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Featured tutorials – Bronwen and Scylla

A variety of smooth and rough coated border collies
A tutorial series to demonstrate the differences in young dogs. You can be forgiven for expecting that littermates would be very similar in temperament and working style, but we chose two home-bred puppies, Bronwen and Scylla, to demonstrate that even littermates can be poles apart. While both girls developed into keen, useful working dogs – just like their parents, Meg and Ezra – the girls needed very different training. Even if your dog isn’t bringing you the same challenges that … Read more

Featured tutorials – the Point of Balance

Sheepdog with three sheep
You’ve probably heard of the “point of balance”, but what exactly does it mean? You’ll often hear that the dog MUST stop at 12 o’clock. The theory is that if you imagine the handler is standing at 6 o’clock on a clock face, the dog should be directly opposite the handler (at 12 o’clock) on the other side of the sheep. In practise it isn’t quite so straightforward, but rest assured that if the sheep are moving towards you, in … Read more

Featured tutorial – Sending the dog the ‘wrong way’

Photo of a collie sheepdog working sheep in long yellow grass
Our “Sending the dog the wrong way” tutorial introduces a great exercise for widening the dog’s flanks and outrun. 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. We’re asking the dog to forget the old rule of stopping at the back of the sheep (often referred to as “stopping at 12 o’clock”). As … Read more

Featured tutorials – Preparing yourself and your dog

Featured tutorials - Preparing yourself and your dog
Many handlers seem to find the early “puppy” months very stressful; they’re anxious to raise the dog in a way that will spark and preserve the all-important working instinct, but worry about balancing that with the entirely natural desire to have a well behaved family playmate and companion. Sheepdog Selection and Preparation should answer these questions, and more, and help you develop the relationship with your working dog. The Sheepdog Handler tutorial looks at the other end of the “magic … Read more

Featured Tutorial: The Training Area

Trainee sheep and cattle dog Remus keeping a small bunch of sheep under control
(Not to be confused with “The Training Ring”) IS YOUR TRAINING GROUND A HELP, OR A HINDERANCE? Your training area can make or break the early training sessions. It might seem like hard work, but taking the time to round off the corners and clear some obstacles will make it easier for your dog to succeed, and pay dividends in saving your time and temper. This is a favourite spot for sheep to hide from an inexperienced dog A SAFE … Read more

NEW tutorial – Flock Work

Photo of a flock of sheep crowded into a farm gateway
Is your dog ready to handle a flock of sheep? Once your dog can control a small number of sheep reasonably well in the training field, it’s natural to start thinking about working a flock of sheep. After all, that’s what the dog’s for, isn’t it! To us humans, flock work seems like a natural activity for the dog, so we don’t see the change from training ground, to farm, as being a problem – but in reality, it can … Read more

Featured tutorial – Eve at the Pen

Photo of a sheepdog bringing a small flock into a handling pen
Many of our 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 … Read more

Special membership offer for November and December 2021

Special membership offer for November and December 2021
A one-off 12 month subscription to our online training tutorials would be an ideal gift for anyone who’s training, or thinking of training, a sheepdog. New one-year subscriptions, paid for between 7th November and 31st December 2021, will be valid until 1st January 2023. So if you buy before the end of December 2021, you can be sure your recipient will receive the full 12 months’ benefit of our Online Tutorials. And it doesn’t have to be a gift! Buy … Read more

Featured tutorial: Backwards is The Way Forward

Sheepdog trainer Andy Nickless walking backwards as his dog brings the sheep up to him steadily
Wondering whether to work on flanks, stop, or working distance? Work on them all at once with this deceptively simple but effective exercise. As soon as your dog’s working around the sheep, and under some sort of control, this simple exercise gives you the opportunity to improve the dog’s stop, flanks, and working distance – all at once. Backwards is the Way Forward revisits Tess and her training. Tess was a strong and determined dog, with loads of potential, but … Read more

Featured tutorial – Early training with your sheepdog puppy

Collies and Chihuahuas can be great friends
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll leave training until the puppy’s older – your sheepdog puppy will start learning from you the moment it meets you. But it needn’t feel like work for either of you. The early months with any puppy are invaluable for getting to know its personality, and for establishing a bond between the two of you; and you’ll also be laying the foundations of your future working partnership. Be a responsible, but fun, leader for … Read more

Featured tutorial – Moving out into the open field

Sheepdog driving sheep into a paddock
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, a dog can be uncharacteristically aggressive. We recommend you move your training sessions to the open field as soon as your dog can control its sheep, but those first few moments of freedom are likely to be chaotic. You might find your inexperienced dog is … Read more

Featured tutorial – Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways

Photo of Mossie working sheep
It’s important that your dog will flank both ways around the stock For day-to-day farming tasks you might be able to work around your dog’s shortcomings, but when the unexpected happens (as it surely will) you, your dog, or more likely your sheep, will run into trouble if the dog is reluctant to flank freely in both directions. Why Your Dog Should Flank Both Ways relives an incident that demonstrated the value of a versatile dog. Happily our emergency was … Read more

NEW Tutorial! – Getting the sheep into the ring!

Title image of our sheepdog training tutorial - Getting the sheep into the ring.
How to get your sheep to go where they’d rather not be! New sheepdog handlers who’ve built themselves a training ring, are often faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem: “How can I put my sheep into the training ring if I don’t have a trained dog?” It’s a fair question! And one we should perhaps have addressed before. Sheep can be particularly difficult at times, especially when they’re being herded towards an enclosure they’d really prefer to keep out of … Read more

Featured Tutorial: Starting a Non-Starter!

Photo of a border collie clambering through a fence to get away from the sheep in the background
Can anything be done if your collie doesn’t want to work? The short answer is “Yes!” and understanding the possible reasons why the dog won’t work is a huge help to finding the cure. It’s very disappointing to find that your collie doesn’t want to work sheep or cattle, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to change its mind. As with most aspects of training dogs to work stock, if you understand what’s happening and why, there’s … Read more

Featured tutorial – Get off the Fence!

getting sheep away from the fence
When confronted with a dog, one of the few ways sheep have to defend themselves is to crowd together onto a fence, or in a corner. From this position they can turn to face the dog, and even just a few sheep can look very intimidating from the dog’s point of view! As a result, a very common problem for young dogs and inexperienced handlers is getting the sheep into the middle of the ring or field, and keeping them … Read more

Featured tutorial – The Outrun

A sheepdog handler sending his dog off on its outrun to gather sheep
Sheepdog training tutorials focusing on the dog’s outrun … Read more

Featured tutorial – Sometimes Nice is Not Enough

sheep attacking a herding dog
Or, “Give your dog a bit more Grrr!” Building your dog’s self confidence. Self confidence is essential in a working 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 … Read more

Featured tutorial – Educating Gloria

Featured tutorial - Educating Gloria
Educating Gloria – encouraging the good, and making the best of the rest! Handlers who are new to sheepdog training can find it difficult to recognise what their dog’s doing, and take the appropriate action at the right time – timing is everything! Your timing will improve with practice, and watching a training session (such as Educating Gloria) can be a huge help. This was Gloria’s fourth training session; she’s headstrong and excited, but not uncontrollable. This tutorial shows the … Read more

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 (often said to have “too much eye”), 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, … Read more

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

Border collie maintaining the point of balance while working sheep in a field
Teaching inside flanks (circling on command) 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, Inside Flanks (Circle on Command), 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 … Read more