Herding Dog Behavior Problems

Common Herding Dog Behavior Problems And Solutions!

Herding dogs are highly energetic and intelligent as they are bred to work hard. These dogs need a lot of human interaction and physical activity to stay healthy and happy.

If you have a pet herding dog, make sure you train them from a young age and provide the necessary physical and mental stimulation. They can develop destructive behavior if you don’t cater to their needs.

Most of the time, pet owners don’t really pay attention to the needs of a herding dog which can lead to behavior problems. These dogs can start chewing, biting, barking as well as chasing and jumping on people if they are not trained. 

In order to bring a herding dog home, you need to know how to care for them. In this guide, we are going to discuss herding dog behavior problems and show you how to deal with them.

What Is A Herding Dog?

What Is A Herding Dog

A herding dog, also known as a sheepdog, stock dog, or shepherd dog, is a breed of dog that’s primarily used for herding livestock. These dogs have been used for centuries and are still used in some agricultural practices today. They are known to be excellent companions and are a great addition to any household.

Herding dogs are energetic, intelligent, and outgoing. They are ideal companions for active households and are able to learn commands easily. Because of their active lifestyle, these dogs are excellent pets for people with children and a busy lifestyle. They require long periods of exercise to maintain their energy levels.

In order to make your herding dog a good house pet, it is important to train it from puppyhood. A properly trained herding dog requires at least one to two hours of exercise every day. Herding dogs have a very high need for physical and mental stimulation. Without these factors, they may start to exhibit destructive behavior.

Common Herding Dog Behavior Problems

Behavior Problems in herding dogs

If you have a herding dog, you may have noticed some unusual behaviors. These can include circling, nipping, and chasing. It’s important to understand why these behaviors occur and correct them. Here are some common herding dog behavior problems. 

  • Nipping

Nipping is a common behavior among cattle dogs, which is part of their instinctive herding behavior. A herding dog is highly territorial and will nip on other animals if it feels threatened. Cattle dogs also tend to nip their owners, particularly young puppies.

This habit can be quite funny, particularly when the dog surprises the owner. But if it starts to become a regular habit in the home, it can be dangerous. If you notice your dog nipping, you should immediately stop the movement and sound that triggered the behavior. 

  • Barking

A herding dog’s barking can be a problem. They are very attentive to their surroundings and may chase after cars and children. In addition, herding dogs have a habit of circling, which can be dangerous for people, especially the elderly.

If you notice your dog barking excessively, you need to work with your dog to help him control this habit. You can provide mental stimulation for your dog to prevent this behavior. 

  • Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive behaviors in herding dogs may be triggered by a variety of factors. For example, a dog that is placed in a stressful situation may show a pattern of repeated barking. When this behavior is repeated over, it may become ingrained, and the dog will continue to repeat it even if the stressor is removed. 

  • Poking

Poking is a common behavior in cattle dogs. This behavior is used to direct and control livestock and can start as young puppies. A herding dog may also poke its nose or bite at people or other animals. These behaviors can be fun to watch when they’re surprised, but they can be very difficult to stop.

  • Biting

This behavior is natural, and it usually starts when a young dog sees a stranger. However, it is often unintentional and may result in a nipping behavior. It can damage clothing or cause injury and can be scary for people who do not know dogs. The first step to preventing biting and other herding dog behavior issues is to observe your dog’s behavior. 

  • Chewing

Herding dogs were bred with specific traits and functions in mind. They’re energetic, intelligent, and independent, which makes them excellent for herding livestock. Chewing is a common herding dog behavior. While chewing is a natural activity for dogs, it can become excessive and cause problems for owners. To stop excessive chewing, consider training your dog to follow a quiet command. 

  • Digging

If you have a herding dog, you should be aware of some common behaviors associated with digging. Your dog may dig in an attempt to get out of your yard or confinement area. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this behavior and teach your pet appropriate digging behavior. One of the best methods is to enrich your dog’s daily routine with fun activities. 

