Tess in the Open Field

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: Stopping the Dog part one

As well as learning specific sheepdog training topics, we like to show you complete training sessions.

This helps keep the topics in context and gives the viewer a better understanding of the dog's skill level when it undertakes various tasks.

In this session, Tess is learning to widen her flanks and not cross over on her outrun or split the sheep up, to work more calmly around the sheep and come away from them more reliably, and she gets an introduction to driving.

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16 Replies to “Tess in the Open Field”

  1. Hi Andy I like the way you show patience and just keep on asking for what you want. Perseverance seems to get there. Here in Australia, we have Merinos as you know – which are highly reactive. To work these sheep our dogs need to stay well off the sheep and we have to stop those 2 or 3 steps of creeping in after a cast for excellent control of the sheep- so a good stop and then a very slow walk up with plenty of feel from the dog, not too much push – this is for what we call our 3 sheep trials. Myself and a few others have started an international field trial group called SWIFT here in queensland and are using my farm as the place for our meets. We are excited to try and get this type of trial up and going here in australia. I have a young dog whose breeding goes back on one side to Aled Owens dogs. Your demo is just about where I am up to with this young 12 month old dog. It would be good to have some mentoring related to the field trials over here as we develop over time.

  2. Wonderfull experience. I’ve Kelpie of 9 years that may never learn that much from me, but the way the handler is going from one try to the next is really inspiring.

  3. Hi Andy, I have an almost 1yr old collie called Jess, we are in a similar situation to yourself and Tess in this video apart from when I try and call Jess away from the sheep she goes off on one and tries to attack them and doesn’t want to let me get near her. I can usually end the session by getting her to jump onto the quad but it’s been going on quite a few weeks and I don’t want her to think it’s acceptable behaviour. How long did it take to calm Tess?

    1. It sounds as though you need to go back to basics, Ben.
      I had a similar problem with Bronwen yesterday. She worked well until she needed to push them into a pen, and then she dived in and gripped. She was pushing far too hard and wouldn’t listen, so now she’ll go back into the training ring and learn to behave herself, then I’ll try her outside the ring with just a handful of sheep – and if she’ll keep back off them, we’ll progress from there.
      I suggest you do something similar with Jess, and when you want to call her away from the sheep, get yourself in between her and the sheep, crouch down, and call her to you. That way she’s far less likely to dive in and grip.
      If she dodges round you and goes after the sheep, you definitely need to instil some discipline in the training ring (if you have one).

  4. Your Tess is just like my Sheltie, Carter. I’m a grass green newbie at herding and so is he. He is hard to stop, and sometimes charges in at the sheep like Tess did a couple times in the video. Your calmness and patience, as well as your optimism toward Tess’s training are encouraging. Sometimes I despair of us ever learning to do this, but seeing your confidence that Tess will be a good herding dog someday makes me think my Carter can be too!

    1. If you mean Carter is a Shetland Sheepdog, Amie, I’m not aware that they will herd sheep – certainly not in the way that a Border Collie or Kelpie will – but I guess they weren’t called “Sheepdog” for nothing. Good luck with training Carter, anyway.

      1. We use ” Shelties” for herding here in the States, maybe more than you do there over the Pond. They are considered an upright, loose-eyed breed, like Australian shepherds, another popular herding breed over here. Only a couple hours from where I live ( thankfully) there is a Shetland Sheepdog club that holds an exclusively Sheltie herding trial, as well as all herding breed trials. Of course, I’m talking about hobby trialists, not working sheepdog ranches. An experienced friend of mine who has Aussies worked Carter for me recently, and, while he helped her burn quite a few calories, she got him stopping and flanking much better. Unfortunately temperatures here then plummeted into the single digits, and we all wimped out of herding, so I haven’t been able to build on his training. Spring is coming! Thanks for your tutorials, though. They have been very helpful, even if Carter works differently from a Border collie.

        1. That’s interesting Amie. I think I’ve only seen show bred Shelties here for years, but I’ve always assumed they used to herd. We had some visitors here last year who brought a Sheltie with them; it was gorgeous (I was very tempted) but it was TINY!

          Any chance of a photo or two?

          Good to hear you find the tutorials helpful, thanks for letting us know! Gill

  5. Hello Andi,

    thank you so much for this video. My dog works exactly like Tess and it helps me to get her under better control. I live in NZ and the trainers here have told me that my dog is useless and should get another one, but I love her and still believe that she is a good dog.
    Thank you so much again,
    Britta Waddell

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