For beginners and beyond
The wide open spaces have their place, but NOT in the early stages of sheepdog training.
For the best chance of success, and to save your legs and temper, keep the dog and sheep contained. We stress, in our training tutorials, that: "The closer you are to the dog, the more control you have," but it's especially important in those vital, early lessons.
The size, shape and nature of the training area can make a huge difference to your training experience, and will either help or hinder your dog's progress.
We covered the training area on our First Steps DVD and now, after a few minor changes and with the addition of a subtitled version, the training area chapter can be seen in the tutorial library. "The training area" looks at how to adapt the space you have available and suggests some alternatives, including using sheep hurdles to build a training ring.
Once built, we show you how to get your sheep into the ring and then take a first look at moving out into the field when your dog's ready.
To help you get the best out of your training ring, we recommend you watch "Get off the fence!" where we demonstrate how working inside the ring helps the dog learn to keep the sheep away from the fence or hurdles. Partly confidence and partly technique, this is an important skill for your dog to master before it can work successfully in an open field (although it's almost impossible to train in any situation when the sheep are pressed tight against the fence).
Don't dismantle the training ring once you start to make progress. Even as your dog becomes more advanced you'll often find it helpful to go back to the ring for a session or two, either to reinforce the commands or perhaps restore some confidence to the dog. If you watch "Teach your dog to circle the sheep (inside flanks) part two" you'll also see how useful the ring can be for introducing more advanced work.
Having covered sheep, dog, and training area, the final part of the equation is the handler - coming soon.
NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account.
You'll find more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below.