Back to Forwards

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Back to Forwards - online sheepdog training video

Walking backwards with the dog steadily bringing the sheep up to you at the pace you choose to move back at is one of the best exercises you can practice with a trainee dog.

It will improve the dog's stop, its control of sheep, its working pace and the distance that the dog works from the sheep.

In this tutorial, we go a stage further and turn our back on the dog.

Once you can trust the dog to bring the sheep steadily up behind you as you walk forwards, your training will have moved onto a new level.

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11 Replies to “Back to Forwards”

  1. Hi – So we are to the point where we are walking backwards. My dog has a tendency to flank back and forth pretty wide and when we ask for a lie down the dog has a tendency to run circles or wants to “come by” as that is what she seems to be comfortable with. Should we keep trying to work her and ask her for the ‘lie down” to keep her back or is there a step we should revert to?

      1. Before you begin walking backwards, you must be able to control the dog around the sheep and get it to stop.
      2. If the dog’s flanking too wide, you need to call it in as it’s going round.
      3. If the dog strongly favours one side over the other, work the dog more on the poorer side when possible, but remember to use the dog’s best side when the task is likely to be difficult.
  2. Hi Andy , I had an unfortunate situation happen. We were trying to get a ewe into a trailer to take her off. She was in a smaller pen . we trying to hem her in to catch her . Ian came to help . I didn’t use him on this ewe as she is aggressive and flighty all at once. But there he was . so to keep things calm I tried to get him to “liedown” (standing). He obeyed . But he was very close to her. she ran him over and stomped him as she ran off . He got up and continued after her at this point, not listening . she turned ran him down and stomped him again . I’m trying to defuse the situation , but he’s now determined . and so is she. He did end up stopping her in a corner long enough for me to get my hands on her. I got a rope on her and had my sister quietly get Ian . I told him what a good boy he was ( he did pen her and hold her..) and ” that’ll do, ” on his way out .
    Our next lesson. I could tell his confidence had been rocked. he was very fast . coming straight in , instead of flanking all the way ,and very tense. we have been working with 4 sheep my well dogged matriarch had 2 lambs and is in the nursery . so they are not as placid as before . but not flighty either . he not gripping . just runs more straight at them and splitting them . he will stop and wait for them to get back together , not chase them every where . but I am trying to build his confidence , slow him down and get him out wider. I am afraid of getting him institutionalized by repetitive work but I cant trust him in the bigger field either now ? How can I help him? Thank you Saskia

    1. I’m sure he’ll be OK, Saskia. Go back to basics with him – Walking Backwards etc.
      Have you watched Sometimes Nice is Not Enough? If you have, watch it again! I’m sure it’ll help a lot!
      If you confront that sheep again, make sure you’re really close to Ian so you can help him (but take care not to get hurt). That ewe sounds nasty!
      You’re not institutionalising Ian if you’re trying to get good control of him – you’re training him. Break up the training when you can, of course, but he must widen out. Walking Backwards is the best exercise – if you can get the sheep under control in the big field, it will teach him to KEEP them under control – and work further back.

      1. Thank you ! That particular ewe has went to market lol . she has been very nasty since day one . which ever herd I put her in they start acting like her too. not worth it. I must give Ian credit though , he may have taken several beatings but he never backed down . The bad part was, I was very close but every thing happened so fast . I have watched , Nice is not enough, and will watch it again . Ian does have a ” get tough button” if I make a certain sound, as you taught in that tutorial , he will lunge so they move. but not too much . I will watch the Backwards is the way forward again. My biggest issue is I don’t have a big training field, the field I am training in is about an acre an then I bring them in the yard also about an acre and a 1/2. the field next to that is about 3 acres but is very hilly. To break things up I sometimes try him on the 5 wethered rams that are in that field, they are not dogged and I cant quite tell if he’s ready for that .Asking to much of a pup ? Or is it a good challenge? Sometimes he listens well , but if he splits them, he doesn’t listen all that well . the biggest problem is my inexperience. I cant keep up in that field as I can in the smaller flatter field. well I’ll go back to walking backwards and try not to micromanage the poor guy. although I watched the tutorial several times, I just picked up your comment when you said : ” She moved them around me without being told . That’s good”. idk lol I’m trying . Thank you very much for taking the time to answer :D

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