Herding? Really?



  • I'm curious to what the tag team looks like. :-)
  • Very nice pictures and videos. :)

    Glad it went well.
  • Sounds like it was a lot of fun!

    I thoroughly enjoy watching dogs' natural instincts come out. Must have been fascinating to be there in person. :-)
  • I finally got a chance to watch these! Amazing! Looks super fun too.

    so some questions. Lindsay said that the dogs from the sharper lines did better--Koji and Farrah? (who is their common grandsire?) And did the dogs from the other line, the more laid back Shibas, not do as well? What did they do that wasn't as good? Were they just not interested? (oops, going back I see this is kind of answered...sounds like the other dogs just didn't engage as well).

    What is the guy doing with the stick with Grym? I'm guessing it's some way of guiding the dog? Was he sometimes trying to keep Grym away from the sheep?

    Very interesting. It was fascinating watching Farrah work, too, and I recognize a lot of her moves from when Bel is really focused on hunting. She stares, and gets down low, and makes fast, quick turns too, but with lots of sharp, fast nipping bites (that quickly turn deadly for the small animals she's after). It makes me think that for all her flaws, Bel has serious drive that if she were a more stable dog, could have been used. (If there were a herding trial with ducks and Bel, though, there would be no more ducks).

    Farrah, Koji and Grym kicked ass though!
  • @ shibamistress:

    Koji's grandsire and Farrah's sire is an import dog called "Ten". The dogs all had the instinct to some degree, but they were not as interested in engaging the sheep right away and with such vigor as these two. They have another lesson in a bit, and I'm told some dogs can appear interested right away, but then lose interest, and vice versa. Perhaps the others will become more keen over time.

    The white pole is like a shepherds crook. It's nice that he wants to work the sheep up close, and gather and drive them to the shepherd (he is supposed to clump them up like that around the shepherd), but the goal is for him to learn to use his body pressure from a distance. The sheep respect his presence, no question of that, so it isn't needed for him to be so close. The pole helps him learn to respect the boundaries. At this point since it is so exciting for him, he could easily switch over to harassing the animals and biting them, which we don't want.

    @Dave: It was cool. I better understand why people in these fields (hunting, herding, retriever trials, etc) become so engaged in doing this stuff. It's very rewarding just to watch the dogs do their thing in a natural/pastoral setting. I had fun watching the other breeds also, Bouvs, GSD, aussies, etc. They all do it their own way. I was really suprised to see these American bred GSD work the flock so naturally. They didn't look so ackward and unnatural when they were doing what they were bred to do vs standing still in a small show ring.
  • I know right? For me, the real reward of hunting is actually watching a dog work. On a good day I'll bring home dinner. On the worst day it's a walk in the woods with my dogs, which is still a damn good day if you ask me. :-)
  • It's an awesome thing Dave.

  • Awesome picture of the four dogs! :)
  • edited September 2011
    I love that pic!

    @lindsayt - Grym seemed to enjoy his herding. He went in with a lot of enthusiasm, but then he seemed more focused on the herdsman (which I am sure was the intent). He kept the sheep close to the guy, that's for sure!

  • I know Im a little late but this is awesome! @Calia...ROFL...because I could just imagine Bea doing the same thing! :)
  • This is all *really* cool! It's like looking back in time to when people started selecting those primitive dogs for specific tasks like herding. The population of hunting dogs is throwing individuals with just the right instincts for specialization. Farrah is like a proto-collie! I also see this in Sosuke - being the little water retriever that he is - being like one of the earliest labs or something.
  • These were really cool pics/vids. Sorry it took so long for me to respond. I only get a few minutes at a time at work, and I wanted to watch/read everything.

    Grym really interested me, not that the Shibas are not completely adorable and feisty. Would he have herded the sheep into a pen or do you think just to someone?
  • I know this thread is really old, but I might have an opportunity to try Kouda on sheep herding this weekend.

    @lindsayt, @sandrat888, would you recommend herding for a young (17 month old) inexperienced Shiba? I am mostly concerned with him either getting trampled, or taking it too seriously and hurting the sheep. He has strong drive but lacks impulse control when excited. I can't really imagine him working the sheep into a pen. But who knows!

    Has anyone else tried herding?
  • I herd actively with my GSD, at the same place Lindsay went. Tavi (my Kai Ken) isn't 'in' to it, but shes still a pup so we'll see.

    I recommend everyone to try herding at least a few times. He will NOT get trampled, the sheep stay with the 'shepherd'/trainer, because they are safety. With that said, the trainer also does not let the sheep get hurt, if you review the pictures, the trainer has a pole to direct, push, move, etc. the dog. Usually the first few sessions dogs do not have rules.. and are allowed to bite / nip / chase the stock to build drive and dedication.

    Herding teaches your dog impulse control, to take cues from you even if you're 20 yards away, etc. My GSD will run / walk until hes dead, I can take him for a 15 mile hike and he'll still be ready for more, but a hard 20 minute herding session and he'll sleep for 2 days!
  • @zandrame- Im gonna take an Idea from @Dragonfly and teach mine to herd quail back into their pin. LOL... Just gotta get my livestock permit 1st lol
  • I played with herding with my Lapphund (which is a herding breed) years ago, and it was quite a lot of fun. It's sometimes surprising which dogs take to it and which don't--she had zero interest in sheep, but was very good on ducks (despite the fact that I had been convinced that she would want only to eat the ducks--but she didn't hurt them). Her litter brother, generally lazy and low-drive, LOVED the sheep and would run to exhaustion with the sheep. Neither of them ever were trained far enough to actually be able to pen stock, but they had fun learning some basic skills in a round pen.

    It really is a lot of fun, and I think it's worth trying even with the most non-traditional of breeds. If your dog doesn't like it and doesn't take to it, no big deal. If he/she does, then you've found a fun activity that you might want to dabble in a little.

    Finding places to do it can be hard, though. Even with herding breeds, some places won't take anything besides collie-type breeds (Border Collies, Shelties, etc.) I was told with Lapphunds, and this is probably true if you want to try it with an NK or other non-herding breed too, that you want to avoid places that focus heavily on Border Collies if possible. Some BC-only trainers have no clue what to do with dogs that don't herd like BCs, and have no patience for it. Or so I was told--which was a big deal with Lapphunds, because they tend to herd from a distance, noisily, and don't bring stock to the handler (because who wants to stand in the middle of an agitated herd of reindeer, and that goes for the dog as well!).
  • Thank you @omgtain and @Trzcina for your experienced recommendations! We'll give it a try and see how it goes! :)
  • @Zandrame

    Remember to post videos!!
  • @Shikoku - LOL if he got close enough they'd all be dead.

    Herding sounds like fun though, i'd like to try it at least once.
  • @dragonfly find somewhere close I'll join you in the summer . But for now, trial and error with the quails (( insert evil laugh ))
  • @Shikoku Haha! He'll sit and watch the quails in their pen while I feed them and I guess he does the same with my roommate when he feeds them. So he came up to me one day and goes 'oh kiyoshi is soooo good with other animals, he's great with the quail'. I had to explain to him that he wasn't just sitting there watching them to be cute. He was sitting there patiently waiting for one to get out, for us to forget to close the pen, or for his chance to stick his head in there when we weren't looking and make a snack of them!

    I'll look around. I'm sure there's gotta be someplace in the area. :)
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