Many a dog lover has watched a good Border Collie at work and gone home with a passion for herding. But if you haven’t grown up with working stockdogs, training one for the first time can seem daunting.

Stockdog Savvy

While no book can replace experience as a way to master the nuances of handling livestock, with or without a dog, Stockdog Savvy by husband-and-wife team Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor offers an excellent introduction.

The book proceeds logically, starting right at the beginning with choosing a breed and continuing with training techniques that build on each other:

  • Preparing a puppy to respond to commands without livestock.
  • Laying a solid foundation of obedience.
  • Starting a dog on stock.
  • Teaching the dog how to make use of his natural talent.
  • Developing a dog that can be useful in basic livestock handling.
  • Training the correct approach to the stock.
  • Training the dog how to drive a herd.
  • Training the dog to pen livestock.
  • Training the dog to sort livestock.
  • Teaching boundaries to a tending dog.
  • Learning how to work large flocks and herds.
  • Introducing your dog to the real world of daily ranch work.
  • Getting ready for a herding trial.

Each chapter on training includes suggestions for dealing with specific problems that may arise, from lack of interest to aggression toward livestock.

Along the way, you as a handler will progressively build expertise with new insights on reading both your dog and your livestock. Chapters on basic dog and livestock care are included, as are chapters on different livestock breeds:

To round out the book, an excellent appendix is provided that condenses the key characteristics of many herding breeds, common and uncommon:

  • Nicknames.
  • Origin.
  • Character.
  • Working style.
  • Summary.

A must for all beginning stockdog trainers!