Should I Let My Puppy Herd?

In this blog post, we will explore the question of whether or not we should allow our puppies to herd.

Should I Let My Puppy Herd?


As professional dog trainers, we often hear the question, “Should I let my puppy herd?” Herding behavior is instinctual for many breeds, but determining whether to allow your pup to exhibit this behavior can be a tricky decision. Here, we’ll explore the pros and cons of letting your puppy herd and provide guidance on how to manage this natural behavior.

To Herd or Not to Herd? That is the Question!

When it comes to herding behavior in puppies, it’s essential to consider a few key factors before making a decision.

  1. Herding Breeds: Breeds such as Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shetland Sheepdogs are well-known for their herding instincts. For these breeds, herding is not just a behavior; it’s a way of life.

  2. Energy Levels: Dogs with high energy levels may exhibit herding behavior more frequently as a way to release pent-up energy. Providing adequate physical and mental stimulation can help reduce the urge to herd.

  3. Training Opportunities: Allowing your puppy to herd in a controlled environment can serve as a training opportunity to teach commands such as “leave it” or “stay.”

Pros of Allowing Your Puppy to Herd

  • Natural Instinct: Herding is a natural behavior for many breeds and allows puppies to exercise their instincts.
  • Mental Stimulation: Engaging in herding activities can provide mental stimulation for your pup, keeping their minds sharp and active.
  • Bonding Opportunity: Herding can strengthen the bond between you and your puppy as you work together to establish boundaries and commands.

Cons of Allowing Your Puppy to Herd

  • Unwanted Behavior: Herding behavior, if left unchecked, can escalate into chasing or nipping at family members or other pets.
  • Safety Concerns: Herding in inappropriate situations, such as near roads or crowded areas, can pose safety risks for your puppy and others.
  • Training Challenges: Managing herding behavior requires consistent training and redirection to ensure it remains controlled and safe.


In conclusion, the decision to allow your puppy to herd should be based on your dog’s breed, energy levels, and training goals. While herding can be a natural and stimulating activity for your pup, it’s essential to set boundaries and provide appropriate training to prevent unwanted behaviors. By understanding your puppy’s needs and instincts, you can make an informed decision that benefits both you and your furry companion.


  1. Can I train my puppy to herd specific animals or objects?
  2. How can I redirect my puppy’s herding behavior in a positive way?
  3. What are some signs that my puppy’s herding behavior is getting out of hand?
  4. Is herding behavior more common in certain breeds than others?
  5. Can professional dog trainers help me manage my puppy’s herding instincts effectively?