by: Kevin Johns
It isn't so much a matter of physical exercise, although that would make them very happy and tired. Mental exercise is an absolute must for herding dogs. With proper training and socialization, they are wonderful pets.
Modern breed research and understanding suggests that even intelligent dogs need training. What happens to a lot of herding dogs that get taken to the shelters is that their owners don't bother to train them. They hear the breed is intelligent and expect it to train itself.
Also a lot of the shelter dogs are impulse buys from pet stores, flea markets and parking lots by people who have no understanding of what a herding breed needs. An untrained and unsocialized herding dog can be a nightmare for a family with young children because they can and often do become very protective and territorial.
That can lead to the dog acting out aggressively based on his natural protective instincts or based on his fear. This is a broad generalization and not all dogs will react this way, but a strong guardian instinct is part of the herding breed standard. This is not surprising because they have been bred since ancient times to guard the farm, ranch, family and livestock.
Positive reinforcement training and consistent socialization are essential to living in peace (and having peace of mind) with a herding dog breed.