As many pet parents know, a bored dog can become a naughty dog. Many behavioral issues can be related to boredom. It is important to keep in mind that most dogs were bred to have a job, like herding sheep or retrieving ducks. Without a job, they have lots of unused energy and brain space. You can capitalize on the job your dog is bred for to keep him entertained. With a few herding tips, you’re dog can easily be on the way to a more fulfilling life!
This article is going to talk about herding and similar activities. Most herding breed dogs and mixes of herded breed dogs show herding tendencies (like nipping heels,grabbing pant legs and pushing their body into you).My Australian shepherds, when bored, have taken up herding humans. This, while entertaining to watch, is not fun when your heels get nipped. So we decided to channel those instincts into herding tips and classes.
Herding is gathering animals into a large group and moving that group. Dogs can herd pretty much any animal, but common ones are sheep and ducks.Most of the dog breeds have a herding style specific to their breed which is usually hard to see at home, but is very easy to spot while they are working. For example australian shepherds herd by nipping the animals heels and leaning their body into the animal. While most dogs have an instinct to herd, they do still need to be trained in order to keep the dog and animals safe.
Most dog owners do not have the experience to train their dog to herd, so you can go to a herding trainer and take classes. Asking around in the local dog community will usually turn up a trainer but the AKC also has a list of herding clubs per state.
If you cannot find a herding trainer near you there is Treiball.
Treiball is a herding game. Instead of herding sheep the dog herds large balls. In treiball you and your dog herd the balls into a soccer net. In competitions the team who does this the fastest wins, but at home you can play however you would like.The dog can use his nose or body to move the ball. One of the benefits of treibball is that you can do it in your own backyard and can (likely) train your dog your own. It is also a great way to work with your dog as a team. There is lots of information on the game and how to train your dog online. This may not be a good option if you have a dog who loves balls, as the large balls can be very fun to bite and pop.
These are two good options to put your dog to work, and keep him entertained. Hopefully you will notice a big change in your now working dog, in my case it was less nipped heels.