What shall I do next?

Follow our suggested routine for training your sheepdog.

Subtitles: French*, Spanish* or English, click CC on viewer (*translation errors).



Gill, wondering what to do next with Roy

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What is the correct course of lessons for training dogs?
Begin training by bonding with the dog.
Recall and Stay…
Start the dog on calm sheep.
Don’t train with stubborn, aggressive sheep.
Use a correctly sized training ring to keep the action close.
Recommended size of the training ring.
Once the dog’s circling, teach it to stop.
Next, it’s time to start going backwards
Move training out into the open field.
Perfect “Walking Backwards” out in the field.
Introduce the Look Back command.
Teach the dog to do short outruns.
Increase the outrun distance slowly.
Introduce variety into the dog’s training course.
Relieve stressful training with outruns.
Look for chances to improve the dog’s work.
Don’t be afraid to try your own ideas during training.
Some tutorials to look out for.
Brief summary of our suggested training schedule.

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If you have a training question or comment, leave it below.

Our suggested training schedule

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, but some are more urgent than others. While there’s no simple rule for the order of training, we suggest a logical routine that we follow, and explain the reasons why.

Add some flexibility to the programme…

In all the years we’ve been training sheepdogs, we’ve learned that once the dog’s making good progress and controlling its sheep or cattle well, the timetable, sequence of events, locations and even (if possible) stock or sheep used for teaching the dog, should be varied. This will keep the dogs interest and attention, as well as broadening its mind. As a result, the dog will be far better able to accept varied conditions in future.

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16 responses to “What shall I do next?”

  1. iona finlayson avatar
    iona finlayson

    I have got a 11 month old bitch who is so keen to walk up sheep but she’s so fixated on them she doesn’t go to her sides she just wants to keep them moving straight is their any tutorial you may suggest
    Thank you

    1. That’s perfectly natural for a keen young dog who just needs to build her confidence. Watch “Sticky Dogs” and “Balance – What’s the Point?” to find out how you can help her!
      You need to concentrate initially on teaching the dog to go to the point of balance. If it won’t do that by itself, stop the dog and keep it in place while YOU move to the point of balance – and keep it there, while you praise it. Then you can move back slowly and call the dog towards you – but try to keep it on the opposite side of the sheep from where you are. This will eventually show the dog that it needs to be on the point of balance, but depends on you being able to stop the dog and keep it in place.

  2. saira renny avatar
    saira renny

    Ive just joined membership , and the tutorials have been such a fantastic help . 3 weeks ago i bought a 5 year old untrained bitch . I have been watching your tutorials every day and teaching cuilean she is very keen ,now competent on her sides , and stops well . I ve been practising walking backwards with her bringing the sheep to me , which she is also mastered , and walks very well on the lead . I dont yet trust her in the open field (our fields are full of bogs and burns ) as i have tried her and she just chased and split the sheep (they are fairly flighty hill sheep )and didnt listen well compared to being good in the training ring . What would be your advise for the next step in her training ? also have you any advice with starting older dogs ?

    1. It’s great to know you are finding the tutorials useful, Saira. Feedback is so important for us because it helps us to bring you the tutorials you need.
      Don’t worry, your dog is behaving perfectly naturally. She doesn’t need any special treatment because of her age, except that the older the dog is, the longer it takes to learn new things. She’ll be perfectly OK – the only problem is that you are trying to progress too quickly with her.
      I very strongly recommend you watch ALL the tutorials in the “Where to Start category. That will give you a far better understanding of how your dog is going to behave, and what you can expect of her.
      You need to work her at a distance where you are confident she will work properly, and only increase the distance she works at very gradually. The farther the trainee dog is from the handler, the less control the handler will have over the dog. It’s all in those “Where to Start” tutorials.

      1. saira renny avatar
        saira renny

        Thankyou for your reply . Ill watch the “where to start ” tutorials again ,and maybe slow down the pace of her training . I have recently lost a good dog , and have prehaps put to much pressure on my new one to get working .

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