How to train a sheepdog – Online Tutorials Preview

BEGINNER  -  INTERMEDIATE  -  ADVANCED  -  ONLINE VIDEO TUTORIALS

We now have 70 clearly explained, easy to follow sheep and cattle dog training videos for first time sheepdog trainers, farmers, and shepherds. Watch the preview here!

video

We want you to get the maximum benefit from our sheepdog training tutorials. Simply choose between regular automatic monthly or annual payments (simple to cancel via the main menu) or make a single payment for one year's access.

With either plan you can watch the videos as many times as you like while your membership is valid. We regularly add new tutorials too! Here's a list of the topics we've covered so far.

86 Replies to “How to train a sheepdog – Online Tutorials Preview”

  1. Hi Andy, I looked at several of your videos and it is unfortunately for me to advanced I did not read enough since I only saw now that I was supposed to buy the 2 dvd’s “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training”. Since I don’t know anything about even basic training I have a tough time to see from your videos how I must learn the dog commands like lay down, wait not even to speak about learning it to flank or circle. If it is possible can you make a video that show how you teach the dog these commands. I for instance looked at your video about commands and I learned nothing from it since I don’t know any commands. Thanks

    1. I’m slightly confused, Willie. I’m assuming you want to train your dog to work sheep? If you have sheep, and you take a young dog to them for training, you do not need to teach the dog what to do before you begin.

      With the possible exception of preparing a training area, and some knowledge of sheep, our online tutorials cover sheepdog training for beginners in far greater detail than the “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training” DVDs. I think the best tutorial for you to watch if you want to see just how we first get control of the dog when it’s around sheep, is The Training Stick. Also, I recommend you watch the videos in the “Starting” category. Scroll to the earlier videos at the bottom of the page, and watch those first. These tutorials will show you how to get the dog to work sheep, right from the very beginning.
      Lastly, we’re finding that posting DVDs to South Africa is very unreliable at the moment, but Sheepdog Selection and Preparation is one of the main chapters (updated) from the “First Steps” DVD. I’m sure that one will help you too. Please let me know how you get on.

      1. Thanks as you can see I really don’t know anything. I will give it a try. I am farming with sheep. This is my 3 rd year of farming with sheep.

  2. I am in the process of beginning training on a 7 month old pup. It appears that the sequence of your tutorials are alphabetical rather than progressive. Do you have a list on starting a dog and progressing from there?

    Thanks.

    1. Thank you for subscribing to our sheepdog training tutorials, George.
      It’s difficult to please everyone when it comes to listing the titles. That’s why we have the category buttons.
      If you click the Starting Training button, there are lots of tutorials for you to choose from, including “Starting a Young Puppy” (parts one and two) which deal with a pup much younger than seven months, but they will still give you a good idea what to do. You could then watch others such as “Starting a Strong Dog” or if the dog is very aggressive with sheep, try Training Max – The Gripper!”.
      (You need to be logged into your account for these links to work).

  3. Hi Andy, I am a beginner that do not even know how to train my dog the basics like sit and stay. My dog is still a very small pup, he is now about 9 weeks old. I am a sheep farmer in South Africa. What I want to know, shall your course help me to train my dog the very basic commands. And your videos do you show step by step what to do or do you just explain what to do.
    Thanks
    Willie

    1. I would hope our tutorials are ideally suited to you, Willie. We give step by step instruction from the earliest stages of training, right up to preparing for sheepdog trials.
      I know that you took out full membership very soon after posting this question (hence the delay in my reply). Thank you for that. If you have time, it would be really useful for us to hear whether you are finding the tutorials helpful, and whether there are areas we could improve.
      Good luck with training your pup.

  4. Hi Andy,

    Your DVDs are really helping me with training my first sheep dog. He seems to me that he has a lot of potential but my sheep are not used to dogs which makes training very difficult. I’m training him on lambs at the moment. I have managed to teach him to get the sheep off the fence but they are very skittish (woolly jumpers) and he is a very excited dog so this doesn’t help. I’ve asked my local sheepdog societies but with no luck finding sheep that are used to dogs. I’m new to farming and Don t have many contacts. Just wondering if you know anyone in Kent/sussex/essex area that would have sheep like I see on your training videos. I am also happy to travel further as i really want to make him a successful sheepdog. I feel like this would really help. Thank you for any help.

    1. Kate,
      I am in a similar situation on my farm. I have found that my best training come when I put 2 lambs and an older ewe together. The lambs keep the older ewe moving and the older ewe calms the lambs. This has worked great here. Ultimately, you need your sheep to work with your dog. Training the lambs is a great idea!

    2. It’s great to hear that our training DVDs are helping you to train your dog, Kate. Thank you for the feedback.
      Unfortunately, apart from being “skittish” you don’t actually say what the problem with the sheep is. If the dog’s able to get them off the fence, provided the training area’s not too big (about 16 metres diameter is ideal to start with) you should be able to manage.

