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FULL LIST OF OUR SHEEPDOG TRAINING TUTORIALS

For a better understanding of sheepdogs and their training, watch the videos in the order they appear on this page.
English subtitles are available on all our tutorial videos.

Top tips for easier training

Top tips for easier training
Valuable advice for sheep and cattle dog trainers Nobody would claim that training a dog to work sheep or other livestock is an easy matter. But by understanding what is going on and why, and ... Watch now

The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training

The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training
The most important rule when you train a dog on sheep or cattle There are a number important rules that you would do well to keep in mind when you train a dog to work ... Watch now

Sheepdog Selection and Preparation

Sheepdog Selection and Preparation
Chapters 1 & 2 from the DVD set First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training A tutorial packed with essential information to help you to understand, and look after your dog. For a long time ... Watch now

Sheep – Essential Facts For Trainers

Sheep - Essential Facts For Trainers
Chapter three from the DVD set First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training: "Sheep". People think sheep are stupid, but in some ways they can be very clever. When you start training your first sheepdog, ... Watch now

The Training Area

The Training Area
Chapter four from the DVD set First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training The Training Area tutorial shows you how to get the most out of the field, paddock or yard you train your dog ... Watch now

What Shall I Do Next?

What Shall I Do Next?
Our suggested order for training your sheepdog When you start to train a sheepdog there are so many issues that need attention, it can be quite daunting. You can't possibly address them all at once, ... Watch now

Puppy Training Essentials

Puppy Training Essentials
Important points to remember when bringing up a puppy Tempting though it may be to try your puppy with stock at a very early age, you should beware. Unless you can be absolutely certain you're ... Watch now

The Training Stick

The Training Stick
A training stick can drastically reduce the time it takes to train your dog By far the most important tool we use for training sheepdogs is the lightweight plastic pipe. We call it the Training ... Watch now

The Dog’s Confidence

The Dog's Confidence
The dog's confidence is vitally important Understanding the factors which affect the dog's work is extremely important for a successful sheep or cattle dog trainer. Of those factors, the dog's confidence is probably the most ... Watch now

Learn Your Commands

Learn Your Commands
Confusing your commands is very bad practice Attempting to train a sheep or cattle dog when you're not fully conversant with the commands can cause serious problems. It's completely unfair on the dog because you'll ... Watch now

The Sheepdog Handler

The Sheepdog Handler
Chapter five from the First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training DVD set We look at some of the qualities required in a sheepdog handler (or trainer) and how to make improvements. Topics covered include ... Watch now

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)
Teach your dog to stop well on command (three part tutorial). The three completely revised tutorials delve into the thorny issue of getting your dog to stop, in much more detail than the earlier versions ... Watch now

Starting a Strong Dog

Starting a Strong Dog
Is your dog hard to control around sheep? In part one of "," we saw that with care, it's possible to begin a puppy's training at a very early age, but if you didn't have ... Watch now

How Can I Slow The Dog Down?

How Can I Slow The Dog Down?
Things you can do to make your dog work more steadily Probably the most common question we get asked about sheepdog training is how to slow the dog down. Of course, there's no "quick fix" ... Watch now

How Often (to Train) and How Long For?

How Often (to Train) and How Long For?
Regular training is excellent, but don't overdo it One of the questions we are most frequently asked is about the frequency and duration of sheepdog training sessions.There are no hard and fast rules, but it's ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 1)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 1)
Follow the progress of two litter sisters - Bronwen and Scylla - as they learn to become sheepdogs. They might have the same parents, but their temperaments are very different and the same goes for ... Watch now

Balance – What’s the Point?

Balance - What's the Point?
Sheepdog trainers often refer to The Point of Balance but what exactly is it, and where can we find one? In this short tutorial, we discover that the point of balance is not always to ... Watch now

The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)

The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)
A training ring makes training your dog a lot easier A two-part tutorial. One of the most useful assets that help us to train a sheepdog is the sheepdog training ring. It's very much more ... Watch now

Get (the sheep) off the fence!

