No Excuses Please!

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: No Excuses Please!

Take a realistic look at your dog's performance

It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your dog's work is better than it really is.

Novice trainers are often eager to move our dog's training on, and can overlook shortcuts and bad habits which the dog will sometimes adopt in the interest of getting the job done quickly.

Find out how and why you should accurately and reasonably assess the dog's skill level.

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9 Replies to “No Excuses Please!”

  1. Hello Andy, I have a 5 month old Kelpie, She is working well in the pen, flanking both ways, stopping, still working on the walk up command.
    The red mist decends when we go out into the paddock. I can’t even call her back. Is she too young ? How do I improve the recall at a distance?


    1. Five months is very young. You might be trying to progress too quickly. If you can’t control the dog in a paddock, that paddock might be too large – but if you watch the “Moving Out” tutorial, it will show you how to keep control of the sheep when you move out of the training ring.
      That way, you can get the dog working nicely inside the ring, and then move out into a larger area – it’s not easy, but works well if the dog’s ready, and if you do it right.

  2. Hello, my dog is nearly a year old. She has been training for about 6 months. She knows her sides and can do outruns to about 100m away and sometimes more. If you try her on something new eg sheep in a different field, she can go daft and ignore my commands, making her seem like she isn’t trained at all. Is this common?
    Best wishes,

    1. It’s very common,Jane. That’s why several of our tutorials mention giving the dog many different tasks and experiences to broaden its mind. When you go to a new location, go back a couple of stages in the dog’s training (get closer to the stock before you send it off etc) to make tasks easier for it and then increase the difficulty gradually.

  3. I have a question. I am brand new to herding and training my first herding dog- a 15 month old Border Collie. Your videos have been an amazing resource for me and I am trying to learn as much as I can. In the video when you told the dog “Away” and she wanted to go “Come Bye”. You stopped and said that you had made a mistake and that the dog was right and you were wrong. Why was the “Come Bye” right in that situation? And what do you do when you make that mistake or a similar one?

    1. Watch carefully, Andrea. In the video, I gave Gwen the “Away” command and she instantly obeyed, but (thinking she’d gone the wrong way) I very quickly, but mistakenly “corrected” her, so she changed direction (and went “Come bye”).
      Errors like these can only confuse the dog. There’s no way to put the error right other than making certain you learn your commands thoroughly, and trying not to get them confused.
      I’d say I know my commands very thoroughly, but occasionally, I get it wrong. We all make mistakes!

  4. Something to think about. I realise that I also make excuses. We have to be a team and work accurately, I shall keep this in mind. Yvonne

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