Sending the dog the wrong way!

No, it’s not a mistake! Sending the dog the wrong way will improve its flanks.

Subtitles: French*, Spanish* or English, click CC on viewer (*translation errors).



Sheepdog Training in a large field

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Video Highlights

Make flanking fun for the dog

A sheepdog flanking around a flock of sheep in a large field.
Use a technique we call ‘sending the dog the wrong way’, to get your dog to flank wider!
One of the most common faults with trainee dogs is flanking too close to the stock.
A good example of the dog working calmly, and giving the sheep room.
Close enough to control the sheep, and far enough back to keep them calm.
How teach the dog to work calmly and keep back off the sheep.
Watch ‘Calm But Firm‘, ‘Give The Sheep Space‘, ‘Backwards Is The Way Forward‘, and ‘The Outrun‘.
What exactly is ‘Sending The Dog The Wrong Way’?
Showing how the dog should react when the point of balance changes in – ANIMATION.
As the dog moves towards the point of balance we give the command for the direction it’s going in – ANIMATION.
The dog’s encouraged to flank around the sheep by the changing point of balance – ANIMATION.

The exception to the rule

As the dog’s training advances we’ll expect it to ignore the point of balance at times.
Showing how a dog has to work ‘off balance’ to get sheep into a pen – ANIMATION.
Watch ‘Sticky Dogs’ for help with dogs which become fixated with sheep.
Showing a dog taking the longest route to get itself onto balance – ANIMATION.
The dog must learn to temporarily ignore the point of balance at times.
How to get the dog to work ‘off balance’ (the wrong way) – ANIMATION.
A great example of sending the dog ‘the wrong way’!
How setting the dog up to go the ‘wrong way’, affects the point of balance.
Getting too far ‘off balance’ for the dog’s ‘Away’ outrun.
A replay with detailed explanation of what went wrong with Tess’s outrun.
Watch ‘Tess In The Open Field’ to see this training session in full.
Watch a good example of teaching the dog to work ‘off balance’.

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Make flanking fun for the dog

One of the best ways to get a dog to give the sheep space when it’s flanking (or casting) is to use a technique we call “sending the dog the wrong way”. Once you can achieve this, you and your dog are well on the way to producing quality work – but it’s not easy.

As with so many other aspects of sheepdog training, once you understand why the dog is reluctant to go “the wrong way” it becomes much easier to train it to do just that, and the dog’s flanks will widen out.

Flock Work | Back to the top
Calm But Firm
Give The Sheep Space
Backwards Is The Way Forward
The Outrun


10 responses to “Sending the dog the wrong way!”

  1. Vivian Knight avatar
    Vivian Knight


    Loving the videos thank you. One thing, I read lots on how to widen flanks. However my young quite sensitive dog goes very very wide. Especially when going Away. A lot of the time he will go the whole perimeter of the field. By the time he’s back on the point of balance we’ve lost control of the sheep. Do you have any suggestions to correct this. We do not have regular use of a round pen.
    Thank you

    1. It’s a common problem but easily solved, Vivian. Basically, you need to be very calm, and call the dog in as you’re working it.
      There’s a good example of it (and how to deal with it) in Bronwen and Scylla (Part 7).
      It’s a confidence problem, so don’t shout at the dog, or let it think you’re angry!
      The Bronwen and Scylla series is very well worth watching.

  2. Britta Waddell avatar
    Britta Waddell

    Really good, very helpful, particularly for me and my overly keen dog. Thank you again, Any.

  3. Gill Evans avatar

    Extremely useful tutorials! is there potential for an interactive video game, where the player has to manoeuver sheep around a course / obstacles of some kind, gaining or losing points for controlling the dog, with variations of type of dog & sheep behaviour, & unexpected sheep or dog behaviour? I’m not usually a video game player, but your diagram videos are really helpful. Just thought it might help to speed handler reactions & reduce command mistakes & avoid panic in ‘real-life’ situations, especially for folk like me who have little access to sheep. And maybe reduce hassle for the real sheep!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gill. It’s good to know you find the tutorials useful. An interactive video game would be useful and entertaining, but I don’t have much idea how to go about creating one!

  4. Andy Snow avatar

    Hi Andy, very good tutorial. My young dog is doing really well but I don’t seem to be able to flank him once he is on the point of balance. Once I, or the sheep move, then he is very happy to flank (even the wrong way). Is this something that will come with experience or I there something that I can do to help him? Thanks Andrew

    1. Hello Andy,
      Thanks for your kind comment. If the dog doesn’t want to flank when it’s on the other side of the sheep, it’s balancing instinct is obviously strong and you need to free it up a little by walking through the sheep to make it go (using the stick to block it and make sure it goes the right way). Soon the dog will get the idea! I suggest you watch the tutorial on this page – and also the one about Sticky Dogs (for the time being, it may help if you keep the dog moving, rather than allowing it to settle).

  5. Patrick Schmid avatar
    Patrick Schmid

    Dear Andy nice tutorial. Thx for it. But what we can do if the dog is always behind the sheep to close. If i am in front, do your technik with send him wrong he isn’t close at me or at the side of the sheep, he always coming to close behind them. You have no chance to be there.
    Best regards Patrick

    1. Hello Patrick,
      Thank you for your kind comments about the tutorial.
      If the dog will not stay back, you need to follow the advice in the “Backwards is the way forward” tutorial – walk through the sheep, block the dog and MAKE it stop.
      The dog must understand that the lesson will go no further unless it does as it’s told.
      If the dog is very determined, I will make it go back – further back than it was when I first told it to stop. This teaches the dog that it will get no reward (working the sheep) unless it does as you tell it.
      I hope this helps. Best wishes, Andy.

      1. Patrick Schmid avatar
        Patrick Schmid

        Thank You Andy i will try it.

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