BonniDune Kennel is located in
Southern Indiana, USA. Although I started
with German Shepherd Dogs, today BonniDune is
dedicated to showing, trialing and producing
sound, versatile Border Collies.
BonniDune is proud to be recognized as an AKC Breeder of Merit.

Puppies Born December 25, 2013

When Border Collies Squat While Herding

Understanding Border Collie Behavior

Border Collies are renowned for their herding abilities and intelligence. They excel at working livestock, especially sheep, using a combination of natural instincts and learned commands. However, one behavior that may seem puzzling to onlookers is when Border Collies squat while herding.

The Purpose of Squatting

When a Border Collie squats while herding, it serves a specific purpose. This behavior is known as “eye,” and it involves the dog crouching down low to the ground, fixating their gaze on the livestock they are herding. By doing so, the dog is effectively using their intense stare to control and manipulate the movements of the animals.

Eye Contact and Control

Border Collies have a natural instinct to maintain eye contact with livestock. This behavior is deeply ingrained in their genetics, as it mimics the predatory behavior of wolves and other wild canines. By maintaining steady eye contact, the Border Collie exerts a psychological pressure on the livestock, influencing their movement and direction.

The intense stare of a Border Collie can be quite intimidating to livestock. It triggers a flight response in the animals, making them more likely to move in the desired direction. The Border Collie’s eye contact effectively communicates their intentions and can be used to redirect the livestock away from potential hazards or towards specific areas.

The Importance of Training

While squatting and using eye contact come naturally to Border Collies, it is essential for them to receive proper training to refine these skills. Professional herding trainers work with Border Collies to enhance their innate abilities and teach them specific commands to control livestock effectively. This training helps the dogs to understand when and how to utilize the squatting behavior to achieve desired results.

Other Herding Techniques

Squatting and eye contact are just two of the many techniques that Border Collies use while herding livestock. These intelligent dogs can also employ circling, barking, and nipping to guide the animals. Each technique serves a specific purpose and is used in different situations, depending on the behavior of the livestock and the desired outcome.


When Border Collies squat while herding, it is a deliberate behavior that serves a crucial purpose in controlling and guiding livestock. Their intense eye contact and low stance put psychological pressure on the animals, influencing their movement and direction. With proper training, Border Collies can become highly skilled herders, utilizing a range of techniques to work effectively with livestock.

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