Can anyone recommend a trainer? I live near Boston but am willing to drive for a while. I know nothing about herding.
My dog is a two-year-old rescue dog we adopted six months ago. Experienced people believe to be a Border Collie. I would definitely expect her to herd in a stalky, strong-eyed style based on her behavior. Is it important to find a trainer who specializes in strong-eyed dogs? The local ones I've found through Google seem to train "all herding breeds" and the competitive ones use Aussies.
Also, what are some prerequisites to introducing her to stock? My concern is whether she would pay attention to her handler. She has great recall, a pretty good down-stay, and she's shown in agility that she's capable of amazing things when she's "in the zone." However, when she encounters a wild animal, she sometimes fixates and acts like she can't hear or see me. With tons of training she is now a good off-leash dog. (She runs with me or my husband every day, and we're always training her and working on building attention skills.) When she sees a squirrel, she mostly stays near her person and pays attention to him or her, and if she starts chasing it, an "uh-uh" can sometimes get her to stop. But I think she might go totally deaf to people around stock.
A bit more about this dog: I heard that her first home (of many) was with someone who bought her for herding, but when she was less than 4 months old they decided she wasn't cut out for it. Since she was so young I'm hoping they made a mistake. She is extremely eager to work for food or toys. She is not soft, timid, or a "velcro dog."