Teaching Your Herding Dog Basic Commands



My name is Tyler, the proud owner and experienced publisher of Paws & Purrrs. I've always had a soft spot for our furry friends, and over the years, I've been blessed to share my life with many pets. This love for animals, coupled with my passion for sharing knowledge, led me to create this blog.

Table of Contents

Did you know that herding dogs have been bred for centuries to work alongside humans and livestock? These intelligent and energetic dogs are known for their ability to control and move large groups of animals, making them invaluable on farms and ranches. However, without proper training, their natural instincts can lead to unwanted behaviors such as chasing cars or nipping at people’s heels.

That’s why it’s crucial to teach your herding dog basic commands to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of teaching your herding dog four essential commands: sit, stay, come, and heel. These commands will not only help you control your dog’s behavior but also strengthen your bond with them.

With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can train your herding dog to be a well-behaved and obedient companion. So, let’s get started!

Understanding the Importance of Basic Commands

You may not realize it, but mastering basic commands is crucial for your herding companion’s safety and success in their job. As a responsible owner, it’s essential to understand the importance of consistency when teaching your dog these commands. Consistency means that you’re using the same words and hand signals every time you give a command. This helps your dog understand what you want them to do and what to expect from you.

It’s also important to use positive reinforcement when teaching your dog basic commands. This means rewarding your dog with treats, praise, or playtime when they successfully complete a command. Positive reinforcement helps your dog associate good behavior with positive outcomes, making them more likely to repeat that behavior in the future.

Using basic commands can also ensure your dog’s safety. For example, ‘come’ is a crucial command that can prevent your dog from running into dangerous situations, such as traffic or approaching strangers. ‘Stay’ can keep your dog from running after a squirrel or other animals that could lead them into harm’s way.

Mastering basic commands can also make your dog more efficient at their job as a herding companion. They’ll be able to follow your commands quickly and accurately, making it easier for them to complete their tasks and preventing any accidents from occurring.

In summary, mastering basic commands is essential for your herding dog’s safety and success. Consistency and positive reinforcement are necessary when teaching these commands. With time and patience, your dog will master these essential skills and be an excellent herding companion.

Teaching Your Herding Dog to “Sit”

Learning to ‘sit’ is an essential skill for any well-trained herding dog. Breaking down the command, the first step is to have your dog stand in front of you. Hold a treat above their head and say, ‘Sit.’

Slowly move the treat back towards their tail, causing them to lower their hind legs and sit down. As soon as they do, give them the treat and praise them with excitement.

Repeat this exercise multiple times, gradually reducing the height of the treat until your dog can sit without it. It’s important to avoid physically forcing your dog into a sitting position, as this can create confusion and mistrust.

Instead, use positive reinforcement through training treats and verbal praise. By practicing this command consistently, your herding dog will learn to associate the word ‘Sit’ with the action of sitting down, making it easier to control and manage their behavior in various situations.

Teaching Your Herding Dog to “Stay”

Now it’s time to master the skill of having your furry friend ‘stay’ put, which can be challenging at first but is crucial for keeping them safe and well-behaved.

Teaching your herding dog to ‘stay’ is all about reinforcing your dominance as their leader and building trust in your relationship. The benefits of mastering ‘stay’ are immense – it gives you better control over your dog in situations that require them to wait patiently, such as crossing a busy road or meeting new people.

To teach your herding dog to ‘stay’, start by commanding them to sit and then use a hand gesture to signal them to stay. Stand in front of your dog with your palm up and say ‘stay’.

Take a step back and if they stay in place, reward them with a treat and praise. Repeat this exercise gradually increasing the distance between you and your dog. However, if your dog moves, immediately bring them back to the starting position and repeat the process.

It’s also important to practice ‘stay’ in different locations and with distractions to reinforce the command. With patience and consistent training, your herding dog will master ‘stay’ and become a well-trained companion.

Teaching Your Herding Dog to “Come”

Now that you’ve taught your herding dog how to ‘stay’, it’s time to move onto the next command: ‘come’.

In this discussion, we’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to train your dog to come when called, as well as common mistakes to avoid.

Remember, reinforcing the command with positive reinforcement will be essential to your dog’s success in learning this important command.

Step-by-step instructions

Step-by-step instructions can help you train your pup to follow your lead with ease when teaching them basic commands. Effective training techniques include using positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience.

Start by choosing a command word, such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay,’ and using it consistently every time you want your dog to perform that action. One common obstacle when teaching basic commands is distraction.

Start training in a quiet, familiar space and gradually increase the level of distraction as your pup becomes more proficient in following commands. Always praise and reward your pup for a job well done to reinforce positive behavior.

With consistent training and patience, your herding dog will become a well-trained companion.

Common mistakes to avoid

Don’t let these pitfalls trip you up – steer clear of the common errors and pave the way for a smooth and successful training journey.

When teaching your herding dog basic commands, it’s important to remember that using positive reinforcement and avoiding punishment is key. Yelling or physically punishing your dog will only create fear and anxiety, which can hinder their progress and damage your relationship with them. Instead, focus on rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, and playtime.

Another crucial aspect of effective training is consistency. Dogs thrive on routine and repetition, so it’s important to establish a consistent training schedule and stick to it. Make sure that everyone in your household is on the same page when it comes to commands and expectations.

Additionally, it’s important to practice in a variety of settings and situations, so that your dog can learn to generalize their training and respond to commands even in unfamiliar environments.

By avoiding punishment and maintaining consistency, you’ll be on your way to a successful training journey with your herding dog.

Reinforcing the command

Keep your training progress on track by reinforcing your pup’s learning with positive reinforcement techniques. Praise and consistency are key when teaching your herding dog basic commands.

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your pup for good behavior with treats, toys, or verbal praise. This reinforces the behavior and encourages your pup to repeat it in the future. When your pup correctly performs a command, be sure to praise them immediately.

This positive feedback lets them know they’ve done something right and encourages them to continue doing so. Consistency is also important when reinforcing commands. Make sure to use the same command word and tone of voice every time you give a command.

This will help your pup associate the command with the behavior and respond appropriately. With patience and positive reinforcement, your herding dog will quickly learn and master basic commands.

Teaching Your Herding Dog to “Heel”

When walking with your herding companion, they should be right by your side, following your every step. Teaching your dog to ‘heel’ is a crucial command for every herding dog owner to master.

To start, break down the command into small steps. Begin by walking your dog on a loose leash, and when they start to pull ahead, stop walking. Wait for them to return to your side, then praise them and give them a treat. Repeat this several times until your dog starts to understand that pulling ahead is not rewarded, but walking by your side is.

Next, start to use the verbal command ‘heel’ when your dog is walking by your side. Say the command in a firm but gentle tone, and reward your dog with praise and treats when they obey. As your dog gets better at walking by your side, start to increase the distance and the duration of the ‘heel’ command.

Remember to always use positive reinforcement, and never punish your dog for not obeying. With patience and practice, your herding dog will soon be walking by your side like a pro.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully taught your herding dog basic commands.

Now, you have a well-behaved and obedient dog that can assist you in herding livestock, keeping your home safe, and even competing in dog shows.

But wait, there’s more! Your herding dog isn’t just a well-behaved companion, but a loyal and devoted friend who’ll always be by your side.

With a little patience, practice, and love, you’ve created a bond that’ll last a lifetime.

So go ahead, give your furry friend a pat on the back, a treat, and a well-deserved belly rub. You both deserve it!

Keep practicing these basic commands and continue to build upon your training. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll have the best-trained herding dog in the world. The sky’s the limit!

More Posts: