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Sheepdog Training Video Library


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Sheepdog Training Tutorials

For best results watch the videos in the order they appear here.

Top tips for easier training

Top tips for easier training
Ways to make sure training your dog goes as smoothly as possible Nobody would claim that training a dog to work sheep or other livestock is an easy matter. But by understanding what is going on and why, and by paying attention to just a few basic details, we can make the process so much easier for both dog and handler. In this video Andy shows how to correct the points which will be most beneficial when you train a … Watch now

The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training

The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training
The most important rule when you train a dog on sheep or cattle There are a number important rules that you would do well to keep in mind when you train a dog to work cattle or sheep. After all, whether we’re beginners, novices or experts, nobody wants to make a complete mess of it, do they? In this tutorial, Andy takes a look at some of the more essential guidelines for establishing and maintaining order, protecting the stock, and … Watch now

Sheepdog Selection and Preparation

Sheepdog Selection and Preparation
Chapters 1 & 2 from the DVD set ‘First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training’ This is a very important tutorial! It’s packed with essential information to help you to understand, and look after your dog. It includes choice of breed, choice of dog or puppy, housing – and what dogs to avoid. There’s a wealth of information on how to prepare your pup or young dog for herding sheep, cattle and other livestock. For a long time now we’ve … Watch now

Sheep – Essential Facts For Trainers

Sheep - Essential Facts For Trainers
Chapter three from the DVD set ‘First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training’ People think sheep are stupid, but in some ways they can be very clever, as well as determined. When you start training your first sheepdog, it’s easy to overlook the importance of learning about sheep and their behaviour. The more you know about sheep and their funny ways, the easier it will be to train your sheepdog. In this video tutorial, we look at the way sheep … Watch now

An Insight into Pack Behaviour

An Insight into Pack Behaviour
A tutorial to help you get a better understanding of your dog WHY CAN’T I SEE THE VIDEO? If you have a paid account with us please .Our sheepdog training videos are restricted to who have their accounts. 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 … Watch now

The Training Area

The Training Area
Chapter four from the DVD set ‘First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training’ 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 “” DVD footage to make matters even clearer, this tutorial will give you great insight into the type … Watch now

Getting the sheep into the ring!

Getting the sheep into the ring!
How to get sheep into a training ring – if you don’t have a trained sheepdog! OK! You’ve built yourself a training ring – but now you need to get the sheep into it. If you don’t have access to a trained sheepdog, that can be a very difficult task – but don’t despair! In this twenty minute tutorial, you’ll find out how to get some sheep into the training ring without the use of a trained sheepdog, and you’ll … Watch now

What Shall I Do Next?

What Shall I Do Next?
Follow our suggested order for training your sheepdog 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 the reasons why. Once the dog’s making good progress and controlling its sheep well, the sequence of events, locations and if possible, sheep, … Watch now

Puppy Training Essentials

Puppy Training Essentials
Important points to remember when bringing up a puppy to work stock 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. On the other hand, if … Watch now

The Training Stick

The Training Stick
Correct use of training stick can drastically reduce the time it takes to train your dog By far the most important tool we use for training sheepdogs is the lightweight plastic pipe. We call it the Training Stick – and we wouldn’t like to have to train dogs without one! This tutorial describes how invaluable the training stick can be in the early stages of training, for controlling the dog’s direction, it’s pace, and the distance it works from the … Watch now

The Dog’s Confidence

The Dog's Confidence
Confidence is vitally important for a good sheep or cattle dog 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 … Watch now

Learn Your Commands

Learn Your Commands
Using muddled commands is bad practice, and not fair on the dog 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 … Watch now

English or Español subtitles available on all our online tutorial videos

183 responses to “Sheepdog Training Video Library”

  1. Tom-Erik Aardal avatar

    Hi,

    I have a question regarding confidence in the dog. I believe that I’ve been training my two dogs wrong so that they do not put enough pressure on Heavy sheep. Reason for me thinking this problem has been made by me is that neither of them had a problem with heavy sheep earlier. Earlier both of them has been coming up too close, and too fast when driving the sheep. Therefore I’ve worked a lot on having them walk slower and farther away from the sheep. And I have also worked on getting square flanks and still working in a pace that I find ok. I Wonder if the sheep (I have only 8 ewes, and this is the second season I am using them for training) see this as being weak and therefore have started to stand up to the dogs. Also, I have all the time I’ve been training the dogs never allowed them to grip in any situation. I Wonder if this has also contributed to the problem, as they will not defend themselves when the sheep charges at them. The only way I’ve been able to think of in order to get this sorted is to allow the dogs to walk a bit faster, and praise them when thy defend themselves (thus thelling them that it is ok to answer the sheep when attacked). Neither of the dogs hangs on to the sheep if they do answer the sheep. Another problem caused by this is that both dogs have started to flank back and forth if the sheep dont move, which only seeme to make the sheep more confident. Any suggestions on how to set up the training to get back the confidense will be much appreciated.

