Stock Dog Training
A well-trained stockdog is among the most disciplined of all working dogs. An Australian Cattle Dog driving steers across the wide-open plains, a Kelpie jumping over the backs of tightly packed sheep in a sorting race to get them moving again, or a Border Collie rounding up a flock of ducks at a show are impressive sights – graceful, single-minded, and in complete control.
Herding dogs need jobs to do or they will become anxious and unhappy. When acquired as companions, herding dogs require skilled owners who understand how to draw out their best traits and satisfy their herding instincts. When acquired as true stockdogs for the farm or ranch or as competitive trial dogs, they require careful and consistent training.
Put a working dog in charge of a flock of sheep set out to pasture, have him drive a herd of cattle into pens, or let him excel at competitive events. Herding I, II and III provides tips for selecting a puppy, and delves deeply into the training necessary to prepare a dog for trial competitions or herding in the real world.
In addition, working with stockdogs can be useful and extremely satisfying. However without proper training they can be frustrating. The dog needs to be able to outmaneuver and rate livestock. In order to help your dog become a working partner the trainer needs to have a clear understanding of the behavior of animals — sheep, cattle, ducks, geese, goats, reindeer or turkeys —the way they think and move also known as stock savvy. It is important to keep in mind, no two dogs are alike. Each trainer must be flexible and willing to adapt or modify the teaching process to the individual dog’s unique ability in order to develop him to his highest potential. The techniques described in Herding I, Herding II and Herding III as well as Stockdog Savvy, the companion book are based on a lifetime of practical experiences. It was written to educate and equip owners with the knowledge and skills necessary to maximize their dog’s natural talent on different types of stock. The book outlines a methodology — teaching herding skills through play to working ranch dogs in the real world — for working successfully with all breeds of herding dogs.
Here is what viewers are saying about the Canine Classroom stockdog training DVDs, Herding I, II and III:
Dog Sports Magazine, 1989:
The Canine Classroom Herding I, II and III –This series stars herding expert Jeanne Joy Hartnagle and shows her working various dogs on ducks, sheep and cattle. The advertising for all her tapes says they are broadcast quality. This one certainly was. Picture clarity and sound were very good indeed.
The tape was useful because Ms. Hartnagle showed how to teach certain exercises, explained puppy selection, differentiated between dogs that control stock by going to the head and those that go to heel, discussed characteristics of some breeds, and so on.
Fun to watch:
The scenes taped at the Denver Coliseum showing her work for exhibition in controlling stock were just great. The ring announcer’s comments were muted except when he had something to say which was of some significance, then his remarks were amplified and came through clearly. Good color commentary there. I loved the finely balanced and sheer perfection of her work with her Border Collie, which just has to be the breed most perfectly suited to shepherding. The portion where a stockdog takes on several non-dog-broke cattle was exciting: just think where your vet bills would be if your cattle dog couldn’t duck a hind-leg kick to the head in time.
Ms. Hartnagle’s showmanship is something to see. And she makes it all look so easy, which may sound trite, but it is true. And she seems like such an agreeable person. A good teacher, I think.
Negatives: I happen to despise elevator music scoring, but while listening to it grate on my nerves, I couldn’t think of anything better she might have scored it with, short of hiring John Williams. Also, whoever is in charge of tossing up the quote marks on-screen should take care to see that for each thing to appear in quote marks, one set of both left and right marks are used, not just two right-hand quote marks. Looks weird.
If the rest of her video offering is as good as this one, you need not fear buying a pig in a poke (to get country on y’all). – Mike McKown
Bloodlines Magazine, November – December, 1989:
Training tapes are unique from books in that tapes must project the topic in a definite time frame (usually 30 to 60 minutes) while educating and entertaining as well while maintaining a quality performance from the announcer, star and technicians involved in producing it. In the last five years, video training tapes have made gigantic strides in production and professionalism. Herding I (Herding Overview) definitely reflects this advancement.
At first, the tape may seem to be too short (approximately 35 minutes) and the buyer might hesitate, wondering if anything of value can be contained in this relatively small amount of time. After viewing, the tape does seem entirely too short–only because the subject matter was so interesting and the production done so well that it leaves you wanting more. (Hence the additional tapes, Herding II — Young Dog Training and Herding III — Penning & Shedding, available from the same company).
Herding I is a good overall introduction to herding, working stock dogs and livestock, with enough theatrics thrown in to make the tape fast-paced and enjoyable. Certainly, playful puppies and the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background to not detract from the subject matter, but only enhance it. Jeanne Joy Hartnagle, the successful breeder, trainer, judge and author, who is featured, is not only knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter, she is photogenic as well!
All these aspects successfully portray the almost ethereal feeling present when a dog and handler work together as a team to accomplish a job, whether it be moving sheep to another pasture or loading cattle on trucks. If you weren’t hooked before, you will be now. This “romantic” side of herding is real. Whether it has to do with having successfully completed a job or the realization that this type of activity has been done by man and his dogs for thousands of years, is debatable. The decision is up to the participant.
