Training area – small changes for easier training

Our suggestions to improve your training area, for easier training.

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



Learn how to make your training area suitable for classes

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Video Highlights

A wide outrun avoids the dog upsetting the sheep.
Starting the dog is the difficult part!
Starting in the open field can work, but…
A smaller area helps get control of sheep.
A yard’s OK. A training ring‘s better!
Training ring design.
How to mark out and build the training ring.
Getting the sheep into the training ring.
Moving out of the ring, into the open field.
When does a dog become a sheepdog?
How to prepare your main training area.
Things best avoided in your training area.
Take a look at our training field.
Widening the dog’s experience.
Remember the sheep need fresh water.

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Small changes can make training easier

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 “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training” DVD footage to make matters even clearer, this tutorial will give you great insight into the type of ground you should train in and some great ideas for improving it quite dramatically.

Getting Sheep Into The Ring


9 responses to “Training area – small changes for easier training”

  1. Brian Thomas avatar
    Brian Thomas

    What is the diameter of the round pen in the field you used in this video?

    1. Sixteen metres diameter, Brian. That’s approximately 52ft.
      It does say on the video at 08:31.
      We find that if the ring is bigger, it’s hard to keep control. Smaller isn’t good, either.
      Watch the Training Ring tutorials.

  2. gareth thomas avatar
    gareth thomas

    hi andy i have a good dog 3 years old but 1 problem …. i can not get him to shed sheep… he has all them enthuseasim in the world .. but for some reason he bulks at shedding ????? i have been trying for 1 1/2 years on and off. buty i can not find a cure… Help

    1. Have you watched the Shedding Tutorial, Gareth?
      That gives a pretty good explanation of what you need to do. You haven’t given me any information to go on, but presumably the dog won’t come through the sheep when you want him to. If this is the case, YOU need to make a gap between the two lots of sheep, and call the dog through.
      If he won’t come, the gap’s not wide enough! It’s a confidence issue.
      If you can’t get the sheep to stay out wide enough, put them in a couple of hurdle enclosures, and call the dog through. Once he’s coming thorough OK, make the gap a little narrower, and so on.
      As his confidence builds, you can try with the sheep loose in the field again, but be sure to create a good wide gap before you call him through.

  3. TERESA WHITING avatar


  4. owen taggart avatar
    owen taggart

    Hi, just wondering what size of ring you use, in the video it says the small ring is 16m by 16m, and the larger ring in the field is also 16m by 16m, did I miss something or are they the same size.?

    1. A round pen of sixteen metres diameter is great for starting dogs off Owen, but once it’s going both ways around the sheep and stopping reasonably, we need to progress. The next stage is to start Walking Backwards (you need to be logged-in for this link to work) but the sixteen metre ring isn’t really big enough for this, so we add three or four 1.2 mtr hurdles to either side to make an oval shape. This is ideal for improving the dog’s Walking Backwards and you can even give it short outruns, too.
      My apologies if this isn’t clear in the tutorials (my fault).

  5. Jonathan Cobb avatar
    Jonathan Cobb

    Thank you, Andy! Very helpful as we are setting up our training area now. Only wish we could find the same type of “hurdles” you have there. Sheep are not the primary livestock in our area, so we had to have some built, I like the way yours look better. :-)

    1. Thank you for the feedback Jonathan, it’s very useful for us to know we’re giving the right sort of information. Unless you use it later for more advanced work like teaching the dog inside flanks, or driving, you don’t need the training ring for very long but it’s extremely useful for getting a dog started.

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