Before I got an Australian Shepherd I was told that they will herd everything... Koda doesn't herd anything at all.... and when he is faced with the one thing that he should be herding... he does this...
Yes well there is an art to breeding working dogs. Breeders of working dogs that I know spend a lot of time assessing dogs herding traits by working them, understanding how the heritability of the different traits work, understang how temperament traits interact with the herding traits and understand the difference between intelligence and instinct. Some dogs also dont switch on till later and some dont switch on at all. Border collies for example are often specifically bred for cattle work as there are often different requirements to sheep work.
It is not easy to breed really good versatile working dogs. My showbred BC has very little herding instinct at all and steers well clear of my livestock, but she is a highly intelligent dog. My working bred dogs have good herding traits and are very usefull but they are also very different and I find myself using them for different tasks as to where their herding traits strengths lie.
Koda is a very handsome boy.
It is interesting the difference between intelligence and instinct. Koda is a very intelligent dog, he is a puzzle solver. The breeder i got him from works her Aussies on sheep, Koda has never seen a sheep but i doubt he'd try to herd them. Dodge came from working lines, and her instinct is ridiculously strong, she just herds absolutely everything. Sometimes i feel like her instinct to herd stuff gets in the way of her ability to learn new things, which is why she knows very few basic commands. Although she is very smart, she is just not interested in doing things other than herding.
Maggie was herding the puppies at puppy preschool at 9 weeks old.
She herds her soccer ball with passion and commitment. I have actively prevented her from herding children but have no doubt she would and could. Definitely in her gene pool. I know very little about herding dogs but I suspect it is an serious art form to choose the right pup and train it successfully. She may or may not have been a good working dog, hard to say.
The top herding trainers I know can turn dogs over fairly rapidly untill they find the right dog. Farmers where I live want yard as opposed to paddock dogs. I have a yard bred kelpie and she is not good at mustering sheep at a distance. My paddock bred BC is a genius at mustering but is also quite a busy dog which means he often has way to much movement happening when much less would be more effective. Makes him a terrific agility dog though.
Yes intelligence doesnt always make a good herding dog. You need a balance of good herding instincts and the intelligence to be able to context that instinct when working livestock.. Some dogs are much better than others at this.
Sometimes the dogs that are calmer and less flashy are much better working dogs. Breeders I know will try and find agility type homes for the more over the top types.
A couple of my rescue working breds did not switch onto livestock at first and need introduction on the right stock. I bet with Koda, if you put him in an area with a few training sheep and got them moving around it would likely spark his interest. A cow lying down is probably more of a puzzle at first and doesnt kick their natural herding ability into gear LOL
Hey, hey, Koda just has his own way of doing things ... dominate the cattle while they're young and down the track he wont have to work as hard :P
LOL, that's pretty funny. Interesting thread.
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