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Sheepdog Training Questions – The answer to most training questions can be found in the tutorials Where to Start category or our Sheepdog Training FAQ.

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162 responses to “Contact us”

  1. Helena Tysklind avatar
    Helena Tysklind

    I want to sign up again with monthly patient. I am a former membrer. Do not really manage it. Can i just upgrade?

    1. Gill Watson avatar
      Gill Watson

      Thanks for your message; good to hear you’d like to join us again!

      To resubscribe you need to log into your account with your existing user name and password. Choose UPGRADE YOUR ACCOUNT on the Welcome screen and follow the instructions. Let me know if you can’t remember your log in details.

  2. Catriona MacIntyre avatar
    Catriona MacIntyre

    Fab videos. Thankyou.
    Our dog is 17 months now and wonder is she a sticky dog with too much eye. She is quite nervous of new things and unexpected noises. When we got her she would hardly come out the shed she was in. She lives in the house with us now. She has been socialized with other dogs and tends to be passive with them, rolling into her back.
    She has been delayed in training since being speyed, then wound infection, then lambing and other barriers that got in the way.
    She is super keen, almost becomes transfixed… jumps fences to get to any sheep. If they are out on the hill and she gets to them when they run she just chases..until she is exhausted… obviously we now make sure she doesn’t get out alone! On the lead she sometimes seems almost nervous of sheep who turn to face her.
    When she is training she puts the sheep in a corner of the field and when Peter moves them she gets in front of him and puts them back in a corner.. she will lie down and would just hold them there for ages.
    He got himself a white pole to use for training purposes and that has helped. He has now ordered more hurdles to make a ring for training her.
    She is great on a lead, and in the house knows her commands and obeys 90% of time but when off the lead she is away off , jumps fences, or under gates to get to sheep or cows and it takes a while to get her back. Recall then is dreadful. It takes Peter a while to get her back. She always gets praise and encouragement, when she returns and when she obeys commands .
    Have watched the sticky dog video and Peter is trying all the techniques from that.. and will continue but is there anything else you would suggest?
    Many thanks

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for the feedback, Catriona – it’s great to know you like the tutorials!
      Your dog is perfectly normal, perhaps shy, but that will improve. The only unusual behaviour you have outlined is that she’s good on a lead (but clearly not bonded properly with you yet). That’s unusual. But the dog is perfectly trainable.
      Watching the “Sticky Dogs” tutorial is a start, but be sure to watch all the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category to get a better understanding of what’s going on with your sheepdog.
      If you dig the sheep out of a corner, and the dog immediately puts them back in, that’s actually a really good sign. It means the dog’s got the right instinct – it just needs training. Watch “Get off the Fence” to find out how to teach the dog to get sheep away from fences and corners. The dog’s confidence will grow as its training progresses.
      From your description, I imagine the dog was basically shut away in a shed before you got it – with very little human company – and then she was kept in a shed on your farm until you eventually moved her into the house? Would I be right in thinking she now lives in an outhouse – with little company during the day?
      Our dogs live outside in kennels, but we make a point of taking them out twice a day for a minimum of an hour – often an hour and a half – whatever the weather. This time that the dogs spend with us is very important.
      We only have one five acre field, so the sheep are in the same area when the dogs go out – but we teach them not to chase the sheep when they go out recreationally. It’s not easy! You need keep the dog under control at all times when it’s likely to run off, but ideally have it with you as much as possible during the day.
      Whilst keeping the dog away from stock most of the time, it’s important to give it a “refresher” occasionally, by allowing it to chase the stock. This is dealt with in “Puppy Training Essentials“.
      The dog needs to ‘bond’ with you – not in the sense that it wags its tail when you pat its head – bonding means the dog fully accepts you as its leader.
      Once you can achieve that bond, it’ll be far easier to control the dog. If you get it right, eventually you should be able to allow the dog to accompany you freely all day.

      1. Catriona MacIntyre avatar
        Catriona MacIntyre

        Many thanks for this , your advice is so gratefully accepted and valued, .
        It is a relief to know she is normal for a sheep dog … but I hasten to clarify… she comes back to recall when out off a lead and no sheep or cows or other distractions like that around, also responds to whistle., however, If any livestock around she is off and away.. if on a lead ( training lead ) she will come back 90% of time .

        She was in a shed with other pups up until we got her, and they were all in an enclosure. She was away from her mother very young, before 8 weeks old.I believe.

        We got her aged 12 weeks and she has never been away from one of us since apart from a few short spells of time in kennels when we were away. She lives in the house since we got her and has never been left alone for more than an hour.
        Many thanks. We will watch. All the videos but the most relevant ones first.
        Many many thanks.
        Best regards

        1. Andy avatar

          Thanks Catriona – it’s good to know that Meg has plenty of human company. Clearly she just needs better guidance.
          You must understand that what she’s doing is absolutely normal. Soft as pudding away from livestock and then when she sees sheep or cattle, she’s gone. It’s as though it becomes a different dog – and in a way it does, because the hunting instinct kicks-in. If you try to stop it, the dog just ignores you. (“We won’t get any supper if I listen to you”).
          Watch “Sheepdog – Selection and Preparation” and you’ll see what I mean.
          Anyway, watch those tutorials and you’ll understand what’s going on!
          Meg will be just fine – be FIRM, FAIR and CONSISTENT and most of all, BELIEVE IN HER. You’ll get there!

