The Working Sheepdog Website

Sheep & Cattle dog training advice, articles & information

Some people think that sheep spend their whole lives thinking of ways to die…

New Tutorial: Sheep – Essential Facts for Beginners

The title image for our sheepdog training tutorial. Showing seven sheep in a line near a hedge.
Understanding sheep and their behaviour makes training your dog far easier As we approach the tenth anniversary of the release of our double DVD set “First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training”, we’re busy updating it in anticipation of releasing a second, even more comprehensive version in the near future. A useful spinoff of this is that as each “First Steps” chapter is somewhere near completion, we can add it to our Sheepdog Training Tutorials Library so that our full … Read more

How you can save a sheep’s life

Photo of a sheep lying on its side and unable to right itself
…it’s important to raise the BAA! Sheep don’t sleep or even lie comfortably on their backs, so if you happen to see one in this position you can be sure it’s close to death. If you know what to do, however, you might save its life. WATCH THE VIDEO! Free Video – DVDs – Books – Library When you’re training a sheepdog you can sometimes be surprised by a sheep’s agility, but they aren’t designed to lie on their backs, … Read more

Between a Flock and a Barred-Place!

This sheep has got herself trapped. It looks as though the bars of the fence go through the sheep, but they're only squeezing the wool
“LOOK BACK” at our favourite posts! (No 1 – 23 Feb 2014) They say sheep spend their entire lives thinking of ways to die – this one gets full marks for ingenuity! When Gill and I were putting the dogs away after their run this morning, we heard a sheep calling. It sounded as though she was unusually close (normally the sheep give the dogs a wide berth) so I glanced out through the hedge, but there was no sign … Read more

Bronwen’s baptism of fire

When challenged, Bronwen reacted quickly and decisively. Here she bites the nose of a challenging ewe
As we announce our latest sheepdog training tutorial, Bronwen faces a stiff challenge in the shearing pens Yesterday, we released our latest sheepdog training tutorial, Bronwen and Scylla, Part 6. As the title suggests, this is the sixth instalment in our fascinating series of videos comparing the training of litter sisters Bronwen and Scylla. While Scylla’s still untrustworthy around sheep, Bronwen’s quickly becoming our “go to” sheepdog for everyday work The inevitable time lag between a training session being filmed … Read more

Dogs aren’t the only ones who can learn

Closeup of a group of speckle-faced sheep
Our sheep have become experts at avoiding pressure Our sheepdog training course yesterday was a great demonstration of just how clever sheep can be. Many people think sheep are very stupid, because to us, they seem to do some really silly things, but anyone who really knows about sheep has a lot more respect for them. Little Kay was heroic when it came to returning difficult sheep to the training ring yesterday Certainly, sheep can be unpredictable at times and … Read more

Pic of the day – sheep by numbers

Carew at work with sheep
An unseasonably sunny (is it really December?) morning was the opportunity for some sheep maintenance Primarily we were checking the ear tag numbers on our most recent intake of “training assistants”, but it’s important to check the sheep regularly, just to make sure they’re all the right way up. The ear tags show the sheep’s individual number, and the number of the flock they belong to, and are legal requirements for all sheep in the UK. “Ready…steady…” The ear tag … Read more

A clip in time

Sheep being brought into the pen for foot trimming and dagging
“A little off the back and a pedicure, please.” I wish I thought that The Girls enjoy dagging and trimming. It would be lovely to think that when they skipped into the pen on Saturday afternoon they were fuelled by happy anticipation, rather than pursued by a wolf (well, Carew). Dagging sheep can be a mucky task, but like everything else, it’s not so daunting if you keep on top of it With the new spring grass coming through I’m … Read more

We have too many sheep. Sadly, some must go

Sheepdog working a small flock of sheep
Our field’s overstocked, so we have to reduce the number of sheep. Carew loves to work the full flock but some must go We don’t own the sheep we use for training the dogs, they belong to a sheep farmer in Mid-Wales. For years now, Glyn’s kept us supplied with however many sheep we want. He’s happy to change them at any time, but to keep his travelling to a minimum, we try to keep the same sheep for a … Read more

We have a result – and it’s printable

A sheep looking very relaxed while it awaits a pedicure
My older sisters used to tell me, “To the pure, all is pure” and our latest competition really proved it. Where some people see a (to me) surprisingly relaxed sheep undergoing an extensive pedicure, other people could only see a groin. When it came to picking a winner I was very tempted by Chris Bradley’s “I’m not sleeping, just resting my eyes,” because both the photo and the caption remind me of my Mum (not sure what she’d think of … Read more

TOO LATE – for the free caption competition!

