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OUR LATEST TUTORIAL!

  • Flock Work. The change from training ground, to farm work can be a huge step for a trainee dog - almost as big a step as when the dog first went to sheep.

Sheepdog Training Tutorials (Full List)

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

Give the Sheep Some Space

Give the Sheep Some Space
Teach your dog to keep well away from the sheep when flanking. If your dog's going to work sheep or cattle properly, it must learn to give them plenty of room. Of course there are times when the dog needs ... Watch now

Starting a non starter (Parts 1 & 2)

Starting a non starter (Parts 1 & 2)
If your dog doesn't want to work, we can help you to change its mind! It can be very disappointing to find that your dog doesn't seem to want to work sheep or cattle, but it doesn't necessarily mean you ... Watch now

Calm but Firm

Calm but Firm
It's so important to appear calm, even when you're not! A dog which is aggressive with the sheep, but runs away as soon as the trainer attempts to correct it, is among the most difficult dogs to train. Audrey not ... Watch now

Backwards is the way forward

Backwards is the way forward
Our most useful exercise, once you have control of the dog. It's boring - and it might appear pointless to the novice, but walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you is the single most important exercise ... Watch now

Back to Forwards

Back to Forwards
The next step, once you and your dog have mastered "". 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 ... Watch now

Sticky Dogs (too much eye)

Sticky Dogs (too much eye)
"Too much eye" is nothing more than a confidence problem. "That dog's got too much eye!" You'll sometimes hear this when a sheepdog, invariably a Border collie, appears mesmerised by the sheep, and reluctant to move. But is 'eye' something ... Watch now

Training Max – the Gripper (Parts 1-3)

Training Max - the Gripper (Parts 1-3)
A dog which attacks livestock must be quickly brought under control. Part 1 - A compulsive gripper can be a big problem to train Not for the faint-hearted, this tutorial deals with one of the most difficult aspects of sheepdog ... Watch now

Starting a reluctant dog

Starting a reluctant dog
How to boost your dog's confidence and help it to start working sheep. 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 ... Watch now

Close work (Parts 1 & 2)

Close work (Parts 1 & 2)
Moving sheep in and out of yards and fields can be tricky. Teaching a dog to bring the sheep to you in the open field is all very well, but your dog's capable of doing very much more to help ... Watch now

Sending the Dog the Wrong Way!

Sending the Dog the Wrong Way!
A very useful technique to widen your dog's flanks. 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 ... Watch now

Flock Work

Flock Work
Is your dog ready to work a flock of sheep? Once your dog can control a small number of sheep reasonably well in the training field, it's natural to start thinking about working a flock of sheep. After all, that's ... Watch now

Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)

Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)
How to blow a sheepdog whistle - and work your dog on whistle commands. Part 1 - If you're finding your sheepdog whistle difficult to blow, you're not alone. Many people find it difficult to master at first, but don't ... Watch now

183 comments

  1. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for all of the video’s…they’ve been a great help in training my first Sheepdog, who is now just over 2 years and we are doing well. Just a couple of questions….

    1) How would you suggest getting a dog to come up on to his sheep?

    Glyn was always quite a strong dog to train, therefore i have kept him out from the sheep in order to control them without busting in (i think this may be where the problem came from!).

    We are now learning the drive and if the sheep stop he will stop and he does not like to get too close ( he has a small bit of eye but is not sticky). I have noticed when trialling, if he has to push the sheep he will stop and i have to flank him to move him (which i don’t like doing) and sometimes the pressure will get to him and he will bust in .

    I have started with him holding sheep against the wire and trying to get him coming in, flanking close to them…but he will only come in to a certain distance ( maybe 6 feet away and i have to again flank him to get him any way close). When on the drive i have been running next to him giving him encouragement to push the sheep at a good pace. Is this the right practice or do you have any other suggestions?

    2) Another issue is, if a sheep busts away from the flock he has gotten into the habit of holding her away from the flock. I am unsure where this has came from as i have not started shedding with him? I have been trying to let a sheep bust from holding them against the wire…keeping him lay down then send him off to fetch her, this has been successful a few times but could you recommend anything else?

    I feel this is all to do with confidence , and a bit of advice would be great! :-)

    Kind Regards,
    Claire.

    1. Hello Claire. From your description, Glyn is lacking confidence and I think you are trying to “run before you can walk” with him – particularly when driving. I suggest you go back to basics with him and don’t expect him to work the sheep too far away from you until he can do it freely and confidently. If you watch the Sometimes Nice is Not Enough Tutorial, there’s a lot in there to help you command the dog to push the sheep harder.

