The Working Sheepdog Website

Sheep & Cattle dog training advice, articles & information

FAQ – Walking the dog around sheep

Photo of a man holding a sheepdog, using a rope for a lead
QUESTION: Is it OK to walk my dog around the sheep every day? He’s not ready to work them yet but I want him to get used to being near them. ANSWER: Familiarising the dog with sheep or cattle would seem like a good idea. After all, we want the dog to be relaxed when it’s with livestock, but unless you can trust the dog to actually work the stock, it’s not necessarily a good idea. The dog’s not ready … Read more

Featured tutorial – The Outrun

A sheepdog handler sending his dog off on its outrun to gather sheep
Sheepdog training tutorials focusing on the dog’s outrun … Read more

FAQ – Dog goes out too wide

Photo of a sheepdog waiting to be sent off to gather sheep
QUESTION: My dog is generally working well but when I send her on an outrun to gather the sheep, she goes out too far. How can I stop my dog going too wide? ANSWER: Going too wide is certainly one of the better faults a dog can have. Often getting the dog to give the stock more room is the problem, but of course, if the dog’s running out too wide, that in itself can mean the dog’s not working … Read more

Featured tutorial – Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

sheep attacking a herding dog
Or, “Give your dog a bit more Grrr!” Building your dog’s self confidence. Self confidence is essential in a working dog. Sheep are natural runners when they’re being hunted, but some situations, such as when held in a pen, or protecting their lambs, can make a sheep turn, challenge, and fight back. While sheep and dog welfare must always be a priority there are occasions when the dog, quite simply, needs to get the job done. But some dogs naturally … Read more

FAQ – Will my puppy work stock?

Photo of a puppy gazing at sheep through a fence
QUESTION: I have a young Border Collie puppy which I want to use for herding our sheep. How can I tell if he’s interested in working? ANSWER: If one or more of your pup’s parents works sheep or other livestock, there’s a very good chance your pup will too. Probably the first sign you’ll have of its interest will be when the pup stands and stares at the stock- but this is also the time when the pup’s most vulnerable … Read more

FAQ – Calling the dog away from stock

Two border collie sheepdogs driving sheep along a farm track
QUESTION: How can I call my dog away when he’s working in the ring or in a yard? ANSWER: It’s natural for the trainee dog to want to keep working. Being confined in a training ring or yard creates a lot of stress for the dog but, of course, it must come away when you want it to. Typically the dog fears the session will be over once it returns to you and, particularly in the earliest stages of training, … Read more

FAQ – My dog killed a sheep

Photo of a Kelpie dog running around a flock of sheep
QUESTION: My dogs killed a sheep today. I don’t want to have the dogs destroyed, they are working Kelpie X Collie dogs which we want to train on sheep and cattle. What can I do? ANSWER: I’m sorry to hear that your dogs have killed a ewe. I’m afraid this is what happens when people keep dogs that they don’t fully understand. I will offer the best advice I can, but it’s limited because I’m not in a position to … Read more

Featured tutorial – Educating Gloria

Featured tutorial - Educating Gloria
Educating Gloria – encouraging the good, and making the best of the rest! Handlers who are new to sheepdog training can find it difficult to recognise what their dog’s doing, and take the appropriate action at the right time – timing is everything! Your timing will improve with practice, and watching a training session (such as Educating Gloria) can be a huge help. This was Gloria’s fourth training session; she’s headstrong and excited, but not uncontrollable. This tutorial shows the … Read more

Featured tutorial – Sticky Dogs! with “too much” eye

Young sheepdog working off balance
It’s time to get moving if your dog has “too much” eye. To a greater or lesser degree, border collies use “eye” (a particularly intense and assertive stare) to move stock. In some dogs the look is very exaggerated (often said to have “too much eye”), while other dogs work with their heads up and don’t appear to be using eye at all. Either type of dog is perfectly capable of getting the job done. But when a handler finds, … Read more

FAQ – My dog stops sheep going in the pen!

Training a sheepdog inside a training ring.
QUESTION: I’m trying to put the sheep into a yard but my dog stops them from going in. How can I get my dog to put the sheep right in? ANSWER: This problem is more common than you would think. One example of it is when you first begin to move sheep into another field. As the sheep go through the gate, the trainee dog will often race after them, and try to bring them back. This is because the … Read more

FAQ – Training Huntaway Blue Heeler ‘driving’ dogs

Huntaway dog herding a bunch of sheep towards some farm buildings
QUESTION: I’m getting a Huntaway to work my sheep and cattle but I can’t find any Huntaway or Blue Heeler specific training on the internet. Are they the same as Border Collies? ANSWER: The basics such as general dog behaviour and discipline around stock are exactly the same, but as I understand it, Huntaways and Blue Heelers work in a different way to collies. I believe they are intended for PUSHING big mobs of stock, whereas the Border Collie (and … Read more

FAQ – Stop the dog splitting the sheep!

Photo of a trainee sheepdog which has separated a bunch of sheep
QUESTION: My dog likes to split the sheep up and bite them. I am having trouble getting her to go round them. Can you help? ANSWER: It’s perfectly normal for your dog to split the sheep up in the very early stages of training. It shows she has the natural ability she needs to become a great sheepdog, but of course you must get her under control as quickly as possible. When I started training my first dog (Dot) I … Read more


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