      Both sheep and dog will settle down provided you’re able to keep using the same sheep for every lesson. If the dog keeps getting them off the fence, the sheep will quickly learn that they’re better off staying in the middle of the training ring, where you have the most control over the dog (and can protect them).

      Once the sheep will stay off the fence, it’s a simple matter or getting yourself in the correct position to block the dog and make him treat the sheep with respect. Watch The Training Stick and Starting a Strong Dog if you need help with getting the dog under control. It sounds as though he’ll make a great dog!

  5. Hi Andy,
    I have a really nice 2 year old border collie bitch doing all the basics really well on sheep, she has great manners and is really interested in her training. She is a very shy type and rolls over when being rubbed and praised. I always have to put her on a lead to take her to the training field as if I don’t she will run back to her kennel. Regularly during training in the yard adjacent to her kennel, she leaves the job and returns to her kennel, she lacks confidence . I usually go to her put her on a lead and bring her back to the yard where she continues on with her work. When the training is finished she immediately runs back to her kennel. Any ideas on how I might be able to improve her confidence and prevent this becoming a habit.
    Regards
    John

    1. There are several possible reasons for the dog being seriously shy like this John. If it’s properly bonded with you and if you’re not being unduly harsh with the dog, it really shouldn’t be running back to the yard, it should come to you when it finishes work. The problem is fairly easy to put right though. It just takes a little time and some patience.

      The first thing that springs to mind is that you may not have had the dog very long. You don’t actually say how long you’ve had it but if it’s only a few weeks, bear in mind that when you take a dog away from it’s home (particularly if the dog was born at that home) you’re taking it away from absolutely everything it’s ever known. A good comparison would be for us to be “abducted by aliens ”.

      If you have a different voice and accent to the trainer that will add to the problem as well, but the main thing to remember is the older the dog is, the longer it will take to bond with you. By bond, I don’t mean the dog wags its tail when it sees you, or will sit still (or roll over) while you make a fuss of it. I’m talking about the dog accepting you as it’s true leader.

      This can take a couple of weeks with a young dog or sometimes months, depending on age and circumstances. It also heavily depends on what kind of leader you are to the dog. If you get cross or excitable when things go wrong, that can confuse and frighten the dog and it’s not exactly portraying you as a leader, but if you’re firm, fair consistent, and calm – and if you spend a lot of time with the dog (rather than shut it away in a pen or chain it up all day) the bonding will happen far more quickly. A two year old dog will take longer to bond with a new owner than a puppy, or a one year old dog.

      I recommend you take the dog with you as much as possible. In the tractor cab, in your truck, when you’re working in the buildings etc. Have the dog loose if you can trust it not to run off or get into mischief, otherwise you need to be careful, but if you can have the dog with you, and interact with it, the dog will grow to respect you. A dog which is shut away or chained up is learning virtually nothing but it will view wherever it’s shut away as a safe place. Because your dog is nervous, once it has finished working, it immediately wants to get back to the safest place it knows. That should be with you, but at the moment for your dog, it’s not. You need to become the dog’s best friend.

      How shy was the dog with its breeder or trainer? If you have not had the dog very long, and if you saw it working before you bought it, once the dog has bonded with you it will work at least as well for you as it did when you saw it with its owner. Hopefully, better.

      The second scenario is that you may have had the dog for a long time or even from birth. If this is the case, the dog has not been socialised, or you’re being very harsh with it. It’s important to gauge your dog’s sensitivity and moderate your training technique accordingly. A very strong aggressive dog will sometimes require harsh measures, but a timid dog needs very careful treatment. Watch the tutorial Calm But Firm for more on this.

      If the dog has had a very sheltered life, you need to broaden its horizons. Once again, take the dog with you at every opportunity and gradually introduce it to new people and new experiences, taking care to make sure those experiences are pleasant ones for the dog.

      You need to keep in mind that anything a dog does regularly will soon become a habit. This is one of the reasons why we’re able to train dogs, and it means that the longer your dog runs back to the yard, the more habitual this becomes, so you need to work on getting that bond with the dog immediately. If it were my dog, I would work on the bond and the dog’s recall away from sheep and only go back to training on sheep when there’s a good chance the dog will come to you, rather than run away. When you’re coming to the end of a training session on sheep, I suggest you begin trying to get the dog to come close to you so that eventually you’re able to reach out and hold it’s collar. A good way to encourage the dog to come closer is to crouch down, making yourself much smaller. To a shy dog, a human being must be a huge, overbearing creature. We find crouching down particularly effective.

      If the dog insists on running back to the yard, I would immediately give it a flanking command to encourage it to come back to the sheep. That gets the dog back close to you again and you can continue working it for a little while, and then try to call it to you again.

      Good luck, and please let me know how you get on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *