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Sheepdog Training Tutorials (Full List)

We recommend you watch the videos in the order they appear on this page. English subtitles available on tutorials.

Top tips for easier training

Top tips for easier training
Valuable advice for sheep and cattle dog trainers. Nobody would claim that training a dog to work sheep or other livestock is an easy matter. But ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... Watch now

Puppy Training Essentials

Puppy Training Essentials
Important points to remember when bringing up a puppy. Tempting though it may be to try your puppy with stock at a very early age, you ... 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 ... Watch now

The Dog’s Confidence

The Dog's Confidence
The dog's confidence is vitally important. Understanding the factors which affect the dog's work is extremely important for a successful sheep or cattle dog trainer. Of ... Watch now

Learn Your Commands

Learn Your Commands
Confusing your commands is very bad practice. Attempting to train a sheep or cattle dog when you're not fully conversant with the commands can cause serious ... Watch now

The Sheepdog Handler

The Sheepdog Handler
Don't just train your dog! Make yourself, a better trainer! It's all very well learning about the dog, the sheep, and the training area, but it's ... Watch now

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)
Teach your dog to stop well on command, without damaging its confidence. WHY NO VIDEO? Paid is required to view our training tutorials. If you are ... Watch now

Starting a Young Puppy (Parts 1 & 2)

Starting a Young Puppy (Parts 1 & 2)
We take two eleven week old puppies to sheep for the first time. Part 1. The usual age for starting a pup on sheep is between ... Watch now

Starting a Strong Dog

Starting a Strong Dog
Is your dog difficult to control around sheep? In part one of the 'Starting a Young Puppy' tutorials, we saw that with care, it's possible to ... Watch now

How Can I Slow The Dog Down?

How Can I Slow The Dog Down?
Things you can do to make your dog calm down and work more steadily. Probably the most common question we get asked about sheepdog training is ... Watch now

How Often (to Train) and How Long For?

How Often (to Train) and How Long For?
Regular training is excellent, but don't overdo it! One of the questions we are most frequently asked is about the frequency and duration of sheepdog training ... Watch now

Bronwen and Scylla (Parts 1-8)

Bronwen and Scylla (Parts 1-8)
Follow the progress of two litter sisters - Bronwen and Scylla - as they learn to become sheepdogs. They might have the same parents, but their ... Watch now

Balance – What’s the Point?

Balance - What's the Point?
Sheepdog trainers often refer to The Point of Balance but what exactly is it, and where can we find one? In this short tutorial, we discover ... Watch now

The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)

The Training Ring (Parts 1 & 2)
A simple training ring of the correct size, will make training your dog a lot easier. A two-part tutorial. One of the most useful assets that ... Watch now

Get (the sheep) off the fence!

Get (the sheep) off the fence!
How to get sheep or cattle away from a fence or hedge. Getting stubborn sheep away from a fence or hedge during the early stages of ... Watch now

Moving Out – Into the Open Field

Moving Out - Into the Open Field
Bring sheep out of a pen without drama! Getting your trainee sheepdog to bring the sheep out of the training ring without crisis can be a ... Watch now

The Outrun (Parts 1-3)

The Outrun (Parts 1-3)
A good outrun is essential if a sheepdog is to work efficiently. Fortunately, it's not difficult to train a dog to do an outrun, and the ... Watch now

An Insight into Pack Behaviour

An Insight into Pack Behaviour
A tutorial to help you get a better understand your dog. This tutorial's a little different from usual as we're looking at dog behaviour, rather than ... Watch now

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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... Watch now

Training Max – the Gripper (Parts 1-3)

Training Max - the Gripper (Parts 1-3)
A dog which attacks livestock must be brought under control as quickly. Part 1 - A compulsive gripper can be a big problem to train Not ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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, ... Watch now

Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

Sometimes Nice is Not Enough
Does your dog have difficulty moving stubborn sheep or other livestock? WHY NO VIDEO? Paid is required to view our training tutorials. If you are a ... Watch now

Tess in the Open Field

Tess in the Open Field
A complete training session, packed with lessons. As well as learning specific sheepdog training topics, we like to show you complete training sessions. This helps keep ... Watch now

Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways

Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways
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 ... Watch now

My Dog’s No Good

My Dog's No Good
The dog's not 'no good', it just needs training. If someone tells you your dog's no good, don't believe them.As long as your dog has the ... Watch now

Driving (Parts 1-3)

