Sheepdog Training Video Library

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Now with 73 excellent sheepdog training tutorial videos

For best results watch videos in order below.

Top tips for easier training

Photo of a young sheepdog bravely keeping a sheep in place
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 addresses points which are so often missed by novice trainers, including safety, the difference between … Watch now

The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training

Cover thumbnail image for 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

Cover photo of our sheepdog training tutorial
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

Learn about sheep
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

Close-up photo of a group of Border Collie sheepdogs close together
A tutorial to help you get a better understanding of your dog 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 … Watch now

The Training Area

Learn how to make your training area suitable for training sheepdogs
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?

Training a sheepdog inside a training ring
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

Photo of sheepdog Trainer Andy with Border Collie puppy Mo
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

Photo of the simple 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

Close-up photo of Border Collie Sheepdog Kay controlling a group of sheep
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

Photo of a man training a sheepdog in a training ring
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

188 responses to “Sheepdog Training Video Library”

  1. margarita Fernández Wiberg avatar

    Hi! I am loving these videos! thank you so much and congratulations for such a great job!
    I have a 7 months old sheppers and Just moved 2 months ago to a farm where they have 2 other dogs that go once in a while hunting wild animals… the question is… do you know if its true that my dog shoud not go with them outside the farm what so ever? I am doing so, but sometime they escape… thank you!

    1. Gill avatar

      It’s great to hear that you like the videos, thank you for letting us know. I don’t think anyone’s dogs should be allowed to wander unsupervised, and the problem with a sheepdog left to its own devices is the possibility of its worrying livestock (or of being accused of it). At least, that applies to the UK; you’ll know your own situation. Spending time with other dogs can only be a good thing though, so those no need to prevent your dog from socialising.

  2. Lynette avatar

    Hi, I have a 13month old female showing a lot of natural potential. So far, she been a fast learner at everything I’ve asked her to do. The one place where I’m having trouble, and it’s holding up advancing to other things, is that I can’t get her to lie down away from me. No matter where she is on the field when I tell her to lie down she runs back and lies at my feet. I’ve tried taking her out with the adult dogs so she can see how it should be done and I’ve tried tying her up and tell her to lie down as I move away (which works until I untie her) and I’ve had someone else hold her, but I can’t seem to break her of this habit. Only once has she done it and it was because she was torn between leaving the sheep and coming back to me.
    I have your DVDs but I haven’t made it through them all. Is there one you would recommend to help me with this? Any tips?

    1. Andy avatar

      I think you’re trying to progress too quickly, Lynette. It sounds as though the dog has a good bond with you, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem training her on sheep.
      As with all dog training, you need to make it very simple for the dog to understand what you want, and only gradually make things more difficult, until you eventually get the result you want.
      Get the dog to lie down just in front of you, and try to make her stay in place while you move back – say a metre (3ft). Once she’s got the idea, you can increase the distance SLOWLY. At some point, she’s bound to stand up and come towards you, so you rush towards her (in a slightly threatening manner) – send her back, and tell her to lie down.
      If you work this correctly, you’ll soon be able to get her to lie down anywhere – at almost any distance.

      Now, I want to know why you feel the need to do this? If you want to learn how to train a dog to work sheep, why not watch the DVDs FIRST? Then you’ll know that what you’re trying to achieve isn’t necessary. We used to have thirty dogs years ago – and we trained a great many more, but when they were not working, only the odd one or two would lie down on command or sit! The ones that would, were dogs that had been pets before we “re-homed” them and trained them to work sheep.
      Having said that, I’ve learned over the years that if the dog knows what the command “lie down” means, it can make it easier to train the dog on livestock, so although you’ll see videos where I tell the dogs to lie down, I don’t expect them to lie on the floor. I just want them to stay where they are (but my command for this happens to be “Lie down”.
      Watch those DVDs, and then train your dog on sheep!

      1. Lynette avatar

        Hi Andy, I hear you about watching the videos first, but since I started training dogs about 10 years ago and didn’t have the DVDs at that time I sort of missed the boat on that one! I am currently working with 9 dogs ages 8 months to 10 years old and I have a full time job so I admit, I’ve been going at the DVDs by topic/need rather than sitting down to watch them all at once.
        I start lie down training when they’re about 8 months and I tried rushing at her in the early days but she sees it as playing so I stopped. Mentally she’s definitely ready to be on sheep but I need to get the lie down sorted out so I have control. Any other suggestions?

