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?

We think Backwards is the Way Forwards! Work on all aspects at once with this deceptively simple but effective sheepdog training exercise.

sheepdog training for flanks and stop

As soon as your dog’s working around the sheep, and is under some sort of control, this simple exercise in an 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 we needed to harness her enthusiasm and create a working partnership with her before she could make progress.

In this tutorial you’ll see a training session where Andy puts this deceptively simple exercise into practice.

Take particular notice of how he keeps Tess back behind the sheep and regulates her speed.

A sheepdog training exercise that doesn’t need large flocks or huge acres

You won’t need vast acres or even a training ring for your “backwards” training sessions, but eyes in the back of your head would definitely help! 

When you’re both ready for something more advanced the follow-up, Back to Forwards, will show what you and your dog can learn when you turn around and look where you’re going.

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

Backwards is the Way Forward can be found in the online tutorials library under the Control, PaceWorking Distance and Flanks and Circling categories.  It’s invaluable for almost every aspect of sheepdog training.

If you need (or prefer) to watch on DVD you’ll find it on Volume 2 of our DVD tutorial collections, and the follow-up Back to Forwards appears on Volume 4.

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


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Over 70 clearly explained, easy to follow sheep and cattle dog training videos for first time sheepdog trainers, farmers, and shepherds. Just £10 per month or £100 per year (choice of currencies for payment). Watch the preview here!

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For a very small monthly (or annual) subscription, watch many hours of expertly presented sheepdog training lessons. Not just theory – we show you what should happen, and what to do when things go wrong. Signup now. It’s easy to cancel payments at any time and you can continue to watch for the period you paid for.


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