Driving (Parts 1-3)
THREE TUTORIALS to help you teach your dog to drive. PART 1.Some sheepdog trainers dread teaching their dog to drive and it's understandable, because when we ... Watch now

Inside Flanks (Circle on Command 1 & 2)

Inside Flanks (Circle on Command 1 & 2)
A valuable exercise for increasing control of your dog. Dramatically improve your sheepdog or cattle dog's work with this important two-part tutorial. Even if the dog's ... Watch now

Woolly Jumpers

Woolly Jumpers
Once sheep learn to jump out, they can be a problem! Sheep which jump out of the training area, don't just disrupt the training session. They ... Watch now

Use a reward to get training on board

Use a reward to get training on board
Odo was returned to us because he wouldn't get in the car! Poor Odo went to a sheep farm, but his new owner brought him back ... Watch now

Eliminate the Toilet Break

Eliminate the Toilet Break
Discourage your dog from taking a toilet break while it's working. Not only is it not professional, but dog which has stopped to relieve itself can ... Watch now

No Excuses Please!

No Excuses Please!
Take a realistic look at your dog's performance... It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your dog's work is better than it really ... Watch now

Eve at the Pen

Eve at the Pen
A complete training session, teaching the dog good pen manners. Getting sheep into a tight spot, and then getting them out again, needs confidence and control ... Watch now

Shedding (or Separating) The Sheep

Shedding (or Separating) The Sheep
Extremely useful on the farm, and essential for sheepdog trials. You'll need to 'shed' the sheep! Shedding is one of those operations that contradicts the basic ... Watch now

Educating Gloria!

Educating Gloria!
Watch a complete training session, full of valuable lessons! This tutorial shows nine-month old Gloria, a bright, enthusiastic young dog, and her fourth training session with ... Watch now

Sheepdog Trials – Getting Started (Parts 1 & 2)

Sheepdog Trials - Getting Started (Parts 1 & 2)
Information for would-be sheepdog trials competitors. Two-part tutorial for those people who hope to take part in sheepdog trials.Preparing your dog and yourself for your first ... Watch now

Sheepdogs Time Out!

Sheepdogs Time Out!
A great opportunity to get to know our sheepdogs - at work and play! Following on from the very popular video - and while we put ... Watch now

English subtitles available on tutorials.

183 comments

  1. HI Andy, and sorry for my bad English.

    I have a 14 months old bitch, and she is getting better. she has a great outrun and basic training. she has no fear of sheep, no problems of biting or getting between the fence and sheep.

    My problem is that there are 4 sheep, in the field where i train, an two of them are lazy or have figured out that she is not interested in them. When she does an out run, the two sheep get left behind. When the dog and all the sheep are close to me, its no problem most of the time. I can see that the dog is not interested in the two sheep, who either run off or just get left behind. and when i tell her it is not okay to let them get away, or leaving them behind, she gets confused.

    By the way i all ways tell her its not okay to leave them behind. when the two sheep run off, i tell the bitch to look back, and get them. She runs to get the sheep, but as soon as she is at the sheep who run off, she looses focus on them, and wants to heard the sheep who are at my feet. so she knows the sheep have run of, but does not want to herd them over to me. Often I have to walk and gather the sheep for her.

    I have tried to walk backwards and keep the dog behind all the sheep. But then the two sheep just stop walking, and the dog ignores that they have stopped and just lets them stand so again i end with two sheep, and not the four.

    So what can i do to get her interested in the sheep, and get her to herd them all the time and not just when they randomly move with the other sheep?

    An answer would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards, Tóki

    1. Your English is very good, Tóki! Unfortunately, I don’t speak any language other than English.
      It’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening without seeing it, but from what you say, I suspect you are allowing the dog to continue working two of the sheep, while the other two stay behind. I know you send the dog back for the others, but if she is keen to work sheep, then she MUST bring them all.
      Make it a firm rule, that whenever one or more sheep get left behind, you insist on the dog bringing it back, or the training will not continue.
      As I’m sure you know, once the sheep learn that they can avoid the dog, they will – and it won’t be easy to stop them running off.
      I keep saying in the tutorials that the closer you are to the dog, the more control you have over it, and you have described that in your question. Get up close to the dog and insist she keeps all of the sheep together, then very gradually increase the distance. If the walking backwards exercise is going wrong, you are probably too far away from the dog. Try driving the sheep. This way you can walk with the dog and help her. If you can get her to “dart” at the sheep or even nip one, give her a command for it, and use that command whenever she needs “more gas” (as they say in the US).
      I suggest you watch “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough“. I had a very similar problem with Carew and this shows how I corrected it. (You need to be logged-in to your account for this link to work).
      It won’t be easy to teach the sheep that they must move, but you can do it if you keep trying. Please let us know how your training progresses.

