Is it normal for them to round up people?
I used to have Australian Cattle Dogs. They would drive me nuts when I went running or cycling - they are like collies on speed. They'd get beside themselves with excitement as soon as the running shoes or bike came out and if they thought I was too slow they'd nip me on the heels.
Personal trainer anyone?
I think it's so cute when sheepdog puppies first try and round things up, like hens that are bigger than them. It amazes me how strong the instinct is, like "this is what i do" !
Bit like watching tiny kittens playfighting, doing that sideways kickboxing attack thing - sweet!
I had three, two were fine. One was a bit prickly with strange dogs until she got to know them, then she'd be hyper-friendly with the ones she considered friends. It's mostly about socialisation when they're young.
I loved my ACDs but they're not for the fainthearted.
I started training mine on day one when they were six weeks old.
In the house attached to lengths of twine. Then carried out in the fields so they could meet the stock.
As you say - its what they're built for. Its a huge thrill being able to work with a dog like that. Its a real partnership.
Are they easy to train Yasmin, FR?
Or like borders, crackers unless they're trained!?
They are very easy to train and thrive on learning but, yeah, you will have major problems if you *don't* train them. They're like borders on crack - ultra high energy so need heaps of exercise, strong herding instinct but with a tendency to nip, dominant personalities with a very strong will (so you need to be very firm and have good training), fiercely loyal and protective and easily bored (so if you don't give them a job to do they'll find one). They need to be with their people - they were bred to work tirelessly with large, semi-wild livestock in company with a stockman all day, every day. When not working they were expected to guard his property and the herd against both intruders and predators.
I just love them to bits and can't imagine having any other dog (Dad gave me my first when I was 6). But that said, I used to help out with ACD rescue and most of the problems came up because people didn't give them enough training, exercise or mental stimulation.
Laughed at the pic of the guy in the boat herding ducks... as a kid my familly lived by a small lake, we kept some ducks, and yes, I used to go out in a canoe to herd them in at night....
I saw a documentary recently about re-training two problem dogs to do the jobs they were bred for: a bloodhound and a bearded collie. There was a facinating demonstration of how the collie's instincts relate to the hunting behaviour of wolves. Apparently wolves will spread out and space themselves around a herd of prey animals, keeping an eye on other members of the pack to position themselves. So the collie's instict when working with a single human is to place itself on the oposite side of the herd. They showed the first training session where the dog, trainer and sheep were in a small circular pen. Without any instruction or training the dog placed himself on the oposite side of the sheep from the trainer, and if the trainer moved one way he moved the other, keeping himself opposite.
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