Our suggested training programme

Trainee sheep and cattle herding dog Jet, calmly holding a dozen sheep in the corner of a yard

Tutorials that guide you through the maze of sheepdog training - what to do, and when to do it.

The early stages of sheepdog training, especially for a beginner, can seem daunting. There's so much for the dog to learn, and it can be hard to decide on what to teach first - is good flanking more important than stopping on command? What needs to be taught now, and what can wait?

And, as we've said before, sheepdog training doesn't happen in a vacuum; sometimes it will be almost impossible to concentrate on perfecting one aspect of the dog's work when other skills are called into use at the same time!

Our What Shall I Do Next? tutorial shows the order of lessons that, in our experience of sheepdog training, has given us the best results - by gradually building on a firm foundation.

A companion tutorial, How Often, and for How Long? shows what to look for in your dog's work so you can stop your training session before the dog becomes either physically or mentally tired.

Promotional pic of our Sheepdog Training Tutorials 2xDVD set

What Shall I Do Next? and How Often and How Long? appear in the Where to Start category of the online tutorials library, where you can also see other essential basics such as Starting a Young Puppy, Learn Your Commands, and The Training Stick.

If you need (or prefer) to watch on DVD you'll find What Shall I Do Next? and How Often and How Long? on the tutorials collection, Volume 2.

Buy two or more of our training DVDs to receive a discount!


Registered dog puppy available

Small but perfectly formed, Aanick's big personality makes up for his lack of stature.

When Aanick was born, on March 17th, he was the smallest (tiniest!) pup in a litter of 11. We feared the worst, but did our best to ensure he had the best start we could possibly give him.

Luckily Aanick was also determined to get the best start he could, and always managed to creep through to the front of the crowd at the milk bar, and find himself the warmest place in the middle when everyone fell asleep.

Aanick has the unique feature of being the only border collie we've ever had who doesn't have a white tip to his tail. This is because his mother accidentally (we hope) nipped it off when he was two weeks old! He still looks lovely of course, and his tail looks completely normal - just a bit short and very black.

Aanick's not much smaller than his litter sister now. He's proving to be a real character who loves to play rough, but equally enjoys "chilling out" on a convenient lap to watch the world go by.

Aanick's parents are Maddie (the photo on the left) and Ezra (on the right). Maddie was bred here from Kay (who features largely in our First Steps DVD) and Oliver.

Ezra needs little introduction. We bred Ezra from our dogs Mel and Eli, and Ezra has produced many excellent agility, working trials and sheep/cattle dogs.

Both parents were bred primarily for sheep work, but temperament is also very important to us. Ezra and Maddie are fun, sociable dogs who love to play and mix with other dogs and visitors.

Head and ears of smooth coated sheepdog

We actively encourage all of our dogs to play together (when they're not working) and the puppies are allowed to join in with the adult dogs as soon as they feel ready, so Aanick is relaxed and sensible around other dogs.

Aanick was initially weaned onto minced beef, lamb and raw chicken, but now eats a mixed diet of raw meat and dried kibble.

Although Aanick would be suitable for agility, obedience, working trials or would make a lovely family pet in an experienced home. He's already taking a keen and active interest in both sheep and cattle, and with this early enthusiasm he should be easy to train for farm work. Being an amenable and affectionate chap we're sure Aanick would suit a smallholder or a beginner to sheepdog training.

All our puppies are fully Chihuahua tested

Our puppies are registered with the International Sheep Dog Society, and eligible for registration on the Kennel Club's Breed or Activity registers.

Aanick is vet checked, regularly wormed, and has had his first vaccination (as at 21st June). His purchase price of £600 includes his ISDS registration transfer and, if wanted, a year's subscription to the online tutorials.

Enquiries by email please, and include a little information about yourself.


Featured tutorial – Moving out into the open field

Ricky keeps control of his sheep during training

The training ring is ideal for keeping the action in easy reach of the handler, but some young dogs are unhappy when working in a restricted space; confined with the sheep, and feeling under pressure, the dog can be uncharacteristically aggressive.

