Will my herding breed dog like herding sheep?

Probably! While not every dog with herding breed heritage is interested in controlling livestock, most show quite a bit of interest. Even mild-mannered dogs tend to light up when they realize they have the power to make the sheep move.

What breeds are allowed to participate?

On the Lamb offers training to all herding breeds and most non-herding dogs and mixed breeds, too! While you’ll see plenty of border collies and Aussies around, we are happy to let your golden retriever, poodle, or chihuahua try herding sheep!

However, for the safety of the sheep, there are a few breeds we do not typically allow. Bulldogs, pit bulls, Dogo Argentinos, bullmastiffs, bull terriers, and similar breeds were developed for the purpose of subduing livestock or wild game, and can inflict severe injury when following their instinctive drives so we do not allow these breeds. We also do not allow dogs that have been trained in personal protection, IPO, or bitesports for safety reasons.

Is my dog too old or too young for an instinct test?

We can test your pup as soon as they have received all of their vaccinations, but many aren't really ready until five or six months. We think six months is a great age to begin herding lessons. Senior dogs may not have the stamina to herd for very long, but we are happy to let them take plenty of breaks. They don't ever outgrow their desire to move sheep.

What do I need to bring to our first lesson?

Just bring your dog and yourself, and wear closed-toe shoes. We have plenty of water and shady places to sit. We do not have shaded parking. You can print out and sign the site waiver before you get here, but we have extra copies in case you forget. Please pre-pay for your first lesson via PayPal.

Do I need to prepare my dog for herding?

We can teach you all the herding skills you’ll use at the ranch. No advance training is needed.

However, you may want to help your dog prepare physically. Herding is an active and intensive sport that can be hard on a dog’s paw pads if they are unused to the activity. Torn pads are a common, minor problem in many active dog sports, similar to blisters we humans may get on our hands. Just like blisters, the problem stops occurring when the feet toughen up, and usually only needs cleaning and time to heal.

If you are concerned your dog may tear his or her pads, you can:

  • apply a topical foot toughener/conditioner a week in advance

    • example: Musher’s Secret, available on Amazon (we do not endorse any particular brand)

  • wrap your dog’s feet before the lesson with “vet wrap” bandage

    • available at large pet stores (we do not endorse any particular brand)

    • we can help you wrap your dog’s feet if desired

  • put boots or booties on your dog’s feet before the lesson

    • available online or at pet stores (we do not endorse any particular brand)

If your dog has had torn pads before in other sports or activities, please let your instructor know when you arrive.

Disclaimer: The information and suggestions on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Does my dog need to have all the vaccinations listed on the waiver?

Most of the vaccinations on the waiver are recommended, but not all are mandatory.

  • Please have your dog’s DHLP-P, rabies, and bordetella vaccinations up to date before visiting. If you don’t vaccinate, titer test results are also acceptable.

  • Corona and rattlesnake vaccinations are optional. We do have coyotes, raccoons, snakes, and other wildlife in the area, as well as plenty of dogs from all over the country, so most regular visitors have all the recommended vaccinations.

Do I have to have an appointment, or can I just come out and visit?

On the Lamb Ranch is a private ranch, and guests do need to make an appointment before visiting.

How do I book an appointment?

You can book online anytime! We ask that new clients use PayPal to prepay for their first appointment.