The positives to herding dog training are very plentiful. Because of the fact that fencing for your pastures can be very expensive and will always require consistent maintenance, a good herding dog will allow you to use fields without any fence at all. Training a dog or a group of dogs for herding is going to take time and effort. So not only is a dog that can herd highly useful but the herding process will be rewarding as well.
Some dogs have a certain amount of the herding instinct bred into them. This makes the training process easier but it still requires time and effort. Research on herding dog breeds will go a long ways into making the learning phase move along much more smoothly. Once you have found a good pup you should start to familiarize the dog with the mechanics of sheep farming.
Simply taking the dog with you to the fields or out when you do the chores is a good start. If an older dog has never been around larger animals they can sometimes be frightend. Dogs which are frightend may lash out and become unruly to train. If you happen to be trying to train an older dog who is afraid at first you will need to do a bit more work to correct this problem. A cool head and repetition will be your best bet for correcting this problem.
While having a pack of dogs (two or three) is much more efficient when herding, only train one dog at a time. Trying to control, praise, and scold several dogs at once is not only frustrating for you but it will also be confusing for the dogs.
If you already have a dog who is trained for herding this can be very beneficial for a new dog to watch. Often times dogs learn from other dogs behavior. If you are training your dog for competitions you may already have friends with trained dogs. It may be possible to have training sessions with these dogs.
Herding dog training can be some what frustrating if you have never done it before. One thing you will want to make sure of is that you always correct your dog when he/she makes mistakes. It may get a bit tiresome after a while correcting the same mistake over and over again but if you do not, your dog will develop bad habits. When a herding dog develops bad habits it can be dangerous for the sheep as well as the security of your flock. Avoid this at all costs.
While teaching your dog one command at a time seems less confusing for your dog it can cause them to become board. Try and alternate two or three commands at a time. Once your dog has mastered these commands you can start to work on more complicated commands.
Dogs are working animals. Their reward for commands well done should be praise but keep in mind that the dog just wants to work. When a dog is working you will notice that their posture changes. They are alert and focused. You will notice the changes in your dogs behavior right away. Once you can tell when they are in working mode it becomes much easier to teach them new commands.
Newcomers to herding dog training will find that a good amount of resource material will be necessary to learn the skills required. You may also want to review websites on more general dog training and obedience for tips and tricks.