Contact us

Use the form below to contact us at The Working Sheepdog Website

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

We do not train dogs for other people. Learn to train the dog yourself for a far better result. We do not pass-on contact details of trainers.

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Contact The Working Sheepdog Website by phone.

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The Working Sheepdog Website, Kings Green Farm, Wichenford, Worcester. WR6 6YS UK

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.

  5. Pete Atkin avatar
    Pete Atkin


    We have a lovely male collie who is about 3 years old. And we had every intention of training him as a working sheepdog and he was progressing well, but then seemed to go backwards during training.

    We now know he’s gone deaf and cant hear spoken or whislte commands.

    I wondered if there is anyone I can talk to in the same situation??

    Thanks in advance


    1. Andy avatar

      It’s not difficult to train a dog without audible commands Pete, but ultimately the distance at which you will be able to control the dog will be limited to the distance at which the dog is able to see you.
      For that reason, you will not be able to compete in proper sheepdog trials, or gather flocks on mountain sides, but there’s no reason why you can’t train the dog to work well – and gather a flock or a small bunch of sheep and bring them to you from quite a long way off. You just won’t be able to do any fancy stuff like getting the dog to drive sheep away for a long distance, because the dog won’t be able to see (or hear) your commands.
      When we train a sheepdog, the dog doesn’t understand a thing that it hears you say, but it learns to associate the sounds you make with other signals, such as your body language and hand gestures. In past years when we used to run sheepdog training courses, I proved this many times by working student’s dogs without any audible commands – just hand signals and my body position.
      If you’re not sure what I mean, a subscription to our online sheepdog training tutorials would help you a lot. There’s no specific coverage of dealing with a dog which cannot hear, but pay attention to the hand signals and body language used – particularly in the videos in the “Where to Start” category.
      When our dog Kay went deaf, I was able to work her quite well with hand signals and body position, but it takes quite a lot of thought. For instance, you need to develop a signal to tell the dog to stay where it is, until you want it to move. You also need to be patient with the dog while it learns these new commands – and of course, the gestures must be clearly different from other gestures. Most of all, your gesturing must be consistent!

  6. Bethan Morgan avatar
    Bethan Morgan

    Hi, thank you for the free top tips film, I will upgrade when my dogs ready, he is just 4 months at the moment. He has come from fantastic working sheepdog parents. I have had him a week now and am playing games to help his training, especially coming to his name – which is about 90% of the time – the other 10% is when something really interesting is happening in the environment such as a sent. He has shown some instinct, accidentally on my parent’s geese!
    Could you please let me know if it’s OK to train him with treats and games and now, that I’m not spoiling him for later working training (this is for things like walking alongside me, recall, stay, keeping attention on me, fun). Then lastly what age would you suggest I start with your videos.
    Many thanks, Bethan

    1. Andy avatar

      You start training your dog the moment the dog sets eyes on you, Bethan! I don’t recommend treats because they’re unnecessary. Once the dog is properly bonded with you (fully respects you as its leader) it will WANT to do what you say – no treats required.
      Treats and games won’t do any harm though – as long as the dog knows the difference between work and play. If you can call the dog to you when it’s having great fun, you’re on the right track.
      With respect though, I suggest you begin watching the tutorials as soon as possible. There’s an awful lot for YOU to learn before you start – and the more you know now, the better placed you’ll be to give your dog the best start. As an example, I hope you didn’t shout at the pup for chasing your parents’ geese? It won’t have done any harm even if you did discourage it, but it’s quite easy to put the dog off at such an impressionable age. (More on this in the Puppy Training Essentials tutorial).
      Bear in mind that one of our tutorials is about starting a dog on sheep at 11 weeks old! I don’t necessarily recommend you start one that young, but depending on your circumstances, you can certainly start one quite early on – depending on the sheep, really.
      If you do decide to sign-up, I recommend you watch all of the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category first.