This tape portrays what herding is all about. It successfully touches on the different breed of dogs used for herding, selection of a puppy, basic commands, and reading not only your dog but the livestock as well.
As an introductory tape, this is top of the line. I would like to have it have gone 45 minutes or an hour, only because it was successfully entertaining and educational, which made it end too soon.- Vicky Rand
Western Horseman, June 1990:
This tape, Herding I produced by Canine Training Systems, is the first in a series of three on teaching dogs to work livestock. The trainer featured is Jeanne Joy Harnagle who is well known for her skills in training, and also for the Australian Shepherd that she and her family have raised for years. Jeanne is from Boulder, Colorado.
Herding I gives an overall look at what breeds are best as stock dogs, certain characteristics of each breed, what to look for in a puppy that indicates if he/she has potential for working stock, and how to teach the basic commands. Several of the latter include go by, which means to move clockwise, away to me (counterclockwise), steady, walk on and skit a hold. The latter means to be more aggressive when the occasion calls for it.
This tape runs about 30 minutes and is of excellent quality. Not only is it informative, but also entertaining. For someone who wants the basic information necessary in learning to train a stock dog, it should be a must.
American Kennel Club Library, 1989:
Training Techniques for the Novice – Herding I is part of a series of training videos under the heading “The Canine Classroom.” Other titles include Herding II and Herding III ; Obedience I, II and III; Schutzhund–Overview and Protection I, II and III.
Susan Barwig, trainer and the author of the book Schutzhund, is the moving force behind the production company. Jeanne Hartnagle, a breeder, trainer, judge and author of All About Aussies is featured in the Herding I tape. She demonstrates training techniques while the narrator explains what is happening on the screen.
With the recent introduction of the AKC Herding Test program, this videotape is both timely and useful, It gives an overview of how dogs herd, how they are trained and what a well-trained stock dog can do.
The tape explains the difference between the two most common types of herding dogs, those that fetch or “head” and those that drive or “heel” stock. (See :The Boundary Style of Herding,” October 1989 GAZETTE, for discussion of a third type.)
According to the narrator, the herding ability of dogs was developed from the hunting instinct. By selective breeding, this instinct was refined while the killing instinct was minimized. The result was a tractable, trainable animal.
There is no doubt that a well-trained stock dog is one of the rancher’s most valuable tools. A good stock dog controls the herd without exciting the animals. He keeps them from getting too far afield but. If they do, he is capable of bringing them back.
The tape also discusses puppy selection. The narration stresses the importance of getting a puppy from a line of proven working stock and not “pets” or show dogs.”
The tape makes the point that different kinds of stock need different types of dogs. An Australian Cattle Dog may not be good for herding sheep because they are too rough. The Border Collie is said to be the ideal dog for sheep.
Certain traits make a dog a good herder: Social attractiveness to humans, a desire to retrieve and middle-of-the-road: submissiveness. These characteristics can be tested for in relatively young puppies.
Ms. Hartnagle demonstrates how to train dogs when there is no stock available. She uses an object on a pole. The commands are taught through play. Later, they are applied to actual herding situations. The tape emphasizes that training takes time and should not be started at too young an age.
The closing segment shows a herding demonstration with an Australian Shepherd working both sheep and cows. All in all, this 30 minute tape is well done. The camera work and script are professional. It really made me want to look at the other tapes in the series. – Roberta Vesley, Director of the American Kennel Club Library.
Aussie Times, 1989:
Jeanne Joy Hartnagle, author of the outstanding book, All About Aussies, has continued to produce quality informative information for the herding novice trainer or enthusiast with the three videos, The Canine Classroom Herding I, Herding II and Herding III.
Herding I – This video is wonderful from beginning to end. It is professional and precise. A natural progression of knowledge is imparted starting with an introduction to the herding breeds, their use, general temperament and herding style. The important aspect of choosing a puppy is covered with the heartwarming aid of fluffy Aussie puppies. This same group of capable entertainers confidently performs with a flock of ducks, demonstrating puppies’ first contact with livestock. Training techniques for the young dog are introduced in a circle pen on docile Dorset lambs. Fun and entertaining methods of teaching herding commands away livestock are executed by Jeanne Joy and her Aussie, Kyle.
The presentation of comprehensive basic herding information and definitions are made with visual demonstrations, clear explicit narration and emphasized with the written word. Herding I is a video that will be a treasure and often used addition to any dog fancier’s library. The trial contestant or rancher will have useful knowledge for choosing and starting his herding dog. Breeders will find it a valuable tool to introduce prospective buyers, with an interesting format, to the foundation of herding. It will be an asset to the herding instructor to clarify terminology and techniques. The general public will be fascinated and educated, perhaps even hooked into further exploration of the sport of herding.
If a picture is worth a million words, this video is a visual herding dictionary, plus much more. – Elsie Rhodes
For more information about Herding I, II and III or Stockdog Savvy, the companion book please visit: