How Can I Slow The Dog Down?

Things you can do to make your dog calm down and work more steadily.

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Probably the most common question we get asked about sheepdog training is how to slow the dog down. Of course, there's no "quick fix" for getting a keen dog to work at a steadier pace, but you'll be surprised how many things tend to speed it up!

This video tutorial takes an in-depth look at the reasons why herding dogs often work very fast, and suggests ways to avoid or minimise them. Once you can get your dog to work more steadily, you're well on the way to getting it trained as a useful sheep or cattle dog.

5 comments

  1. Just a general comment… these tutorials are great! I train my own dogs and take advantage of many on line resources, and I have to say… your tutorials have helped more than any other resource. The reason, I believe… is because you talk about the problems and you illustrate with real life situations, not dogs that are already “perfect”. Not only does this help me learn how to deal with real problems, but also gives me confidence that I’m not alone because my dogs aren’t perfect out of the gate. But… they have improved tremendously. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for the great feedback Robann. It’s important for us to know the tutorials are working for you, and very kind of you to take the time to tell us.
      It’s not always easy to include things going wrong but of course, it’s just what beginners need to see – along with how to put them right again.
      Please accept my apologies for the late reply! My fault entirely. Because you were not asking a question, I decided to reply later – and then got distracted (sorry).
      Good luck with training your dogs. I hope they continue to make good progress!

  2. Thank you for this – very informative. I find that my dog will listen well when slow and steady, but the moment they get close to a fast pace they won’t listen or if they realise they can make a run for it to the sheep at full pelt will dart off and again ignore me. I can control in a circle, and feel like we need to start working outside a ring. I think backwards is the way forwards will help, but find that the dog starts at a pace, scattering the sheep and ruining any practice on this steady aspect behind sheep. I can normally see the pace explosion coming, but cannot stop it, welcome any input/advice. Thank you.

    1. It’s good to know you find the tutorials useful Sarah, thanks for the feedback!
      We have a tutorial to help you get the sheep and the dog out into the open field with the minimum of fuss – “Moving Out“. The secret is to get the dog working nicely inside the ring, and then (ideally) have someone open the gate while you then “Waltz” them out (find out about what I call “waltzing” in “Get Off The Fence“).
      If you don’t have an assistant, get the dog working nicely, and then catch it, (or better still call it to you) and then keep the dog with you while you open the gate. Then, set the dog up, and send it to gather the sheep and bring them out. While the dog is on its way to gather the sheep, you quickly move outside the ring – and as dog and sheep come out (probably at high speed) encourage the dog to go round them.
      Whatever you do at this stage, don’t try to stop the dog. Just keep commanding it in a normal voice. If control is totally lost, only then should you try to stop the dog.
      Yet another variation on this is to open the gate yourself, but keep the dog working inside the ring (avoiding the open gate, of course) so that you can get the dog working really calmly before you attempt to “waltz” them out.
      DO watch the tutorials though – they’ll help you a lot.

  3. Good Evening Andy and Gillian, well I must congratulate you both on the hard work that you borth have put into these excellent videos! !!!! The honesty and commen sense that you apply will be an enormous help to us!!! We have a small goat farm with thirty goats that we take out to graze freely every afternoon, we have two Kangal dogs for protection ,but when the goats stray the Kangal follow and laugh at us running around!!! Six months ago we decided that enough was enough and decided to take on a sheepdog,we where given a year old Border Collie called Nilka who was completely out of control!!!! Luckily we have quite a lot of experience with animals and their behaviour and after doing a lot of research on YouTube, Ted Hope’s advice was the best we have managed to get her to a reasonable stage in her apprenticeship. After having watched several of your videos I am convinced that I will know be able to continue her education correctly. Thank you very much !!! Regards Régine

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