Bronwen and Scylla (1 of 9)

An interesting and useful sheepdog training comparison following the training of two very different farm dogs, who also happen to be sisters.

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



An interesting and useful sheepdog training comparison with Bronwen and Scylla

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Video Highlights

Two young sheepdogs in the making.
Why choose litter-mates for a comparison?
Lead training improves the dog’s bond with it’s owner.
Both difficult pups to keep away from sheep.
A big challenge for Bronwen’s first-ever training session.
Bronwen’s sheep escape into the garden, but who’s to blame?
Taking the sheep to the training ring.
The sheep escape!
Bronwen regains control of her sheep and also manages to get them into the training ring!

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Learning to become sheepdogs

This is a sheepdog training comparison which is both interesting and useful. It follows the progress of litter sisters Bronwen and Scylla, as they learn to become farm sheepdogs. The two young dogs have the same parents, and were born in the same litter, but that’s where the similarity ends.

As trainee farm dogs, their temperaments are very different. The same goes for their attitude to working sheep. In this first video we learn about the two young dogs temperaments, and we also see Bronwen working remarkably well in the field. But Scylla’s approach seems to be based on the saying; “the best form of defence is attack“!

To put it another way, Bronwen is a sheep dog trainer’s dream. She’s what is referred to in farm and herding terminology as a ‘biddable dog‘. Going by the early evidence, Scylla promises to be the opposite!

Bronwen and Scylla 2


17 responses to “Bronwen and Scylla (1 of 9)”

  1. Scott Michael Brennan avatar
    Scott Michael Brennan

    These are, like the others brilliant videos and lessons. Have these young pups worked extensively in the training pen? If not, why do they head out in the half moon/flank direction? Is that just instinctual? It would seem to me ( and is often the case with my dog) the most natural instinct, outside of the circular training pen, would be for the dog to make a direct line to the sheep. These puppies, in the open field seemingly do it well.

    Also, if I have my female sheep with a stud and I’m looking to reproduce will training with them with my dogs stress them out enough to alter the pregnancy?

    Best and thanks kindly!


    1. Thanks for the great feedback, Scott. It’s important for us to know whether our videos are clear, and covering the right topics.
      In the Bronwen and Scylla 1 video, Bronwen had no previous training at all. That was the first time I had taken her to sheep, but she had escaped and got to the sheep by herself once or twice. This should be avoided though. Watch the video again – it’s all explained in there.
      There are more answers to your questions in ‘Pack Behaviour Insights‘. Flanking around the sheep (or ‘prey’) is instinctive for quite a number of dogs, but some need encouragement to do it.

      Training dogs on sheep puts a lot of pressure on the ewes. It’s very important not to train dogs on pregnant sheep or ewes with young lambs. If possible, use ewe lambs (young females which are not pregnant). Watch the ‘Sheep‘ video.

  2. Vivian Knight avatar
    Vivian Knight

    Great videos! I have learnt so much. Part 7 as you suggested for me to watch for my dog wide flanking was very interesting.

    Bronwen did the exact same as my boy!

    I will keep going with short sessions, stay calm, don’t shout at him and talk nice to him when he comes in it hopefully will get better.

    Thank you. Really enjoying the tutorials.


  3. tatyana baktimirova avatar
    tatyana baktimirova

    Hello, I’m watching all your lessons. But English is not my native language. It’s hard for me to understand by ear. Could you include subtitles in Bronwen and Scylla’s lessons? Thank you, Tatiana from Russia

    1. All of our tutorials have English and Spanish Subtitles which can be activated by clicking the “CC” link on the player (while it is playing).
      Unfortunately, we are unable to provide Russian subtitles at the moment, but hopefully either the English or Spanish subtitles will be helpful. Any feedback on this would be welcome.

      1. tatyana baktimirova avatar
        tatyana baktimirova

        Thank you, Yes, English subtitles can help me a lot, I read well. I just don’t understand speech by ear very well.

  4. Arye Ehrenberg avatar
    Arye Ehrenberg

    Hllo Andy. In part 7, whould’nt it be easier for a novice dog if the entrance to the round pen was near the fence so it would create a funnel for the sheep to get in?

    1. I think you might mean Part 1, because in part 7 there are hedges or fencing on both sides of the pen entrance, funnelling the sheep in.

      Yes, of course it will always be easier if there’s some form of funnel – but if it is part 1 you mean, it was Bronwen’s first ever lesson – and to be honest, I was not really expecting her to get as far as the pen – that’s why the camera is so far away!
      Use this link for more about Getting the sheep into the training ring!

  5. Arye Ehrenberg avatar
    Arye Ehrenberg

    Hello Andy. I appreciate the honesty in your videos. there are a lot of “perfect videos” out there of perfect dogs & trainers but they are not helping any one.
    Q: In a situation like in the beginning of part 5, would it be helpful for someone to hold the dog while you get close to the sheep?

    1. Yes it would help, because it would be easier to get into position close to the sheep, and then wave her out around them. But watching it again just now, the sheep were tight on the fence and I don’t think Scylla would have got them away cleanly anyway.

  6. Arye Ehrenberg avatar
    Arye Ehrenberg

    Hello Andy. In a case like scylla that move away from the stick, would it be helpful to put something noisy on the stick ,like an empty food bag?

    1. If a dog is ignoring the stick a lightweight polythene bag secured on the end of the stick with rubber bands can work very well – but try not to use it for too long. It’s better to get the dog working without aids where possible.

  7. Sharon Tharp avatar
    Sharon Tharp

    My dog was to over flank, both sides?? Is just having patience and hitting the ground on both sides and then when she is not flanking so hard I say there….only lasts a second then she is off again. Any suggestions? Thanks

    1. I’m not really sure what you mean Sharon, but it sounds as though you need to teach the dog to stay in place for longer and wait for your next command. “Backwards is the Way Forward” is a great tutorial for this.
      If I have misunderstood, please let me know.

  8. Sharon Dungey avatar
    Sharon Dungey

    Great seeing how two dogs from the same litter can differ so much. It is also encouraging to see you persevering with a young dog who is not easy to train. My husband has one of those.

    Wondered if you could do a training video on how to encourage a dog to walk up on to the sheep in a straight line. It is a real battle for my husband to get his dog to stop sweeping from side to side like windscreen wipers on a car. Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Backwards is the way forwards, Sharon! It’s boring and tiresome, but walking backwards with the dog calmly bringing the sheep up behind you (at the pace YOU choose) and not rushing then stopping, is one of the most important of all sheepdog training exercises that I know of:

  9. vince beech avatar
    vince beech

    Think following your puppy training will be a great help great idea

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