Starting a reluctant dog

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Close up photo of Maisie, the dog used in this herding sheepdog training tutorial

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 dog takes no interest in the stock at all.

In this tutorial, Maisie shows no interest in sheep at first, but once the hunting instinct kicks-in, despite being a sensitive dog, she's aggressive with them.

Our video demonstrates how to limit the pressure applied by your control measures, while at the same time encouraging the dog to work.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 8)

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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 when it's work is improved, even if it's not fully up to the standard you aspire to.

It's through such guidance that the dog learns more quickly what pleases the handler and what doesn't.

Part eight of the Bronwen and Scylla training comparison focuses on Scylla and points out the areas of her work which deserve praise and encouragement, as well as those which are still a long way below par.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7) – Going too Wide

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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 problem of running much too wide when she goes round the stock.

When a dog works too far back from sheep or cattle the stock quickly learn that the dog's not in a position to control them, and they're likely to run away.

The video shows that being firm, but patient, with the errant dog, and using practical work to show the dog that it needs to be in control, will help to stop the dog casting out too wide.

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Top tips for easier training

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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 by paying attention to just a few basic details, we can make the process so much easier for both dog and handler.

In this video Andy shows how to correct the points which will be most beneficial when you train a herding dog.

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Training Max – The Gripper (Part 2)

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After a quick recap of Max's colourful start to his training, this tutorial shows him making good progress in the training ring and even starting to bring the sheep up to the handler but he's difficult to stop.

Andy's careful to start the training session correctly to give Max the best chance of going around the sheep rather than gripping or splitting them - but can Max keep up the good work?

Max had no training of any kind at any time in between the lessons shown in these tutorials.

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Training Max – the Gripper (Part 1)

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Not for the faint-hearted, this tutorial deals with one of the most difficult aspects of sheepdog training, how to cope with a very strong-willed dog which persists in violently attacking the sheep.

In the first part of the video, you'll see Max at his worst despite his trainer being vigilant. Later on, Max's training becomes easier and far more rewarding. Watch the video to find out how it's done.

Max had no training of any kind at any time in between the lessons shown above.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 5)

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In part five we see how Bronwen and Scylla meet the challenge of new, and "undogged" sheep. Some of the results are predictable, and true to character.

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 - particularly at keeping the sheep off the hurdles.

Unfortunately Scylla's lesson was brought to an early end when a sheep collapsed with stress exhaustion. Once left in peace, the sheep was soon up and about again.

Bronwen's performance was erratic - largely because she was distracted by the close proximity of some inquisitive cattle.

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Bronwen and Scylla (Part 4)

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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 sheep control.

Scylla's working much too close to the sheep. Her tail is still flying like a flag and she's far too aggressive with them.

Tiresome though she can be at times, there are signs of improvement, and even one brief moment that shows great promise!

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