Dogs are often more relaxed, and easier to control, out in the open, so we recommend you move your training sessions to the open field as soon as your dog can control its sheep.

But, if the dog's inexperienced and excitable, how do you move out of the ring while maintaining control? And then, just as importantly, move back in again?

Sheepdog training in a training ring

In this tutorial Andy demonstrates how, by understanding what's likely to happen and why, bringing your sheep out into the field needn't be chaos. And once you've learned the technique, your dog will learn some valuable lessons too.

When you can work in an open field training becomes more varied, and more fun, for both dog and handler. While "fun" might be going too far, the sheep probably find it less stressful too!

To find more information about using the training ring - for starting a young dog and for introducing more advanced work - see Training Ring 1 and Training Ring 2 in the tutorials library.

Moving out into the open field was previously listed in the tutorial library as Coming out - with dignity.


Watch with subtitles

Close up photo of Kelpie Will looking at the camera

We've already made our tutorials easier to watch when your internet connection is slow, and now there are improvements to the tutorials themselves.

Existing subscribers will notice a slightly different format. There's not only the choice between Standard (SD) and High (HD) definition, but instant access to English subtitles - just click on (CC) on the video screen.

Closed caption (CC) subtitles are broadcast compliant, and leave you free to opt-in or out of subtitle mode without navigating away from the page.

We're making the changes gradually, so please be patient if your favourite tutorial isn't yet available with closed caption subtitles - they are still available in the usual way.

To watch tutorials in the library you'll need to be logged in as a paid member.

Mainly white Border collie female

Our video tutorials give members lots of guidance for starting a dog, progressing its training, and dealing with the challenges that arise.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account. There's more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below, or register for a free subscriber account to watch a sample tutorial, "Top Tips for Easier Training".


Does your internet connection hold you back?

Young collie puppies playing together

Try our new video player

We've made a few changes to make our tutorials easier to watch when your internet connection is slow. Some subscribers have to live with this all the time, and others only have an issue when using a mobile device away from home.

Either way, it's a real nuisance if you can't concentrate on the information because of constant buffering (re-loading).

New player for the online sheepdog training tutorials

In this screenshot you'll see an HD symbol in the lower right hand corner of the screen. This means the video is playing on High Definition.

If you find your connection isn't coping, click on "HD" to see the quality options, and choose SD: this means you'll be using the lower quality Standard Definition.

You won't need to do this every time because the player will remember what you chose, but simply clicking on SD will take you back to the SD/HD options without any interruption in the tutorial.

If you look to the bottom left of the screen you'll see the usual forwards-stop/play-backwards symbols, but you'll also see a figure 10 in an arrowed circle - clicking this will rewind 10 seconds of video to watch again. And if you need to leave mid-tutorial, the player will remember where you were, and re-start from the same place next time.

If you like to watch in full screen mode, the "full screen" arrows have moved to the top right hand corner. Remember though, that in SD mode the picture quality won't be as sharp as in HD.

Finally, to switch to the subtitled version without leaving the page, just click on the image showing "subtitles".

If, because of your internet connection, you've delayed subscribing to the tutorials you'll find the new player on the tutorials preview and the subscribers' free tutorial. You can test it out before you subscribe.

We're sure the new player will make your tutorial viewing easier, and even more enjoyable.

Mainly white Border collie female

Our video tutorials give members lots of guidance for starting a dog, progressing its training, and dealing with the challenges that arise.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account. There's more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below, or register for a free subscriber account to watch a sample tutorial, "Top Tips for Easier Training".


Featured tutorial – Get Off The Fence!

It's hard to make progress if your sheep just "stay put"

Sheep have a real talent for assessing a trainee dog, and for making life as difficult for it as possible. As a result, a very common problem for young dogs and inexperienced handlers is getting the sheep into the middle of the ring or field, and keeping them there.

