Pure Stock Aussies
348 Country Club Rd, Chadron, Nebraska 69337
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Education > Herding

Some believe that a dogs basic herding instinct comes from a "hunting as a pack" concept. Where the younger faster dogs went out beyond the prey and stopped it or turned it back into the alpha for the kill. I don't know if this is true or not, but dogs definitely want to drive the livestock where you tell them too or toward you (the alpha) what ever the situation dictates.

Knowing this, it should not be a surprise when your aussie attempts to bite the livestock, referred to as heading or healing.  It is important to be prepared for this, it should only be tolerated when your cute little 40 - 60 pound Aussie is trying to turn or stop a 1500 pound cow and not just trying to take it down to eat it. To ensure you can deal with a prey driven Aussie you need a good foundation in obedience training to ensure you, your Aussie, and the livestock won't be hurt while working.

The basic relationship in herding is, the dog controls the stock, but YOU control the dog. Herding is a team activity, as such teamwork is used; the team is the dog and you.  Without teamwork the livestock will not be herded where you want them.  Another thing to remember is that an Aussie will work best for the alpha of the pack.

They must love and respect their alpha, these qualities will deepen with the bond that Australian Shepherds form with their owners, handlers, trainers, alpha and they will be enhanced as training continues. Some aussies will only work for their alpha and everyone else can go suck a lemon. Get to know your aussie and help him or her bond to you, not fear you. You'll be asking them to do extremely demanding tasks far away from you. There is no way you can MAKE an aussie stop and hold a cow at a half mile away; they must want to do it to please you.

In order to begin training your Australian Shepherd in herding it is important to understand a few basic concepts, such as herding instinct (pressure), the importance of your relationship with your Aussie (you as alpha) and a good foundation in basic obedience training. You should also learn the herding commands.

I have listed the basic obedience sources, books, videos, articles and many other sources of information about training your aussie. Some of them I have tried and others have been recommended to me as good sources.

If you know of a reference source that has helped you let me know and I will add it to my list here.

Rev. 15 January 18

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