  2. Bonjour from France,
    I have 4 Bearded Collies and only three sheep to work with.
    The youngest dog lacks in confidence and I couldnt find any solution. Would you have solutions, I could eventually post a little video on youtube, is it possible.

    Regards,
    Pierre Gsell

  3. Hi Andy/Gill
    I have a 2 ½ year old dog that is training very well and won his first novice ribbon this season. However, I have a couple of problems which I can’t get over at trials.
    1. On the fetch and close at hand I can get him to stay off the sheep very nicely. On the drive is a different matter. He trends to want to get up their behinds at the first opportunity and wont square flank. I.e. he closes in on the sheep.

    2. When driving and I want him to turn the sheep at the gates he tends to banana flank and at speed!

    I always go back to basics at home and walk him and the sheep close by. Then he will square flank and at a reasonable pace. But at a trial this doesn’t happen.

    Am I expecting too much from a young dog? Any help appreciated.
    Regards
    Pete

    1. It sounds as though you’re trying to get your dog to run before he can walk, Pete. If he works well at home but not at trials, it’s probably caused by one of two things. Either the dog gets excited when it works away from home – in which case you need to work him in different situations on fresh ground and with new sheep as often as you can – or (more likely from what you say in your message) he’s not ready to drive as far from you as he needs to at trials. You need to build the distance gradually at home until he can drive sheep (and flank properly) at a greater distance than he needs to for trials. If you don’t have a large enough training ground, ask a friend if you can take him to their premises for training until he can do it.
      I strongly suggest you watch BOTH tutorials on Circling on Command. If you can get the dog to circle the sheep properly when they are a long way down the field, you’ll be well on the way to having a good driving dog for sheepdog trials.

  4. Hi Andy,

    Im training my first dog and she has learned the basics well, she brings the sheep up to me, she has a good stop and knows ‘come bye’ and ‘away’. I have a problem though;

    1. She is way too tight to the sheep, i have tried the methods you’ve said in ‘Give the sheep some space’, ‘Backwards is the way forwards’, ‘and ‘sending the dog the wrong way’. I can make her lie down behind the sheep and walkaway with the sheep whilst she keeps her distance and i can make her go the wrong way but she still insists on being tight to the sheep.

    I have been trying these for two weeks with very little progress being made. i feel like she and the sheep have been accustomed to these exercises and so act like robots and a was wandering i there was any other excercises you know of to widen the dogs flanking.

    Many Thanks,

    Matthew

    1. Hello Matthew, thank you for your comment.
      If the dog is ignoring you and coming in tight onto the sheep, you’re just not being assertive enough.
      When she flanks round the sheep, I suggest walk around the them too, keeping yourself BETWEEN her and the sheep. You should be able to keep up with her because the circle you walk round (very close to the sheep) is much smaller than the one she has to run around, even if she’s quite tight.
      “Push” her out by waving the stick, whacking it hard on the ground (between dog and sheep) and telling her to “get out“. Make it uncomfortable for her to be close to them but remember to be calm (but firm) at all times.
      As I said, if she ignores you, you’re not being assertive enough. Some dogs have very strong temperaments and to train them, you need to be stronger.
      I recommend you watch the tutorial “Starting a Strong Dog” which you’ll find in the Tutorials Library. Be sure to watch all the way through and notice how I get myself between the sheep and the dog – and push her out.
      I hope this helps. Please let us know how you get on.

  5. Hi Andy,

    I too have a similar problem with my young dog as Tom-Erik does with his dogs. If my shearlings feel like it they will skip at my dog and chase him off. He also flanks if there is a stubborn one and I don’t want it to become a habit. I regularly change my sheep as I have plenty to choose from and can always remove a particular offender but it would be nice to know how to teach the dog to stand his ground. If he works the sheep with pace then it doesn’t tend to happen. It tends to occur when I try and slow it down and have the sheep quieter and under more control. I have managed to help when he is close and ensured that he has won but I am helpless when he is at the point of balance. You mention that Carew had to build her confidence and she seems very capable of working strong sheep. Is there any advice/tutorial that can help me build his confidence and avoid it becoming a problem.
    Many thanks
    Andrew

    1. Hello Andy, thank you for your comment.
      We’ve spoken on the ‘phone since you posted it, but I thought I should mention here that Gill and I understand that moving stubborn sheep is a problem which concerns a lot of sheepdog handlers, so we are currently working on a new tutorial to cover it. The new tutorial should be available in the sheepdog training tutorials library within a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I suggest you work as close to the dog as you can, give it lots of encouragement, and try to make sure the sheep never defeat the dog.

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