  • Chasing

While most dogs have a natural instinct to chase, herding dogs are prone to this problem. This behavior is often a result of a high prey drive. This drive is present in all dogs and wolves, and selective breeding has resulted in a stronger prey drive in some dogs. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce a herding dog’s chase behavior. 

  • Jumping

Jumping is one of the most problematic behaviors in herding dogs. When the dog jumps, it wants attention, food, or a toy. However, this behavior may scare visitors and cause damage. To stop the dog from jumping, you must identify its sources and disallow the behavior. Instead of rewarding the behavior, walk by and give a command to sit or stay.

  • Circling

Circling is an instinctual behavior that herding breeds have. Some dogs are born with the habit, while others acquire it over the course of a lifetime. It’s a behavior that has deep roots in dogs’ wild ancestors, as they used it to trap prey and round up their herds. Even today, this behavior is common among pet dogs, as humans have used dogs to herd animals for centuries. 

Dealing With Herding Dog Behavior Problems

Herding Dog Behavior Problems
Dealing With Herding Dog Behavior Problems
Herding Dog Behavior issues

When dealing with herding dog behavior problems, it is important to be consistent and direct. If your dog is herding excessively, show your disappointment by not giving in to its demands.

If your dog is obnoxious, it may misinterpret your actions as playful play, so it is important to stay firm. In the meantime, you should be teaching your dog the proper herding commands.

Here are some tips to avoid herding dog behavior problems.

  • Tug And Rope Toys

If your dog has a penchant for pulling, you can give him a rope or tug toy to play with. (affiliate link) These toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are durable and great for smaller dogs. A plush tug toy is also a good choice for puppies. Just make sure to supervise your dog when he plays with these toys. Using rope or tug toys is a great way to exercise your dog and train him. 

  • Interactive Games

A herding dog needs an outlet for his high energy, so it’s vital to provide him with indoor activities. Interactive toys like puzzle feeders can provide hours of entertainment. Herding dogs also enjoy playing with their human companions, so set up an area where they can run around and play.

A good game to play with your herding dog is fetching. The game engages the dog’s mind and body and helps them get good exercise. 

  • Hide And Seek

Hide and seek is a fun game for both humans and dogs. This game can be complex and requires a bit of training, but it is easy enough for most people to play, even those who don’t have a dog. Hide and seek is a great activity for a herding dog to stay busy.

When playing the game with your dog, keep him distracted by calling his name or another command. When he finds you, praise him and give him a treat or toy.

  • Agility Courses

Agility courses are a great way to keep a herding dog busy. These courses are composed of different obstacles that a dog must jump over. It’s important to introduce these obstacles slowly to the dog and keep treats handy. Once the dog gets the hang of the basic jumps, you can add more challenging ones to keep the game interesting. Agility courses are ideal for dogs of all breeds and ages.

  • Exercise

Exercise is a vital part of a herding dog’s life. It’s part of their natural instinct, and if they’re not trained properly, it can lead to behavioral problems. Thankfully, there are many activities you can do with your dog to make them happy and healthy.

A herding dog should get about 60-90 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. Exercise can be as varied as taking your dog on a long walk, jogging, biking, or visiting an off-leash dog park. 

  • Herding Balls

Herding balls are not only fun to play with, but they also help to exercise herding breeds. Dogs that are trained to herd are extremely active, and herding balls can help to burn some of this energy off. Many dog owners consider herding balls to be one of the best toys available.

  • Herding Games

Dealing with herding dog behavior problems can be difficult, but there are a number of activities you can do together. One good idea is to play sports with your dog. It’s not necessary to play competitive games, but you can try playing games such as fetch or tug of war with your dog. Herding dogs like to play these games because it fulfills their herding instinct. 


Herding dogs need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. When these needs are unmet, herding dogs may develop destructive behavior. The innate behavior of herding dogs is to chase. This behavior can include chasing cars and children.

Another problem herders can cause is barking. Herding breeds also suffer from other behavior problems, including aggression. To deal with herding dog behavior problems, you need to provide them with physical exercise as well as mental stimulation.

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