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THREE TUTORIALS to help you teach your dog to drive


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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Driving part one

Some sheepdog trainers dread teaching their dog to drive and it’s understandable, because when we ask a dog to take the sheep or cattle away, it’s contrary to the dog’s instinct. If you understand what’s going on though, it becomes much simpler, and more enjoyable for dog and trainer. In this tutorial you’ll discover how to ease the dog into driving and reduce the stress involved when we ask the dog to take the stock away.

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Driving part two

Following on from the first sheepdog driving tutorial, in this video, you will learn how to use your body position to maintain some control over the dog while it learns to drive. Just as when controlling the direction that the dog flanks around the sheep in the early stages of training, body position and point of balance are also crucial for controlling direction when teaching the drive. In this tutorial, Andy shows that putting himself in the right place at the right time, can make a huge difference to the behaviour of the dog.

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Driving part three

Unashamed deception! Calling the dog back onto line when it’s determined to hook the sheep back to you can be difficult and frustrating. As it drives the sheep away from the handler, the trainee dog is often so keen to get ahead of them and bring them back that it will ignore conventional flanking commands. In this tutorial, Andy uses what might be deemed an inappropriate command to call the dog back onto line and keep the sheep moving in the right direction.

11 responses to “Driving (Parts 1-3)”

  1. Diane Geer avatar

    Your tutorials are excellent !! The animations are very helpful. I have a 20 month border collie. I have been working with a trainer weekly for the past 9 months. We have nice flanks and a solid “lie down”. The dog will also push the sheep off the fence. Now my dog seems “stuck” once she lies down and I cannot get her to walk up. Any suggestions?

    Thank you,
    Diane Geer

    1. Andy avatar

      That’s an easy one, Diane – just watch “Sticky Dogs“. It’s specifically aimed at the symptoms you describe!
      Thanks for the great feedback. It’s really useful to know our tutorials are ‘hitting the spot’.

  2. roger levy avatar

    Megan is walking up nicely however the Sheep (well dogged ) are not moving away from her. She is a very confident dog hard to upset and seems to like the concept of driving although as yet has not happened apart from a couple of light bulb moments…
    Any suggestions …any magic wands!

    1. Andy avatar

      Dogged sheep can be a big bonus during early training, but they soon become a problem as you’re witnessing now.
      The longer they get away with ignoring the dog’s efforts to move them, the harder it will be to move them in the longer run, and the harder it will be to get the dog to stand up for itself.
      The easy remedy is to change the sheep for some fresh ones, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, watch “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough” to find ways of improving Megan’s confidence in the face of stubborn sheep.
      Help her by going alongside her and driving the sheep away yourself (take care not to frighten her though). For the time being, encourage her to nip them, just to show them who’s boss. Eventually, you can gradually reduce the help you give her, and encourage her to do the job herself.
      There’s lots more in the tutorial.

      1. roger levy avatar

        Thanks for your reply…yesterday there was a slight improvement and most of all she is try ing so hard to understand what I want her to do and enjoying it as well. I think learning something new is taking the pressure off everything else…much more relaxed and stopping better as well…
        The videos are great and very big help…

  3. Catherine Galbraith avatar

    Thank you for clearly explaining how to help the dog by using your position. I’m one of those learners who needs a clear diagrammatic explanation before I can apply it in practice, and that is what you’ve given.

    1. Andy avatar

      Thank you Catherine, it’s good to know the tutorials help you.
      Only yesterday, I was wondering whether we should include more animations in the tutorials, so your feedback is perfectly timed – much appreciated!

  4. Jane Hart avatar

    Hello, is there a right time to teach a dog to drive? I have heard people say that if you teach it too early it will mess up the outrun, but I am not sure how good the outrun should be. My dog seems ok on outruns of about 200m but I couldn’t say she won’t do something silly eg cross over, if there was something she wasn’t sure about. I have had her doing a bit of circling the sheep and yesterday she did it when fetching the sheep, which was not ideal.
    Best wishes,

    1. Andy avatar

      I normally begin training the dog to drive as soon as I can control it between myself and the sheep. As you’ll see in the tutorials, I use any command or technique I can, to keep that control. It’s not easy at first though!
      I don’t see how teaching the dog to drive can spoil the outrun, in fact, it can help if you get the dog to push the sheep away, and then flank it round them, and bring them back. Some trainers teach the dog to drive before they teach it to bring the sheep to them. I can see the sense in this, because it could help the trainer to get the dog working calmly while it’s still very close. The closer you are to the dog, the more control you have over it.
      If the dog was circling the sheep when it fetched them, it’s because you’ve sent it too far, or the dog’s lacking confidence for some other reason.

  5. Kim Goodling avatar

    I have purchased a 4 year old border collie that knows how to drive. She is having a hard time driving my sheep. They will stop and turn and stare at the dog. Sometimes a ewe will confront the dog individually. The dog seems to lack the confidence or the quiet power to turn their heads and get them going again. Any suggestions for how to get my sheep to move?

    1. Andy avatar

      Confidence, Kim. Watch Sometimes nice is not enough. That should help you a lot.

      Your problem is that some of the sheep have learned that if they challenge her, she’ll back down. Now you need to show her she really can move them. The tutorial should show you how. Please let me know how you get on.

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