt the fence a few days ago but he has sense knocked it down again. Originally he would run around the yard 2 times (at full throttle speed) and then bite the fence in another area. He bit through 2 slats. I then blocked the area. Then he started running around 2 times and stopping to bite my ginkgo tree. He removed the bark all the way around the tree in a 18″ band. I blocked the tree. Now he is slamming into the afore mentioned fence. The whole thing is ritual like and somehow seems connected to me. If I am out there, which I often am, He runs around the yard 2 times, bites w/e and then comes to me and then repeat.
    I know this crazy, obsessive behavior must have something to do with herding but I don’t understand it enough to know what to do about it.
    I am beside myself because 1, that’s my neighbors fence, it’s exhausting and 3, I have actually been physically hurt on several occasions. ‘
    He has also dug up half the yard.
    And when inside during down time he is constantly in my face whining for integration. I mean CONSTANTLY, around the clock.

    He is crate trained and knows to go there when asked or is in trouble.
    I frequently take him to the dog park. He is highly socialized. I take him for play dates with his half brother and a few other dogs.
    He doesn’t do this weird stuff at my daughters house who owns his half brother (who incidentally does not have these kinds of behavior issues)
    I take him everywhere I go. He spends very little time in the backyard.
    He gets constant attention.

    I know I need to work on obedience and training. But this is something I have no clue what it is or what to do about it.

    I did consult a trainer who said this breed has a screw loose and I might have to send him to a farm. Whatever that means. She charged me 75$ an hour for that gem…

    Please advise.. Any input will be much appreciated.
    Thank you…

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He needs more structured exercise. And, he needs either invisible fencing to keep him from the fence or leash walking.

    [Reply]

  96. Shelly says:

    Four months ago I rescued a supposed Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, American Bull Dog, and she and I love each other. I was told she was 1 1/2, but the vet thinks more like 5 or 6 by what she saw when she was spayed. She has had lots of litters per the vet, too.

    My biggest issue is that she is very protective of me when people come to the house or get too close when we are together inside. Her aggressive nature is barely seen when we are outside. I was told she was left in a concrete kennel most of the time, and by what I have seen, I believe she was hit and/or kicked. Can her aggression inside my house be tamed? I really want to be comfortable with friends coming to visit and that is not the case right now.

    [Reply]

  97. Deborah Rose says:

    Hi – I too am glad I found your site. My 5-1/2 year old girl is a rescue, I was her third home in her first six months of life. She is German Shepherd Blue Cattle Dog mix. We’ve done at least 6-7 training classes with two local dog training facilities, also a 1:1 class, she’s smart and loves our games. I know she needs more stimulation though and I am looking for a place in my area that can help me train her and then engage her in agility training or other fun searching exercises. Right now she paces back and forth in our fenced in yard when I let her out. She gets over stimulated and barks at other dogs (hence she can’t do agility training or searching until she gets over this) She got expelled from doggie day care last week for her aggressiveness. She barks at bicycles and motorcycles in motion while in the car. She knows sit and lie down commands but the stimuli are too great for her to heed them in the car. I take her on hour long walks most days at our local dog park but she needs more things to do that work her brain. Luckily I am now retired and have the time to give her. Interestingly, I also have a 10 year old long haired dachshund who rules the roost, even her. And my 16 year old cat has his own safe quarters and takes her in stride. She can’t be in the same room with him. (They said she was cat friendly at the rescue, lol).

    [Reply]

  98. Sue says:

    Hello. I have a 1 1/2 year old border collie/blue jerker male dog. He is smart and active. We crate him when we aren’t home. Have had no problems crating him. We recently got a 3 month old male border collie/blue heeled pup from the same family. We also crate the puppy. We use kong balls and peanut butter to put them in the crates. The older dog has started barking loud when it is crate time. He goes in his crate but his barking is clearly distressful but he doesn’t bite or anything like that. It is just a really scary bark and he barks for a while. It gets louder when we put the puppy in his crate. We’ve tried to crate the puppy first but that doesn’t change anything. When we get home and let them out of the crates the older dog Berliner to the puppy crate and nips at him when he comes out. Sometimes I pick up the puppy and the older dog jumps up and nips at the puppy’s tail. It only lasts for a few minutes. It’s like he forgets he knows the puppy. They get along good and play good at all other times. Any thoughts?? Thanks.