  7. Teresa avatar

    Hopefully you can advise…
    I have a 2 year old that can work extremely well,
    I mention this as I am experiencing frequent episodes when she completely freezes, I can walk up to her asking for her to walk on but she is transfixed on the sheep, It can take immense encouragement to get her moving again.
    On occasion she will get up and leave the field, completely abandon work for the day, only preceeding these episodes.
    (I have noticed her laid under my landrover in the same state, staring at the chickens and it can take some persuading to get her out)
    I’ve been paying close attention to all your advise in relation to confidence building as she is quite sensitive. She will not stand but lies down, on a stop , wont get up until given a flank command.

    1. Andy avatar

      Don’t worry Teresa, it’s a common confidence problem which is relatively easy to correct. In fact we have a tutorial on it – watch “Sticky Dogs” and I’m sure you’ll have the dog working freely in no time.

  8. Andrew Lamont avatar
    Andrew Lamont

    Hi I’ve signed up for your tutorials. I’ve farmed sheep for several years in a small way, looking to expand in the next few years. So I’ve bought a pup from a very good farmer who has both mum and dad working v well. My question is, before I introduce the pup to sheep ( 6 -7 months old) how can I asses if he’s going to have great instinct. Cheers Andrew

    1. Andy avatar

      I’m sure your dog will be fine Andrew, and you may be able to start it on sheep before it’s six months old, but to be on the safe side be sure to watch the “Puppy Training Essentials” and BOTHStarting a Young Puppy” tutorials.
      In the meantime, watch ALL the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category – so that you get a good understanding of what’s going to happen, before you begin training.

  9. Carol Tracht-Kader avatar
    Carol Tracht-Kader

    I am so fortunate to have found your site! Recently, I started my 6 yr. old Border Collie on sheep as an addition to her other athletic endeavors. She has taken to this so well, that now, I’m playing catch up as the handler to get ready to compete in the Fall. As a visual learner, your tutorials, are invaluable in preparation for our herding lessons. Initially, my teacher thought that my dog would not need the stick, but now agrees that it will be helpful. How long is the PVC pipe that you are using in the videos?

    On a side note, we are having giggles when you show your dogs finding shade under a log in the “warm weather”. We are from Florida. Our herding sessions are cut to a few minutes at a time as the temperatures are in the upper 80’s into the 90’s with steamy humidity! Our dogs are sharing the large feed tubs of water, until they come out to herd.
    Thank you

    1. Andy avatar

      Good to know that you like the tutorials Carol, thank you. Feedback is vital for us.
      The “training stick” is approximately 1 metre long (about 3 ft). Watch “The Training Stick” for full details.
      I know what you mean about the temperatures, but dogs adapt to the conditions they are used to. Our dogs are not used to much heat, so they can get exhausted quite quickly if the weather suddenly increases.

  10. Andrew Golledge avatar
    Andrew Golledge

    Hi, we are looking for a trained sheepdog for my wife and myself who are sheep farmers. We are looking for a bitch that is ready to go as we have struggled for a year without a dog. Do you have anything available for sale, of know of anyone who can help?

  11. Peter Cardy avatar
    Peter Cardy

    Hi Andy, I would really appreciate getting some learning material from you. I have a six month Border Collie/Australian Shepherd, three sheep and no clue.
    I live in Canada, used to live in Southampton and would love to be able to train my pup with these sheep lol.
    Many thanks

    1. Andy avatar

      There are no less than seventy videos in our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials Library, Peter.
      I suggest you take out a monthly or annual membership, and get started.
      You can cancel your payments at any time, and continue to watch until the end of the period you’ve paid for, and if any part of a tutorial is unclear, just leave a question in the comment section below a relevant video, and we’ll do our best to reply within a day or two.
      If your internet connection’s not great, you can choose between HD, SD or LD settings on the player. (HD meaning High Definition and LD being the easier to play).
      We have a PREVIEW to give you more information, and if you signup for a free account, you can watch a complete tutorial free of charge.
      I hope this helps! Please let me know if we can be of further assistance to you.

