Herding dogs training can be a thrilling experience. We all know that time changes. And so do our puppies. In a matter of weeks, those cute little buddies of yours would become very instrumental in the protection of your livestock. That sounds like a deal!
However, this doesn’t happen overnight. In as much as herding dogs are very much gifted with the ability to respond swiftly to commands and their natural super-instinct is irrefutable, they must be trained to do so.
Failure to drill-in adequate training into your dog’s mind wouldn’t just let down your hopes, but might also lead to adverse effects on your livestock.
Take some time to read the words of this article; as doing so would give you a knowledge of some essential things you should know about training herding dogs.
When is the Right Time to Train?
Training a dog really isn’t just about using the right approach- it also entails hitting the buttons at the right time.
Usually, dog training involves not just physical, but also mental alertness- on the dog’s end. You should begin training only when you certify the dog mentally and physically ready for the rigors ahead. Most times, herding dogs are usually fit for training when they are about 10- 12 months on age- although, the number varies depending on the individual dog.
Herding Dog Commands
In order to train, you need not be told that you should first off, teach the dog basic commands. ‘Come’, ‘sit’, ‘lie down’, and ‘stay’ are some of these basic commands.
When it comes to a bit more advanced commands, try out- ‘come bye’ which means he should turn the flock to the right, ‘away’ which means he should turn the dogs to the left, and ‘walk-up’ which means he should drive the flock from behind; towards you.
Keep it Simple
Begin with selecting a herd. Since your herding dog is just starting out, you do not want to frighten him by the size of a large herd. A few chickens and a small training pen would do.
Stay in Control
Whenever you decide to start, be sure to have access to control over the dog and the livestock. In this light, most people decide to use a rounded pen instead of a square one with wedges. Or, you could just block off the corners of the square pen.
In place of pens, some people would go for open spaces and fields. Most times, if you resort to open fields, your dog must be more mature. So as to keep the dog in check and have better control, ensure you make use of the best harness for dogs.
Don’t Expect Too Much
At first, your dog might not respond to the training at an optimal level. So, do not expect much either.
When your dog misses out on some training, do not yell at the dog. Instead use a soft, encouraging voice- so as to fuel the dog’s desire for training some other time. In short, make the whole experience fun.
Interblend Some Games into the Training
Do not be boring. Dogs do not like boring things.Here are examples of some games to play with herding dogs:
- Twist ‘n Treat
- Buster Cube
- Treat Silk
When Should You End Your Session?
The rigors of training quickly exhaust a young dog. This is usually followed by signs of stress, fatigue, and inattention. Once you notice this, end your lesson.
Most times, short but sweet lessons are more beneficial during the training of dogs. However, it is important that you make these lessons consistent.
If you notice that your dog isn’t progressing, it is most likely the fault of the trainer- not the dog!