          1. Catriona MacIntyre avatar
            Catriona MacIntyre

            That’s great we will watch and Thankyou for that reassurance. I hope it’s ok to ask just one more question, ( sorry) but after training (usually about an hour) she is exhausted. but she still doesn’t want to leave the sheep and come away with Peter, so he has to hold on to her to get her home. Will this come right as she becomes more trained or is there anything specific that can help with that?
            Many thanks again.

          2. Andy avatar

            Absolutely normal, Catriona.
            Please watch ALL the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category. There’s a tutorial in there specifically for this subject.

  3. Robert Skinley avatar
    Robert Skinley

    Hi there

    I have a perhaps long query re my dog Meg – she’s just turned 12 months (10 July) and was always keen to work. Maybe it started too early but from the moment I had her she’s been around sheep, on a lead to begin with until I was sure around her. She already has a very good, wide (enough for me) outrun. But then she lies down and won’t get up! I’ve subscribed and watched your videos on Confidence etc and am trying to boost her but it seems I’m taking one step forward and three back!

    I’ve tried a ring, and having her circle close and as far as the ring will allow, but it seems it’s just too enclosed for her – last night she almost tried to escape the ring herself. If she’s outside the ring she’s much better so I tend to train her in a 2 acre park as I’m convinced she’ll never do anything vicious to anything – since the cat chases her away and she practically cuddles the hens!

    She’s obviously lacking confidence, but the ring seems a little too much! I wonder if you have any ideas on this? I had also thought of recording a video if you were willing to assess?

    I’m not sure of who to ask also as I’m up in shetland!

    Thanks in Advance

    1. Andy avatar

      Meg clearly lacks confidence, but that will improve if you always try to do what you can to make sure she’s successful. For example, if she can’t get the sheep to move, go and help her (with lots of gentle, enthusiastic verbal encouragement) – and next time, try to set the situation up so that it will work without your help if possible.

      You don’t say how old she was when you first took her to sheep on a lead, but it’s not a good idea (the lead, I mean) unless you regularly let the dog off and encourage it to chase the sheep a little. In “Puppy Training Essentials“, I talk about the likelyhood of putting your dog off working if you lead it around sheep too much. You obviously haven’t put her off completely, but it may have softened her attitude towards them.

      Don’t worry though – watch “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough” to find out how to boost her confidence in the face of sheep. – the sky’s the limit!

      If she really doesn’t like being in the training ring, but can control the sheep outside it, then give the ring a miss until you’ve built up her confidence. If you watch the “Training Ring” tutorials, you’ll know that I only use the ring for a brief time because most dogs tend to be more aggressive in the ring. It seems Meg doesn’t.

      I think you’ve inadvertently convinced her she must be nice to sheep, so now you need to encourage her to be more assertive. If you think Meg’s ‘sticky’ watch “Sticky Dogs” for advice on how to correct it.

  4. Jeannette de Vries avatar
    Jeannette de Vries

    Hi Andy, I’ve just been watching the tutorial of Bronwen and Scylla Part 1, where you start Bronwen and she is doing such an amazing work for such a young dog! I really love this part 1. Now I have a big and for me very important question. My 7 year old bitch simply does not lie down when I tell her to do so during work and she really destroys a lot of situations by disobeying, chasing the sheep away and whatever:(. So I have noticed that you keep telling your dog to lie down but they keep going on but somehow they don’t destroy the situations. How comes? Here in Switzerland, my trainer insist that my dog lies down when I tell her to do so, but I notice, that I can slow her down by this command and it also works. What is your opinion about this. I often heard that handlers in UK don’t insist that the dog really lies down because if the dogs does so, but jumping up it scares the sheep and the start running when they should not. So this is very confusing for me as my trainer gets really mad with us when my dog does not lie down but the situation continues to be under control and sometimes we loose sheep because she does not lie down and wait. Please your very estimated advice! What do you think of this. Kind regards from Switzerland Jeannette

    1. Andy avatar

      I don’t know how many tutorials you have watched, but Bronwen and Scylla 1 is not a good example of how to start a dog on sheep, because Bronwen is controllable from the start. This is not normal. Scylla is more normal in that respect (horrible).

      If you watch the “Stop” tutorials, or “Starting a Strong Dog” you will see that when I start a dog off, I use a training ring to keep the sheep near to me and the dog. That way, the sheep cannot run away, and because I’m closer to the dog, I have a lot more control of the situation.

      I try to stop the dog but in the early stages it rarely works, so I make sure the dog goes around the sheep (both ways) while I try to get it to stop. As the dog gets tired, stopping it becomes easier.

      If your trainer is not using a training ring (you don’t mention one) then it’s a different matter, and I’m sure the trainer will show you how to get control of the dog under the circumstances that are present at the time.

      If you are employing a trainer to help you to train your dog, I suggest you use whatever method that trainer tells you to. If the trainer (as you say) “gets really mad with us” they obviously feel that you are doing something wrong, but will surely show you how to correct it.

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