  12. Aideen Farrell avatar
    Aideen Farrell

    I am looking to train my sheepdog pup who is six months old into a working dog. I am a complete beginner and I was wondering if you could recommend any DVDs or books which would be helpful. I have looked at the DVDs and books in the shop part of the website, they all seem good to me but i was wondering of there was any great difference between the options and recommend any in particular before I purchase one .
    Thank you,
    Aideen Farrell

    1. Andy avatar

      Thank you for your interest in our products.
      If you have an internet connection, we strongly recommend you subscribe to our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials. For just a small payment per month (or year) you’ll have access to SEVENTY sheepdog training videos, including the most important ones on the ‘First Steps’ DVDs.

      We made the ‘First Steps’ DVD set about twelve years ago, and of course, we’ve learned a lot more about sheep and cattle dog training since then. The tutorials are updated regularly as we find improved ways of training, and also clearer ways to explain what’s happening.

      If you’re not sure about your internet connection, try watching the preview – or sign-up to watch a tutorial free of charge. If you can play either one of those, you’ll have no problem with the actual videos.

      If your connection struggles with the videos on the default (HD) setting, there are two lower resolution settings (SD or LD) to choose from, so basically, if you have a viable internet connection, you should be fine.

      It’s easier to search the online videos, and they are divided into categories to help you choose the topic you need. There are also suggestions and playlists of videos we recommend you watch next. Optional English Subtitles are available on all our tutorial videos.

      Members can also ask questions on the tutorial pages, and we usually reply within a day or two. If you’re asking about something which is not covered by the tutorials, we might even produce another video on that subject.

      Monthly or annual payment can be made automatically via your credit or debit card, or (annually) through PayPal. There is also an option to pay a one-off (non-recurring) year’s payment.

      You can unsubscribe from the tutorials at any time, and continue watching for the remainder of the period you’ve paid for. This means you can dip in, and out of the tutorials as and when you need them. (The ‘unsubscribe’ link is near the top of the Main Menu).

      In case you don’t have a working internet connection, DVDs would be the next option. If you already have the ‘First Steps’ DVD set, and it’s specifically another DVD that you want, it’s difficult to advise you because the ‘Tutorials’ DVDs are not ‘structured’ or organised in the way that the chapters on ‘First Steps’ are.

      When we began uploading our Online Tutorial Videos, we deliberately covered basic, intermediate and advanced topics which we hoped would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

      Soon though, people began to ask us to provide them on DVD, so we made a DVD set from the (mixed) videos we had online at the time. Then, as we continued to produce online videos, we produced a new DVD whenever there was enough footage to fill two DVDs. This means the topics on the Tutorial DVDs are somewhat random, but the description page for each of the Tutorial DVDs, give a brief description of what’s covered by each disk, so that should help you.

      I hope this is of help to you. Good luck with training your dog!

      Best wishes,

      Andy Nickless
      The Working Sheepdog Website
      +44 (0)777 955 4560


  13. kent bradley avatar
    kent bradley

    Hi folks –

    Been using your videos for a few years now and love them. I have 3 Border Collies and an Australian Cattle Dog, all working and trialing except the youngest (15 month old) BC.

    Andy – I’m just starting the young one – is quite slow to mature mentally compared to all my earlier dogs, but I’m just trying to let it happen as it will .

    That said — He’s a HARD HEADED nob!

    And I have a confession – I first saw the video you did where you added a heavy length of chain to a drag line for one of the dogs and I thought “bloody hell, I can’t imagine having a pup that needed that”..

    Not only can I imagine such a pup– he lives here!

    I made my own version of ball and chain and it’s done wonders for him in just two 5-minute sessions. I believe by the end of the third session in a day or so he’ll be “weaned”.

    Thank you so very much for the thought and insights, the hard work, and the fun.

    Spokane, Washington, US

    1. Andy avatar

      Thank you for the feedback, Kent. It’s good to know the “ball and chain” is working for you.
      Thanks also for your continued support.

  14. Ben avatar

    If you have a dog that is usually keen to work sheep but not always when you want it to, turning away at times, what should you do?

