Featured tutorial – Sending the dog the Wrong Way

Young sheepdog working off balance

Our Sending the Dog the Wrong Way tutorial demonstrates a great exercise to encourage the dog to widen out on its flanks and outrun, and to give the sheep more space.

But, 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: that is, to ignore the old rule of stopping at the back of the sheep (often referred to as 12 o'clock).

A collie sheepdog working sheep in long yellow grass

It isn't always easy to convince the dog that this is a good idea, so take time to understand the technique and why your dog might find it difficult.

Teaching your dog to ignore the point of balance and go the wrong way is essential for driving, and for yard and pen work, and will result in a more versatile and useful dog.

If you need more help please leave a comment or question on the tutorial page. Remember, to watch the tutorials you'll need to be logged in as a paid member.


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.


Revised tutorial – Stopping the Dog Part One

Title page of training tutorial stopping the dog

We're continuing to revisit and revise the tutorials, adding information and improved footage as we go.

Our latest revision is Stopping the Dog - Part One. Unsurprisingly it's a popular tutorial, as problems with the stop are very common - almost to be expected.

Of course there are things you can do to persuade your dog to stop - wait until the dog's on balance; raise your arms or the training stick; or get between the dog and the sheep to block it - but a good stop goes deeper than that.

The new Stopping the Dog - Part One goes into more detail about why the dog will or, more usually, won't, stop. It encourages you to look at your entire relationship with your dog, at its general obedience, and at how the hunting instinct can both help and hinder your progress.

We hope you'll find Stopping the Dog - Part One more clear, and even more helpful than its previous version, but we're always happy to hear from you so please let us know what you think!

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


Featured tutorials – How to use a sheepdog whistle

If you'd like to use a sheepdog whistle, but don't know where to start, there are two tutorials in the Online Training Tutorials library that will help.

In The Sheepdog Whistle Andy demonstrates a tried and tested technique to get you blowing your whistle within minutes. Once you can make a sound, any sound, you'll find you quickly improve and can begin to develop your own whistle commands.

The Sheepdog Whistle tutorial has had lots of positive feedback from people who've finally discovered the key to their whistle - sometimes after years of trying.

Teach Your Dog Whistle Commands proves that it's harder to learn to blow your whistle commands than to teach the commands to your dog. We describe two methods of teaching the commands so you can pick whichever seems more natural to you. To demonstrate the techniques, Teach Your Dog Whistle Commands includes an actual training session, when Andy taught the whistle commands to Bronwen.

The Sheepdog Whistle and Teach Your Dog Whistle Commands can be found in the Whistle category in the online tutorials library.

Sheepdog training DVDs - covers and discs

If you prefer (or need) to watch on DVD The Sheepdog Whistle appears on Volume 1, and Teach Your Dog Whistle Commands is on Volume 2 of the DVD tutorial collections.

Our first training DVD, First Steps In Border Collie Sheepdog Training, features The Sheepdog Whistle and covers the basics of sheep, dog, handler and theory to get your training started. It's an ideal introduction for any aspiring handler (we're told).

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


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 – 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".