This is a simple exercise that wonąt take very long to teach.
With a herding dog you might experience some problems with getting your dog to walk straight forward, as they want to run in circles around you, herding you.
Start training by having your dog by your side, off the lead, and lightly throw a ball or other toy in front of you. As your dog goes after the toy, use the command you intend to use for this exercise, for example 'forward'. Give your dog lots of praise. Your dog will probably be fairly surprised about the praise and attention, but with repetition and as you learn to praise at the absolute right moment, your dog will understand what is expected of him.
Do this exercise regularly, throwing the ball or toy just that little bit further every other time. When you feel that your dog understands the exercise, try to send him/her forward without actually throwing the toy. Make the motion, but donąt let go of the toy. As your dog goes forward, give him/her masses of praise and follow up by throwing the ball, it is just going to be a bit delayed. Do this every other time you practice, later you can do this twice in a row, three times in a row.
At the end of the training you should be able to send your dog forward on command without him/her expecting a ball to follow up after the command.
Like with all dog exercises, you should go back to the basic training every once in a while, to remind the dog that it is worth continuing to listen to the commands, because you never know when you might get that reward.
Teach your dog the names of different toys, by repeating the names of them each time your dog picks them up.
These names should be fairly short, for example, the ball simply 'ball', the soft toy 'softie'. Teach one name at a time, so you donąt confuse your dog. This may take a couple of days to train, per toy.
Start by presenting the first toy that you want to teach the name of, to the dog, saying the name of the toy as your dog takes it in its mouth. Repeat this every time you have a chance, for instance when playing with your dog, or if you see your dog playing with the toy on his own.
Once your dog knows at least two different toys names, we can start sending them to the toy of our choice. Bring both toys out on the lawn, sit your dog down and walk away from your dog putting one toy to the left and one toy to the right. To make this exercise easy enough for your dog this first time, put some nice treats under the toy that you will send the dog to first. Go back to your dog and stand on his/her right side. Send him/her out to the toys with the command 'get X. (toys name)'. As your dog is on his/her way to the correct toy give lots of praise and continue praising until he/she has got the toy. Play with the toy with your dog for a while (next article will be on bringing the toy back to you).
After a short playing session, bring your dog back to the spot where it sat and go out with the toy again, this time placing some treats under the second toy. Repeat the exercise, but send your dog to toy no. 2 this time. Continue this, sending the dog to the toys, alternating the toys. Donąt forget to put some treats under the toy that you will send to each time, at this early stage.
After doing this exercise for a couple of days, try sending your dog to one of the toys without putting any treats underneath the toy. If this seems to work, continue the training without the treats. This takes a couple of days and meanwhile you can train new toy names indoors, so that you can extend the sending to a choice of 3, and later 4 different toys.
You have to be sure that your dog is confident about the toy names, before you bring them into this exercise.
When this exercise is easy for the dog, start experimenting on distances and new areas. Maybe try the training in a new park or on the beach?!