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How to Entertain a Herding Dog: 6 Expert Tips & Tricks

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

australian shepherd herding dog

Herding dogs love having a job to do, and if they don’t, they can get bored very quickly. Take it from me—I have a Border Collie that will let me know if she’s bored.

Herding dogs require both mental and physical exercise of at least 60 to 90 minutes each day, and if your herding dog lives in an urban setting and cannot practice herding skills with livestock, ensure you come up with ways to keep him satisfied with exercise.

Keep reading to learn six tips and tricks on how to keep your herding dog entertained.

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The 6 Expert Tips & Tricks to Entertain a Herding Dog

1. Swimming

Not all dogs love to swim, but if your herding dog loves it, take him to a safe body of water to swim. Lakes are excellent for this type of exercise, but if you live near an ocean, make it a beach day. For safety, don’t allow your dog in the ocean if rip currents are present, and always keep an eye on your dog. Try throwing a tennis ball into the water for your dog to retrieve for added fun.

2. Utilize Your Backyard

Herding dogs love the thrill of the chase, and if your backyard is big enough, throw a Frisbee or tennis ball around for your herding dog to chase. Launcher toys are a terrific way to exercise your herding dog, and it’s fun for you too. Launcher toys help keep your arm from getting tired so you can play with your herding dog until he has had his fill.

Another excellent way to exercise your herding dog and keep him entertained is investing in a herding ball, or “treibball”, as they’re called. These balls are excellent for your herding dog to practice his herding skills—this activity will also keep him engaged while providing mental and physical stimulation.

pembroke welsh corgi dog herding a flock of sheep
Image Credit: Nadezhda V. Kulagina, Shutterstock

3. Visit a Dog Park

Check out local dog parks in your area for some off-leash fun. Of course, only utilize a dog park if your herding dog enjoys being around other dogs—the point is to exercise your dog and for him to have fun. Dog parks are an excellent way for dogs to get exercise, meet other dogs, and make new furry friends.

4. Engage in Outdoor Exercise

Bonding with your dog is important, and you can do that by taking your herding dog with you for bike rides, long walks, or even hiking, all of which are excellent exercises to keep your herding dog entertained—plus, you get something out of it too: exercise! Remember that herding dogs require 60 to 90 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, and walks, bike rides, and hiking are all excellent choices.

boder collie dog herding the sheeps
Image Credit: Peter Mullineux, Shutterstock

5. Try an Agility Course

Herding dogs excel at doggie sports, and agility courses come naturally to these dogs. Agility courses provide exceptional exercise for your dog, and it keeps their bodies fit and their minds sharp. You can even build your own agility course at your home if so inclined and you have the space. Dogs that excel in agility courses are typically high-energy dogs who love to run, which is perfect for a herding dog.

6. Invest in Interactive Toys

We’ve mentioned the importance of mental and physical stimulation, and interactive toys are a superb way to exercise your herding dog’s brain. These types of toys teach your dog problem-solving skills and can even boost confidence, but when it comes to interactive toys, you have many choices. For herding dogs, look for toys like hide-and-seek or toys that encourage your dog to find hidden treats, such as treat dispensers. Squeaker toys and puzzles are also excellent choices.

Corgi playing with a ball toy
Image Credit: Elena Rogulina, Pixabay

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Entertaining a herding dog is not complicated—you just need the right tools and know what your particular dog likes to do. Does your dog like playing with other dogs? If so, a dog park is an option. Take your dog swimming, or enlist your dog in agility course training. You know your dog best, and picking the correct form of entertainment should align with your dog’s temperament.

Follow the tips and tricks above, and you’ll have one entertained herding dog on your hands!

Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

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