The Working Sheepdog Website

Sheep & Cattle dog training advice, articles & information

These are recent questions we’ve been asked about sheepdog training and the answers we’ve given. Feel free to ask your own sheepdog training question in the comment section at the foot of this page.

Two border collie sheepdogs driving sheep along a farm track

FAQ – Calling the dog away from stock

QUESTION: How can I call my dog away when he’s working in the ring or in a yard? ANSWER: It’s natural for the trainee dog to want to keep working. Being confined in a training ring or yard creates a lot of stress for the dog but, of course, it … Read More
Sheepdog trainer working close to the dog

FAQ – Can a sheepdog live in the house?

QUESTION: My dog is very enthusiastic and eager to work but she’s a bit timid and runs away from aggressive sheep. Are we spoiling her by keeping her in the house? ANSWER: Living in the house shouldn’t affect the dog’s confidence when it works sheep, but there are plenty of … Read More
picture of a car driving down a country lane, being chased by a sheepdog

FAQ – Chasing cars and anything that moves!

QUESTION: How can I stop my dog chasing cars tractors, motorcycles, cyclists, lawnmowers and anything that moves? ANSWER: Chasing cars and other vehicles is a big problem for some dog owners. It can be extremely dangerous, both for the dog, and any humans involved. The drivers amongst us know they … Read More
A dog leaping up at a young heifer's face to bite it

FAQ – Dog attacking cattle

QUESTION: My dog works cattle quite well, but dives in and grips their legs for no apparent reason. How can I calm him down and stop him gripping cattle when they’re moving OK? ANSWER: The first thing is to try giving just enough well-timed correction so that the dog doesn’t … Read More
Photo of a sheepdog waiting to be sent off to gather sheep

FAQ – Dog goes out too wide

QUESTION: My dog is generally working well but when I send her on an outrun to gather the sheep, she goes out too far. How can I stop my dog going too wide? ANSWER: Going too wide is certainly one of the better faults a dog can have. Often getting … Read More
Photo of a sheepdog herding sheep into a paddock

FAQ – Flank around sheep both ways

QUESTION: “How can I make my dog go both ways around the sheep? She stops reasonably well, but insists on going anticlockwise all the time”. WHY THIS HAPPENS: In a similar way to humans, a great many dogs are left or right “handed”, and as with most training issues, it’s … Read More
FAQ - Help for an inexperienced handler

FAQ – Help for an inexperienced handler

QUESTION: I purchased a fully trained sheepdog but I have never worked a dog on livestock before. Do your videos cover how to start off with a trained dog? ANSWER: Sometimes people buy a trained dog in the hope that it will know what to do, but that’s asking a … Read More
A trainee sheepdog bringing a small group of sheep

FAQ – How to progress from training, to flock work

QUESTION: How do you go from training a dog to collect six dogged sheep, to collecting a hundred or more flighty sheep, scattered around in a field? ANSWER: In a word, gradually!Good training should progress at a rate the student can cope with. If the student’s finding the work too … Read More
Photo of an excited dog jumping up and down at the prospect of getting to the sheep

FAQ – How to stop your dog barking

QUESTION: How can I stop my dog barking when I take him somewhere new, where there are sheep? ANSWER: Basically, there are two reasons why dogs bark: 1. ALARM – if they suspect an intruder or danger of some sort. If there really is no danger, it helps if you … Read More
Photo of a Kelpie dog running around a flock of sheep

FAQ – My dog killed a sheep

QUESTION: My dogs killed a sheep today. I don’t want to have the dogs destroyed, they are working Kelpie X Collie dogs which we want to train on sheep and cattle. What can I do? ANSWER: I’m sorry to hear that your dogs have killed a ewe. I’m afraid this … Read More
Training a sheepdog inside a training ring.

FAQ – My dog stops sheep going in the pen!

QUESTION: I’m trying to put the sheep into a yard but my dog stops them from going in. How can I get my dog to put the sheep right in? ANSWER: This problem is more common than you would think. One example of it is when you first begin to … Read More
Graphic image showing the relative distance between dog, sheep, and handler

FAQ – Outruns (send the dog from your side)

QUESTION: My dog’s doing lovely long outruns when I stand between her and the sheep, but how do I get her to do them from by my side? ANSWER: The reason for standing between the dog and the sheep when you send it on its outrun, is so that you … Read More
Photo of a working sheepdog very close to some sheep which are trapped in a pen

FAQ – Sticky dog biting sheep’s faces

QUESTION: My dog has become very ‘sticky’ and recently started biting the faces of the sheep, instead of responding to my commands what should I do? ANSWER: Being sticky (staring at the sheep and not responding to commands) and biting sheep, are both indications of a lack of confidence. If … Read More
The top of the outrun

FAQ – Stop at the top of the outrun without command?

QUESTION: Should my trainee sheepdog stop at the top of its outrun without a command from me? ANSWER: It’s nice to think the young dog will stop at the top of its outrun without a command, and indeed, it sometimes happens. But I’m inclined to think the dog is likely … Read More
Photo of a trainee sheepdog which has separated a bunch of sheep

FAQ – Stop the dog splitting the sheep!

QUESTION: My dog likes to split the sheep up and bite them. I am having trouble getting her to go round them. Can you help? ANSWER: It’s perfectly normal for your dog to split the sheep up in the very early stages of training. It shows she has the natural … Read More
Close up picture of a dog close behind a sheep.

FAQ – Training an older dog

QUESTION: We have an eight year old border collie and now live on a smallholding where we will soon get our first flock of sheep. Will it be possible to train the dog to work sheep? ANSWER: In theory, you can train any dog which has the necessary instinct for … Read More
Huntaway dog herding a bunch of sheep towards some farm buildings

FAQ – Training Huntaway Blue Heeler ‘driving’ dogs

QUESTION: I’m getting a Huntaway to work my sheep and cattle but I can’t find any Huntaway or Blue Heeler specific training on the internet. Are they the same as Border Collies? ANSWER: The basics such as general dog behaviour and discipline around stock are exactly the same, but as … Read More
photo showing the dog with its tail in the air as it's led into the training ring

FAQ – Why’s the dog’s tail position so important?

QUESTION: I keep hearing people talk about the position of the dog’s tail when it’s working sheep. What do they mean? ANSWER: When dogs are relaxed, they hold their tails in a normal downward position but when they are nervous or afraid, the dog’s tail becomes rigid, and often points … Read More
Photo of a puppy gazing at sheep through a fence

FAQ – Will my puppy work stock?

QUESTION: I have a young Border Collie puppy which I want to use for herding our sheep. How can I tell if he’s interested in working? ANSWER: If one or more of your pup’s parents works sheep or other livestock, there’s a very good chance your pup will too. Probably … Read More
Photo of a man holding a sheepdog, using a rope for a lead

FAQ – Walking the dog around sheep

QUESTION: Is it OK to walk my dog around the sheep every day? He’s not ready to work them yet but I want him to get used to being near them. ANSWER: Familiarising the dog with sheep or cattle would seem like a good idea. After all, we want the … Read More

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