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Old 11-17-2009, 10:41 AM
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Default Herding in DC/Virginia area?

All this herding talk lately has gotten me interested!

Do any of you herding folks know of any trainers around the DC area? I've googled my heart out, but all I can find is someone in southern Virginia, and I can't drive across the whole state for a test. I would be willing to drive 60-75 miles probably, but that's about it. Anywhere in Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia would be awesome. Unfortunately, I don't think there are many sheep around here!

Will a trainer even let me do this with my mutt of unknown origin? Or is it dangerous to take a dog who probably doesn't have herding instinct? Is it something you can teach, or do you have to have the instinct as a base to do it at all?
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
Will a trainer even let me do this with my mutt of unknown origin? Or is it dangerous to take a dog who probably doesn't have herding instinct? Is it something you can teach, or do you have to have the instinct as a base to do it at all?
Many herding trainers will let you do it with a "mutt of unknown origin". Many people even do herding with breeds that are purebred non-herding breeds.

Dangerous? No. But it might not go far if he has no interest. Herding instinct isn't really something that can be taught. Some dogs will turn on after watching other dogs, some need to be exposed to stock a few times before they turn on, but if the instinct isn't there, there isn't much you can do.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:55 AM
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I can't help location-wise, but a lot of herding instructors will take mutts at face value and just not let them onto sheep as soon. My instructor takes all dogs; if you think your dog might herd, she'll try them out. But usually she does everything more slowly, and the dog won't be loose with the sheep until lessons have actually begun.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:05 AM
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Okay, that's good to know.

I know Lucy will show interest--she is interested in anything that moves. I just think it'll be too much interest. She'll want to chase, as opposed to herd. Although I'm basing this all on how she acts at the dog park and with squirrels, and obviously sheep are neither of those things.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:09 AM
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Okay, that's good to know.

I know Lucy will show interest--she is interested in anything that moves. I just think it'll be too much interest. She'll want to chase, as opposed to herd. Although I'm basing this all on how she acts at the dog park and with squirrels, and obviously sheep are neither of those things.
Depending on the specific dog, chasing isn't always a disqualifier - but a good instructor will usually be able to tell. Finn chased the sheep the first time Nat took him off the long lead (he ran them right into the breakaway gate - bye gate, and bye sheep!), but once he was calmer, he began to flank and drive as his instinct overtook his desire to OMG CHASE. :P

Again, not saying that's always the case. Definitely chat with the instructor a bit beforehand to see what exactly they will test for in the first lesson, and what "disqualifiers" there are.

I'm sure Lizmo will chime in on this too, she has more experience with it than I do.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
I know Lucy will show interest--she is interested in anything that moves. I just think it'll be too much interest. She'll want to chase, as opposed to herd. Although I'm basing this all on how she acts at the dog park and with squirrels, and obviously sheep are neither of those things.
Depends on what she does with stock -- if she's chasing with intent to kill, it could very definitely become an issue. I thought Alley was going to try to eat the sheep. I knew she would eat cats if ever given the opportunity. But she excellent stopping ability and natural checking. She'd still kill a cat, but the sheep were safe. And long lines and rakes can be your best friend.

It's also a bit problematic if she looks at the sheep, yawns and lies down for a nap.

I have very limited experience with herding, so I look forward to hearing from Lizmo!
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:57 AM
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Ooh! I may have found one only 40 minutes away. That would be awesome! I'm going to email her and see what she says.

Herding Trainers

VA Theriot, Mary Alice 1935 Stone Mountain Rd Bedford 20110

It says she works with Tervurens, and I'm not sure how old this site even is, but I have hope!
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:59 PM
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There's also someone in Harrisonburg I think that teaches... it's a bit of a drive though and I can't remember the guy's name. Bamm has worked sheep there once before though. Unfortunately we live in NOVA so there's not a whole lot in the way of sheep and herding... which is why I'm getting out of here HAHAHAHA... well, partly why.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:00 PM
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Allie and CP have given you great advice.

I'd definitely email her. Just be aware that if she does AKC herding, things will be different (more like what you saw in the recent video on Chaz).

Border Collie Instuctors is an excellent sourse for information and how to find trainers.

I'm PMing you with a few trainers in mind.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:30 PM
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Maybe you could find one out near Front Royal? Sorry..not much help from me..
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