When handling our sheep the dogs are an indispensable help. Be it when they need to be penned for shearing , worming etc. or to move them to another pasture. Of course you can move sheep ( or cattle , etc. ) without the dog from A to B, but this is very tedious and time-consuming. And if they have their stubborn day, almost impossible.
Also we would have problems with our ducks: Because there are foxes and martens around, the ducks have to stay in the barn at night and most of them go " to bed " by themselves. But there are also days when they would rather stay outside. Then you can allure them as much as you want , they gather in the middle of the pond and give you the bird. It is very convenient when you can send a dog into the water to show them the way home. Although the command "walk up" sound a little strange when the dog is swimming ;-)
When getting our first Aussie we had no idea about herding, so we read a lot of books to prevent any mistakes. But we soon realized that this is not enough. Therefore, we have visited many clinics with experienced trainers and we still do now and then. One can never stop learning, especially as each dog is different. Training methods that are optimal for a dog, can be counterproductive for another dog.
The prerequisite is of course always that the dog has a strong herding instinct, otherwise the whole thing is a hopeless task. But even if a dog is very talented you have to show him the way.
Therefore, we can only advise any beginner to train the dog under competent guidance . Not only to the dog not to " mess up ", but also for the sake of the herded animals. They are no sports equipment which is kept for the fun of the dog, but living beings.
Here are some fotos from a clinic with Sandra Zilch in Bad Bentheim on May 5. and 6. 2007