    1. Andy avatar

      In the early stages of training a dog to work sheep, we take care to stop the dog from attacking the sheep, but sometimes, the sheep can be stubborn and aggressive with the dog – particularly when they have lambs around them. Fortunately, as the dog gets more trustworthy, we can encourage it to be more assertive with stubborn sheep.

      One of our Sheepdog Training Tutorials (Sometimes Nice is Not Enough“) specifically covers this subject. (Paid membership required to watch the videos).

      The tutorial will help you to increase the dog’s confidence when it’s confronted with difficult sheep, but (particularly in the early stages of training) you should try to help the dog by avoiding the aggressive sheep whenever possible.

      If the dog is struggling to move any sheep, you should get yourself as close as possible and help the dog to move them. This will increase the dog’s confidence as they are much happier when we work alongside them.

      Try to make sure the dog is always successful in getting the task done, even if you have to do most of the work yourself – and then gradually encourage the dog to take on a larger share of the work.

      Watch a preview of our Sheepdog Training Tutorials.

  15. Esther avatar

    I enjoy your dvds how to train the sheep dogs, yet I have a problem, most of my sheep I have they rather fight the dog than run. I don’t really have any possibility to get other sheep. Now I’m wondering what I must do because they keep turning around and fight my dog. There are some that are good to train but what do i do with the fighters?

    1. Andy avatar

      Some of those sheep need a good “Nip on the nose” Esther!

      Watch “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough“. (Watch it again, if you’ve already seen it).
      It’s on the Sheepdog Training Tutorials DVD 3 (which you already own, I believe).

      In the early stages of training a dog to work sheep, we take care to stop the dog from attacking the sheep, but later, as the dog gets more trustworthy, we can encourage it to be more assertive with stubborn sheep.

      This tutorial will help you to increase the dog’s confidence when it’s confronted with difficult sheep, but (particularly in the early stages of training) you should try to help the dog by avoiding the aggressive sheep whenever possible.

      If the dog is struggling to move any sheep, you should get yourself as close as possible and help the dog to move them. This will increase the dog’s confidence as they are much happier when we work alongside them.

      Try to make sure the dog is always successful (in getting the task done) even if you have to do most of the work yourself – and then gradually encourage the dog to take on a larger share of the work.

  16. ANNE VILLEMIN avatar

    Bien reçu ma commande 74N32296XT334421W.
    Merci à toute votre équipe.

  17. Amanda Alderson avatar
    Amanda Alderson

    Afternoon, at what age is best to start training a pup to work cattle and also is an older sod, 3 and 1/2 yrs to old to start to train,? I’m considering up grading to full membership but was wondering if there would be tutorials specific for older dogs too? I have just had a litter of huntaways and while mum moves cattle forward we’ve alway had her on a line as she does get overly excited though watching the short clip I getting that that is absolutely normal and with better training we may progress.

    1. Andy avatar

      Years ago I watched a video in which the trainer said that ninety percent of the time, when things go wrong it’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the trainer’s fault.
      I would dispute that.
      In my opinion, it’s nearer ninety-nine percent.
      If training’s going badly wrong, it’s because the trainer doesn’t understand what’s going on, and how to set things up for success. That’s what we try to put over in our tutorials.
      If you understand what’s likely to happen, why it happens, and how to put it right, you’re in a far better position to get your dog trained.
      There is no set age for starting a young pup on sheep or cattle. So much depends on your training ability, and the nature of the animals the dog will be working. Likewise, there’s no upper age limit for training a dog, except that the older the dog is, the slower it can be to learn. Three and a half years old is no problem at all though. The dog will be little, if any slower to learn than a one year old.
      I should point out that we have limited experience of training huntaways, but if you bear in mind that their instinct is more to drive cattle away, rather than gather them to you, the tutorials should be very useful.
      Keep in mind the danger angle with cattle though. A flock of sheep running towards you is unlikely to cause you much harm, but just one or two cattle could be fatal.
      If you happen to sign up for our tutorials, I suggest you watch all the videos in the “Where to Start” category first.