    [Reply]

  99. BH says:

    I have an 11 month old English Shepherd. She is extremely smart and loves to learn new things. She lived with a professional for “puppy boarding school” during the week for potty training due to my work schedule. After that she was home for about 5 months. I’ve recently put her back into puppy boarding school during the week to get to the next level of obedience and start agility training. She does great if she’s only home on the weekend, but last week she was home all week because the trainer had to move out of their house for week due to some repairs being done. When she went back this week she acted strange and didn’t want to go with him and has been stand offish this week. This happened when we initially restarted the training as well.

    Someone told me that herding dogs don’t like to change who they are being instructed by… they want only one person as their “shepherd”. I’ve never heard that. Is that the problem? Is going back and forth hard for her because we change up who’s doing the training?

    I completely trust this trainer. He is amazing with dogs and a wonderful family man. His primary is hunting dogs, but he also trains search and rescue, therapy dogs, and has helped hundreds of dogs with behavior issues. The dogs he trains are not just well behaved, they are healthy, happy and well balanced. I’m been around many of them.

    I’m asking you because you are the herding dog expert.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I am a firm believer that training should be done by the owner unless they are so frustrated they are considering dropping the dog at the shelter.

    Dogs should learn to work for us, not someone else!

    [Reply]

  100. Jonathan Kaschak says:

    Hi. I have a 3 year old english mastiff. Always been extremely calm and never shown any aggression. Just within the last couple weeks when my kids are riding bikes or on power wheels she runs up behind them and grabs their arm. Always by the tricep and not aggressively but she is big and im worried about her knocking them down. Its just wierd because it just started all of a sudden. Any ideas on ways to stop this behavior or why she is doing it.
    Thanks
    Jon

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would put her on a leash and teach her that this is unacceptable. If she does this to the wrong child, you can be looking at a dangerous dog decry and possible legal trouble.

    Teach her to lay down and watch but not engage and for that you need a leash

    [Reply]

  101. Trish says:

    Hi,
    I have an 11 year old border collie and have been curious about something for years. He is a very intense and sketchy dog. I have 2 sons 8 and 4 who have yet to even pet him. He runs away every time they approach and he’s been living with them since newborns. He trusts very few people. My question is every time people come by the house, he will immediately start herding the boys and I’m not sure why. He’s never shown any interest in them as much as they would love that. I’ve never heard of a family dog who wants nothing to do with his own family members like that!! Why does he do that when company arrives? Thanks

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would find a veterinary behaviorist to witness the behavior and help. Over the internet I can’t see the behavior and it is a liability for me to try and help

    [Reply]

  102. Cheryl says:

    Help! We got a black dog said to be shepherd mix from the shelter. Vet says is about 2yrs and when choke collar dropped on him he showed me he understood sit, heel and watch me. So 1 mo ago started going to dog park to wear him out and ease barking and herding me. He will bring me matching socks from dirty hamper and my shoes to get me to take him out for walks,if I still don’t move he has brought my fleece jacket then pulls my hand. not subtle.
    At the dog park he approaches dogs then does butt in air pouncing to get them to play and side slams them then runs, lately he has stuck his head under them and tried to flip them ( remember seeing that in a video once) When he circles and runs both to chase and then keep away with a nip to get it all going some of the other owners got upset. A GSD owner said this is normal and reassured me but the others haven’t gotten the memo and I got an email complaining.
    When he is off leash he will greet all humans enthusiastically, dogs cautiously and if someone is walking the perimeter he will walk with them ignoring me.He only comes back 1/2 time when called but obeys anyone nearer him. Have had him 3 mos now, my weakness and fatigue issues mean I just sit at park.
    What is normal?I was assured by several people dog park would be good for him but the people aren’t for me… don’t know what is dog issue and what is people issue.
    My rescue border collie had a buddy lab who taught her the ropes but now at 17 is too old to teach this guy.

