Puppy Training Essentials

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Puppy Training Essentials

Tempting though it may be to try your puppy with stock at a very early age, you should beware.

Unless you can be absolutely certain you're in a position to protect the youngster from attack or even the threat of it, there's a very real danger that sheep or cattle will will frighten the young dog and damage its confidence.

Possibly permanently.


The Training Stick Learn Your Commands Starting a Young Puppy

10 Replies to “Puppy Training Essentials”

  1. Hi Andy,
    Have you considered doing a tutorial on breeding pups and how to look after them up to the training stage? I would be very interested as I have a lovely dog and bitch that I would like to breed from in a year or so time and know very little about breeding from dogs.
    Apologies if this comment is in the wrong section, was not quite sure which tutorial was the most relevant!
    Many thanks

    1. If we did a tutorial on breeding, it would probably be quite negative, Andy. So many people have a dog they love, and quite naturally want to breed from it, but they keep one pup (keeping more is a big mistake unless you really know what you’re taking on) and they give little thought to where the rest of the litter will go.
      We’ve learned the hard way that there are an awful lot of people who want border collies (and other dogs for that matter) but expect the dog to live in a totally unsuitable home. I could write reams on this, but I simply don’t have time.
      My advice to anyone who wants to breed from their dog is to think very carefully about it, and make certain you have suitable homes for ALL the pups before you even get the dog mated.
      I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted me to write, but I have to say what I know to be the truth.

      1. Hi Andy
        Thanks for the reply. I fully understand what you are saying. It is the one thing that has always put me off in the past. I have two lovely dogs that I would like to breed from at some point and already have a few homes lined up . I can see why a tutorial on breeding might not be a good idea so will do some homework nearer the time that I need to think about a working replacement.
        Many thanks

  2. Thank you Gill,
    the password is working and questioning if possible about 14 weeks old puppies and with about 18 weeks old sheep can be training them?

    1. Both the dog and the sheep sound a bit young Chantal, but to be honest I have not tried training a dog on sheep of that age. It would be worth trying them. Just try to remember that the dog is extremely young. Do not expect too much of it. Keep the sessions very short – and maybe once or twice a week at the very most until the pup’s a bit stronger.
      Perhaps you would be kind enough to post back here to let us know how you get on?

  3. Hi! I really appreciate your videos and find them both inspiring and helpful in our trying and daily life with the old dogs. But we have now got ourself our first puppy in 15 years, and we are very exited about the fact that we get to do it all from the bening this time. She is only 13 weeks so there will take some time until we really get serious in the pen with the sheep.
    I believe this first year is crucial for setting leadership, general behaviour and basic commands. But Im not sure when Im to hard on her, or soft..
    Whats your focus for the puppies the first year?


    1. Thanks for the kind words, Olle. It’s great to get feedback from our members.
      No need to be too hard on the puppy, all you need to do is be FIRM, FAIR and CONSISTENT. Concentrate on teaching it good manners. To respect you, such as not rushing through doors or gates before you, and to come when you call. Teach the dog to be considerate – but don’t expect the dog to progress too quickly. It’s a tiny toddler in human terms, so be patient!
      Lastly, don’t make the common mistake of walking the pup around the sheep on a lead – this will almost certainly result in the puppy believing you don’t want it to chase sheep.
      Tutorials to watch are: Starting a Young Puppy and Puppy Training Essentials.
      Good luck, and don’t forget to let us know how you get on!

  4. Hello there, I am thoroughly enjoying your videos, thank you. I was wondering if you had one on the lead training mentioned in a video with Scylla, or some tips on the site as to what you mean, trying to do my best!

    1. Lead training is one of the tutorials we intend to bring out soon, Helena. One of the ways to tell whether your dog fully accepts you as its leader is by the way it walks on a lead AWAY FROM SHEEP or livestock.
      If the dog is pulling, then it’s obviously trying to control you. If it walks with the lead slack, then the dog has fully accepted your authority – and will obviously be far easier to train on sheep or livestock than a dog which believes it can control you.
      If the dog is pulling, then it’s excited about going somewhere, so turn round and go the other way. If the dog then stops pulling, turn back to the original direction. If the dog pulls again, turn around and go the opposite way again – and so on.
      It’s tedious – and you may not get to your original destination on this occasion (or the next few times you try) but the dog will get no reward (going where it wants to go) unless it walks with the lead slack.
      Pulling back sharply on the lead can help to show the dog you won’t accept it pulling.
      Once you master it, your dog’s behaviour should improve all round.

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