I have a mutt that has begun to exhibit strong herding instincts. I would like to be comfortable walking him off-leash. However he is very aggressive towards skateboarders that roll by. He is less aggressive towards bikers, but occasionally wants to chase and nip at them. Finally, some joggers seem to pull his trigger and he wants to chase, bark, and nip at them too.

What is the best way to train him to stop going after these things?

  • 1
    I can't really answer since I've never considered not using a leash. But something to consider is that leashes exist to protect the dog as well. Even the most well behaved dogs might find something that they need to investigate, when it could be something they shouldn't. Ideally a leash should just be there for direction (a gentle tug to keep walking), and in case there is an emergency where you need to keep your dog from bolting, or even pulling it out of harm's way.
    – Spidercat
    Aug 15, 2014 at 22:06
  • Have you ever taken him to a place where he can herd things like sheep? Also - how old is he?
    – jeremy
    Aug 16, 2014 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


Let me start off by saying, I know exactly how you feel. I have an Aussie pup who loves bikes just a little too much.

First, start on leash. When you see a skateboarder coming, have HIGH VALUE treats (not the regular old treats, something amazing and unique to what they normally get). Give constant treats for quiet to begin with. Then, when your dog is staying quiet while the skateboarder, you can start expecting more. When you see the skateboarder passes, ask your dog to sit. Give constant reward as your dog is staying in a sit while the skateboarder is passing. When you have mastered that, ask for eye contact as the skateboarder passes. Once your dog is able to give solid eye contact while the skateboarder is passing, then start to walk past while asking for eye contact. Everything you do, you need to go slowly. Take it at the pace that your dog is ready for.

Only once your dog is PERFECT on leash, should you attempt off leash. Apply the same exact plan to off leash as on leash. Ensure that you have 110% control over your dog, because even if he is just herding those nips can hurt.

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