    1. Andy avatar

      Thank you for an interesting comment, Tom-Erik,
      Without actually seeing your dogs at work, it’s difficult to judge whether the dogs are perhaps working a little too far back. It could be that these particular sheep move better when the dog is closer, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, sheep will stand up to close dogs, but move better when for a dog that’s further back.
      Certainly, training on the same eight sheep for two years will not help matters. If you can’t change your own sheep, maybe you could occasionally work your dogs on some other sheep somewhere new to them – but ideally, I would change the sheep at home.
      I never eliminate the grip altogether – in fact, as the dog’s skill and reliability increases, I put a command on the grip. This has a huge effect on the dog’s confidence. Your dogs need to know that ultimately, they can use their teeth to move stubborn sheep. Of course, this must be monitored carefully and kept to a minimum for the welfare of the sheep.
      I’m sure you know that dogs can be harmed by sheep, in fact Carew was knocked down twice this morning by ewes that were “defending” their lambs. Fortunately, she was not hurt, and asserted enough authority to get the sheep loaded into the trailer.
      To help the dog’s confidence, make sure the dog always wins – in other words, don’t allow the sheep to defy the dog. Make sure you’re always close to the dog at times when the sheep are likely to be stubborn. Being close enables you to assist the dog as it tries to move the sheep. It’s also the ideal time to give the dog lots of encouragement to do whatever it needs to move the sheep. Hissing and/or clapping and shouting can all help (depending on the dog’s sensitivity).

      1. Tom-Erik Aardal avatar

        Thank YouTube for your answer. I’ve ben trying to fond the best distance between the dog and the sheep. For sure they trend to turn against the dog if it is fight at their heel. It is my dogs who have been working theese sheep the most of our dogs. What I find ineresting is that the sheep move far better when my girlfriend works her less experianced dogs on them. This I think means that the sheep know my dogs to well. For the most par I have been working like you are suggesting, but I have not seen to that I always are there to support the dogs when the sheep turns. I also tale out the three difficult sheep at times, and online work the dog on the fire other sheep. That help a lot, but I would really like to have them learn to work heavy sheep. Unfortunatly I do not have the possibility to work my dogs on other sheep very often. But we have been thinking to replace at least the three difficult sheep with new ones. Again, thanks alot for your advice. Best regards, Tom-Erik

  2. Errol Brettschneider avatar

    Hi Andy, I`m having trouble getting two seven month old bitches to show any interest in stock, chooks or anything else. I keep them apart and take them with me every day, their brother is showing a lot of promise, and is doing small exercises on sheep. I`m at wits end as to what to do as they are from good working parents that started early.
    Can you help ?? PLEASE.
    Errol.

    1. Gill avatar

      Hello Errol,

      Thanks for your question. This is the most frustrating situation. It’s certainly happened to us that a puppy or puppies we’ve bought in from good working stock won’t take any interest in sheep, and it’s even more frustrating when you’re told by the breeder that the rest of the litter is working already!

      It’s worrying that the bitches aren’t interested at their age, but it’s by no means too late. We’ve had puppies who didn’t work until they were older. In the “Sticky Dogs” tutorial, the “sticky” dog, Mab, was almost a year old before she’d take any interest at all. Often, if they don’t start until later, they seem to learn very quickly. In the First Steps DVD we train Zoe who, at a year old, was taking no interest at all.

      I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just a question of igniting their interest. Try putting the puppies with 3 or 4 sheep in a smallish ring (if you don’t have a trained dog to get them back for you if they run away). Move and “shush” the sheep around the pen with much noise and excitement, clapping, whooping, anything that will make the sheep move suddenly (spook) and/or excite the puppies. The puppies are more likely to respond if the sheep are dashing and jumping, rather than moving smoothly or, worse, standing still. Keep the sheep moving. You can also take hold of a sheep and drag it away from the others while calling the puppies to you. We’ve actually found this to be the best way to get a dog or puppy interested as the sight of “the boss” apparently needing help with “the kill” can provoke a reaction, but be careful (wear gloves) as sometimes the puppy will dive in to grab at the sheep but get your hand instead. If the puppy does jump at a sheep and grab at the wool, don’t correct it (at this stage).