      1. Thank you. Very helpful advice.

        Just so you can get a feel for the shep i am training the dog with. I live in Faroe Islands, so the sheep are faroese sheep. the sheep i have are well dogged

        Now I insist that the training will not continue if she leaves sheep behind. and when she gathers them all i praise her. but the problem is still there. and she keeps focusing on the biggest ewe. so i just stop her far behind and let she sheep walk over to me and maybe that gives her the illusion, that she is keeping them together and pushing them to me. that way the two sheep don’t break away. the thing i am most worried about is that she normally only focuses on the biggest ewe.

        I trained her yesterdy, and got a freind to film it. you can take a look at it, if you want to ( https://youtu.be/bwxTaOho6F0 ).
        in the video i push her limits some times, or maybe too often.

        1. I’ve watched the first four minutes of the video, Tóki, and I looked at a few other moments too. I thought your dog was doing very well. She seemed to keep the sheep together well, and generally her stop is very good.
          I didn’t see any problem with sheep being ignored, and the dog seemed very keen. I hope you don’t mind me saying that I think you were very hard on the dog. Your shouting was so harsh sometimes that she looked round at you in a way that suggests she thought she’d done something wrong, but didn’t know what it was. I would encourage you to try to soften your voice, and show the dog that you’re pleased with her work (when she has done well). The only time you were nice to her was when you called her back to you.
          It was good to see you insist that she came right back to you – and the way that she reversed to you over the last metre or so showed just how keen she is to work!
          When she did an outrun and ran alongside the road I was worried that she may be able to get onto the road (I hope not).

          Why don’t you use the whistle more? I’m sure your harsh shouting makes the dog think she’s doing something wrong. Using the whistle would mean you don’t have to shout at the top of your voice when the dog’s further away – and it would benefit the people who live in those houses! I’m sure they don’t want to hear you yelling “Lie-down, lie down” so much!
          Lastly, I think those sheep are too “dogged” for your dog. You need fresher sheep which want to get away from you and the dog, rather than ones that are happy to come to you. This would make it more interesting for the dog – and further teach her to control them. Of course, I understand that you might have to manage with the sheep you have.
          I was impressed with the way the dog got the sheep out of a tight corner when she was at some distance from you.

          I didn’t see you walking backwards, but the ground is so rough that it must be difficult not to fall over! Generally, I thought what I saw was very good. The dog coped well on difficult ground – but I’d like to see you showing the dog that you’re pleased with her when she works well – and I’d like to see you let her work on her own more, and being nicer to her.
          Try just walking away (forwards but at the same time looking over your shoulder from time to time) and allowing the dog to work with NO COMMANDS! If the dog loses control of the sheep, quietly get things under control again, and then walk away again. She should learn to bring all the sheep to you wherever you go, and the more she can do it with no commands, the better!

          1. Hi again Andy. the dog is working more independently now, and my voice is lowering and the whistle is getting there.

            Today i tried shedding and she did great, so great i thought it couldn’t be real. But then i realized that every time she was shedding i pointed her in the direction of the big ewe and let one or two stand. When i tried to exclude the big ewe, she would push the two small lambs/ewes, but when i asked her to lay down, she would turn around and look at the big ewe. She did not look back at the others when i wanted her to exclude the small ewes. So that made it clear to me, that she is comfortable if the big ewe always is in the herd, but the small ones don’t need too.

            Should i get her to shed, and get her to exclude the big ewe every time, so she understands that the big ewe isn’t, the one i want her to focus on at that particular moment?

          2. The dog should be keeping all the sheep together, most of the time. It’s OK to occasionally shed off the big ewe and work the others but don’t overdo it. You don’t want the dog to think it’s OK to leave any sheep behind if it feels like it.
            Try to bring variation into your training by all means but not too much of any one thing, otherwise the dog will think that is normal.

