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Home Private: Forums Let’s Talk About It The Herding Instinct: A Beginner's Perspective

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    Rose Dukes

    In reference to “The Herding Instinct: A Beginner’s Perspective”, by Judy Sheridan

    We shared this article on social media today and the feedback it received got us thinking…..

    Herding breed dogs were bred to work – to herd the animals and protect the farm (and family). Regardless of training, it’s engraved into their DNA to herd – it’s instinctual. But is it really? As our article explains, this might not be the case for each breed. Or perhaps it’s each dog? Does one breed carry the instinct more than another?

    One comment we received went as follows: “Having had a horse farm, for 25+ years, with GSDs, collies, and shelties, I have been surprised to see that the GSDs have had the strongest ingrained herding instinct. We now tend to think of them as “police dogs”, thanks to Rin Tin Tin; but their herding instinct has been undeniable. Even a 9 year old “city” GSD I adopted out of a Chicago suburb, who had never seen a horse before, had the instinct to drive them and to stay with the herd. My current GSD, who is just a year old and has had no herding training, recently surprised me, when he voluntarily gave up romping in the pasture with his collie pal, to assist with herding 3 mares to new stalls. The mares wanted to run to their old stalls; but Rocky instinctively knew how to drive them back to me, at their new stalls. He did this 4 days in a row, until the mares figured out where they were supposed to be. The collies have not had much interest in herding, other than as a game of chase. And the shelties have seemed to sense that horses are too large to mess with.”

    What are your thoughts? What are your experiences?

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