Herding Dogs Make Good Companions
Herding behavior is modified predatory behavior. Through selective breeding, trainers are able to minimize the dog's natural behaviors to treat cattle and sheep as prey, while at the same time maintaining the dog’s hunting skills. These special skills are what makes for a good herding dog. Herders are working dogs and as such treat their target herds in a variety of ways.
Australian Cattle Dogs typically nip the heels of the animals they herd and for this reason they are called “heelers”. Other breeds “stare” at their targets and are called “headers”. While many breeds can be trained as service dogs, herders included, their skills for herding may not be the most compelling for service dog work.
Herding Dog Trials
In the mid 80’s the American Herding Breed Associate formed because of the trending interest in herding activities. Their goal was to help provide information to the increased interest in herding breeds. The AHBA supports an interest in all aspects relating to herding, herding breeds and canine behaviors involving herding abilities. The AHBA sponsors herding trials where programs allow owners to display their dogs practical abilities. These trials start at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. For more information visit the AHBA website.
Many people choose Herding dogs as family companion animals or pets. Collie breed are the most popular and include the Bearded Collie ( https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bearded-collie/ ), the Border Collie (https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/border-collie/ ) and the Welsh Corgis (https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi/ ) Herding breeds make for good family dogs.
Remember most working dogs are at their best when they have a job to do. Many working dogs have been selectively bred to work and stay active. One of the hardest tasks for a service dog comes when they retire. Often they do not understand why they can no long go with their well-bonded partner.
Other popular breeds for families in the herding category include:
Herding dogs will sometimes nip at their family members heels or bump them. These dogs are bred for herding and their instincts to herd include their family members.
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