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I held my breath as my dog and the sheep disappeared over the top of a hill and out of view. I glanced over at my herding instructor who appeared unconcerned. So, though I itched to run across the field to see what was going on, I waited. It seemed like a long time but it was likely no more than a minute or two when the flock reappeared trotting calmly before my dog.

As dramatic was it felt and as good as it looked the ideal performance wouldn't have had the sheep going over the hill. It would have looked more like it did a few minutes earlier when he swept in a smooth arc away from his sheep as he headed up hill and ended up behind them. Still today he was working beautifully, looking just like good herding dog in the making. It was a wonderful. We were working in the big field (8 acres or so) with about 50 sheep and he was definitely in his element. Later, when we had him bring the sheep down to the front arena, he continued to work calmly.

Tsuki walking around his sheep

When this day occurred Tsuki and I had been herding about 2 years. It is Tsuki's favorite activity. When he is herding the barn cats can literally stand under his nose and he will ignore them. Tsuki is a competent but not brilliant herding dog. He wants to bring the sheep to me, and he wants them to stay with me. That is the foundation instinct for Border Collie style herding. There are many forms of herding. German shepherds, for example, are often used for "boundary work." Their job is to act as a living fence and keep the sheep within an allowed grazing area. Read this article on The Way They Work.

Maybe the most interesting thing I know about herding is that some groups allow any dog to compete. It just needs to show that it has the appropriate behavior. So I remember seeing announcements for the "herding instinct test" and thinking "hmmmm" and wishing for an extra couple days in my weekend. Anyway, the common assumption is that one can't do herding unless one lives in the country, or has herding animals. Well, I am pleased to say that there are opportunities for at least some city folk to become involved in herding. As with other dog skills the program makes heavy use of natural instinct, then gradually shapes and develops it. If your dog is of herding heritage or seems to exhibit natural herding behavior it is worth exploring further. Warning: this activity can become addictive.

And if herding real livestock isn't in the cards, take a look at the fun of Treibball.

Web Sites

Herding on the Web

Great introduction site both for people curious about the activity and for those looking for more detailed resources. It offers training tips, a discussion group, and many many other resources. Maintained by Linda Rorem

Herding, from the Collie Club of America

A simple introduction to herding with a description of herding programs by a variety of organizations. A great place to quickly get an overview on different types of herding., Sheepdogging for Newbies

The destination of choice for the person new to herding. The goal of this site is to keep the beginning herder in mind.

Online Herding Dog Training

Learn to teach your dog shepherding skills, for fun, for competition or for farm online through video demonstrations and live or recorded audio presentations. You will learn and practice skills designed to shape your dog?s natural herding abilities while you also learn how to read stock. We use positive reinforcement methods that focus on keeping the dog in a calm, focused, eager-to-learn state of mind ? which helps the dog learn, and helps the handler to learn too!

Nova Scotia German Shepherd Dog Club: Herding

An easy to understand description of the different styles of herding.

Getting Started in herding

From the Bearded Collie folks is this easy going introduction to the terms you will hear, and some general beginners information.

American Herding Breeds Association

I really like this organization - they are creative and relaxed.

American Tending Breeds Association

When last visited this web site did not provide full access. The American Tending Breeds Association was founded in 1990 as a forum for learning and practicing the European style of sheep herding known as tending. Over the years they expanded their membership to include all herding breeds and styles of herding.

Choosing a Herding Instructor

Article courtesy of Tammie Rogers on qualities to consider in deciding on a herding instructor.

Video of Rottweiler and Australian Shepherd herding geese

Taken at a local herding competition. It is interesting to watch, but hey - it is a cheap camera.

The Working Sheepdog Website- First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training

This link promotes a sheepdog training DVD called \"First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training\" aimed specifically at beginners who want to learn how to train a sheepdog.

Beauceron Working Sheep (videos)

Whatever text there is, is in French. The dog works a huge flock of sheep moving both quickly and calmly. As with any good herding there are no exciting moments, only impressive control.

Tsuki's Herding Stories

A collection of our stories of our agonies and triumphs in herding.

Freeway's Herding Stories

More agonies and triumphs. Not inspiring, but maybe fun to read.

The United States Border Collie Club

Lots of good information focused on the Border Collie style of herding.

Redwood Empire SheepDog Association

Very interesting trialing style. A very firm focus on the dog doing the work with audible commands only (voice or whistle) without the use of handler body language.

German Shepherd Herding, SV guidelines for herding competitions

This site describes a typical herding competition pattern for the tending dog - German Shepherd Dog in this case.

Flash the Herding Poodle

I don't know if he will ever trial, but he sure is having fun in practice.

Getting Started in Herding

A light overview and description of different herding styles and the herding instinct test.

Operation Sheepdog Herding

Dog supplies and herding supplies: whistles, training flags etc.

Hints on Handling at Your First Herding Trial

Getting ready for your first trial? Think of this article as pep talk/ coaching. These are things you should know if you are getting read to try, but might fly right out of your mind when you step to the line. Read it several times. Article by Pam Green.

Lin Daughterty Herding Clinic

Notes from teaching clinics on the subject of livestock handling and herding dog training

California Obedience Agility Stockdog Trials

This club hosts several trials a year. The herding trials I've been to for this club were held in Cayocus, California

Video - Chance and Tsuki Bringing in the Sheep -

Tsuki was asked to "back-up" Chance. Chance has a willing heart but his body isn't quite as fast as it needs to be and the sheep know it. At one point you can see the sheep wheel around thinking they are going to take off back up the hill but as the dust drops Tsuki is standing there. So the sheep decided to cooperate instead.



Herding Resources in San Francisco Bay Area

ASCA Calendar

There is no centralized calendar for herding events. This page is an attempt to list all ASCA events, conformation, obedience, agility and herding.

Delta Australian Shepherd Fanciers Events Calendar

Northern California Working Sheepdog Association, Inc

Promotes ISDS style herding trials

Performance Dogs In Action




Herding Discussion Groups


Herders-L is located at The archives are available to members only. To subscribe, email
with the message:
SUBSCRIBE HERDERS-L yourFirstName yourLastName
making the appropriate substitutions Put who YOU are not the words "yourFirstName your LastName".

Herding with Bearded Collies

For people interested in discussing training, events, stories, etc. associated with herding with a bearded collie.

Working Stockdog Forum

This group is dedicated to the working stockdog. That is a polite way of saying that if your interest in herding is primarily recreational this group isn't the one you want.

BC Boards

For the working border collie enthusiast.

American Herding Breeds Assoication - Discussion LIst

Discussion related to all-breed herding and the dissemination of information pertaining to the AHBA

Herding Internationally

South African Sheepdog Association (SASDA)

SASDA organizes sheepdog related activities in South Africa such as sheepdog trials and maintaining a stud book. 


Herding Books and Videos from
All Breed Herding - The Next Steps Video An Introduction To All Breed Herding Video Herding Dogs, Progressive Training   Farmer's Dog
All Breed Herding - The Next Steps Video An Introduction To All Breed Herding Video Herding Dogs, Progressive Training  
Shepherd's Whistle Set        

DogPlay Shops: Herding Tshirts, Mugs, Notecards, Postcards and more

Some humorous looks and herding and trialing on shirts, mugs, posters, notecards etc. Also art work showing dogs at work with sheep. This site shows the products with links to Cafepress where they may be ordered.

DogPlay's Herding Shop

Dog-Play's original herding shirts, mugs, stickers and buttons.

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Lost? PageList lists all the DogPlay pages. Check the Help page. Help

Unique herding items in DogPlay Mall. Fun designs on buttons, stickers, t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and more. Selected herding books and videos. DogPlay Shops


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Copyright © 1998-2006, Diane Blackman     Created: May 4, 1998     Updated: April 14, 2012

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