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  103. Robert says:

    Hi Minette!

    We recently rescued a 4yr-old collie mix, and he does the exact same thing you describe in the car – his herding instincts go into overdrive, and he gets very anxious that he can’t chase the cars that he sees flying by. He whines and paces in circles in the back of the car.

    However, he does listen to commands, but that heightened state of alertness cause by the instinct means that he can’t focus on being obedient for very long.

    Getting him to lie down works to tame the instinct, but he only lies down if he is being actively commanded to do so – even with a fairly solid “stay” command under normal circumstances.

    My question is: as we work on getting him to lie down and stay without constant interaction, will it cause trouble for him if we continue to take him in the car and let the herding instinct go wild? Or will any amount of uncontrolled instinct work against our training in the long-run?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would not allow this behavior, because I do think it will get worse if you allow it. He needs to learn to control himself. If you took him to a “herding” dog trainer he would learn to control his instincts, they aren’t allowed to just chase sheep whenever they want. It is about working on control.

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  104. Susan Morehouse says:

    I have a five-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi.He’s generally an incredibly easy-going dog, especially for a corgi and he’s in training and I use him for therapy work with students. Lately, just before Christmas, he’s had flair ups with our thirteen year old Golden Retriever (female) getting into her, “yelling,” but not actually biting or nipping. I am using obedience to stop it (down stays), but I’m trying to figure out the source: whether it’s a shift to him as dominant dog — he came to us as a three-year-old and she was initially dominant, or a resource guarding issue with me as the resource. At other times they lie side-by-side. We keep them separate in the car or when we’re away. Does this sound like a personality shift that could get worse or something that they’re working out?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Sounds like a shift. She is getting older and less likely to be the dominant one so he is taking over. I would continue to separate them and monitor them.

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  105. Brooklynn says:

    So we have a blue heeled female (4 months) and a 6 year old chihuahua. She’s not your typical chihuahua she’s sweet and doesn’t bark unless she hears something outside. The heeler tried bullying her in the beginning but it stopped for a while. But now it’s gotten to the point that I heard them fighting and ran into the room to break it up and the heeler had her on her back trying to bite her and she was trying her best to get her off. Is this a phase? I’m afraid to leave them home alone together as she’s only 5 pounds. How do I stop this bullying??

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The puppy needs to be kept on leash and taught manners and kept from doing this

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  106. Brittani Johnson says:

    Hi! We have an Australian Sheppard/Catahoula mix. Shes 3 now and fixed. She was not socialized as a puppy. She is very attached to my boyfriend Bryan. He is the only person who Frankie doesnt try to herd. I’ve been in the picture 2 full years and I still get nipped constantly especially when moving closer to him. Weve read about her breed and now know where things went wrong before we had her. She nips everyone outside of Bryan. Even people she knows and as met tons of times. We consistently correct these behaviors and have never encouraged them. She gets multiple walks and at least 1 a day of about an hour and a half of hard fetch and exercise. She plays tug at home a ton too. She is socialized every weekend with 2 other dogs. One shes great with the other is hit or miss on Frankies temperament. We cannot continue this nipping and aggressive behavior. Can you help us?

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  107. Ashley says:

    Our neighbor’s dog is very sweet. She constantly comes over to play with our dog. However, after a few moments of running around she starts nipping at my dog’s paws and constantly knocks him over. It seems like she’s trying to herd him and he wants none of it. How do I get her to stop? I usually just have to end their playing early and bring our dog in the house, but that’s not fair to him. Is there anything I can do?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Speak to your neighbors

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  108. Leslie says:

    I have a 1 1/2 yo blue heeler. We live in 13 plus acres that she is free to roam with my 5 yo female lab and 3 yo male schnauzer. I really enjoy her cute loving personality, but can not stand the way she herds my lab every time we step outside the house door or car. It seems that both her and the lab are dominant females. They are both crated at night and free during the day. As soon as they are turned out of their crates, the stand off begins! Afterwards, throughout the day, they can be found rolling around playing together or just out walking and chasing birds together. I want to break her if the barking with us , but don’t want to break her instinct. My first choice was to give her back to the previous owner due to her and the lab inability to co-exist peacefully. I also have two children who share responsibility of caring for our animals. I’m never relaxed 😞
    Any and all suggestion would be wonderful. I just wants what’s best for everyone….including my sanity 🤪.

