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Sheepdog Training Tutorials (Full List)

For best results watch the videos in the order they appear here.
English subtitles are available on all our tutorials.

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)

Stopping the Dog (Parts 1-3)
Teach your dog to stop well on command, without damaging its confidence. For English Subtitles click CC on player. The three completely revised tutorials delve into the thorny issue of getting your dog to stop, in much more detail than ... 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 six and twelve months, but if you have the right sort of sheep and ... 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 begin a puppy's training at a very early age, but if you didn't have ... 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 how to slow the dog down. Of course, there's no "quick fix" for getting ... 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 sessions.There are no hard and fast rules, but it's important to observe your dog's ... 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 temperaments are very different and the same goes for their attitude to working sheep ... 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 that the point of balance is not always to be found where we might ... 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. For English Subtitles click CC on player. A two-part tutorial. One of the most useful assets that help us to train a sheepdog is ... 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 training can be very frustrating unless you know the "tricks of the trade". This ... 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 tricky affair. The sheep will usually grasp the slightest opportunity to bolt and this ... 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 training process itself improves other aspects of the dog's work, such as flanking and ... 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 training. "An Insight into Pack Behaviour" was originally a chapter on our "" DVD, ... Watch now

English subtitles are available on all our tutorials

183 comments

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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. 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. 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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