      If you always take them together to the sheep, try taking them separately or vice versa. If letting them run around while a trained dog works the sheep doesn’t interest them, is there a more reckless (but of no danger to the stock) dog available who’ll chase the sheep for you? The sheep will react differently to a dog who’s not under good control, and their sudden movements might prove more exciting to the puppies.

      Of course, you need to take care of the sheep and be very aware of any threat from the sheep to the puppy/ies. It’s important that the sheep don’t turn on the puppies and frighten them.

      Very occasionally a change of environment or handler can help, so if you know of anyone (in whom you’re confident to leave your dogs) with a few sheep who could take your puppies for a few days it’s something else you can try. 

      It IS frustrating, I know, but 7 months is early to panic. Just as an aside, we sometimes see puppies and young dogs on the training courses who are reluctant to work because a well-meaning handler has been taking them on a lead to see the sheep and has insisted on the dog walking to heel and behaving itself. This has given the dog the impression that chasing the sheep is a Bad Thing, so always encourage a young dog to be excited.

      I don’t know if I’ve suggested anything that you haven’t already tried, but please let us know how you get on.

      Good luck!

      Gill

      1. Errol Brettschneider avatar

        Thanks Gill, I`ll give them a while longer, maybe try them on young goats (feral) as they tend to excite anything. also must complement on the web site, it has certainly grown since I first saw it at it`s beginning, and I still don`t tire of looking at it.
        Cheers.
        Errol.

  3. Rachelle Bennett avatar

    Hey there, I noticed you mention and use a cord at times. That you slip through the collar then release.
    Can you give more information on this cord that you use? How long is it? are there loops on both ends? I was trying to see, but can’t really tell. Thanks!

    1. Gill avatar

      Ah, the Magic Cord! It’s simply a lambing rope (there, I’ve given away the secret) but it’s absolutely ideal for dog training. It’s about 18 inches long, made of smooth soft nylon, and has loops sewn in at each end but with very flat stitching (much to the relief of many ewes, I’m sure).
      The flat stitching means it slips smoothly from under the dog’s collar, so the dog may not notice it’s free until you send it off to the sheep, and it avoids that undignified struggle to unclip a fiddly dog lead from a very wriggly dog.
      Any farm supply-type shop should stock lambing ropes, but if it’s late in the season you may need to look online. Of course, if you’re the crafty type you might be able to make one yourself.

      1. Rachelle Bennett avatar

        Thank you ! for sharing your secret. :)
        I am going to set out on getting or making one.
        I was very interested in this because of what you just described with the hassle of clips and snaps. I also like the element of surprise – them not really knowing.
        Thanks again! R

  4. rachel armour avatar

    My year and a half old dog is too keen and would over exhaust the sheep if he could, any way to make him slow down a bit and make him more biddable towards the sheep?

    1. Gill avatar

      Hi Rachel, nice to hear from you. There are several tutorials to help you with your over-enthusiastic dog. Take a look at “Give the sheep space”, “Backwards is the way forward” and “Starting a strong young dog”, but get back in touch if you still have questions. And don’t despair, the best dogs aren’t always the ones that were easiest to train!

  5. sarah orme avatar

    i am trying to start a strong dog (about 16 months old) she is very keen! i am using a pen approx 50m circumference. i am struggling to be able to get her to get behind them rather than just chase them or go straight at them .what size should the pen be? how many sheep would you recommend to use? another questionA bit of an ignorant one on my part but here goes i have a trained sheep dog as well can a dog learn by watching another?

    1. Andy avatar

      Hello Sarah,
      I strongly recommend you signup and watch our Sheepdog Training Tutorials. All the questions you asked are answered in the videos, and if you’re quick, you can still become a member for just £3.50 per month, or £38.00 per year! That’s about the price of a pint of beer per month!
      If you run your trainee dog with a trained dog, the youngster will pick some things up – but it will pick up the bad points as well as the good ones. Far better to train the youngster from scratch, but by all means use the trained dog to keep the sheep off the hurdles until the youngster has the confidence to get them away for itself.

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