Educating Gloria!


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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Educating Gloria

Watch a complete training session, full of valuable lessons!

This tutorial shows nine-month old Gloria, a bright, enthusiastic young dog, and her fourth training session with some well-dogged sheep.

As well as showing a typical dog in training, warts and all, the tutorial demonstrates some of the techniques that we've talked about in other tutorials, such as making use of the training ring; effective use of the 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.

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18 Replies to “Educating Gloria!”

  1. I’ve set up a ring, got myself a training stick, ready for action. However i can’t seem to get my collie to go round the sheep. I feel she’s picked up bad habits being two years of age and us, using her to round up sheep without the knowledge ourselves. She will just run behind the sheep – it doesn’t help that our sheep aren’t ‘dogged’ atall and it’s a bonus if they even stay in the ring. Any suggestions?

    1. By “run behind the sheep” I presume you mean follow the sheep, rather than go out and gather them..?
      Don’t blame the dog’s age! Two is a wonderful age for training the dog, so now’s your chance. You need to teach the dog that you want her to be on the opposite side of the sheep from you. If she doesn’t understand that, then make her stay in place (using commands) and then YOU go to the opposite side of the sheep. Then you simply walk backwards, and call her up to bring the sheep towards you – at the pace you’re walking back at.
      If the sheep are really wild, you’ll need to calm them (and the dog) down.
      To do this, I’d get four or five sheep into somewhere they can’t escape from (a large building or yard possibly?) and walk the dog through, and round them. Have the dog on a lead or a rope if necessary. It’ll take some time, but it’ll be worth it. Keep these sheep clearly marked and away from the flock, so that you can just go and give them some training whenever you have time.
      Once the sheep calm down, you can start teaching the dog to stay on the opposite side of the sheep from you. It’s perfectly ‘do-able’ there are some trainers who teach the dog to drive the sheep away first, because they can control the dog on a rope (and calm it down). I don’t train that way, but I have tried it, and it will work.
      Watch “Backwards is the Way Forward” to find out what to do once you can get the dog on the opposite side of the sheep from where you are.

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  2. Hello Andy, after watching and reaching your tutorials I am now really starting to understand things better !!!! If you have watched it once watch it again! !! The way that you manage to transform Gloria’s training session into an enormous amount of different learning experiences is superb!!! I spend about 20 minutes a day doing intensive training and it is so encouraging to see that after 5 months of following your advice and then adapting to mine and dogs assessment of each situation we are really making progress! Your advice about building up the dogs confidence and making tasks easy whilst always creating new challenges has proved to be very successful !!!! Thank you! !!

  3. Andy, thank you for this video. It is good to see and have you explain what is going well and what you’d like to see change or done a bit better. With the help of another trainer, I am re-starting a dog that was turned off by a heavy handed trainer. My dog is keen again now and I keep thinking I need to make sure I don’t mess up. The more I watch your videos, the more I realize that if I can stay calm with voice and body language that even though our training session may have some rough spots, it is okay. I especially like the reminder that you shouldn’t change directions all the time. I do that when I get overwhelmed with her speed. I need to talk more to myself to remind me what I’m doing!

    1. You’re right! Staying calm is so important, Kim, especially with a dog which lacks confidence.
      Changing the dog’s direction can help with a fast working dog, but I suggest you watch “How Can I Slow The Dog Down“? too.
      Thank you for the useful feedback, and good luck with training your dog!

      1. Great suggestion Andy. I watched “How Can I Slow the Dog Down” and wrote down all the tutorials you suggested to watch next. “Backwards is the Way Forward” is one of my favorite. The other benefit of watching these tutorials is that when I take my dog to a herding lesson, I am finding I understand what the trainer is asking my dog to do much better and I’m able to more easily stand next to and move with him. I ask better questions, which lends itself to very productive sessions. I also don’t feel defensive at all because he is telling me the same thing to do that I see and hear you say. Slowly it is all sinking in and I have a happy dog on the way to being a valued livestock partner!

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