A sheep looking very relaxed while it awaits a pedicure
Win a great DVD prize in our FREE CAPTION COMPETITION All you need to do is think of a great caption for this picture of a sheep awaiting a pedicure. The person whose caption we judge to be the best for this picture will be invited to choose one of our fabulous DVDs (see below). Our December Caption Competition was very popular, so we’ve been looking for a suitable picture to get your imaginations working again – can’t wait to … Read more

Why some sheep run away from dogs and others don’t

A trainee sheepdog chasing sheep
Have you ever wondered why some sheep run away as the dog approaches, while others stand their ground? This dog’s too fast and too close, so the sheep are in panic There are many reasons for sheep to run away from dogs but, primarily, sheep instinctively see dogs as predators. Dogs are descended from wolves and, let’s be honest, there’s an awful lot of sheep worrying these days to demonstrate that the instinct is still valid. When they herd livestock … Read more

100 Percent Wool – Dry-flat!

Rain soaked sheep in a wet field
100 Percent Wool – Dry Flat or they may go out of shape! (Click to enlarge). Sometimes, we feel really sorry for our sheep, and today is one of those days. The poor creatures have withstood an enormous amount of rain over the past few weeks, and now they look really sorry for themselves. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, that we are working the sheep as little as possible at the moment, because every time they move, they are causing … Read more

A welcome touch of frost but we urgently need rain (in England)

Sheepdogs in the early morning frost
It’s great to see the landscape covered with frost again, but what we really need is a good steady downpour of rain lasting for several days, if not weeks. The early morning sun casts long shadows in the frosted grass. England is traditionally associated with a high annual rainfall but last summer and autumn were exceptionally dry, especially in the western midlands. I’ve mentioned before that the drought last year was the reason we had to stop filming our new … Read more

Some things are easier said than done

Sheep grazing.
Our sheep are quite placid when confronted with dogs, but some are not nearly so nice! On our Sheepdog Training DVD I explain that you must keep young puppies away from sheep. There’s a very good reason for this – if the sheep should frighten the pup, that fear could stay with the pup for many years, if not for all its life. Fortunately, our sheep (Welsh Mules) are very placid and rarely do more than stamp their feet when … Read more

Puppies keep us waiting…and awake

An assorted group of smooth and rough coated Border collies
From the left, Sheba, Jen, Midge, Eli and Mo – looking out for those pesky puppies. Mel’s there too, at the back, but Lord knows what she’s looking for! It’s been a week of new additions, though not the new additions we were expecting. The litter of puppies that was due last Friday has yet to put in an appearance. The mother, who’s usually a stickler for due dates, is looking very relaxed about it all; it’s OK for her, … Read more

DROUGHT in Worcestershire?

Fleck is a lovely example of a smooth coated border collie sheepdog puppy
I wish we could have some rain! Isn’t the grass supposed to be green? Fleck standing on our sun-scorched grass Although our ground is heavy clay, the grass is brown and burned off. The sheep are eating what amounts to wisps of hay stuck in the ground (but I must admit they seem to be doing well on it). But it can’t last. The grass isn’t growing because the ground is too dry. If we don’t get significant rain very … Read more

Sheep Shearing By Numbers.

Recently sheared sheep with unsheared sheep in the background
Last week I had my first attempt at shearing sheep. I’ve watched sheep being sheared many times before but never actually had a go. One of the first sheep I ever sheared – she seems to have survived OK! I invested in some good quality Hauptner electric shears last year, with the intention of doing our own shearing in 2010. As you can imagine, sheep which are kept primarily to be chased by dogs need to be looked after well … Read more

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