Featured tutorial – Eve at the Pen

Dog bringing sheep into a pen

Many of the 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 and around the sheep pens, but the lesson demonstrates so much more!

Watch Eve at the Pen for help with:

  • A dog who circles the sheep after its outrun, instead of bringing them to you
  • A dog who brings only a few of the sheep - leaving some sheep behind
  • Teaching the Look Back - to collect the left sheep and correct the habit
  • Positioning the dog to push sheep into a pen
  • Building the dog's confidence
  • Positioning the dog to move sheep through a race
  • Using your body position to control the dog
  • Stopping the dog at the back of the pen, behind the sheep, and keeping it there
  • Leading the dog into a crowded pen to accustom it to working close to the sheep
  • Eve at the Pen is a 36 minute training session, demonstrating some common problems and full of valuable advice to improve your dog's work (and your own).

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


Featured tutorials – Considering sheep

Don't ever be tempted to think that sheep are stupid! They might not be deep thinkers, but they're experts at protecting themselves from a dog - either by running away, or by standing and facing - and their size (and feet!) can be intimidating to an inexperienced or shy dog.

We talk about sheep on our First Steps DVD and the revised sheep chapter appears in the tutorial library. Sheep - Essential Facts for Trainers looks at how to find suitable sheep, where to keep them, and why sheep can be controlled by a dog. We also cover what types of sheep are easier to work with, and what types should be avoided (if possible).

Of course, we can't all choose our perfect sheep and many of us simply have to work with what we're given. Watch Woolly Jumpers for some ideas about coping with sheep who've discovered that escape is the best policy!

You don't want your dog to cause distress to the sheep, for reasons of both welfare and productivity, so it must learn to control and move the stock with respect. Watch Give the Sheep Space to see the difference it makes when a dog keeps its distance; the sheep will be much calmer, and subsequently far easier to manage than excited or frightened animals will be.

Calmer sheep make for a calmer dog, and you'll probably feel calmer too!

Give the Sheep Space can be found in the Where to Start; Flanking & Circling; and Working Distance categories of the online tutorials library.

If you need (or prefer) to watch on DVD you'll find Give the Sheep Space on the tutorials collection, Volume 1, where you'll also find Close Work, The Outrun, Driving, and more.


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!


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.


Featured Tutorial – What Shall I Do Next?

Title image for our sheepdog training tutorial - What Shall I do Next?

Our recommended order for training sheep or cattle dogs

When you first start training a dog to work livestock, it can seem daunting to say the least! With the dog whirling around and refusing to stop while sheep or cattle run in all directions, the beginner can be forgiven for thinking they'll never regain control, but attending to the most urgent points, and tackling them correctly, can quickly yield good results.

"What Shall I Do Next?" suggests a solid structure of priorities for setting the situation up correctly and maintaining (or regaining) control when the dog is released.

If you're wondering what you should be teaching your dog now, and what can wait, or even whether you should be training all of the basics at once, watch "What Shall I Do Next?" to learn the order of lessons that many years of sheepdog training has given us the best results.

Interesting and Varied
The training order shouldn't be inflexible though. Once you have good control of the dog (and the dog has good control of the stock) as the dog's skill increases, it's good practice to vary the training, the training venue, and if possible, the stock too. This keeps sessions fresh and interesting for both dog and trainer, and equally importantly, broaden's the dog's mind.

Image depicting sheepdog trial competitor with dog

Sheepdog Trials
For the aspiring sheepdog trials competitors, we have two tutorials which deal specifically with preparation for Sheepdog Trials and how they are run, and the things trials competitors are expected to know.

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.


Featured tutorial – the Point of Balance

Sheepdog moving sheep

Everyone's heard that the dog must balance the sheep, but what does it mean?

You'll often hear that the dog MUST stop at "12 o'clock". You need to imagine that the handler is standing at 6 o'clock on a clock face, with the dog directly opposite the handler (at 12 o'clock) on the other side of the sheep.

That's the theory.

In practise it isn't quite so simple, but rest assured that if the sheep are moving towards you, in a straight line, your dog has found the point of balance.

Watch the Balance tutorial to understand the basics of balance, and watch Driving Part 2 to see that the point of balance can be more than just watching the clock!

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.


Featured Tutorial – The Perfect Stop!

Improve the stop of your herding cattle or sheepdog without damaging the dog's confidence

Improve your dog's stop without damaging its confidence

A dog which will stop instantly on command is a great asset on any livestock farm. The most common fault among working sheepdogs is that they're too eager, and their handler cannot stop them precisely when and where they need to, but over-intense training can damage a sensitive dog's confidence.

"The Perfect Stop" tutorial points out ways in which you can improve your dog's stop while maintaining or even building the dog's confidence.

Close up photo of Dot, a tricolour Border Collie Sheepdog, lying in the grass
Andy nearly ruined his first dog Dot by "over training" her.

The tutorial also explains why Andy uses the "Lie down" command in preference to "Stand", why he prefers his dogs to remain standing when they stop, and why he doesn't always want the dog to stop when he gives it the "Lie down" command!

Confusing? Watch the tutorial!

Our latest tutorial video will give our members lots of guidance for building the dog's confidence and encouraging it to work steadily

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.