National Holistic Pet Day – All about Sporting and Herding Dogs

It’s Day 3 of our National Holistic Pet Day series and we are celebrating Holistic pets for an entire WEEK with articles and some fabulous giveaways from our sponsors Halo, DoTerra and Dr. Buzby.  Enter our giveaway at the bottom of this post and don’t forget to share through the widget for more chances to win! 

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Is a Sporting or Herding Breed Dog Right for YOU?

Sporting and herding dog breeds can make amazing companions. They are smart, agile, funny and inquisitive. What breeds are considered sporting and herding dogs? Here are the most common:

  • Retrievers (Golden, Labrador etc)
  • Spaniels
  • Weimaraner
  • Vizsla
  • Pointers
  • Shepherds
  • Border Collies
  • Cattle Dogs

Unfortunately, I see a lot of my clients adopt or purchase a dog in these categories only to be surprised by the behavior and instincts of their new companion. Here is a really important check list of things to consider before adding a dog like this to your family:

1. Personality Compatibility. These guys can be INTENSE! They are smart and motivated and really need a purpose. They often take life pretty darn seriously. This is the reason I have a pug. I don’t have the bandwidth for this type of energy in my house (my three year old takes this place).

2. Exercise Requirement. These dogs are not couch potatoes. Let me say that again. These dogs are not couch potatoes! They require daily vigorous exercise. One of the fastest ways to give these dogs anxiety and behavior problems is to keep them confined in a house all day. If you live a really active lifestyle and you like to run, walk, hike and bike. These types of dogs are a perfect fit.

3. Mental Stimulation. For herding and sporting dogs, exercise is not enough by itself. Many of these dogs need a J.O.B.. Sports like agility, obedience, flyball and herding are all excellent ways to get these dogs using their brains. These breeds are some of the smartest dogs with analytical skills that will blow you away. There is no limit to what you can teach them!

4. Gentle Leadership. Herding and sporting dogs need to know that you will be there to lead them. They need to trust you. I don’t recommend dominance training methods. You do not need dominate your dog. But you do need to give them consistent leadership so they can relax. This is another reason, I have a pug. I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the leadership skills or the consistency required to provide a happy environment for a sporting dog.

I love these breeds and I love caring for canine athletes in my practice. If your lifestyle allows, they are some of the best dogs you will ever have. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with your herding or sporting breed dog, and I ALWAYS love to see your pics of your dogs doing incredible things!

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