Herding: Chore Dogs

As “chore dogs” if you are lucky enough to have a place to help out and just MOVE stock around I have found the Beardies to be as efficient and understanding as they come.

Deb Thomas and Emma moving stock from a pen into a work area.

They teach me (the city gal) a lot about stock movement and behavior. Moving stock from pen to pen, from pen to field, through gates teaches both handler and dog about pace, flight zones, bubbles, when to push and when to fetch.

Having a dog that will save you steps and be a partner for you, a tool that is at hand is invaluable. It speaks of a marvelous communication and relationship with ones dog.

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Harper holding a flock off a gate area till ready to move. A simple’ flank’ out and a ‘drive’ through the gate and into the pasture.

To get the communication going, to learn as much as our dogs know, many of us take lessons. Much of the time the lessons and the learning are for us humans. The dogs work with the instinct and we work to channel that instinct into a three-way communication between the stock, the handler and the dog. It’s at these lessons that we learn the language of herding, both verbally and physically. We learn to label vocally and identify much of what the dog is already doing and we learn that a dog’s first language is body language. As one learns about body language, the observant will learn about pressure and release, which is a fundamental of herding.