  18. Luke Reynolds avatar
    Luke Reynolds

    Hi Andy,
    I’ve got a 7 month old collie who I’m keen to work the sheep with but still have issues with obedience. Do you have a videos in your tutorials that cover how to get the dogs to ‘stay close’?
    Many thanks!

    1. Andy avatar

      We certainly do Luke, but seven months is still very young. If you want to sign up for the tutorials, I suggest you watch ALL the videos in the “Where to Start” category to give you a proper understanding of what’s going on. That way it will be far simpler (and quicker) for you to get the best out of your dog.

  19. Peter Cardy avatar
    Peter Cardy

    Hello Andy. I just saw of your short videos and it inspired me to reach out to you. I am originally from the Southampton area in the UK however have been living in New Brunswick Canada Since 1986. I have horses and dogs here and just purchased a border collie x australian shepherd, she is now six months old and really bright. Ive started on her basic commands and would love to teach her to herd sheep or cattle. I’d love to purchase your DVD’s… I can’t whistle very well but I see you sell those too…. lol, good thing! Anyway any help, advice or guidance you could give or I could acquire would be really appreciated. looking forward to hearing from you. Take care and stay safe

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. It’s good to know you’re interested in training your own sheepdog – and that you liked the YouTube videos.

      As for advice, I strongly recommend you subscribe to our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials. At just £10 per month (or £100 for a year) they are not expensive, and you can cancel any regular payments at any time, using a link at the top of the Welcome page, when you log into your account.

      As a full member, you’ll have access to SEVENTY sheepdog training videos which we honestly believe are the best available.

      The tutorials are specifically designed to show the viewer a true representation of what actually happens when you train a sheepdog (it rarely goes to plan) so we leave the mistakes in, and show you how to correct them. The videos are updated regularly as we find improved ways of training, and clearer ways to explain what’s happening.

      Don’t worry about the whistling! You really don’t need to use a whistle until the dog can work a long way away from you (or if it’s particularly noisy where you train, and the dog can’t hear you). I always start dogs off purely on voice commands, because it’s so much easier to show the dog you’re pleased (or otherwise) using your voice.

      We don’t sell whistles, but there are two tutorials – one to show you how to blow it, and the other to show you how to get the dog to work, on whistle commands.

      The online tutorials are far superior (and potentially cheaper) than DVDs for many reasons – not least that we can update and modify them.

  20. Nigel Borresen avatar
    Nigel Borresen

    Hello, I am from Brisbane Australia. I have found it quite difficult to watch your videos. I’m not sure what is wrong. I don’t have any issues with YouTube or Netflix on this device.
    I have tried to use SD and it still takes forever and quite often is stop start throughout the video. Do you host the videos at any other site?

    1. Andy avatar

      How good is your internet connection, Nigel?
      Netflix and YouTube automatically detect whether your connection is coping with the video, and adjusts the resolution of the feed accordingly. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite mastered that yet (give us time) so you need to do it manually.
      If HD and SD aren’t working for you, try LD.
      If that won’t play, it’s probably your Browser Cache at fault. A quick way to test this is to watch the video on a different device (phone, PC, iPad etc). If you can’t play the LD version on a different device, then I would speak with your internet provider.
      We get the occasional question like yours, but so far it’s usually the browser cache that was the cause.

      1. Nigel Borresen avatar
        Nigel Borresen

        Hi Andy, I have download 22mbps and upload 9mbps. I have tried on Ipad, Iphone and laptop.
        I will takl to my ISP to see if there is anything else we can test.

        1. Andy avatar

          Nigel, our internet connection speed is (usually) just under 13Mbps download and around 1Mbps upload. With that, we can watch the tutorials on the HD setting on both our Macs at the same time. (I know, because I just tried it). Here’s a simple Google “Speed Test” result I did a few moments ago.

          Internet Speed Test (Google).

