brushing up a herding dog?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by X2Farm, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. X2Farm

    X2Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    So I found a nice Border Collie. I was TOLD he has been a herding dog, though the previous owners didn't know any commands or how he'd been trained, only that they'd seen him work, and all the lady would say was go, and he did his thang.

    We live on a working beef cattle farm, and a herding dog is a VERY nice addition. It saves a ton of legwork. Except.. well, Roscoe DOESN'T seem trained at all, though he has some instinct, its not as strong as I've seen in other herding bred dogs. So I googled herding terms, and "tested" them on Roscoe, while out in barnyard w the cows. Nuttin, nada, not a flinch, kaput!

    He's 4 years old, sweet, but absolutely loves to do his own thing.

    I've never had to brush up a dog on obedience before, and have NEVER trained herding dogs for herd work, aside from herding breed dogs I've had previously, on basic obedience. Where do I start? The only commands Roscoe seems to know are come, and sit.

    *scratching head* help?! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Hound

    Hound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2010
    The key is putting voice/whistle commands to what he does on instinct, so that you can ask for and encourage certain behaviours.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It seems to me that, no matter whether or not (or how much or how little) the dog was 'trained' before the previous owners got him, he AND YOU basically need training NOW. So if it were me, I would be using Google to find herding dog seminars or herding dog trainers in my area, and start that way. There's more of 'em out there than you'd think.

    Good luck, have fu,n

    Pat
     
  4. X2Farm

    X2Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    Pat, yes, it seems we both need training... but seminars and trainers are just not gonna happen.....we can't afford it. I do wish I could afford it, a good mentor/trainer is worth thier weight in gold.

    I do have the time to work with him myself, I was thinking basic obedience, just as if I was training a puppy, would be a good start.

    I've heard mention of whistles?

    I do think I'll be finding a good herding dog training book to help me. Any good ones yall recommend?
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The one that is always recommended in sheep herding circles is "A Way Of Life"(then some subtitle I forget) by Glyn Jones and possibly a coauthor.

    OTOH I know that what is required of a dog to move cattle is different than what is required of a dog to move sheep so it may be that the necessary training differs too? I totally dunno. (e.t.a. - my impression is that it takes a different type of dog to do well with cattle -- needs to be 'harder', closer, nippier with the stock -- than what it takes to do well with sheep; when you say the previous owner saw this dog working, what was it on? is it possible it was on sheep and now with cattle around he's just like "whoooaaaa, what's this about, I'm not in Kansas anymore"?)

    I would suggest settling down with a mug of hot cocoa and some popcorn and Google, and seeing what all you can find. There are LOTS of resources on the web these days. Whilst doing a super-quick google to doublecheck my memory of the above book title (as you can see, I did not even bother going to any other websites to get the *complete* title and author info LOL) I came across www.stockdog.com might be worth a look and I know there are a whooooole buncha other sites out there cuz I've run across them in past "travels".

    I understand about tight finances but if you could find a seminar or trainer somewhere near you, you might well be able to go for a quickie that wouldn't cost too much and would leave you with some actual EXPERIENCE of what to do to get started. I have done a fair amount of reading on this myself and get the very, very strong impression that it depends largely on training the PERSON to correctly see and understand what the dog and stock are doing, and with a young dog in training to also know what and when to allow/reward and what situations to try to stay away from.

    Another thought might be to ask at the feedstore and everybody that you know to see if there is some other rancher in the area who uses BCs to work their stock and who might be willing to let you come over and see what they're doing, maybe even give you a little help.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  6. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    Texas
    Pat is giving you good advice.

    Border Collies can be independent, especially with somebody they don't know well. The dog is probably looking at you and thinking "your not the boss of me!". I know my dogs do that when somebody else tells them to do something. You might have to start pretty much from scratch.
     

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