Get (the sheep) off the fence!
How to get sheep or cattle away from a fence or hedge. Getting stubborn sheep away from a fence or hedge during the early stages of training can be very frustrating unless you know the ... Watch now

Moving Out – Into the Open Field

Moving Out - Into the Open Field
Bring sheep out of a pen without drama! Getting your trainee sheepdog to bring the sheep out of the training ring without crisis can be a tricky affair. The sheep will usually grasp the slightest ... Watch now

The Outrun (Part 1)

The Outrun (Part 1)
A good outrun is essential if a sheepdog is to work efficiently. Fortunately, it's not difficult to train a dog to do an outrun, and the training process itself improves other aspects of the dog's ... Watch now

The Outrun (Part 2)

The Outrun (Part 2)
Correct positioning of the dog and handler, in relation to that of the sheep The outrun marks the difference between a dog in training and a dog in work. When you no longer need to ... Watch now

The Outrun (Part 3) Slingshot

The Outrun (Part 3) Slingshot
Using a 'Slingshot' technique to widen the dog's outrun Part three in our series of Outrun tutorials demonstrates how we use a simple technique we call "The Slingshot", to make the dog go out much ... Watch now

An Insight into Pack Behaviour

An Insight into Pack Behaviour
A tutorial to help you get a better understand your dog This tutorial's a little different from usual as we're looking at dog behaviour, rather than training. "An Insight into Pack Behaviour" was originally a ... Watch now

Give the Sheep Some Space

Give the Sheep Some Space
Teach your dog to keep well away from the sheep when flanking If your dog's going to work sheep or cattle properly, it must learn to give them plenty of room. If the dog keeps ... Watch now

Starting a non starter (Parts 1 and 2)

Starting a non starter (Parts 1 and 2)
If your dog won't work, we can help you to change its mind! It's very disappointing to find that your dog doesn't seem to want to work sheep or cattle, but it doesn't necessarily mean ... Watch now

Calm but Firm

Calm but Firm
It's so important to appear calm, even when you're not A dog which is aggressive with the sheep, but runs away as soon as the trainer attempts to correct it, is among the most difficult ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 2)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 2)
Scylla's turn now - she's not so nice! In part one we saw how good Bronwen's sheep control can be, and we caught a glimpse of Scylla's antics too. In this tutorial, we find out ... Watch now

Backwards is the way forward

Backwards is the way forward
Our most useful exercise once you have control of the dog It's boring - and it might appear pointless to the novice, but walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you is ... Watch now

Back to Forwards

Back to Forwards
The essential sequel to "" Walking backwards with the dog steadily bringing the sheep up to you at the pace you choose to move back at, is one of the best exercises you can practice ... Watch now

Sticky Dogs (too much eye)

Sticky Dogs (too much eye)
"Too much eye" is nothing more than a confidence problem "That dog's got too much eye!" You'll sometimes hear this when a sheepdog, invariably a Border collie, appears mesmerised by the sheep, and reluctant to ... Watch now

Training Max – the Gripper (Parts 1-3)

Training Max - the Gripper (Parts 1-3)
Part 1 - A compulsive gripper can be a big problem to train Not for the faint-hearted, this tutorial deals with one of the most difficult aspects of sheepdog training, how to cope with a ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 3)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 3)
Bronwen gets the sheep in, but Scylla's still horrible The third tutorial in our Bronwen and Scylla series sees Bronwen struggle to get the sheep into the ring. Once the sheep are in, we watch ... Watch now

Starting a reluctant dog

Starting a reluctant dog
Help boost your dog's confidence to start working sheep Most dogs are over-excited when they first encounter sheep and it's up to the trainer to do their best to protect the stock. Occasionally though the ... Watch now

Close work (Parts 1 and 2)

Close work (Parts 1 and 2)
Moving sheep in and out of yards and fields can be tricky Teaching a dog to bring the sheep to you in the open field is all very well, but your dog's capable of doing ... Watch now

Sending the Dog the Wrong Way!

Sending the Dog the Wrong Way!
A useful technique to widen your dog out from the sheep One of the best ways to get a dog to give the sheep space when it's flanking is to use a technique we call ... Watch now

Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)

Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)
Part 1 - Are you finding your whistle difficult to blow?If you work sheep at a distance, in bad weather or under noisy conditions, you need to use a shepherd's whistle, because the sound of ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 4)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 4)
Bronwen's no angel, but Scylla's improving slowly In tutorial number four, Bronwen proves she's by no means perfect, but she continues to be a long way ahead of Scylla in terms of her reliability and ... Watch now

Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

Sometimes Nice is Not Enough
Does your dog have difficulty moving stubborn sheep or other livestock? It's all very well training your dog to keep back from the sheep and not upset them, but what can you do if the ... Watch now

Tess in the Open Field

Tess in the Open Field
A complete training session, packed with lessons As well as learning specific sheepdog training topics, we like to show you complete training sessions. This helps keep the topics in context and gives the viewer a ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 5)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 5)
Scylla's still pretty awful - Bronwen's erratic Scylla takes an almighty charge, and scatters the sheep in all directions. Four of the sheep leave the ring but, once under control, Scylla was impressive at times ... Watch now

Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways

Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways
The importance of teaching your dog to go both ways round the stock Just as most humans are left or right-handed, the majority of herding dogs favour working in one direction over another. Often, sheep ... Watch now

My Dog’s No Good

My Dog's No Good
The dog's not 'no good', it just needs training If someone tells you your dog's no good, don't believe them.As long as your dog has the herding instinct, the will to work for its handler, ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 6)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 6)
Is Scylla ready to work outside the ring? Part six of our series comparing the training of litter sisters, Bronwen and Scylla, sees Scylla continuing to make slow progress in the ring. Andy's hoping to ... Watch now

Driving (Parts 1 – 3)

Driving (Parts 1 - 3)
THREE TUTORIALS to help you teach your dog to drive PART 1. Some sheepdog trainers dread teaching their dog to drive and it's understandable, because when we ask a dog to take the sheep or ... Watch now

Inside Flanks (Circle on Command 1 & 2)

Inside Flanks (Circle on Command 1 & 2)
A valuable exercise for increasing control of your dog Dramatically improve your sheepdog or cattle dog's work with this important two-part tutorial. Even if the dog's already competent at driving, teaching inside flanks or circling ... Watch now

Woolly Jumpers

Woolly Jumpers
Once sheep learn to jump out, they can be a problem Sheep which jump out don't just disrupt the training session. They can injure themselves and even damage fencing and hurdles into the bargain. If ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7) – Going too Wide

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7) - Going too Wide
Bronwen's flanking far too wide In part seven, of our Bronwen and Scylla comparison, we focus entirely on Bronwen. Although she's far more advanced and reliable than her sister, Scylla, she's developed the all-too common ... Watch now

Use a reward to get training on board

Use a reward to get training on board
Odo was returned to us because he wouldn't get in the car! Working dogs have a huge capacity for learning, but in order to learn things that we want them to do, there must be ... Watch now

Eliminate the Toilet Break

Eliminate the Toilet Break
Discourage your dog from taking a toilet break while it's working. Not only is it not professional, but dog which has stopped to relieve itself can easily lose control of its sheep because it's focused ... Watch now

No Excuses Please!

No Excuses Please!
Take a realistic look at your dog's performance It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your dog's work is better than it really is. Novice trainers are often eager to move our ... Watch now

Eve at the Pen

Eve at the Pen
A complete training session, teaching the dog good pen manners. Getting sheep into a tight spot, and then getting them out again, needs confidence and control. In this tutorial we see Eve, a keen young ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 8)

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 8)
Scylla makes good progress When a dog's proving slow to train, it's particularly important to be able to recognise the areas where progress is being made, and to communicate approval and encouragement to the dog ... Watch now

Shedding (or Separating) The Sheep

Shedding (or Separating) The Sheep
Extremely useful on the farm, and essential for sheepdog trials. You'll need to 'shed' the sheep! Shedding is one of those operations that contradicts the basic rules we've taught the dog so far. Previously, we've ... Watch now

Educating Gloria!

Educating Gloria!
Watch a complete training session, full of valuable lessons! This tutorial shows nine-month old Gloria, a bright, enthusiastic young dog, and her fourth training session with some well-dogged sheep. As well as showing a typical ... Watch now

Sheepdog Trials – Getting Started (Part 2)

Sheepdog Trials - Getting Started (Part 2)
Further information for would-be sheepdog trials competitors Competing in your first sheepdog trial can be a daunting experience. It's not just a question of training your dog well. There are many things the competitor is ... Watch now

Sheepdog Trials – Getting Started (Part 1)

Sheepdog Trials - Getting Started (Part 1)
Information for would-be sheepdog trials competitors Preparing your dog and yourself for your first sheepdog trial is not a simple task. There are so many things to remember. Where do you go when you arrive ... Watch now

Sheepdogs Time Out!

Sheepdogs Time Out!
Get to know our sheepdogs Following on from the very popular video - and while we put the finishing touches to our latest sheepdog training tutorial, we thought we'd give you a New Year treat! ... Watch now

English subtitles are available on all our tutorial videos.

181 comments

  1. Hi, I have a 13month old female showing a lot of natural potential. So far, she been a fast learner at everything I’ve asked her to do. The one place where I’m having trouble, and it’s holding up advancing to other things, is that I can’t get her to lie down away from me. No matter where she is on the field when I tell her to lie down she runs back and lies at my feet. I’ve tried taking her out with the adult dogs so she can see how it should be done and I’ve tried tying her up and tell her to lie down as I move away (which works until I untie her) and I’ve had someone else hold her, but I can’t seem to break her of this habit. Only once has she done it and it was because she was torn between leaving the sheep and coming back to me.
    I have your DVDs but I haven’t made it through them all. Is there one you would recommend to help me with this? Any tips?

    1. I think you’re trying to progress too quickly, Lynette. It sounds as though the dog has a good bond with you, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem training her on sheep.
      As with all dog training, you need to make it very simple for the dog to understand what you want, and only gradually make things more difficult, until you eventually get the result you want.
      Get the dog to lie down just in front of you, and try to make her stay in place while you move back – say a metre (3ft). Once she’s got the idea, you can increase the distance SLOWLY. At some point, she’s bound to stand up and come towards you, so you rush towards her (in a slightly threatening manner) – send her back, and tell her to lie down.
      If you work this correctly, you’ll soon be able to get her to lie down anywhere – at almost any distance.

      Now, I want to know why you feel the need to do this? If you want to learn how to train a dog to work sheep, why not watch the DVDs FIRST? Then you’ll know that what you’re trying to achieve isn’t necessary. We used to have thirty dogs years ago – and we trained a great many more, but when they were not working, only the odd one or two would lie down on command or sit! The ones that would, were dogs that had been pets before we “re-homed” them and trained them to work sheep.
      Having said that, I’ve learned over the years that if the dog knows what the command “lie down” means, it can make it easier to train the dog on livestock, so although you’ll see videos where I tell the dogs to lie down, I don’t expect them to lie on the floor. I just want them to stay where they are (but my command for this happens to be “Lie down”.
      Watch those DVDs, and then train your dog on sheep!

      1. Hi Andy, I hear you about watching the videos first, but since I started training dogs about 10 years ago and didn’t have the DVDs at that time I sort of missed the boat on that one! I am currently working with 9 dogs ages 8 months to 10 years old and I have a full time job so I admit, I’ve been going at the DVDs by topic/need rather than sitting down to watch them all at once.
        I start lie down training when they’re about 8 months and I tried rushing at her in the early days but she sees it as playing so I stopped. Mentally she’s definitely ready to be on sheep but I need to get the lie down sorted out so I have control. Any other suggestions?

        1. Sorry Lynette, my advice remains the same. Take a little time to watch the DVDs (over a few evenings) and you’ll have a much better understanding of what’s likely to happen – and how to cope with it. That’s what they’re for.
          I see you have “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training“. Watch that one first – it’ll help you a lot.
          It would be far better if you subscribed to the Online Tutorials – then you’d be able to select the basic ones first in the “Where to Start” category.

  2. Andy, do you do something special with your puppies to avoid the bad habit of herding (chasing and heading) other dogs? We seem to have bought a few pups with this trait and i think it’s going to affect their ability to turn onto sheep. I’ve seen an older dog that does it and she has no interest in sheep whatever but only wants to herd other dogs so we’d like to avoid this if possible. Thank you for your time!

    1. We’ve had thirty or more dogs at any one time over the years, Brianna and although there’s plenty of herding and general “rough and tumble” it’s never put any of our dogs off working. On the contrary, it seems to improve the chances of them working.
      I suspect the dog you’ve seen had no interest in sheep anyway, but happens to play with other dogs. We’ve seen that.

  3. Andy, do some dogs just have better presence with sheep? My dog works very close to sheep without upsetting them, but others I’ve seen have to work much farther away. What is the difference? Do other dogs just have more power than mine?

    1. A very interesting question, Brianna! The basic answer is yes, some dogs definitely have a stronger “presence” than others, but so much also depends on the sheep. How calm or flighty they are, how stubborn or aggressive they are, and how familiar they are with the dog, all these factors make a huge difference.

      Sheep can “read” a dog instantly and if the dog has a strong presence the sheep will immediately show it great respect, whereas a dog which doesn’t have such a strong presence might have to work harder. You don’t actually say how successful your dog is with stubborn sheep but I suspect it may fall into the latter category.

      Surprisingly, a dog which is madly running around the sheep, barking and even gripping them doesn’t necessarily earn the respect of the sheep whereas (for instance) our old Mel could walk very calmly up towards any sheep and they would move while she was still at a respectable distance from them. She never failed.

      If you train the same dog on the same sheep over a long period, the sheep can also build up a resistance to that dog because they learn to exploit any weaknesses there may be in the dog’s work pattern.

      Many people think sheep are completely stupid but in some ways, they can be very clever indeed.

      1. Thank you for your quick and helpful reply Andy! Yes my dog has to work harder on stubborn sheep, but it’s only because he absolutely refuses to bite. He will walk up on a ewe with lambs and keep walking into her even if she goes after him, so I don’t think it’s a lack of courage, and I’ve tried your tips in the tutorial “sometimes nice is not enough”. It takes me a long time to convince him to bite, even when I’m standing very close to him. He just doesn’t seem to want to, but he loves to walk up onto them. As you might guess, getting him to take a bite command at any distance away (since he doesn’t want to do it up close) is out of the question.

        I have one other dog I’m training for someone else who is out of cattle lines and all he has to do is make a face at the sheep from 20 feet away and they’re convinced. The same dog has no problem taking a bite is needed so here is the question that has been rattling around in my head:

        Is presence or power directly related to the sheep’s perception of whether the dog is WILLING to use it’s teeth? I don’t mean dogs that actually do bite, I just mean the ones that the sheep think WILL use their teeth if necessary vs those that they perceive will not.

        Thank you again.

      2. Hi Andy, thanks for the reply! Is there power of a dog directly correlated to whether the sheep perceive the dog will use it’s teeth or not?

        1. No, not necessarily. Sheep are very good at assessing a dog’s confidence. If the dog is brimming with confidence, the sheep will recognise that immediately, and they’ll respect the dog whether it’s a dog which is likely to use its teeth or not.

