What is Herding?

Herding is the ability to let the stock escape -- IN A GROUP -- in the direction in which you would like the stock to go.

      • One animal at a time is chasing.
      • Moving the flock all together is herding.

In the wild, wolves and wild dogs display herding skills and depend on teamwork in order to hunt.

      • The pack encircles the prey and lets it escape to where a dog is waiting to make the kill.
      • After the dog makes the kill, the rest of the pack can eat.

The teamwork evident in the pack-hunt is the core of the relationship between you and the dog when you are herding.

      • You are the “coordinator of the hunt”.
      • Your dog is working WITH you.
      • The default direction of escape is to the handler, the dog’s partner.

Herding skills have been developed for centuries.

There are many breeds specifically raised to herd other animals and do useful work. After generations of selective breeding for this trait, dogs who have it are said to have "herding instinct".

See more about instinct under Instinct Tests.

Even though herding dogs possess instinct, it still takes training for both dog and handler to make a team. And that's where lessons come in.

See more about learning to herd under Lessons.

If you'd simply like to come and watch for a while, Email Shannon to find out when lessons are scheduled.

Modern herding

Modern herding is primarily done for two reasons -- work and fun!

      • Farmers and ranchers use herding dogs to help them move all types of livestock from one area to another calmly and efficiently. A good herding dog can do the work of several humans.
      • Herding for sport gives people the opportunity to do a useful job with their dog working together as partners. It's spending time together on the farm having fun in the great outdoors. Some people herd just for the fun of it and others compete in organized herding trials.

Depending on your commitment and the frequency of your lessons, you might eventually be interested in training for your first trial. There are various trial venues that you can participate in and Magic's Legacy hosts several trials a year right here.

      • Find out more about competition under Trials.