Training Max – the Gripper (Parts 1-3)

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Part 1 - A compulsive gripper can be a big problem to train
Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Training Max the Gripper - part one

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.

Part 2 - Max is making progress

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?

Part 3 - Max is almost trustworthy now!

The third and final part of our "Training Max the Gripper" tutorials sees Max working well in the training ring but then Andy decides to move the action out into the open field.

Find out how Max copes with taking the sheep out of the training ring, and whether or not he manages to get them back into it before the session ends.

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

Bronwen and Scylla (Parts 1-8)

Eight tutorial videos comparing the training of two very different sisters

Select the chapter you'd like to watch (1-8) from the playlist below this video.
Watch the Bronwen and Scylla tutorials with ENGLISH SUBTITLES.

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Part 1: Comparing the training of very different sisters

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla part one

We're going to 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 their attitude to working sheep.
In this first part we learn about the two young dogs. We see one of them working nicely in the field, while the other's approach seems to be "the best form of defence is attack"!

Part 2: Scylla's turn now - she's not so nice!

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla part two

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 just how difficult Scylla can be when she encounters sheep. When Scylla gets into the training ring she's very trying at first, but soon, with a little help from Kay, the youngster begins to show her natural talent. There's still a long way to go, but Scylla's definitely got what it takes!

Part 3: Bronwen gets the sheep in, but Scylla's still horrible

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Stopping the Dog part one

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 both Bronwen and Scylla's individual training sessions in the ring on the same day. Bronwen is keen and confident, but she's often over-keen and misguided, while Scylla's tail (and her attitude to the sheep) demonstrate just how nervous she really is.

Part 4: Bronwen's no angel, but Scylla's improving slowly

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla part four

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!

Part 5: Scylla's still pretty awful - Bronwen's erratic

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla part five

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.

Part 6: Is Scylla ready to work outside the ring?

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla (Part 6)

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 get her out into the field, but she's not ready so he concentrates on getting her to flank smoothly and keep back off the sheep.
Bronwen begins by diving into the sheep and gripping, but she quickly settles down so Andy works on her flank commands. They take the sheep out of the ring, but the dog rushes at the sheep and they run away.
Bronwen isn't flanking properly; she's just chasing the sheep. The sheep have run far across the field before Andy can get close enough to the action to get Bronwen under control again.

Part 7: Bronwen's flanking far too wide

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla Part seven

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.

Part 8: Scylla makes good progress!

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Bronwen and Scylla part eight

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.

Tess in the Open Field

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A complete training session, packed with lessons

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Stopping the Dog part one

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 better understanding of the dog's skill level when it undertakes various tasks.

In this session, Tess is learning to widen her flanks and not cross over on her outrun or split the sheep up, to work more calmly around the sheep and come away from them more reliably, and she gets an introduction to driving.

Eve at the Pen

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A complete training session, teaching the dog good pen manners.

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Eve at the Pen

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 dog who's basic training is in place, but Eve still shows some tyro weaknesses - she favours "Away" to "Come Bye", for instance, and her stop isn't 100% reliable (yet).

However, a lesson in and around the pen doesn't only teach penning, it gives us the opportunity to work on Eve's stop and flanks, to introduce the "Look Back" (when she fails to bring all her sheep cleanly to the pen) and to help build her confidence to get between the sheep and the fence.

Educating Gloria!

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Watch a complete training session, full of valuable lessons!

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Educating Gloria

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 dog in training, warts and all, the tutorial demonstrates some of the techniques that we've talked about in other tutorials, such as making use of the training ring; effective use of the training stick; reinforcing the stop, and flank commands; widening the flanks; taking the sheep out of the ring (whoops - the wrong way!) and dealing with gripping.