  2. Subject:
    circling and rate behind the stock

    Message:
    Would love a video on how to get a dog that is persistant in circling
    to finally stop and get behind the stock
    THANK YOU I LOVE YOUR VIDEOS!
    Mindy

    1. Thank you for your email – and your question about a dog circling, Melinda.
      I recommend you watch the tutorials listed below

      (These links only work if you’re logged- in)
      Backwards is the way forward!
      The Training Stick
      Walking backwards is quite tedious, but it’s one of the best ways to put some polish on your dog’s work – it shows the dog where you want it to be and teaches it self discipline. Keep the dog back as you walk backwards, and the dog will learn to flank wider too.
      Good luck with the training.

  3. Hi Andy and Gill

    I have not long discovered your website but already I have learnt so much about how my 8 month bitch, Bess, needs to be trained.

    She is just about to start the very early stages of training, but she has been around the sheep for a couple of months already, she is very strong willed, both on sheep and at home, but she has a 90{a56cfaadebb0a7665ef0b8bb5f8f73bbf0eca0e81cdb3d1fbeae9197b774aba9} recall response and knows come bye, away, stop, lie down and wait, amongst the standard commands and I’m confident she will be a great asset to me. She has always looked back for me, notices when a sheep breaks free and will go after it to get it back, she also uses her voice when she comes across a sheep who wont move!

    High spirits comes with erratic chasing, selective hearing and the occasional gripping but although I correct her I am still aware she is a pup still and these moments will occur frequently whilst she is young!

    I am very pleased to have found your site as I was reluctant to let her run with other collies as I don’t want her to pick up any bad habits they may have. Plus the collies round here are not trained to the standard I wish for Bess to be. I was told I would have my work cut out to train her myself without a dog for her to follow and this concerned me that I would waste a good dog, but your videos have filled me with confidence and I cannot wait to make a proper start with her!

    Thank you again

    Jodi

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jodi. I’m glad you find the website useful for training Bess. It’s not a good idea to train a dog by letting it run with others because the trainee dog will learn the bad habits of the older dogs as well as the good points. Believe in your dog, be firm but patient, and I’m sure you’ll succeed.
      Please let us know how you get on.

  4. Hi andy,
    After practicing for weeks on flanking and droving me and my young bitch are approaching driving. She starts to get the idea walking straight in front of me and I’m gradually increasing distance between me and the dog. As a matter of fact, approaching driving, I found out how critical it is to have a very good stop and recall. Which my dog did not have. Or not enough though. The matters covered in your videos are great. I wish I could also find some material on teaching basic obedience commands, which are foundamental stuff in the area of sheepworking. There is a lot of stuff on the net but nothing matching your approach.
    Daniele

    1. It’s very important for the dog to get off to a good start, Daniele – but it’s never too late to get things right later on (it just takes a little longer as the dog gets older).
      There’s quite a lot of information on this subject in our “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training” DVDs. I recommend you watch those to see where you’re going wrong.
      One thing springs to mind though – we are learning all the time here, and since we made “First Steps” (several years ago now) we’ve learned the value of lead training. Away from the sheep, it’s excellent practice to teach the dog to walk PROPERLY on a lead. If you can achieve this, the dog will be far easier to train, because by walking with the lead slack (as I said – away from sheep) the dog is fully accepting that you are the leader. If it’s pulling, it has not, and a dog that has not accepted you as its leader is not going to respect your wishes if they don’t coincide with its own.
      On “First Steps” you’ll see me teaching the dogs to “Stay Close” when we’re out walking. This is even more advanced than lead training, and I wouldn’t expect most trainers to have the patience to do it – but if you can, again, it does wonders for the dog’s respect of you.

  5. Hi Andy, I attended one of your courses in the summer and have made good (I think) progress with Clover over the last few weeks. She now can hold a few sheep in a small area and knows her flank commands and this is what I have been focusing on. She is though far too close to the sheep but I was hoping to leave this issue until I think she is fully capable with the flank commands. My concern however is that I am storing up or adding to a problem later by allowing her to work so close to the sheep.

    Your view would really be appreciated, Keith

    1. By allowing the dog to continue to work too close to the sheep, you are indeed storing up problems which will be harder to correct later. I urge you to widen Clover out at your earliest opportunity. The longer she’s allowed to get away with it, the more entrenched “this is how we do it” will be, in her mind.
      Driving is advanced work. It’s hard enough to get some dogs to flank wide enough when they’re driving, even when they’ve learned to flank well at other times, so it’s clearly better to teach ALL the basics before you move on to more advanced work.
      Teach the dog to WALK before you try to teach it to RUN!

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