Get off the fence!

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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.

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What Shall I Do Next?

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When you start to train a sheepdog there are so many issues that need attention, it can be quite daunting.

You can't possibly address them all at once, and while there's no simple rule for the order of training, we suggest a logical pattern that we follow, and explain why.

Once the dog's making good progress and controlling its sheep well, the sequence of events, locations and if possible, sheep, should be varied to keep the dogs interest and attention.

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Puppy Training Essentials

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Tempting though it may be to try your puppy with stock at a very early age, you should beware.

Unless you can be absolutely certain you're in a position to protect the youngster from attack or even the threat of it, there's a very real danger that sheep or cattle will will frighten the young dog and damage its confidence.

Possibly permanently.

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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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How Often 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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An Insight into Pack Behaviour

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This tutorial's a little different from usual as we're looking at dog behaviour, rather than training. "An Insight into Pack Behaviour" was originally a chapter on our Still Off Duty DVD, and is 33 minutes of our thoughts about what we see when we're out and about with our dogs.

We're not suggesting that it's the definitive guide to dog behaviour, but it illustrates much that we've seen and found useful when training a sheepdog. We're hoping you'll find it entertaining, as well as interesting, and we're also hoping it will stimulate some debate about what we see. All of us are learning, and none of us knows all the answers (except, perhaps our dogs).

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Starting a Strong Dog

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In part one of Starting a Young Puppy, we saw that with care, it's possible to begin a puppy's training at a very early age, but if you didn't have the luxury of well-dogged docile sheep for your puppy to learn with, then you've had to wait before you can start training - and you may find you have a tougher dog than you bargained for when it comes to training it on sheep.

Rather like Tess in this tutorial, there's a good chance your young dog will have its own ideas about how to go about tackling sheep!

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Starting a Young Puppy (Part 1)

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The usual age for starting a pup on sheep is between six and twelve months, but if you have the right sort of sheep and know what you're doing, you can start a pup at a much younger age. Starting a dog early makes it much easier to get the youngster under control in the presence of sheep.

In "Starting a Young Puppy" Andy shows what to do and what to avoid when he takes litter-mates Ezra and Carew to the sheep at just eleven week old.

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