How to Train a Herding Puppy

Herding dogs can be trained as puppies to be strong farm hands.

Herding dogs are born with the inherent ability to herd cattle, sheep and other animals. However, training them to do the job properly is a must. Most dogs can be trained quite easily as young pups.

Step 1

Start with the basic commands. As your dog grows, she will need to understand certain commands when herding. This process starts with getting her to understand basic commands such as "Sit," "Lie down," "Come" and "Stay." Be gentle, but assertive. Repeat these commands at 15 minutes per day and as needed.

Step 2

Work in herding commands as your dog becomes more mature. Before you allow your dog to mingle with a herd, she must be old enough to hold her own and understand specific herding commands. After she has a fairly strong understanding of basic commands, begin working in herding calls. These include, "Way to me," which commands the dog to turn counterclockwise and move back toward you, "Come by," which turns her back clockwise, "Get out," commanding the dog to move away from the herd, and "That'll do," which prompts the dog to stop and slowly return to you. These commands will teach your dog how to properly interact with you and the herd. Practice these commands alone with your dog at first. Work in this area about 15 minutes a day, slowly introducing her your herd. A dog whistle and leash should be used to teach herding commands (see Resources).

Step 3

Know and understand proper herding positions. Your dog must always stay to the side of the herd. She may run at and alongside it, but not entangle herself with the stock. by staying to the side, she will always have room to return to you when prompted and keep from getting trampled.

Step 4

Use a leash to teach herding position techniques. Jog alongside your heard with your pup on a leash. Assertively guide her to the proper positions. Give her herding commands during position training. As she gets acclimated, pick up the pace, eventually removing the leash.


  • Do not introduce puppies to your herd before they are strong enough to keep up with you and the other animals. Use good judgment.


  • Be stern with your pup when she's young so she knows you are the Alpha being.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog whistle
  • Leash (retractable is preferred)


About the Author

Jim Hagerty is a writer and journalist who began writing professionally in 1996. He has had articles published in the "Rock River Times," "Builder's Journal" and various websites. He earned a Bachelor of Science in public relations and journalism from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

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