Sheepdog Trials – Getting Started (Part 1)

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Preparing your dog and yourself for your first sheepdog trial is not a simple task. There are so many things to remember.

Where do you go when you arrive at the field? What happens during the competition? What should I avoid? Who can I ask for help?

This tutorial will give you a great understanding of how a sheepdog trial is run, how to prepare for your first trial, what to do and what to avoid.

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Learn Your Commands

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Attempting to train a sheep or cattle dog when you're not fully conversant with the commands can cause serious problems.

It's completely unfair on the dog because you'll be blaming it for going the wrong way when in fact it was doing exactly what you asked.

Training a dog to work stock can be confusing enough, without you adding to the chaos by talking rubbish. This tutorial will give you some tips to make learning your commands easier.

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The Dog’s Confidence (Part 1)

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Understanding the factors which affect the dog's work is extremely important for a successful sheep or cattle dog trainer.

Of those factors, the dog's confidence is probably the most underestimated.

Confidence is of vital importance if a sheepdog is to work efficiently, especially at long distances from the handler, between the stock and a fence, or when faced by stubborn animals.

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Teach Your Dog to Work on Whistle Commands

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It's much harder to learn to blow a sheepdog whistle than it is to teach the dog to work on them!

This totally remade tutorial takes you through the process of familiarising your dog with whistle commands.

Bronwen's quite good with voice commands and now Andy wants to teach her to work on whistle commands. It doesn't take long before the young dog gets the idea!

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My Dog’s No Good

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If someone tells you your dog's no good, don't believe them.

As long as your dog has the herding instinct, the will to work for its handler, and is physically fit, it's capable of learning how to work stock.

All too often, farmers, shepherds and handlers assume that a dog's useless because it happens to be working badly, when in fact it's their fault for not showing the dog how they want it to work.

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Moving Out – Into the Open Field

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Getting your trainee sheepdog to bring the sheep out of the training ring without crisis can be a tricky affair.

The sheep will usually grasp the slightest opportunity to bolt and this can result in an ugly chase.

In this tutorial you'll learn a simple routine which will greatly increase the chances of a smooth transition with the dog maintaining control of the sheep from inside the training ring to the open field.

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How Often (to Train) and How Long?

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One of the questions we are most frequently asked is about the frequency and duration of sheepdog training sessions.

There are no hard and fast rules, but it's important to observe your dog's behaviour and make sure you stop each session before the dog becomes too physically or mentally, tired.

In this tutorial, Andy gives some valuable guidelines to help you recognise when your dog's had enough!.

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Sheepdogs Time Out!

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Following on from the very popular An Insight Into Pack Behaviour video - and while we put the finishing touches to our latest sheepdog training tutorial, we thought we'd give you a New Year treat!

"Sheepdogs Time Out" comprises of no less than four great chapters from our DVD Border Collie Sheepdogs & Friends - Still Off Duty DVD, and is a shade under 17 minutes of fun and training with our dogs.

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