The Working Sheepdog Website

Sheep & Cattle dog training advice, articles & information

Featured tutorials – Bronwen and Scylla

A variety of smooth and rough coated border collies
A tutorial series to demonstrate the differences in young dogs. You can be forgiven for expecting that littermates would be very similar in temperament and working style, but we chose two home-bred puppies, Bronwen and Scylla, to demonstrate that even littermates can be poles apart. While both girls developed into keen, useful working dogs – just like their parents, Meg and Ezra – the girls needed very different training. Even if your dog isn’t bringing you the same challenges that … Read more

Featured tutorials – the Point of Balance

Sheepdog with three sheep
You’ve probably heard of the “point of balance”, but what exactly does it mean? You’ll often hear that the dog MUST stop at 12 o’clock. The theory is that if you imagine the handler is standing at 6 o’clock on a clock face, the dog should be directly opposite the handler (at 12 o’clock) on the other side of the sheep. In practise it isn’t quite so straightforward, but rest assured that if the sheep are moving towards you, in … Read more

Featured tutorial – Sending the dog the ‘wrong way’

Photo of a collie sheepdog working sheep in long yellow grass
Our “Sending the dog the wrong way” tutorial introduces a great exercise for widening the dog’s flanks and outrun. Just as when we start to teach shedding we ask the dog to ignore one of its basic lessons (NOT to run through the sheep) this time we want the dog to work off balance. We’re asking the dog to forget the old rule of stopping at the back of the sheep (often referred to as “stopping at 12 o’clock”). As … Read more

Featured tutorials – Preparing yourself and your dog

Featured tutorials - Preparing yourself and your dog
Many handlers seem to find the early “puppy” months very stressful; they’re anxious to raise the dog in a way that will spark and preserve the all-important working instinct, but worry about balancing that with the entirely natural desire to have a well behaved family playmate and companion. Sheepdog Selection and Preparation should answer these questions, and more, and help you develop the relationship with your working dog. The Sheepdog Handler tutorial looks at the other end of the “magic … Read more

Featured Tutorial: The Training Area

Trainee sheep and cattle dog Remus keeping a small bunch of sheep under control
(Not to be confused with “The Training Ring”) IS YOUR TRAINING GROUND A HELP, OR A HINDERANCE? Your training area can make or break the early training sessions. It might seem like hard work, but taking the time to round off the corners and clear some obstacles will make it easier for your dog to succeed, and pay dividends in saving your time and temper. This is a favourite spot for sheep to hide from an inexperienced dog A SAFE … Read more

NEW tutorial – Flock Work

Photo of a flock of sheep crowded into a farm gateway
Is your dog ready to handle a flock of sheep? Once your dog can control a small number of sheep reasonably well in the training field, it’s natural to start thinking about working a flock of sheep. After all, that’s what the dog’s for, isn’t it! To us humans, flock work seems like a natural activity for the dog, so we don’t see the change from training ground, to farm, as being a problem – but in reality, it can … Read more

FAQ – How to progress from training, to flock work

A trainee sheepdog bringing a small group of sheep
QUESTION: How do you go from training a dog to collect six dogged sheep, to collecting a hundred or more flighty sheep, scattered around in a field? ANSWER: In a word, gradually!Good training should progress at a rate the student can cope with. If the student’s finding the work too difficult, the trainer’s pushing too hard. Just as you wouldn’t expect a trainee driver to go out onto the public highways if they’d only just learned to set a car … Read more

Featured tutorial – Eve at the Pen

Photo of a sheepdog bringing a small flock into a handling pen
Many of our online tutorials include actual training sessions with a trainee dog. No training happens in isolation so, as well as the main topic of the tutorial, any training session can highlight other aspects of the dog’s work – good or not so good. A typical example is Eve at the Pen. At this point in her training Eve was becoming a very useful young dog, but you’ll see she isn’t perfect. The focus might be on working in … Read more

Special membership offer for November and December 2021

Special membership offer for November and December 2021
A one-off 12 month subscription to our online training tutorials would be an ideal gift for anyone who’s training, or thinking of training, a sheepdog. New one-year subscriptions, paid for between 7th November and 31st December 2021, will be valid until 1st January 2023. So if you buy before the end of December 2021, you can be sure your recipient will receive the full 12 months’ benefit of our Online Tutorials. And it doesn’t have to be a gift! Buy … Read more

Featured tutorial: Backwards is The Way Forward

Sheepdog trainer Andy Nickless walking backwards as his dog brings the sheep up to him steadily
Wondering whether to work on flanks, stop, or working distance? Work on them all at once with this deceptively simple but effective exercise. As soon as your dog’s working around the sheep, and under some sort of control, this simple exercise gives you the opportunity to improve the dog’s stop, flanks, and working distance – all at once. Backwards is the Way Forward revisits Tess and her training. Tess was a strong and determined dog, with loads of potential, but … Read more

FREE Sheepdog Training Assessments!

Photo of a young trainee sheepdog lying down, glaring at sheep
Send us a clear video of your sheepdog, cattle dog or stock dog training session for FREE advice! Our advice is based on our interpretation of the information you provide, and intended to help you improve your dog’s work. We cannot be held responsible for any unforeseen or unintended consequences which result from your interpretation of our advice. We’re looking at ways of improving our service to visitors to The Working Sheepdog Website – and that includes assessing videos of … Read more

Featured tutorial – Early training with your sheepdog puppy

Collies and Chihuahuas can be great friends
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll leave training until the puppy’s older – your sheepdog puppy will start learning from you the moment it meets you. But it needn’t feel like work for either of you. The early months with any puppy are invaluable for getting to know its personality, and for establishing a bond between the two of you; and you’ll also be laying the foundations of your future working partnership. Be a responsible, but fun, leader for … Read more

SHEEPDOG TRAINING VIDEOS ON DVD

With nearly FOURTEEN HOURS of our SHEEPDOG TRAINING TUTORIALS now available as FOUR double DVD sets, you can SAVE up to 20% if you buy all four, together with our original “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training” DVD set. More details.