How to train herding and working dog breeds
Herding and working dogs are actually two different categories in the American Kennel Club but have only been divided into the two groups since 1983. Previously the herding group was included in the working group category since these groups have many of the same traits and attributes. Both groups have been bred to work closely with humans and to be good, solid and dependable companion dogs.
In generally the working breeds tend to be large dogs that have been bred to pull carts, pull sleds, guard and even perform various rescues. Breeds in the working group include:
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Great Danes
- Doberman Pinchers
- Great Pyrenees
- St. Bernard
- Siberian Husky
There are also several other breeds including the amazing Komondor, known for its long, ringlet style coat. All of these breeds of dogs are large, usually weighing in excess of 60 pounds, with many of the larger males reaching over 150 pounds when full grown.
When working with these working dogs it is important to note that they are generally very gentle dogs although them may be aggressive or possessive around strangers. Dogs such as the Akita that has been bred to both hunt and protect will need additional socialization and training at an early age to prevent aggressive tendencies as they mature. These dogs need to be very obedient simply because they are so large and could potentially hurt someone even by simply jumping up. Usually very easy to train they require consistent and firm training with lots of positive praise and attention.
Generally these dogs will be natural watchdogs although they are not necessarily effective guard dogs. Some, such as the Doberman Pincher and the Rottweiler are excellent as both watch and guard dogs with the proper training. Professional trainers can be very effective in training and working with guard dogs.