          I have to admit I don’t know what the problem is with your system, but we have a great number of members who I’m sure would quickly let us know if they couldn’t access the videos.
          The footage is hosted on Amazon s3 which is worldwide and industry standard. Amazon s3 has performed faultlessly for several years as far as I’m aware.
          Have you actually tried changing the resolution to LD setting on the player? If so, what effect did it have (if any)?
          You could also try watching the videos from someone else’s house (different isp) when that’s possible, or on your phone, away from WIFI if that’s possible.

  21. Ed avatar

    Dear Andy,
    Thank you very much for your quick, experience-, anekdotalbased and comprehensive respons on my comment/question. I was already prepared for a catch in my approach. Thanks for putting it all in the right, feet-on-the-ground perpective.

    I’m afraid I was so impressed by the cognitive achievements of my dog in our own situation, that I lost sight of the practical application in new or changing ones. It’s so easy to mistake learning by association and expectation with humanlike understanding and communication, thus missing the reality of all the predominantly nonverbal cues on wich the dog reacts and solves problems. If things seem to be too good to be true… .

    I remember watching a video of Joep and me during a trainingsession a few years ago. To my surprise Joep already started his outrun a splitsecond before I gave him the command: away, just after I began to lift my arm. The was his cue, not the command!

    Well, you made me softly but perfectly clear where and how a further development of my system with Joep would fail.
    Thanks again for sharing your experiences, insight and professional opinion with me.

    I think you are not only a great dogtrainer, but a great educator also. This combination is a sparse thing. Gills beautyfull video’s of you respectfully training sheepdogs en reflecting/commenting on it are a big support and inspiration for me in working with my beloved Joep and sheeps.

    With kind regards,
    Ed Geurdes

  22. Regine Crutain avatar
    Regine Crutain

    Hello Andy, thanks for the reply.Selling the goats wasn’t just a dog decision for us to make a living with the goats we would have to increase the numbers….bigger building. ….etc!!!!
    We are restructuring the whole set up going organic and starting a small herd of sheep who will be outside all year round.We are very lucky that the people we have met through the Border Collie Association know what they are talking about and are pleased to help us so fingers crossed ! !!
    I have been working hard on getting fluent with the whistle and normally in two months time I should have the 4 basic commands ready to go! I am reluctant to do whistle training with the 2yr old as I don’t yet feel able to learn and remember 8 different basic commands and in the future I would hope that the two dogs will be able to work together ! Anyways all this is very exciting and I will let you know how I get on with the sheep!!!!! Regards Eddie

    1. Regine avatar

      Hello Andy and Gill, just received the DVD I ordered….. Great delivery service!! Hope you guys are well. Take care and regards from France.

  23. Andy avatar

    We don’t do online consultations as such Kim, but if you’re a paying member, you can send a short video of your dog working (or not in this case) and I’ll send you my appraisal.
    I understand the dog was working and now it’s not, but if you can describe here what you think triggered this behaviour, I’ll try to help. Quite honestly though, the best option might be to subscribe to our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials and watch “Starting a Non-Starter” (1 & 2). It only costs £10 for a month or £100 per year (British Pounds Sterling) and there are seventy tutorials for you to watch.

  24. James Scanlan avatar
    James Scanlan

    Hi I was wondering if you had any advice on training a huntaway to back sheep

    1. Andy avatar

      We don’t train Huntaway dogs James, but basically all dogs are the same in this respect. If I wanted to train a Collie or Kelpie to jump on the backs of sheep I’d start with a puppy or very young dog.
      Tightly fill a small pen with sheep, and place the pup on their backs for a few moments to get it used to being up there. The sheep should be close enough together to prevent the dog slipping down to the floor (which might frighten or injure it). As you lift the pup up, give the command you intend to use.
      Once the dog is fairly confident with being up on the backs of the sheep, repeat the exercise occasionally, and remember to give the command as though it were jumping up there. Over time, it’s a simple matter of encouraging the dog to jump up there on command. If it can’t jump that high, help it, until eventually it’ll manage on its own.
      Take great care that the sheep are not packed too tightly in the pen or they could suffocate.

