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Has anyone ever heard of Labs herding sheep?

I was just talking to a prospective puppy buyer . . . a nurse who grew up on a small farm in New Zealand and had Labs on the farm. I had a picture in my mind of Labs in the house and heelers or kelpies or border collies taking over with the sheep . . . but no . . . she said their Labs did it all. . . . herding and gundog work. She says if you start them early, with right training, they do fine herding sheep.
 

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I'm sure you can train a jack russel to retrieve a duck. I'm sure it's possible, but I would never train my retriever to herd.
 

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As Dani said, with effort you can train most dogs to do just about anything. Most Labs are very intelligent and eager to learn, so theoretically teaching them to round up sheep would not be impossible. However, herding is not a natural behaviour for them, so therefore it is not instinctive. If you were a farmer looking for a good working sheepdog, a Lab would definitely not be your first choice. Just like a Border Collie would not be a duck hunters first choice of gundog. ;)
 

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A pet psychic once told me that my Gryphon told HER that he wanted to herd sheep.
He told her doing the 'duck' thing was okay, agility was for 'girls' and he wanted to herd sheep. LOL
 

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The black Lab I had as a teen kind of herded my pigs when they got out- he stayed between them and the road to keep them home. It's something he just did on his own, I never taught him to do it. Think of this- Labs were/are bred for retrieving, yet they are the most popular breed used asguide dogs. They're smart, so I don't see why they can't be trained to herd sheep.
 

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cinderbaylabs said:
A pet psychic once told me that my Gryphon told HER that he wanted to herd sheep.
He told her doing the 'duck' thing was okay, agility was for 'girls' and he wanted to herd sheep. LOL
That's awesome!! I can just see Gryphon herding sheep!! LOL

Dani said:
I'm sure you can train a jack russel to retrieve a duck. I'm sure it's possible, but I would never train my retriever to herd.
My JRT marks beautifully but won't pick up the duck...if I push it, he starts plucking! I suppose that's a force fetch issue though cuz he's great with bumpers ;)
 

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I guess it's possible but I'd never have thought to put Labrador & sheep herding in the same sentence. :laugh: I did see a Chihuahua on TV herding sheep there once. I'm not kidding!. :embarrass: They do some weird things in that country ya know. :D

In the case of the Lab, I'd say it's just someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes. No pun intended. :laugh: :laugh:
 

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Why not! They're smart dogs!

Growing up, we raised poodles who made wonderful herding dogs on our pig farm. We didn't train them, they just picked it up on their own.

And my brother trained a beagle to retrieve when he would go dove hunting.
 

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Sandgrubber - you might want to send a message to LabAddict. She's in NZ, has a sheep farm and lots of labs. She's posted many pictures of her labs as pups nuzzling with and playing with the lambs, so I know there is some sort of relationship being nurtured there. Don't know if Kirsten's (LabAddict) labs actually herd but they certainly do have the attention of the sheep!
 

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don't see why they couldn't. Labs do just about anything... I'm waiting for the day somebody trains there's to use the toilet.
 

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JacksAndLabs said:
cinderbaylabs said:
A pet psychic once told me that my Gryphon told HER that he wanted to herd sheep.
He told her doing the 'duck' thing was okay, agility was for 'girls' and he wanted to herd sheep. LOL
That's awesome!! I can just see Gryphon herding sheep!! LOL
I can totally see it. Gryph with that stupid ass grin on his face. Tongue hanging off to the side. TIME OF HIS LIFE!!
 

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BoatDog said:
I know this is a serious question - but someone go dig up the turkey thread!
You took the words off my keyboard! Where are the 6' turkey-herding Labs when you need them?
 

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Actually about two months ago I posted about this same thing. While in the mountain we found a pair of baby sheep laying on the ground while the rest of the herd was far away. Homer started sniffing them curiously and then the little sheep decided to take off. Homer went after them rounded them and chased them towards me, just like border collies bring sheep to the sheperd. I was amazed. He did not attack or meant any harm, he seemed to just want to play with the weird dogs.

I guess that the retrieving instinct is not that different to the herding instinct, after all they both bring back things to their masters. Almost all border collies I´ve met love to retrieve...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The only side of this I have ever seen was a lab pup (8 mo) with a flock of sheep. He was very efficient at scattering them, and seemed very proud of himself for doing so. The owners decided, in future, to leave the job to the kelpies. You can teach Labs to do lots of things, but I'd guess herding is not on the easy side of the scale, any more than it is easy to teach a dog with a hard mouth to retrieve a duck, unharmed. I thought, as someone suggested, the person telling me about it was having me on . . . I'm always falling for some line of bull.

Not that it matters. I'm not about to get sheep any time soon. :D
 

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cinderbaylabs said:
A pet psychic once told me that my Gryphon told HER that he wanted to herd sheep.
He told her doing the 'duck' thing was okay, agility was for 'girls' and he wanted to herd sheep. LOL
Oh gosh, I remember that. Too funny.


I don't know about herding sheep, but turkeys......yep. ;)
 

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My labs have grown up around sheep and have absoultly no herding instinct. They would rather just eat the sheep poo :vomit:

However, they did occasionally come in handy, in the sheep yards, as I could place them in sit/stays in area I did not want the sheep to go and also toss a bumper, for them to retrieve, in the direction I did not want the sheep to go. I would only do this if one of my kelpies was having a bad day and not working properly.
 

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A friend of mine takes herding lessons with her belgian shepherd, and there's another student there who has taught her American Cocker Spaniel to herd. Dog has no instinct, but she's trained it all the 'mechanical' skills of herding, going left and right, facing the sheep, etc.
 

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I once saw a TV show where a samoyed was herding. Many herding breeds have very strong instincts (all collie breeds especially) but many others have lost them through generations (german shephards).

Labs, being the "so willing to please" characters they are, I bet can learn to herd through proper training, even though it´s not inbred in their genes. Problem is they will probably want to play bitey face with the sheep :D
 
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