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Barbara Buchmayer, Biography, Workshops, Talks

Barbara Buchmayer

Barbara Buchmayer started out raising a puppy for Guiding Eyes for the Blind while being a full-time dairy farmer. She learned traditional herding and later, after an introduction to the science of dog training & learning from the likes of Bob Bailey, Susan Garrett & Kay Laurence, developed a positive method to train herding.

In 2011, Sally Adam from South Africa contacted Barb for help with training her Border Collie puppy to herd using positive reinforcement. They worked together for several years, while 9000 miles apart, until Sally and her dog Renn became an amazing team. Renn worked sheep on their small acreage and went on to become the South African Sheepdog Association’s National Reserve Junior Champion in 2016. Amazingly, Sally had neither handled nor trained a herding dog previous to working with Barbara.

When Barb got her youngest dog, Sir, she began keeping a training journal that she has used as the basis for her books, Positive Herding 101 and Positive Herding 201.

Exercises from her first books evolved into games to enhance the lives of dogs and puppies, which were published in the form of Enrichment Games for High-Energy Dogs which won the Maxwell Medal from the Dog Writers Association of America.

Barbara and her husband still farm part-time and share their lives with two Border Collies, Qwest and Sir.


Positive Herding
Friday 14th June, 9.30am

Have you ever watched dog herding and wondered what basic skills were in play? At this workshop you will be introduced to the 3 necessary skills all herding dogs need: stop, walk up, and flank. Learn how to build those skills using positive reinforcement with no livestock in sight!

First, we will quickly cover the foundations of herding. Then, we will move on to two ways to teach each of the 3 basic skills. Each dog-handler team will pick a skill to learn and a method to use. I will provide plenty of guidance along their path to success. After the break, they will be able to continue working on the same skill or a new one.  

The goal is for you to grasp the basics of herding and to get a taste of how to teach herding skills using positive reinforcement. Remember, if you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong!


Urban Herding - herding skills for city dogs

Saturday 15th June, 11:00am

Many herding breed dogs are living lives far from rural areas. These dogs need an outlet for their desire to control livestock. They will find a way to express that need, often in ways that we find annoying or downright dangerous.

How can we meet these dogs’ needs when taking them to livestock is not an option? 

In this presentation, we will explore several games that allow these dogs to use their instincts in productive, fun ways. By tapping into their herding instinct, while we build their self-control, we can give them mental and physical exercise that truly meets their needs. Prey drive is strong in these dogs. Let’s harness it to channel their energy constructively while deepening our mutual bond.

Taking It To The Sheep - Introducing a working dog to livestock

Sunday 16th June, 9:20am

You have taught your dog the basic herding skills without stock. Is the next step to turn your dog loose with some sheep? Well, no. Your dog must earn their way to interacting with livestock. You knew there was a catch, didn’t you?

So, what are the steps? How long does it take? Can all dogs be successful? What is your part in the journey? How do you keep you, your dog, and the stock safe? If you have more questions than answers, then this presentation is for you! This is your chance to learn a safe, simple way to introduce herding dogs to sheep.

Enrichment for the high-energy dog – Oh, the games people play (with their dogs!) 

Saturday 15th June, 1:30pm

Squirrel on the loose – Flirt pole play 

Sunday 16th June, 2:30pm

If you are looking for ways to interact with your high-energy dog that engages them both mentally and physically, while growing their bond with you, then step right this way! I created Enrichment Games to build foundational skills through play. 

Starting with easy-peasy games that almost any dog or puppy can play, the games slowly build in complexity. Soon your dog will be amazing you with their brilliance! Plus, the games are totally customizable so you can create the perfect level of mental and physical challenge that keeps both you and your dog wanting to come back for more.

What if you could introduce your dog to a squirrel on a leash? Do you think your dog would be intrigued, baffled, over the top, or uncertain? What if that squirrel started to run or dance? Could your dog control themselves?

Most dogs would totally lose it, but not those who have learned flirt pole play! These dogs have an amazing level of self-control and engagement with their guardians. Developing this level of self-control doesn’t happen overnight, but you might be surprised at how rapidly your dog will change their behavior to earn access to the squirrel.

That sneaky squirrel has some tricks up their sleeve, so join me as we uncover the hows, whys, and whens of handling a squirrel on the loose. Your dog won’t want you to miss this presentation!

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