  25. Ed Geurdes avatar
    Ed Geurdes

    Dear Andy,
    I enjoy your trainingvideo’s a lot. It tributes a lot to me understanding my dog en myself as a trainer. My bordercollie Joep is almost 4 years old and has learned the basics at about 1 year of age, and for that matter: I did . Since a year I have my own sheep: 10 Drentse Heideschapen. From that time on were training almost every day and that dramatically improved our learning curve. In the meanwhile Joep has become an essential asset in staking care of my sheep. A few months ago I started to learn Joep the conceptual commands of what I want him to do , instead of telling him the whole time what exactly to do at every moment . For example “put the sheep in the pen” , “drive the sheep foward” , “keep the sheep with me”, “drive the sheep along the fence “. He quicly learned these concepts. I hardly have to correct or stear him anymore, because he knows in advance what I expect him to do. It’s amazing how smart bordercollies are. His confidence and my trust in him got a big boost. Although I’m enthousiastic about it, were far from perfect, but I presume this is a more propper application of the dogs intelligence than shouting commands all the time. I wonder what you think of this idea. In the near future I want to take part in trials with Joep, just for fun. I want him to be my buddy at home. Have I done a good ging here or not with regard to taking part in trials?
    I’m looking forward to your professional comments on my story with Joep.
    With kind regards .
    Ed Geurdes

    1. Andy avatar

      My old dog Mel was the closest I’ve had to the dog you describe. She seemed to know instinctively what I wanted (sometimes better than I did). For example, if I walked down the field with the foot-trimming shears in my hand, Mel would (without a word from me) go on ahead, single-out a LAME sheep, and bring it to me! This was typical of Mel, but I’ve never had (or even heard of) a dog with anything like that intelligence level since that time.
      What you describe would be great, but unfortunately it’s not really practical.
      If you watch the “Stopping the Dog” tutorials, you’ll see that I encourage our dogs to work on their own initiative as much as possible. I like a dog to know what needs doing and do it, but unfortunately, dogs can misunderstand what you want them to do.
      In a farm situation, it’s perfectly possible to give the dog a “go and get them” command of some sort, and given time, dogs will learn that when you say this you want them to go and get the sheep which will be in a certain place – and take them to another place. They learn by routine, and recognise a certain command for a certain routine.
      However. The system breaks down when circumstances change (sometimes only very slightly). Perhaps the sheep are not in the usual location in the field, or maybe you want the dog to put them in a different pen this time.
      I can’t see it working at sheepdog trials unless every trial you attend is identical to the last – same sheep, same ground, same direction of drive, and the same letting-out pen etc. In practice, every trials ground has a slightly different layout, some have a clockwise drive on one occasion and anticlockwise on another. The position and nature of the pen will be different and the sheep will behave differently, too.
      My very first sheepdog Dot, did her best. When I took her to a sheepdog trial, she watched very carefully, as another dog went off on its outrun, gathered the sheep, brought them to the handler, drove them around the field, parted them, gathered them back together, and then put them in the pen. She then continued to watch as the dog put the sheep off the course and put them in the exhaust pen.
      She obviously kept this in mind but thought she could improve on it, because when it came to Dot’s turn, she did a lovely outrun, and then (ignoring my frantic commands) brought the sheep galloping straight into the exhaust pen. (What was the point of all the unnecessary roaming around the field)?
      I wish you success. What you have in mind would be nice, but your chances of achieving it are not great, unfortunately.

  26. Wheaton John avatar
    Wheaton John

    My dog Bet, age 3 1/2 and I have just started watching your tutorials. They are a real godsend during this period of lockdown. Fortunately we are able to work a variety of sheep not far from our home in SW Washington State. Also very fortunate that Bet came to me well trained and although I’m a novice we have been able to build on that. Just finally figured out today what an off balance flank is thanks to one of your diagrams.
    No real questions at this point but wanted to share our appreciation and that the tutorials motivate us to get out and do it.
    Bet is a very avid TV watcher but more about that later… John Wheaton

  27. Regine avatar

    Hello Andy and Gill ,just a quick hello from France. Hope you guys are well I have been making a lot of progress with our 2yr old and the new pup was born ten days ago so I am looking forward to him joining us!! Sold the goats and I am going into sheep which should be much more fun with the dogs!! I am planning to teach whistle commands at the same time as verbal with the new pup so this should be good fun!!! Regards Eddie from France.

