Making Progress Category

Making progress with your sheepdog training

CONGRATULATIONS! You are making good progress with training your dog to work sheep, cattle or other livestock. The tutorial videos in this category will help you take your dog’s skill to a new level.

Andy walking backwards with a dog.

BACKWARDS IS THE WAY FORWARDS! – The single most important exercise you can do once your dog has basic control of the sheep. It’s boring, and may appear pointless to the novice. Done properly though, it improves the dog’s pace, working distance, stop, sheep control, and much more. The technique involves walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you, at the pace you walk back. This is one of the most important tutorials in the sheepdog training video library!

Back to forwards is a great lesson to improve control of your dog

BACK TO FORWARDS! – Once you and your dog have mastered “Backwards is the Way Forward“, this is the next step! When you can rely on your dog to bring the sheep up to you nicely as you walk backwards, turn around and walk forwards! It shouldn’t take much more training before the dog responds by bringing the sheep up along behind you nicely, even when you’re not watching it! Teaching your dog will become far easier, and progress also becomes quicker!

Cover image for Educating Gloria

EDUCATING GLORIA! – This is Gloria’s fourth training session, with some well-dogged sheep. The tutorial shows how to train a dog to work farm livestock using techniques seen in other tutorials, for instance the training ring; training stick; reinforcing the stop, and flank commands; widening the flanks; taking the sheep out of the ring (whoops – the wrong way!) and dealing with gripping. Gloria’s no angel, but we think you’ll be impressed with her!

Photo of Andy filming the video: why your dog must run both ways around sheep

WHY YOUR DOG SHOULD FLANK BOTH WAYS – This video emphasises 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 favour working in one direction over another. But it’s simply a habit that can fairly easily be trained out of the dog. Watch the video to find how. To train a dog to work farm livestock properly involves the dog going both ways around the livestock.

Cover photo for. the tutorial "How can I slow the dog down"

HOW CAN I SLOW THE DOG DOWN? – An excited dog racing around sheep or cattle, is going to stress them, as well as frighten them. Upset or scared animals, not only become less productive and move erratically. This further excites the dog, which in turn runs faster. Training a dog to work livestock shouldn’t be like this any longer than can be helped. Learn how to get your dog working steadily around stock, and your training lessons will improve quickly.

Photo of a sheepdog and handler taking sheep out of a training ring, into the open field

MOVING OUT – INTO THE OPEN FIELD – Getting your trainee dog to bring the sheep out of the training ring without crisis can be a tricky affair. The sheep usually grasp the slightest opportunity to bolt, and this can result in an ugly chase. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to train a dog to work farm livestock using a routine to get sheep out of a training ring and into the open. A method which also greatly increases the chance of a smooth transition.

Photo of a dog biting some sheep as they go into a pen

NO EXCUSES PLEASE! – It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your dog’s work is better than it really is. (It happened with me and my first dog, Dot many years ago)! Novice trainers are often over-eager to move-on with their dog’s training. Some will even overlook shortcuts and bad habits which the dog sometimes adopts to get the job done quickly. Find out how to train a farm dog to work better, and accurately assess the dog’s skill level.

Sheepdog Training in a large field

SENDING THE DOG THE WRONG WAY! – No, not a mistake! The technique we call ‘sending the dog the wrong way’ will widen your farm dog out as it goes round the stock. It’s not easy to describe in print, but it’s easily understood when you see the video. Sending the dog the ‘wrong way’ is a great training technique to get a dog to give the sheep space when it’s flanking. Once you can achieve this, your dog’s well on the way to becoming a fine working farm dog.

Photo of a sheep chasing a dog away

SOMETIMES NICE IS NOT ENOUGH – Does your dog need more “GRRRRR”? It’s fine training your sheepdog or cattle dog to keep well back from the stock, so as to not upset them. What can you do if the sheep refuse to go where the dog’s trying to put them though? For their own welfare, sheep, cattle or other farm stock must be handled, treated for any ailments and managed. So that means we need to teach the dog to get tough sometimes. Give your dog a boost!

Tess in the open field cover picture

TESS IN THE OPEN FIELD – Highly recommended. The ‘Tess in the open field’ sheepdog training video is a complete training session, packed with important training examples. In this video, Tess is learning to widen her flanks and not cross over on her outrun, or split the sheep up. We also encourage her to work more calmly around the sheep, and come away from them more reliably. In addition, she gets an introduction to driving. Plenty for Tess to learn!