Training Tips for Herding Dogs to Reduce Anxiety and Aggression



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

Do you own a herding dog that’s been struggling with anxiety and aggression? If so, you’re not alone.

As a herding dog owner, you know these breeds are known for their high energy and intense work ethic. However, if not properly trained, that energy can turn into destructive behavior and even aggression.

Fortunately, there are several training tips and techniques you can use to reduce your herding dog’s anxiety and aggression. These methods involve teaching basic commands, socialization, positive reinforcement training, and addressing specific behavioral issues.

With patience, consistency, and a compassionate approach, you can help your herding dog become a well-behaved and happy companion. So, let’s dive in and explore these training tips in more detail.

Teach Basic Commands

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your pup picks up basic commands with the right training. Leash training is a crucial skill for any herding dog. It allows you to keep them under control and prevent them from getting overly excited or aggressive.

Start by attaching a leash to your pup’s collar and gently guiding them in the direction you want them to go. Reward them with treats and praise when they follow your lead. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend on the leash until they are comfortable being walked without pulling or tugging.

Another important command to teach your herding dog is recall training. This involves teaching them to come when called, even in the midst of a potentially distracting or stressful situation. Start by calling your pup’s name and rewarding them with a treat when they come to you. Gradually increase the distance and distractions. Always reward them for their good behavior.

With consistent training, your pup will learn to associate the command with positive experiences. This can help to reduce anxiety and aggression in the long run.


To help your furry friend become more comfortable around other animals and people, it’s important to expose them to a variety of social situations early on – research has shown that dogs who are well-socialized are less likely to develop behavioral issues later in life.

This means that you should introduce your herding dog to strangers in a controlled environment, such as a dog park or a training class. Encourage your dog to interact with other dogs and people, and reward them with treats and praise for good behavior.

Another important aspect of socialization is exposing your herding dog to new environments. This can include taking them on walks in different neighborhoods or even bringing them to outdoor events. By exposing your dog to new sights, sounds, and smells, you can help them become more comfortable and confident in unfamiliar situations.

Remember to always keep your dog on a leash and under control, and never force them to interact with anything that makes them uncomfortable. With patience and consistency, you can help your herding dog become a well-adjusted and happy member of your family.

Positive Reinforcement Training

If you want to see real progress in your furry friend’s behavior, give them plenty of praise and treats when they exhibit good behavior during positive reinforcement exercises. Positive reinforcement training is a method of training that involves rewarding your dog for exhibiting the desired behavior. This type of training has been proven to be highly effective in reducing anxiety and aggression in herding dogs.

Clicker training is a popular form of positive reinforcement training that uses a clicker to signal to your dog that they have performed the desired behavior. This type of training can be used to teach your dog a wide variety of behaviors, from simple tricks to more complex tasks. Treat rewards are also an important part of positive reinforcement training. By rewarding your dog with treats when they exhibit good behavior, you are reinforcing that behavior and encouraging them to continue behaving in that way. Incorporating positive reinforcement training into your herding dog’s routine can help reduce anxiety and aggression, and create a stronger bond between you and your furry friend.

Positive Reinforcement Training Emotional Response
—————————— ——————
Encouraging good behavior Happy
Building trust and bond Affectionate
Rewarding with treats Excited

Addressing Specific Behavioral Issues

When dealing with specific behavioral issues in your herding dog, it’s important to first identify any instances of anxiety and aggression.

Once identified, there are various techniques you can use to address these issues, such as positive reinforcement training and desensitization.

However, if these techniques aren’t effective or the behaviors are severe, seeking professional help from a certified dog behaviorist is recommended to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your dog.

Remember, with patience, consistency, and the right guidance, you can help your herding dog overcome these behavioral challenges.

Identifying Anxiety and Aggression

Identifying signs of stress and aggression in canines is pivotal in developing a comprehensive understanding of their behavioral tendencies. As a herding dog owner, it’s important to be able to distinguish between normal herding behavior and behavior that stems from anxiety or aggression. Here are a few things to keep in mind when identifying anxiety and aggression in your herding dog:

– Watch for changes in body language, such as tense muscles or a stiff tail.

– Pay attention to excessive barking or growling, which can be a sign of anxiety or aggression.

– Notice if your dog is panting excessively or drooling more than usual, which can indicate stress.

– Keep an eye out for destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging, which can be a result of anxiety.

– Observe how your dog interacts with other dogs or people, as aggression can manifest in these situations.

By being aware of these signs, you can take steps to reduce anxiety and aggression in your herding dog and create a more harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend.

Techniques for Addressing Anxiety and Aggression

So, you’ve got a herding pooch who’s feeling a bit on the stressed-out and snappy side? Fear not, my friend! There are some nifty little tricks you can use to help your furry buddy feel more at ease and less likely to bite your ankles off.

One effective technique is to use calming techniques such as massage or aromatherapy. Some dogs respond well to gentle massage, especially around the neck and shoulders. Aromatherapy can also be helpful, with scents like lavender and chamomile known for their calming effect on dogs.

Another technique to try is environmental enrichment. This involves providing mental and physical stimulation for your dog to help alleviate anxiety and aggression. One way to do this is by introducing puzzle toys that require your dog to use their problem-solving skills. You can also try rotating their toys regularly to keep them interested and engaged.

Additionally, increasing exercise and playtime can help reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. By incorporating these techniques into your herding dog’s routine, you can help them feel more relaxed and content.

Seeking Professional Help when Necessary

If your furry friend is still struggling with their behavior, it may be time to seek assistance from a professional. Although some dogs may respond well to training techniques, there are instances where anxiety and aggression may persist despite your efforts. In such cases, seeking professional help can help you address the underlying issues causing your dog’s behavior.

When to seek professional help? Here are some points to consider when finding resources to help your herding dog reduce anxiety and aggression:

– If your dog is displaying aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs, it’s best to seek professional help immediately.

– If your dog is experiencing anxiety that is starting to affect their quality of life, such as lack of appetite, excessive barking, or destructive behavior, it’s time to consult a professional.

– If you’ve tried various training techniques and your dog’s behavior isn’t improving, it’s a sign that you may need to seek professional help to address the issue. Remember that every dog is different, and some may require specialized training to overcome their behavioral problems.


In conclusion, training a herding dog can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. Remember to teach basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel, and to socialize your dog early on to prevent anxiety and aggression. Positive reinforcement training is also a great way to build a strong bond with your dog and reinforce good behavior.

However, if your herding dog is exhibiting specific behavioral issues such as nipping, chasing, or herding people, it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Seek the help of a professional dog trainer to work on these problems, and remember to be patient and compassionate with your dog throughout the training process.

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the same applies to training a herding dog. With time, effort, and dedication, you can help your dog become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

More Posts: