Calling the Dog Away 2 – the proper way!

Trying to call the dog away from sheep or cattle is tricky. Even if you can catch the dog, it won’t want to come away from the stock. These tips will help you to call your dog away.

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Tutorial video showing how to call the dog away from sheep or cattle

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Video Highlights

Points to consider, if you want to call the dog away from sheep or cattle.

Make the dog want to come back to you

When you get a new dog, give it time to settle in with you. Spend time with the dog. Whenever you call it to you, make sure you’re pleasant and interesting to be with. Show the dog you’re pleased with it when it comes back.

The dog’s worst fear about being called away, is that the session will end. But if you regularly send it back to the sheep a few times when it comes back to you, it’ll soon learn that coming back, doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the session.

Start when the dog’s young

The simplest way to get the dog to come back to you when it’s working, is to start training it on sheep. At an early age. You need to be careful that the sheep don’t frighten or injure your pup, but keep training and calling it back to you, regularly. Then you should have no problem with getting it to come away from the stock, from the start.

Once a pup starts to watch the sheep, that’s a sign that the hunting instinct is becoming active. Give it a while longer to grow a bit. Then, if you’re confident your sheep won’t frighten the pup, very carefully introduce it to a few of them. Training sessions should be very short to begin with. Gradually increasing in duration, as the dog gets older, and its confidence increases.

Getting an adult dog to come away from sheep

Assuming your dog’s not a puppy, and you’re having difficulty getting it to come away from sheep, there are things you can do to make catching it a lot easier. First of all, the dog should be going around the sheep, not just running at them. Stopping on command will help. Think about positioning. In early training, calling the dog to you when it’s on the opposite side of the sheep, is very unlikely to work. If the dog’s closer to the sheep than you are, it knows you’re calling it away from them. That’s not what they want.

Crouch down to call the dog away from sheep or cattle

Crouching or stooping makes you appear smaller, and less intimidating to the dog. Try walking through the sheep, towards the dog. Keep the dog in place, and walk through the sheep, to get yourself in position, before you call the dog away. If the sheep run, the dog will go after them. But if you’re in a training ring, that’s fine! Next time, try and make sure the sheep stay in place, and be prepared for the dog to dart at them.

Once you have caught the dog

When you’ve successfully caught the dog, It’s decision time. If the dog was hard to catch, you’ll be really tired.
You’ll want to put the dog on a lead and take it back to the kennel. But that will reinforce the dog’s suspicion that once you’ve caught it, the lesson’s over. If you want to make the dog easier to catch next time, release it, and continue the training session. It’s a delicate balance between your own tiredness and patience, and what’s best for training the dog.

Move-on to outruns!

Having caught the dog, the next step is to be able to walk away with it. Fortunately, that fits perfectly, with the next item on your training agenda – the outrun. Dogs adore doing outruns. Once you can call it to you, teach It to come away with you, by teaching it to do outruns. An outrun involves the dog running from the handler to the sheep, and bringing them back. The distance might be anything from a few metres upwards. But of course, we start our dog with very short outruns.
Use a training ring, of approximately 16 metres (17 yards) diameter. Have the sheep near the fence on the one side, with yourself and the dog on the opposite side. This is an ideal space to get the dog used to leaving your side, going out and bringing back the sheep – a very short outrun!

A massive milestone.

Once the dog will walk away from the sheep with you, an enormous milestone has been reached in your dog’s training. Control of the dog gets easier and easier, and training really begins to fall into place. Now you have better control, you won’t need to keep sending it back to the sheep, to improve the recall.

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Teaching a farm dog to walk away from livestock with you

In part one, we learned that if you want to work the dog on cattle, it’s better to train it on sheep first.

We looked at why it can be difficult to call a trainee dog away from livestock, and finally, we saw a temporary way, to catch the dog in the early stages of training.

Now let’s look at the ‘proper’ way to call the dog away from sheep or cattle, and make it eager to come with you.

Starting A Young Puppy


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