Tess in the Open Field

A complete training session, packed with lessons.


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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 (who features in the popular tutorial 'Starting a Strong Dog') has graduated to working outside the training ring. In this video, she's learning to widen her flanks 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. She also gets an introduction to driving.


  1. hi andy,
    I have watched all the basic training videos more than once and started to introduce my Lupa to the sheep. Up till now I have just introduced her to away and comeby and she responds quite well in the ring. she’s a very shy dog though and shows a lack of focus on the sheep from time to time. anyway she can do away and comeby inside. next week I’ll try with “backwardi is the way forward” inside the ring.
    the problem comes in the open field. there, I can’t use the stick anymore because she looks terrified by it. which does not happen inside the ring at all. never been touched of course. She also seems not to be interested in the sheep anymore and looks very very confused. Almost always, she tries to run away from the sheep and does not care about commands. If she responds incidently, she can make her way around them only in the comeby direction and just one time. which looks like coincidence. what bothers me is her behaviour inside the ringis so so different. any advice?

    1. Hello Daniele. Thanks for your message, and thank you for subscribing to our sheepdog training tutorials.
      If you’ve watched the tutorials several times, you’ll remember that in the “Golden Rule” video I say “Tailor your correction to the sensitivity of the dog”. Your dog obviously has a serious confidence problem so if she doesn’t like the stick, don’t use it. You need to encourage her all you can. Make sure you’re always close to her and give lots of shushing noises – or whatever sound encourages her to work enthusiastically.
      It’s even worth encouraging her to have a nip at the sheep – to build her excitement, but obviously not to excess.
      If she’s working quite well in the ring, try making the ring a little larger. No need to buy more hurdles, just position the ring close to a fence and use some of the fence (or a wall etc) to supplement the hurdles and make the ring larger. If you make it longer, you can use that for walking backwards – but before you try that, you need to build the dog’s enthusiasm – make the sessions fun for the dog. I don’t mean play with the dog – just let her have fun chasing the sheep around a little.
      If the larger ring is a success, make it larger still – a little at a time until you’re working out in an open field.

  2. Tess in the open field was my first session watched. Loved it. Gave me lots of ideas. I will be doing the sling shot with Sky. You extended the command away ( awwwwwayyyyyy) is this so that it’s not a sharp word that gets the dog to react quickly. I observed that it slowed the dog up. This also I will try.

  3. Andy, thanks so much for the lessons. I have been working with these wonderful dogs for many years, but I always come away with something new to think about when I watch your DVD’s. They are well worth watching over and over again! So much to think about when training and trialing! These instructive tutorials always encourage me just when I’m ready to give up! Thanks so much! Scott L.

  4. I enjoyed watching this and look forward to subscribing. As a newbie to herding I think these tutorials will be very helpful. There is so much to learn! thanks for creating these. We rescued a border collie 2 years ago, he is about 4 and was wandering around “herding” cattle, horses whatever he could on his own and getting into trouble. We took him in, worked on obedience and agility and now training on stock. I think it is going to be journey but well worth it.

  5. Wonderful and for me moving, I thought I was watching my young Bonnie. In one of her good days, mind you ;)

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