Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred in the heart of Switzerland to function as draft dogs but these eager-to-please and multi-talented workers became mulit-purpose farm dogs. As a working farm dog, the Bernese supervised grazing while guarding the farm, helped move livestock to pasture, to barn for milking, or to market. Their duties also included the delivery of milk, cream and eggs to the market.
Herding provides the benefit of improved handler/dog relationships as the team works together to accomplish and successfully finish a set of tasks, whether in a trial or on a farm. This activity is a definite way to improve confidence in your dog as it gives them a purpose, a challenge to their minds, a way to please their handler, the opportunity for success and excellent physical exercise.
At a herding trial the dog must demonstrate the ability to collect and control the sheep, put the sheep into motion, move the sheep in straight lines and turns, negotiate obstacles and come to a reliable stop in a pen. The sheep must be taken through both corner panels and the center to qualify and must complete the course within a limited amount of time. Lower herding titles are a pass/not pass system and upper herding titles are scored on points where the dog earning the highest total points receives a High in Trail. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Herding Breed Association (AHBA) host trials which provide herding titles.
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