Sheepdogs time out!

A great opportunity to get to know our sheepdogs at work and play!

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



Close-up photo of three sheepdogs very close together

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You’ll love this!

Following on from the very popular An Insight Into Pack Behaviour video – and while we put the finishing touches to our latest sheepdog training tutorial, we thought we’d give you a real treat!
Sheepdogs Time Out” comprises of no less than four great chapters from our DVD Border Collie Sheepdogs & Friends – Still Off Duty, and is a shade under 17 minutes of fun and training with our dogs.

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15 responses to “Sheepdogs time out!”

  1. David Acuna avatar
    David Acuna

    Hi Andy and Gill,

    Just a suggestion for a potential new tutorial: combining sheepdogs with sheep guardian dogs. What if you work with guardian dogs, such Spanish mastiff?. Will their presence change the behaviour of the collie sheepdog?. I heard you need to raise them separately (the sheepdog with the shepherd and the guardian dog must live with the sheep and will defend them against any attack). Information and guidance about this would be great for those ones who need guardian dogs due to the proximity of wolves.


    1. I’m afraid we can’t offer any advice on guardian dogs, because we have zero experience with them. As far as I’m aware, here in the UK at the present time, there are no wild wolves, so they’re not a threat to livestock. We have foxes which kill lambs, but only for a very brief period of time each year. Presumably sheep farmers don’t see this as serious enough to warrant keeping guardian dogs.
      I would imagine that if you have a dog guarding a flock, it may well see a sheepdog as a predator, but you need advice from someone with actual experience of this.
      You certainly need to keep your sheepdog away from sheep until it’s trained – and then train the dog not to work the sheep when you’re not around.

      1. David Acuna avatar
        David Acuna

        Thanks for your honest response. I’ll ask around here, because in here in Spain is quite common to work with both kind of dogs with the same herd.

  2. Linda Birkinshaw avatar
    Linda Birkinshaw

    I watch your videos because I LOVE them, and as a pet dog trainer I am interested in all aspects of training. But I DO NOT want my 9 month rescue collie to be interested in sheep, we don’t have any, and because we walk the fells and he will be with me and sheep are out of bounds.
    So, I have shown him sheep as a youngster so that he doesn’t get excited by them, which you said NOT to do if we want the dog to be interested in working sheep later on. Do you think that’s the right approach?
    I use your tutorials as an insight into the collie mind and how to communicate what I want of him. Even though he can’t be a working sheep dog (I’m sure he’d love to be one!) I use what you say about body positioning to get him where I want.
    His herding instincts are very strong and I find it fascinating that they are born with these instincts, and he learns so quickly. Also fascinating that he would down or stop instantly , right from the start, and will do it with the use of a stick, whereas most pet dogs would be frightened by this.

    Thanks for your videos. (And don’t worry, he’s not a frustrated collie with nothing to do, he will do agility and hill walking)
    Linda and Barley

    1. Your training sounds great, Linda. By calmly walking him near sheep and discouraging him from chasing them, you should be able to get him to ignore them but you cannot rely on it (or any other form of “de-sheeping”) 100%. There’s always that outside chance that a sudden or unexpected movement of sheep could spark his hunting instinct. As time goes on though, you’ll be able to trust him more and more.

      1. Linda Birkinshaw avatar
        Linda Birkinshaw

        Thank you for your reply Andy. I know I have to be careful and would never let him off near sheep anyway, but am keen to be doing the right thing.
        You dogs work sheep, but when not working, having time out, they completely ignore the sheep!
        I found your pack formation video particularly fascinating as my collie will lie down totally mesmerised by my older dog and, although very obedient WILL NOT come forward to me unless I shift position. After watching your video I am rethinking this and not getting frustrated that he won’t move forward, but I move myself sideways instead to change the balance. Maybe he is not being disobedient but respecting my older dog as the leader.

        I have done a lot of dog training and research but no one has ever mentioned this pack formation thing, maybe because you have to have a lot of dogs and observe them a lot to realise what is going on. It’s a great insight.

  3. Joash Halevi avatar
    Joash Halevi

    hi, first of all I want to say thanks for all those amazing tutorials. the level of expertise is very high from all aspects.
    I enjoy watching them and trying your methods in the field.
    If I may ask as you suggest at the end of each tutorial for a special tutorial :)
    I would have want a tutorial / tutorials explaining the steps of training from start till the end or when the dog is ready to go to trials. I know you have covered all of the training phases but i would like to see 1 with the order of training – like a work plan for trainers / enthusiastic dog owners :)
    Well. now I’ll go watch some more – take care and keep up sharing this beautiful knowledge.
    sincerely, Joash Halevi (Israel)

    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Joash. It’s good to know you find the tutorials useful.
      We already have a tutorial about the order in which you should train your dog. It’s called “What Shall I Do Next“.
      It covers basic training – and as you’ll see from the blog, once the dog has good control of the stock (and you have good control of the dog) we recommend giving the dog lots of variety in its training, so there’s no set routine from that point on.
      I hope this answers your question. Best wishes, Andy.

      1. Joash Halevi avatar
        Joash Halevi

        Hi Andy,
        thank you very much – I’ll check the tutorial you mentioned.
        Are you doing workshops abroad or in the UK at the moment, or in the future?
        All the best, Joash

        1. We no longer run training courses, Joash. We simply don’t have time because we’re so busy producing tutorial videos and running the website.
          Good luck with training your dog.

  4. WIlliam Hansen avatar
    WIlliam Hansen

    My dog is improving as am I due to yout tutorials. I notice you refer several times to a “daily run” or two. I can’t seem to get my dog to run or play fetch with a toy . Se seems only and always interested in the sheep. Any suggetions on providing exercise for the dog when not working with sheep?

    1. Many sheepdogs are totally uninterested in playing games or with toys. In “Starting a Non-Starter 2” I point out that some of our best sheepdogs wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of a ball if you bounced it off their head! It’s not a bad thing.
      Many farm dogs don’t get time or the opportunity to play. Just give the dog plenty of time to be with you, and of course, take it for regular walks/runs if you can. The more time the dog spends with its handler, the better the bond will be. Toys and games are just a way of making relaxation more fun – if the dog’s interested in that sort of thing.

  5. Ben Kittow avatar

    Ive just got my first dog and i had had her just over a year and had her going realy well but she never can stay away from the sheep and at any chance she gets has a will have a chunk of woll.
    Ive bin told that it will come with experience as shes young but im realy strugling keeping her out wide from the sheep and when ever i use the stick to widen her out it seems to exite her even more plus i cant slow her down she is alwas at 100 mph
    So any tips would be brilant

    1. Every dog is different Ben, so if the stick excites the dog, maybe try using it sparingly or at least more gently, but I suspect you might be trying to do too much with the dog, too soon.
      I suggest you watch the Calm But Firm tutorial, and try to be really calm when you train your dog. It’s not easy, but shouting, waving sticks and any rapid or excited sound will contribute to the dog’s excitement.
      The dog needs to see you as it’s leader – and if you’re shouting or excited in any way, you’re not giving the impression of one who’s calmly in control.

      1. Ben Kittow avatar

        Cheers much apreishiated

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