    [Reply]

  109. Germaine says:

    Any tips on getting them to walk on leash? I have a 6 month old Corgi. Initially he did quite well, but then developed a stubborn streak, rolling over, not wanting to walk, not moving. I never acknowledged the rolling over behavior, so he doesn’t necessarily do it for attention. I’ve tried many things and he has gotten better, but still is not headed in the right direction of being a good walking dog. Is stopping and assessing the world then taking a few steps a herding behavior? Or just stubbornness? Stop and start, stop and start. After awhile he gets moving but still it is a struggle.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    yes, search my articles on leash manners

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  110. Angela says:

    One of my best friends has a mixed breed herding dog she used to enter into agility contests. She stopped around three years ago when my friend got too old to drive distances. My friend is 79 and I am 71. I am an old friend and helped her when she had her hip replacement. The dog was a puppy then, but even then nipped at my heels and wanted to herd me. My visits are always cordial. But the dog still tries to herd me – only me. The dog is well behaved to everyone else but me. My friend gets upset and makes the dog go into her crate. Why does this dog pick only on me. Is it because I am a cat person? Is there something I can do to make the dog like me?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Who knows what dogs are thinking, perhaps it is the smell of cats.

    I would carry some great rewards, cheese or liver when you go over and ask the dog to show a different behavior like sit or down… etc so you can reward good behavior.

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  111. Mark says:

    I have a 6 yr old male Austrailian Shepard with very strong prey instinct. He wants to herd every animal he sees on my tv and barks and lunges at all animals on the tv. I have tryed immediately holding him by neck with his entire body on the floor to show him it’s bad behsvior. Nothing seems to work, even tryed electric shock collar after timing much hair off his neck. Also tryed immediately shutting off tv for several days whenever he barked and jumped at tv. Any help or ideas appreciated. Note: this dog gets 1/2 to 1 hour of daily walks outdoors, and must be kept on 1 ft leash max length around joggers or bicycles within 10 ft of him.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I think you are going about this, wrong. Instead of punishing I like to build drive so that ultimately I am in control of it. Search my articles on building drive.

    [Reply]

  112. Becky says:

    We have a 1 yr old Belgium Tervuren whom we adopted 2 months ago. His high energy, difficulty in listening and chasing anything that runs has been a challenge. We have finally made a connection with him but he is very self willed. If we let him off lease, he is gone like lightening. He is coming back to us now in a round a bout way-after she has gone exploring. Most of the time we have kept him on a long rope when we walk so that he can run while still learning the command to come. The hardest part is that we have cats. They were used to our two other dogs and us going on walks all together. Not any more. I had him off leash in the house this morning and my mama cat hissed and ran and he went after her and had her in his mouth shaking her. I had to grab onto him, he dropped her, but he still wanted to go after her and his nose can find anything. She is ok but I’m very concerned on how I can stop this behavior. He also wants to chase cars even on leash. We live in the country.

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  113. Royal says:

    I have a 12 week old aussie/border collie. We take several walks a day several miles. We play lots of fetch as we want to get into flyball eventually. Piper came from a working farm. Even at this age she shows tremendous herding instincts. I question some if I will be able to fill that void for her and your article gives me hope. I am going to look and see if they have a herding class near me. Thank you!!!!

    [Reply]

  114. Mary says:

    I have an 8m old Aussie boy who has started submissive peeing and herding my son. I’ve tried redirection and positive reinforcement. What’s next?! The vet said he’s in perfect health and he was recently neutered. He is crate trained but every time I say his name, he crawls up to me peeing.

    [Reply]

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