        1. Andy avatar

          Sorry Lynette, my advice remains the same. Take a little time to watch the DVDs (over a few evenings) and you’ll have a much better understanding of what’s likely to happen – and how to cope with it. That’s what they’re for.
          I see you have “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training“. Watch that one first – it’ll help you a lot.
          It would be far better if you subscribed to the Online Tutorials – then you’d be able to select the basic ones first in the “Where to Start” category.

    2. Travis Woo avatar

      In one of the videos a dog wouldn’t do the “lie down” command correctly, but it could do “sit”. Maybe that could help you

      1. Andy avatar

        I don’t understand your point, Travis. Help with what?

  3. Brianna avatar

    Andy, do you do something special with your puppies to avoid the bad habit of herding (chasing and heading) other dogs? We seem to have bought a few pups with this trait and i think it’s going to affect their ability to turn onto sheep. I’ve seen an older dog that does it and she has no interest in sheep whatever but only wants to herd other dogs so we’d like to avoid this if possible. Thank you for your time!

    1. Andy avatar

      We’ve had thirty or more dogs at any one time over the years, Brianna and although there’s plenty of herding and general “rough and tumble” it’s never put any of our dogs off working. On the contrary, it seems to improve the chances of them working.
      I suspect the dog you’ve seen had no interest in sheep anyway, but happens to play with other dogs. We’ve seen that.

  4. Brianna avatar

    Andy, do some dogs just have better presence with sheep? My dog works very close to sheep without upsetting them, but others I’ve seen have to work much farther away. What is the difference? Do other dogs just have more power than mine?

    1. Andy avatar

      A very interesting question, Brianna! The basic answer is yes, some dogs definitely have a stronger “presence” than others, but so much also depends on the sheep. How calm or flighty they are, how stubborn or aggressive they are, and how familiar they are with the dog, all these factors make a huge difference.

      Sheep can “read” a dog instantly and if the dog has a strong presence the sheep will immediately show it great respect, whereas a dog which doesn’t have such a strong presence might have to work harder. You don’t actually say how successful your dog is with stubborn sheep but I suspect it may fall into the latter category.

      Surprisingly, a dog which is madly running around the sheep, barking and even gripping them doesn’t necessarily earn the respect of the sheep whereas (for instance) our old Mel could walk very calmly up towards any sheep and they would move while she was still at a respectable distance from them. She never failed.

      If you train the same dog on the same sheep over a long period, the sheep can also build up a resistance to that dog because they learn to exploit any weaknesses there may be in the dog’s work pattern.

      Many people think sheep are completely stupid but in some ways, they can be very clever indeed.

      1. Brianna avatar

        Thank you for your quick and helpful reply Andy! Yes my dog has to work harder on stubborn sheep, but it’s only because he absolutely refuses to bite. He will walk up on a ewe with lambs and keep walking into her even if she goes after him, so I don’t think it’s a lack of courage, and I’ve tried your tips in the tutorial “sometimes nice is not enough”. It takes me a long time to convince him to bite, even when I’m standing very close to him. He just doesn’t seem to want to, but he loves to walk up onto them. As you might guess, getting him to take a bite command at any distance away (since he doesn’t want to do it up close) is out of the question.

        I have one other dog I’m training for someone else who is out of cattle lines and all he has to do is make a face at the sheep from 20 feet away and they’re convinced. The same dog has no problem taking a bite is needed so here is the question that has been rattling around in my head:

        Is presence or power directly related to the sheep’s perception of whether the dog is WILLING to use it’s teeth? I don’t mean dogs that actually do bite, I just mean the ones that the sheep think WILL use their teeth if necessary vs those that they perceive will not.

        Thank you again.

      2. Brianna avatar

        Hi Andy, thanks for the reply! Is there power of a dog directly correlated to whether the sheep perceive the dog will use it’s teeth or not?

        1. Andy avatar

          No, not necessarily. Sheep are very good at assessing a dog’s confidence. If the dog is brimming with confidence, the sheep will recognise that immediately, and they’ll respect the dog whether it’s a dog which is likely to use its teeth or not.

