Featured tutorial – The Stop (Part 3)

Some sheepdogs stay on their feet, rather than lie down, when they stop

A huge thank you to the subscriber who let us know they were having problems running Part Three of our Stopping the Dog tutorial.

The entire tutorial has been taken apart and put back together again, and not only is it up and running as it should be, we think it’s better than ever. So if you’ve tried to watch it and couldn’t, or haven’t looked at the Stopping the Dog series yet, we recommend you check it out.

Achieving a good Stop can involve many other aspects of your dog’s training, and will be affected by his character and, possibly, yours too.

In Stopping the Dog Part 3 you’ll see:

  • The importance of balancing control of the dog with protecting the dog’s confidence
  • Modifying your approach to match the various characteristics of the dog (if it’s aggressive, sticky, shy etc.) and matching the intensity of training with the sensitivity of the dog
  • Coping with a dog that won’t stop
  • There are good and bad times to attempt to stop the dog. Learn how to judge an opportunity, or when there’s no way the dog will stop
  • The benefits of keeping a dog in place once you’ve stopped it – and why you need to let it go again
  • The importance of the tone of your voice
  • How to DELIVER your commands for best effect
  • The importance of preventing boredom by setting yourself and the dog simple tasks, rather than just repetitive training (though that’s important too)

The Stop can be a big problem for many new or inexperienced handlers (and sometimes, even the experienced ones) but understanding why it isn’t working for you and your dog can often lead the way to improved work all round. 

Watch Dulcie Working at Dean Farm Early Today

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Herding sheepdog Dulcie controlling a yard crowded with sheep

Follow Dulcie as she gathers a flock of sheep in the open field, and then takes them to the farm, where she guides them through the ‘sorting race’ so that the lambs which are ready for market can be ‘drafted out’.

Dulcie works quickly and calmly as she brings the flock from the field into the sorting area and she shows courage and patience when confronted with a stubborn ewe which doesn’t want to go into the yard.


ONLINE SHEEP AND CATTLE DOG TRAINING TUTORIALS
Clear, inexpensive, herding sheepdog training instruction

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!

For English SUBTITLES click CC on player.

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For a very small monthly (or annual) subscription, watch many hours of expertly presented sheepdog training lessons. Not just theory – we show you what should happen, and what to do when things go wrong. Signup now You may cancel payments at any time and continue to watch for the period paid for.

What’s Wrong With White Sheepdogs?

A predominantly white border collie sheepdog working a small bunch of sheep

Answer – NOTHING! (Well, almost nothing).

A recent question from one of our members reminded us that white border collie sheepdog pups are not as popular as black and white, tricolour, red or other colours.

Three predominantly white border collie pups under an overhanging branch.

That’s a pity – and there’s little or no justification for it, unless you’re a sheepdog trials competitor.

If you have a predominantly white dog, the sheep don’t always recognise it as a dog when it first approaches them. I’ve seen this happen. Unbelievably, the sheep will often totally ignore the dog until it’s extremely close to them; then suddenly they realise there’s a dog amongst them and they panic!

Cap the white border collie sheepdog

After their initial panic, the sheep remember that the white thing approaching them is actually a dog (in disguise?) and it’s not a problem from then on. This is OK in a farm situation, where the same sheep see the same dog every time, but for sheepdog trials, where you can lose points if the dog causes the sheep to jump or panic, the poor sheep rarely see the same dog twice. In this situation, a white dog can be a big problem.

Read more about coloured dogs we’ve had .

Dulcie’s First Gather in Over Three Months

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve been confined to working the dogs at Kings Green, so today’s outing to Dean Farm was very welcome – and Dulcie didn’t disappoint us!

Dulcie gathering the sheep together and driving them towards the farm

On a glorious June morning, Dulcie gathered the sheep effortlessly. Her outrun has improved considerably since we last visited Dean Farm. Here, she’s moving the flock towards the railway bridge on the way to the farm.

Far in the background, Dulcie keeps the entire flock heading for the gateway

As the leading sheep come through the gate, Dulcie can just be seen in the background, making sure all the stragglers keep together with the main flock. In this situation, ewes will often try to lead their lambs away from the ‘dangers’ of a dog.

Dulcie patiently waits for the sheep to realise they have no option but to go into the handling yard

Once safely in the yard, Dulcie’s next task was to push the sheep into the handling pens.

Close up photo of two ewes and a lamb facing sheepdog Dulcie in the handling pens at Dean Farm today.