It's a problem we've all had, and it's SO FRUSTRATING! Luckily, it isn't difficult to overcome.

how to train a sheepdog to get sheep off a fence or hedge

As with so much in sheepdog training, the dog's confidence is the key.

If your sheep are crowding into a corner, or pressing themselves up against a hedge in a (successful) attempt to foil the dog's gathering efforts, it'll probably be because your dog lacks the confidence to get between the sheep and the fence.

Don't despair! As with every other challenge, if you try to understand what's happening, and why it's happening, you'll overcome it with persistent, supportive training. Stay calm (your frustration or temper will only help to convince your dog that it's right to be scared) and practice the techniques you'll find in this tutorial.

With your newly co-operative sheep, and bolder, more confident dog, training will become so much easier!


Watch the Get Off The Fence tutorial to see how, with persistent, supportive training, your dog will learn to cope with sheep that "sit on the fence".

Our video tutorials give members lots of guidance for starting a dog, progressing its training, and dealing with the challenges that arise.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account. There's more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below, or register for a free subscriber account to watch a sample tutorial, "Top Tips for Easier Training".


Featured tutorial – The Outrun

A sheepdog handler sending his dog off on its outrun to gather sheep

The outrun - the only training session you'll hope will go "pear-shaped"!

If there's one aspect of sheep work that demonstrates the joy and convenience of a working dog, it's a good outrun. When you no longer need to walk down the field to drive your sheep to where you want them, you save your time, your temper and your legs.

Most dogs thoroughly enjoy this part of their training, and outrun practise is often a good way to relieve the tension when training becomes more intense.

Our three Outrun tutorials show you how to teach the outrun, and how to make it longer and wider as the dog's skill and experience grow. As ever, don't skimp on the basics. We have lots of emails and enquiries about the outrun "going wrong at the end", when the answer is simple: Get it right at the START.

Part One - a real training session with a headstrong young dog, Jed, shows how to begin teaching the outrun, and how to make the best of it when things go wrong.

You'll probably find that teaching the outrun helps to improve other areas of the dog's work too.

Part Two shows how positioning yourself, your dog, and the sheep, in relation to each other, is the key to success when you're working on lengthening or widening your dog's outrun.

Experiment a little, and discover how much control you can have over the outrun.

Part Three in the series demonstrates how we use our "Slingshot" technique to encourage a wider outrun.

The Slingshot will help to widen the dog's flanks, too.

You'll often hear that a sheepdog trial can be won at the pen, but it can be lost on the outrun. If you plan to compete, give your dog the best possible chance with a reliable and confident outrun.

Our video tutorials give members lots of guidance for starting a dog, progressing its training, and dealing with the challenges that arise.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account. There's more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below, or register for a free subscriber account to watch a sample tutorial, "Top Tips for Easier Training".


Featured tutorial – Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

Sheepdog Bronwen lies down defiantly in front of some threatening sheep

It takes huge self-confidence for a dog to lie down in this situation, but even a cautious dog can learn to assert itself.

Sheep are natural "runners" when they're being hunted, but certain situations, such as when held in a pen, or protecting their lambs, can make a sheep turn 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 what if your dog naturally shies away from confrontation, or has the memory of a previous bad experience holding it back?

Even a shy dog can be taught to assert itself in this situation, but give it time.

Sometimes Nice is Not Enough was made in response to many emails, questions and comments left on the Training Tutorials pages. It features two dogs, Carew and Kay, with very different ways of controlling their sheep. Neither approach is perfect, but with training they both became extremely capable sheepdogs.

The tutorial looks at how their personalities dictate how Kay and Carew work; how to recognise the different ways a dog can demonstrate a lack of confidence; and how to build that much-needed self-confidence to deal with practical shepherding situations.

Our video tutorials give members lots of guidance for starting a dog, progressing its training, and dealing with the challenges that arise.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account. There's more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below.