The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)

A simple training ring of the correct size, will make training your dog a lot easier.

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: The Training Ring parts one and two

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 versatile than you might think. A properly constructed training ring will make the early stages of training your dog so much easier.

Trainee sheepdogs tend to chase the sheep, who (very wisely) run away. Both dog and sheep can run much faster than sheepdog trainers, so this means the 'action' is happening too far away for us to keep the situation under control.

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

A correctly sized training ring is simple to make, and will transform the early stages of sheepdog training. It can also be an extremely useful aid when it comes to teaching the dog more difficult tasks later on. In these videos, we find out what the optimum size is for the ring, and how to adapt it for more advanced training.

The Training Area

Chapter four from the DVD set 'First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training'.

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Title banner for our Sheepdog Training Tutorial, The Training Area, with trainee sheepdog Kay watching Andy the trainer close a farm gate

The size, shape and nature of the training area can make a massive difference to your training experience. The Training Area tutorial shows you how to get the most out of the field, paddock or yard you train your dog in.

With a few small changes to the original "First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training" DVD footage to make matters even clearer, this tutorial will give you great insight into the type of ground you should train in and some great ideas for improving it quite dramatically.

Back to Forwards

The next step, once you and your dog have mastered "Backwards is the Way Forward".

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Back to Forwards - online sheepdog training video

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 with a trainee dog. It will improve the dog's stop, its control of sheep, its working pace and the distance that the dog works from the sheep. In this tutorial, we go a stage further and turn our back on the dog.

Once you can trust the dog to bring the sheep steadily up behind you as you walk forwards, your training will have moved onto a new level.

Starting a reluctant dog

How to boost your dog's confidence and help it to start working sheep.

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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.

It also shows a good example of how to get a dog to flank both ways around the sheep when the dog prefers to flank in one direction only.

Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways

The importance of teaching your dog to go both ways round the stock

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Just as most humans are left or right-handed, the majority of herding dogs favour working in one direction over another. It's simply a habit that can fairly easily be trained out of the dog.

Unfortunately, some sheep and cattle dog handlers are not bothered if their dog will only go in one direction to gather the stock - as long as it brings them successfully. This video demonstrates the importance of training your dog to work fluently in whichever direction you choose to send it.

Balance – What’s the Point?

The point of balance isn't always where you'd expect it!

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Balance - What's the Point

Sheep and cattle dog trainers often refer to the importance of "the point of balance" but what exactly is it, and where can we find one?

In this short tutorial, we discover what exactly the "point of balance" means to the working sheep or cattle dog handler, and just how much it affects the sheepdog's work. We also learn why the point of balance is not always to be found quite where we might expect it to be!

Sending the Dog the Wrong Way!

A very useful technique to widen your dog's flanks.

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Sending the Dog the Wrong Way

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 "sending the dog the wrong way". Once you can achieve this, you and your dog are well on the way to producing quality work - but it's not easy.

As with so many other aspects of sheepdog training, once you understand why the dog is reluctant to go "the wrong way" it becomes much easier to train it to do just that, and the dog's flanks will widen out.

Get (the sheep) off the fence!

How to get sheep or cattle away from a fence or hedge.

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Get off the Fence

Getting stubborn sheep away from a fence or hedge during the early stages of training can be very frustrating unless you know the "tricks of the trade". This tutorial shows you not only how to prise the sheep away from the fence, but also how to turn the dog's determination to circle the sheep into a useful tool for moving the sheep in the open field.

Once your dog masters this, it'll very soon be able to keep the sheep out in the open.