Get (the sheep) off the fence!

Train your dog to get sheep off a fence or hedge.


Close-up photo showing what a dog sees when it tries to get sheep away from a fence

If you have a paid account with us please LOGIN.
Our sheepdog training videos are restricted to paying members who have logged-into their accounts.
Find out about our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials.

Video Highlights

Learn how to get the sheep away from a fence.
Sheep tight against a fence can be very difficult to move.
Trainee dogs often lack the confidence to move sheep from a fence.
Inexperienced dogs nearly always avoid being trapped near sheep.
The handler’s presence combines with the dog’s, to push sheep tighter onto a fence.
A trained dog is useful for getting sheep away from the fence.

An untrained dog can help, too

An untrained dog can also be used to get sheep off a fence.
You can lead the dog around the sheep to get them off a fence.
For best effect, approach the sheep from in front. Not from behind.
Keep the dog close to the fence to move the sheep away from it.
Strategically placed hurdles can direct the sheep away from a fence.
The dog will soon gain confidence and be able to move sheep off a fence.
Being able to get sheep off a fence is a huge step in the dog’s training.
Try to stop the dog between the sheep and the fence (to keep them off it).
Lack of confidence means the dog won’t want to be trapped between sheep and fence.
The dog will prefer to hold the sheep against the fence (and remain in the open).
Using a ‘waltzing’ technique to bring the sheep out into the open field.
For best result, send the dog back through the gap to keep it open.
Watch the waltzing technique in practice.

Leave a review on our Google Profile! Comments or questions below please.

Strictly collie dancing…

Getting stubborn sheep away from a fence or hedge during the early stages of training can be very frustrating unless you know the “tricks of the trade”. This tutorial shows you how to get sheep off a fence or hedge, as well as a novel way to convert the dog’s determination to circle the sheep, into a useful tool for ‘waltzing’ them out into the open field.

Once you and your dog master this simple technique, you’ll very soon be working as a team, to keep the sheep out in the open – a huge step forward in the dog training!

Moving Out Into The Open Field


14 responses to “Get (the sheep) off the fence!”

  1. elizabeth royle avatar
    elizabeth royle

    This is really helpful but I wondered if you could advise on horned sheep who have learned to face outwards and threaten the dog? I don’t want to risk anyone getting injured. They are 3 blackface ram lambs who have been dogged before I got them. They did this in our last 2 sessions so I don’t want to reinforce things. My dog is 2 but inexperienced and gets frustrated and stressed so stops listening which doesn’t help matters if they do move off into the field as he gets chasey.
    I was thinking of moving with him into the gap and just having that as a small win when they move off the fence? Any advice gratefully accepted!

    1. Sheep which have learned to defy the dog can be a problem, Elizabeth. As you quite rightly suggest, the sooner you deal with them the better.
      You will know the sort of situations it’s likely to occur in, so make sure you keep the dog close to you at those times. The closer the dog is to you, the more confidence it will have.
      When you see a sheep turn or even look at your dog, immediately GO AND HELP the dog! Encourage the it to keep the sheep moving, and give it lots of praise when it does.
      Every time the dog approaches the sheep and they move away from it, the dog’s confidence will be boosted, so going to help the dog works really well. As the dog’s confidence grows, you won’t need to intervene so often.
      Watch “Sometimes Nice Is Not Enough” to learn how to boost your dog’s confidence and give it some extra “GRRR!”

      1. elizabeth royle avatar
        elizabeth royle

        Thanks Andy! We just returned from a training session and together we lifted them off the fence several times. I helped him push between them and the fence as your video showed. They kept returning but at least it wasn’t the usual stand-off and I think the penny will drop soon that he’s in charge. He’s showing great courage and determination but took a while to realise I was on the same team. We got there in the end. I praised him every time he got them moving. Will keep practising!

  2. Brayden Holden avatar
    Brayden Holden

    Hi there my 8 month old is having problems he wants to chase into the fance and hold them there iv tryed having him on a rope which did get them off the fence but he then just wants to single one out and chase them back to the fence. Any ideas?

    1. It’s not easy – particularly if the sheep are not used to being worked with a dog. But if you can get the sheep away from the fence, you’re nearly there!
      You need to get the timing just right so that the dog goes between the sheep and the fence – and find a way to keep it going around them. A good way to do that is to let the dog go, and then (as the dog is going between the sheep and the fence) quickly move out into the open, and send the dog back the other way if you can (and so on). It’s all in this video. Watch it again as many times as it takes until you can see how to do it.

  3. Great You Tube videos. The one on righting the cast sheep helped give me confidence to help one of my pregnant ewes who ended up on her back in the hot sun. It took about 10 minutes before she could stand on her own and about two hours laying and resting before walking more than a few steps.

    1. Good to hear that it worked for you Tim.
      Thank you for the feedback.

  4. Adele Stewart avatar
    Adele Stewart

    Is it possible to train a dog on wilder sheep. collie 12 months old keen but having trouble getting them off the fence, tried putting her up the side but she always wants to be on other side of sheep. Don’t want to frustrate her and make her grip them.

    1. It’s POSSIBLE to train on almost any kind of sheep, Adele, but whether it’s fair on either you, the dog, or most of all, the welfare of the sheep is another matter. Do you have any particular objection to investing in three or four sheep which are used to a dog – just to give the poor dog a chance??

      If getting the sheep away from the fence is the biggest problem, have you tried leading the dog behind the sheep as we show in the tutorial Get Off The Fence – the dog may not like it for the first time or two but once it learns that it can get the sheep away from the fence that way, you should be on your way to overcoming the problem.

      1. Adele Stewart avatar
        Adele Stewart

        I would not mind but don’t know were to get them x

        1. Have you tried? Ask around, advertise in the local paper or Farmers’ Guardian. Try asking at your local cattle market. Possibly the best bet is to ask at local sheepdog trials.

    2. Guy Carpenter avatar
      Guy Carpenter

      Thanks Andy & Gill! We’ve been working on this lately. But, watching the video helped put the pieces together.

  5. Helena Barrio avatar
    Helena Barrio

    Thank you for this! It is just what I needed. Day 4 of training properly on sheep, I was a bit lost about what to do about this problem, and rather out of breath!!!

  6. Sharon Adams avatar
    Sharon Adams

    Thank you for this video. My 4 yr old BC has always been nervous about going between the sheep & fence. She is excellent out in the field so I have ignored this weakness. Last week, preparing for a trial, I sent her on a 300 ft outrun & she crossed over because there was a fence on the “away” side. Now I realize I better work on this weakness. I loved your video & will try a round pen, I guess, to see if I can gain her confidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *