The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)

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A training ring makes training your dog a lot easier

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.

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 this video, we find out what the optimum size is for the ring, and how to adapt it for more advanced training.

The Training Area

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

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

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

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

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The natural progression from "Backwards is the Way Forward"

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

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Help boost your dog's confidence to start working sheep

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

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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. It's simply a habit that can fairly easily be trained out of the dog but all too often, 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 whichever way you choose to send it.

Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7) – Going too Wide

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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.

Balance – What’s the Point?

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

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!

The Outrun (Part 3) Slingshot

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Using a 'Slingshot' technique to widen the dog's outrun

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Outrun (3) The Slingshot

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 wider on its outrun or when flanking the sheep. "The Slingshot" is one of the most important and highly effective techniques we know of for quickly improving the dog's outrun.

If you can get your dog's cooperation, it will absolutely love doing "Slingshot" outruns, and go out much wider.