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Molly my Collie

866 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Friesians45
Hi all,

So Molly is a trained scent detection dog but we're thinking about training her to herd chickens (we don't have them yet). Her mother was a fourth gen champion herder and she passed her assessment perfectly but. And it's a big but. She's four. I am a dog trainer and I know she's controlled enough not to kill them but I'm worried she'll stress them to death while I train her. Do I need to train her on sheep first? We have 5 brothers and sisters and she'd be the first I've trained in this way. Ideally once the chickens are used to her I might start with the others but they're too forceful to start an animal on and certainly I need to get experience in this area of dog training first! I am a trainer with 5 years experience but not with herding.

Please help!
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· Super Moderator
17,182 Posts
I'd start her on something else. We have a Great Pyrenees mix that herds ours. Don't know where that comes from instinct wise but she was chicken aggressive and would have killed them with no supervision (that's the mix part) with no training. We started with off and it evolved from there.. The one thing we have not gotten her out of is herding them when not asked and the turning and running straight through the middle to watch them scatter. You can just about see her laughing at herself and them. They will still seek both dogs out to sun and sleep near as they know the dogs are their protection.

· Premium Member
Retired breeder
2,971 Posts
Start her on ducks. I used to know folks that would train herding dogs, and they used ducks to start with.

· Registered
2,029 Posts
The sheep farms around me use enclosures with a small number of sheep and a friend's family used to use ducks. Not overwhelming amounts, just enough to give a taste without things getting out of control. Granted their sheep are used to dogs so they know what to expect and don't overeact.

They keep a long rope on the dog (or a lunge rein would work) just in case and wait to see how it reacts. Some let it drag so that they have something to catch, while I know of one farmer who keeps a hold of the end in the beginning.They give the commands come-by, away, lie down etc or whatever you use and encourage the behaviour they want.

It's great work for collies. A friend was looking at border collie pups over the weekend and i was just a bit envious :LOL:.
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