So today I took all three of my corgis for their first official herding lesson. The Pembrokes (Cooper & Nora) had absolutely no interest in the sheep whatsoever. Nora actually ran away from the sheep, and kept jumping at my leg wanting me to pick her up. Cooper was way to interested in eating sheep poop to even notice the furry things running around, and Grady (my Cardi) at only 5 months old, walked into that pen liked he owned the place. He actually herded for a good 5 minutes before deciding that the poop was more fun then the sheep were. He actually rounded up a stray sheep that broke away from the small flock we were working with, Part of me was extremely frustrated that I drove 2 1/2 hours to this trainer, when two of my dogs could care less about this whole herding thing. The trainer told me not to write the Pems off just yet. She wants me to bring Grady again next Sunday, since he showed a lot of interest. She wants me to have the Pems watch from outside the pen, hoping that maybe they'll get more interested and a lot less scared. My boyfriend tagged along and snapped some great shots of Grady and the sheep, so I'll attach some of them. So to those of you who herd, what do you recommend that I do with the Pems? I don't know about their lines and whether or not they come from good stock dogs or not. But any herding help would be appreciated. Thank you guys again!

Krystal and her Corgi crew

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Love the third picture of Grady and the sheep!! Way to go Grady! I think the suggestion of having the pems watch Grady from the outside might be a good idea, hopefully they will then want to join the fun. Monkey see, monkey do......or in this case corgi see, corgi What is the name of the place you took them?
One is better than none! I love those pics!
very true!
Somewhere around here (I seem to have lost it in a move) I had a book on working farm dogs written in England, and it said that even among working border collies not every dog has much interest in the stock. It explained how to test them for interest but I can't remember how and can't find the book! I know the book mentioned that if they don't seem interested at first, to take them away and try again. I also seem to recall that young dogs are frequently started on ducks, as they are less intimidating. But again, I can't find the book! It wasn't written for hobby-herders, but for sheep-farmers. Wish I could find it. If it turns up anywhere, I'll let you know what it says. I got it at a library book sale and it was rather old.
Hey thanks!
My friends who regularly herd always say that the first time doesn't necessarily mean anything. You have to give the dog a chance to turn its brain on and realize that herding sheep is reinforcing and rewarding; when they haven't even tried you don't know what their brains are going to do.

I think we also tend to depress the herding instinct in our dogs as we raise them - most herding instructors will tell you to NEVER call a new dog off stock; you go get them instead. But that's exactly what we do all the time when we tell our dogs to stop chasing other dogs or stop herding us or the cat or whatever.

With my last puppy (Friday) I deliberately never corrected her for herding behavior on me or any other animal; she's not allowed to use teeth but wherever I walk there's the hot breath of a dog on my ankle as she closely chases my feet. She is the herdiest thing on earth now. It's instinct for sure, but it's also training, and rewarding herding attempts from very early on.

In other words, don't despair. Give them at least a couple more chances before you write them off.

And I'm proud of Grady!
Thanks Joanna for your helpful words!!!
Try it a few more times like Joanna suggested and see if they show improvement. When I took Bernie herding she loved the sheep poop and the hair too. The instructor said most dogs eventually grow out of it and focus more on herding if they end up really liking it.

If herding doesn't work out for some of your dogs you can always try agility or Rally-O. I've heard some corgis even enjoy tracking or lure coursing. My two are in training for dock diving and even if we never compete, it is great exercise and lots of fun in the summer to cool off.

Just have fun whatever you do. Don't take it super serious. :)


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