          I mentioned Mel in my previous reply. She very rarely used her teeth – in fact, I can’t remember her doing it, but she would just keep coming at the sheep. She didn’t do many sheepdog trials because she had a very serious leg injury, but before that happened we were at a sheepdog trial where the sheep turned at the mouth of the pen, and faced her. Mel just carried on walking towards them as though nothing had happened. Closer and closer she went, until her nose touched the lead sheep’s nose! Still she kept going and to everyone’s astonishment, the five sheep all reversed into the pen! The crowd applauded!

          I’ve never known another dog with as much confidence as Mel. Her daughter Carew features heavily in many of our tutorials, including Sometimes nice is not enough. Mel had natural confidence, Carew needed help to build hers, but once she had it, when she was close, she’d move anything.

          I would say that knowing it can use its teeth if it really needs to can be a huge boost to the dog’s confidence.
          If your dog doesn’t want to bite, and the sheep are stubborn or aggressive, try to get the dog to at least, lunge at the sheep or flank suddenly. That will usually move them.

          Whether a dog’s from cattle lines or sheep lines doesn’t seem to make much difference – it’s the dog’s perception of what is, and what’s not acceptable, in terms of gripping, that seems to be the key.

  5. Oli avatar

    Hello my name is Oli. I have a very strong fully trained sheepdog. He just turned 3 in January. He is a very quick dog and a good listener, my only problem with him is his flanking. Specially when he is far away i have a problem to get him out, he always takes the shortest route (cutting the edges)
    Wath is you’re advise fore me,? how and wath is the best way get him too flank better ??

    best regards

    Óli

    1. Andy avatar

      Óli, there is no such thing as a fully trained sheepdog. A dog which is perfect for one person, is only partly trained for another. For example, many farmers would describe a dog as “fully trained” if it will simply go out into the field and bring the sheep to a yard. Others want the dog to do so much more: shedding, penning, driving, help with lambing and so on.

      I’m sure your dog is very useful for you, but from your description, he cannot be “fully trained” because he’s not doing all the things you need him to do – but he should be doing those things. You say he’s very quick. Do you want him to be very quick? The sheep certainly don’t like a very quick dog – it unsettles them. If the dog’s working very fast, it’s lacking confidence, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good dog.

      If the dog is flanking very close to the sheep when he’s at a distance, it’s because he’s afraid he’s going to lose them (confidence again). Remember, he’s a pack animal and his instinct tells him he should hold the sheep to the rest of the pack (which is you). The further away from you they get, the more worried the dog gets, so you need to prove to him that there’s nothing to worry about. Do this by very gradually increasing the distance he works from you.

      First though, you need to go back to basics with your dog. Get him to flank at the correct distance from the sheep and at a steady pace when he’s close to you, and while you teach him this, give him a command such as “Get out” as you whoosh the stick or move towards him to send him out wider. Soon he will learn to go out wider on command – and this will help when he’s farther from you. Watch Give the sheep some space for help with widening the dog’s flanks.

      If he’s too tight on his outrun, there are several things you can do to put this right. You’ll find them in the Outrun tutorials.

      Get him going steadily around the sheep. one of the best ways to do this is walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you. Watch Backwards is the way forward to learn how to do this properly. It may seem boring to you, but it teaches the dog a great deal: self control, steady pace. The dog must learn to bring the sheep at the pace that you walk backwards – not darting forwards and then stopping. It must also learn to keep back. This will teach the dog the distance you want it to work from the sheep. The better the dog learns this when it works close to you, the more chance of it going wider when it’s further away.

      Another very useful exercise is to teach the dog to circle the sheep in front of you. It may not sound like a useful thing to teach the dog, but it is. The dog will naturally widen out if you can get it to circle the sheep on command (both ways). It’s unnatural for the dog to leave the point of balance and come towards the handler but once you can teach the dog to do it, you’ll have a different dog! Watch Circle on command.

      I hope you find this useful – please let me know how you get on with training your dog.

      1. oli a Gravarbø avatar

        Haha yeah you are right about that. Let´s put it this way, he is a very good listner he has a good outrun and good distance, he also has a very good stop, and we have good connection (work well together) i guess the biggest problem is my lack of education. I will take a look at the videos you have recommended, and start the training..

        oli

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