These sheep are challenging Dulcie. They don’t want to go through the sorting race (off to the left) but Dulcie stands her ground and they quickly run through.

Dulcie lying on the floor in the yard at Dean Farm, keeping watch on her sheep

All in all, Dulcie’s work showed a big improvement over previous visits to Dean Farm. She was doing big outruns (more than 300 metres) and listening to her commands much better than before.

She also held the sheep up to the race by herself when required. That’s a great help.

Featured tutorial – Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

sheep attacking a herding 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 shy away from confrontation, and for others the memory of a previous bad experience can hold it back.

A ewe confronts Kay on the drive

We’re not suggesting a licence to grip in this tutorial, but we’re teaching the dog to move up a gear in its work, and be more assertive.Even a cautious dog can learn to cope with strong-minded ewes or tups, or even cattle if the handler is sympathetic and encouraging.

Dealing with stubborn stock is a perennial problem, and Sometimes Nice is Not Enough was made in response to emails and questions left on the Training Tutorials pages. 

To watch the tutorials you’ll need to be logged in as a paid member; for more help, leave a comment or question on the tutorial page.

ONLINE SHEEP AND CATTLE DOG TRAINING TUTORIALS

For English SUBTITLES click CC on the player.

video

Clear, inexpensive, herding sheepdog training instruction

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!

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, 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, or more often is told, that their dog has “too much eye” it can seem like a big problem. The dog works in a stop-start fashion, frequently “sticking” on the point of balance, but it can be improved, and it isn’t difficult if you understand what’s happening.

If your dog has an excellent stop – but won’t get up again – the chances are that the problem is “eye”. This was exactly the problem we had with Mab, the subject of our Sticky Dogs! tutorial; Mab works with that typical stop-start action, sometimes rooted to the spot.

Andy demonstrates that with a kind, encouraging, but assertive approach, the dog learns that it needs to keep moving to get the job done.

The emphasis in this tutorial is on movement, and often it’s the handler who needs to do the moving.

Don’t be stuck with a stop-start dog – watch Sticky Dogs!

To watch the tutorials you’ll need to be logged in as a paid member, and if you need more help, leave a comment or question on the tutorial page.


Featured tutorial – Inside Flanks (Circling the Sheep on Command)

Border collie working sheep in a field

Lift your dog’s skill from average to excellent!

Once your dog’s driving competently, teaching inside flanks (circling on command) is the next step. Make no mistake, good inside flanks can be the difference between having an average dog, and a great dog!

In the two-part tutorial, Train Your Dog to Circle the Sheep, we see Wyn learning to overcome her inhibitions to flank between Andy and the sheep.

It sounds simple enough, but having been taught NOT to come between us and the sheep in the early stages of training, many dogs are reluctant to circle the sheep.

Once your dog’s driving fairly fluently you’ll want to be able to steer it at a distance, and this is where a dog with good inside flanks comes into its own. If the dog will circle the sheep in either direction you can put the dog anywhere you want, and drive the sheep to anywhere you need.

It’s a vital skill for trialling, where precision is important, but it’s also very useful for farm and practical applications (and it’s quite good fun too).

Part one shows training in the open field, but if this doesn’t work with your particular dog and sheep combination, don’t despair! Part two shows techniques to try while working inside the training ring.

To watch the tutorials you’ll need to be logged in as a paid member, and if you need more help, leave a comment or question on the tutorial page.


Featured tutorial – Tess in the Open Field


Watching a real training session will show you the theory put into practice.

An over-excited and strong-willed Tess first appeared in our Starting a Strong Dog tutorial. In Tess in the Open Field she’s made great progress, and has proved she’s capable of working to a high standard, but Tess is still young and sheer novelty and enthusiasm makes her inconsistent.

In Tess in the Open Field you’ll see the techniques we use to improve the dog’s flanks and outrun, and to introduce the concept of driving, used in real-time in an actual training session. As you’d expect, Tess doesn’t always get it right (for one reason or another) but she’s making progress.

Watching an unedited training session is the next best thing to watching a session of your own. You’ll see the theory of the tutorials actually put into practice, and it will help you understand what your dog’s doing, and why, and how you can put it right.

If you recognise your own dog in this tutorial take heart – after a trying start, Tess developed into a useful and stylish sheep dog.

NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged into their account, and paid subscribers are also invited to submit short videos of their own training sessions for evaluation and advice. Please contact us for more details.