          I mentioned Mel in my previous reply. She very rarely used her teeth – in fact, I can’t remember her doing it, but she would just keep coming at the sheep. She didn’t do many sheepdog trials because she had a very serious leg injury, but before that happened we were at a sheepdog trial where the sheep turned at the mouth of the pen, and faced her. Mel just carried on walking towards them as though nothing had happened. Closer and closer she went, until her nose touched the lead sheep’s nose! Still she kept going and to everyone’s astonishment, the five sheep all reversed into the pen! The crowd applauded!

          I’ve never known another dog with as much confidence as Mel. Her daughter Carew features heavily in many of our tutorials, including Sometimes nice is not enough. Mel had natural confidence, Carew needed help to build hers, but once she had it, when she was close, she’d move anything.

          I would say that knowing it can use its teeth if it really needs to can be a huge boost to the dog’s confidence.
          If your dog doesn’t want to bite, and the sheep are stubborn or aggressive, try to get the dog to at least, lunge at the sheep or flank suddenly. That will usually move them.

          Whether a dog’s from cattle lines or sheep lines doesn’t seem to make much difference – it’s the dog’s perception of what is, and what’s not acceptable, in terms of gripping, that seems to be the key.

  4. Hello my name is Oli. I have a very strong fully trained sheepdog. He just turned 3 in January. He is a very quick dog and a good listener, my only problem with him is his flanking. Specially when he is far away i have a problem to get him out, he always takes the shortest route (cutting the edges)
    Wath is you’re advise fore me,? how and wath is the best way get him too flank better ??

    best regards

    Óli

    1. Óli, there is no such thing as a fully trained sheepdog. A dog which is perfect for one person, is only partly trained for another. For example, many farmers would describe a dog as “fully trained” if it will simply go out into the field and bring the sheep to a yard. Others want the dog to do so much more: shedding, penning, driving, help with lambing and so on.

      I’m sure your dog is very useful for you, but from your description, he cannot be “fully trained” because he’s not doing all the things you need him to do – but he should be doing those things. You say he’s very quick. Do you want him to be very quick? The sheep certainly don’t like a very quick dog – it unsettles them. If the dog’s working very fast, it’s lacking confidence, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good dog.

      If the dog is flanking very close to the sheep when he’s at a distance, it’s because he’s afraid he’s going to lose them (confidence again). Remember, he’s a pack animal and his instinct tells him he should hold the sheep to the rest of the pack (which is you). The further away from you they get, the more worried the dog gets, so you need to prove to him that there’s nothing to worry about. Do this by very gradually increasing the distance he works from you.

      First though, you need to go back to basics with your dog. Get him to flank at the correct distance from the sheep and at a steady pace when he’s close to you, and while you teach him this, give him a command such as “Get out” as you whoosh the stick or move towards him to send him out wider. Soon he will learn to go out wider on command – and this will help when he’s farther from you. Watch Give the sheep some space for help with widening the dog’s flanks.

      If he’s too tight on his outrun, there are several things you can do to put this right. You’ll find them in the Outrun tutorials.

      Get him going steadily around the sheep. one of the best ways to do this is walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you. Watch Backwards is the way forward to learn how to do this properly. It may seem boring to you, but it teaches the dog a great deal: self control, steady pace. The dog must learn to bring the sheep at the pace that you walk backwards – not darting forwards and then stopping. It must also learn to keep back. This will teach the dog the distance you want it to work from the sheep. The better the dog learns this when it works close to you, the more chance of it going wider when it’s further away.

      Another very useful exercise is to teach the dog to circle the sheep in front of you. It may not sound like a useful thing to teach the dog, but it is. The dog will naturally widen out if you can get it to circle the sheep on command (both ways). It’s unnatural for the dog to leave the point of balance and come towards the handler but once you can teach the dog to do it, you’ll have a different dog! Watch Circle on command.

      I hope you find this useful – please let me know how you get on with training your dog.

      1. Haha yeah you are right about that. Let´s put it this way, he is a very good listner he has a good outrun and good distance, he also has a very good stop, and we have good connection (work well together) i guess the biggest problem is my lack of education. I will take a look at the videos you have recommended, and start the training..

        oli

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