About Laura Noll
My passion lies in starting and coaching novice dogs and handlers and in strengthening the bond of the dog/owner relationship. In particular, I love working with all-breed dog/handler teams, helping them to develop their herding skills to a very high standard. They have so much potential and I find it a joy to help them reach that potential.
I have nearly 30 years of experience in all-breed and Border Collie herding training and trialing. My extensive training experience includes both British breeds and European breeds, as well as a few Australian breeds. I have been competing in herding trials since 1976 with many of these breeds, including may High in Trials earned by both myself and my students. I am a licensed AKC and AHBA herding judg and I actively competes in AKC, AHBA, ASCA and USBCHA herding trials (at the Open level).
I also train dogs for ranch work on a limited basis. As a livestock producer, I know what is needed in a working ranch dog, a dog that will save a stock owner many hours of hard work. I also teach my competition students the values of practical ranch work. I feel that it teaches my human students to be better stewards to their sheep and it teaches the dogs how to better stockdogs.
I am a versatile trainer with with a broad range of experience in many areas of dog training (including Tracking, Obedience, Agility, Rally, Carting, and Schutzhund), as well as horse experience (in English, Hunter/Jumper, Western, Halter and Dressage). As such, I am able to draw from my strong and diverse background to understand and meet the needs of my clients' unique relationship and situation.
This website is intended for my herding students and clinic participants. Herding can be very difficult to convey verbally, which is why I never wanted to write a normal herding book. With that in mind, I am using this website as a dynamic, living "book", which will allow me to be able to illustrate most exercises in more than one way, usually with photos, diagrams and verbal descriptions that are easy to update.
There is always more than one way to teach anything to your dog, and I state this often throughout this site and when I teach in person. Being adaptible is key in herding training, and, indeed, all dog training. I have been quite successful using and adapting these methods with client dogs, students and their dogs, and my own dogs. This website will allow me to illustrate these methods far more fully than any fixed media.
About Natural Herding
I started using the term "Natural Herding" to describe the methods I use in herding while I was teaching herding seminars in Australia. My students were starting to refer to the methods I was teaching them as the "Laura Method". While I am flattered, I don't feel this label truly applies. I learned or developed these exercises and progressions from many sources and experiences over the years.
Natural Herding is the most applicable label I can think of because it is very important to me to work WITH the dog, capitalizing on the dog's natural abilities and understanding the dog's individual nature and abilities. I also strive to discover and understand any natural gaps in the dog in terms of instinct, trainability, physicality, and any other strengths or weaknesses in order to develop a training program to produce the best working herding dog possible. Both the coach and handler must understand the natural dynamics of herding in order to develop a successful team.
I strive to teach this depth of understanding to my clients. I feel that it is important understand the sensitivities and dynamics that are possible when working so closely and so naturally with your dog such that you are able to optimize your herding skills and partnership with your dog. This is why I focus on herding theory and dog-owner relationships as well as on methodical herding methods in my instruction and in this website.