My goal is to present information about herding with a German Shepherd Dog.

My first exposure to herding was in the summer of 1992.

I began with the simplest of goals.... I wanted to see if my German Shepherd Dog could pass an herding instinct test and 'earn' a certificate.

I assumed that since Chelsea was a herding breed she would, of course , herd. The fact that she was from a long line of non-herding, show dogs would have little to do with it.

I confidently informed the evaluator, Linda Franklin, that Chelsea herded my cats. When harassing the cats, Chelsea would use a movement similar to a cutting horse working a calf. I thought that was herding.

Despite my ignorant impressions, Chelsea demonstrated a great deal of instinct & we began training.

There's a saying, something to the effect "youth is wasted on the young". From my own experience with Chelsea in the tests & lower trial classes, I had some measure of success, but I didn't have a clue what I was doing!

I didn't have a plan for completing the course & I couldn't read sheep. Heck, most of the time I wasn't even watching them (I was watching the dog)! I didn't understand the importance of square flanks..... Why train a speed control if you can stop the dog?... Who cares if she over flanks?... YIKES!!

Since '92, I've learned a great deal, but I've barely scratched the surface.

This is what I've figured out thus far:

  • Watch the sheep! You can tell where your dog is & what he's doing just by watching the stock's movements & attitude.
  • Don't settle for what just gets by-- do your best.
  • Be aware that the herding reputation of the entire breed is being represented by your dog's performance. This may be a spectator's first time ever seeing a GSD herd. Make sure they leave with a good impression.

I was fortunate to have been in partnership with a great herding dog.

AKC Herding Champion Pa-Gairs Kaiserin Chelsea CD HX

the drive

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Last Update January 2004

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