    1. Andy avatar

      Good to hear that you’re making progress, Eddie. SOLD the goats though? That sounds a bit drastic, but I’ll be interested to know how the sheep compare. Remember the sheep might be a big challenge early on though, if they’re not used to being worked with dogs.
      If you’re going to train a pup on the whistle (even part-time) make sure you’re really consistent with the whistle commands or you’ll just confuse the pup. To be honest, I’d train the two year old on the whistle first, to make sure you’re fluent.

      1. Regine avatar

        Hello there Andy, just to let you know that even though I was reluctant to try the whistle with the 2yr old I thought I should listen to the advice of people that know better than me!! You !! And yes it one thing being good on the whistle when you are driving in the van and completely different when you are trying to say lie down, whistle and control the situation at the same time!!!!! All good fun learning more and more every day!!!
        Hope things are going well for you both!!
        Regards Eddie.

  28. Jan Johnstone avatar
    Jan Johnstone

    Dear folks
    You may remember me from years back. I’m Jan Johnstone at Telford Farm Training Institute (now called Telford Campus, SIT – Southern Institute Technology) in New Zealand.
    We are in lock down at present because of the Covid19 virus and so our students had to leave the Telford hostel and return to their homes around New Zealand.
    Many are training pups and I am wondering if Telford can purchase a group licence to make your training videos available to them while at home.
    Thanks for considering my request.
    I hope this finds you well and avoiding the virus
    Kind regards

  29. Sue avatar

    I’m training a Shetland Sheepdog. When driving she constantly looks at my face to the point that she”ll walk right by the stock. I train with a small rake and one time as she turned to look at me I pushed the rake toward her head and caught her harder than I wanted but this has been going on long before that incident. Are there any videos you’d recommend to get her to watch the stock instead of me? Or an exercise off stock to get her to look straight ahead?

    1. Gill Watson avatar
      Gill Watson

      Hello Sue.
      First I should point out that we have no experience with training Shetland Sheepdogs, but if you feel that her work style and instincts are those of a typical gathering breed then I see no reason why training a Sheltie should be different. If your dog comes from a working line then it’s always worth asking the breeder if/when you run into problems. It’s quite common for a breeder to recognise a trait in a young dog that they saw in either a parent or grandparent, and they’re in a good position to tell you how they dealt with it.
      If you were asking about a border collie then the first thing I’d suggest is, that if you’re still at the stage where you’re using a rake (or whatever) to keep the dog back off the sheep, then it isn’t ready to start driving. Looking back at the handler is a classic sign of a lack of confidence, the dog is looking for reassurance from you.
      The further away the dog is from the handler the less confidence it’s likely to have, and driving stock away is a task that demands confidence.
      I’d go back to basics for a few lessons, and work with the dog close to you. If you need the dog to drive then walk close by it, and don’t expect it to take the stock away from you. As the dog’s confidence grows you can extend the distance the dog will drive before it starts to look back at you.
      The Driving tutorials will help you with this, but also pay attention to other early lessons such as “Give the Sheep Space” and “Walking Backwards” to get the flanking and work distance right.
      And let us know how you get on!

  30. Florentine avatar

    Hi there,
    hope everybody is safe and sound.
    I was hoping if you would offer some dry land herding exercises as well? Since all the herding training locations are closed now and I don’t have sheep on hand myself.
    Thank you.
    Greetings from Canada

    1. Andy avatar

      By ‘dry land’ I presume you mean training without sheep or cattle? Well, there’s plenty you can do, depending on how mobile you are. There are a number of useful exercises in the Sheepdog Preparation and Selection tutorial (for our paying members) you’ll see that I get the dogs (a lot of them) to wait while I open gates. I go through first, then allow the dogs to come through.
      Also I walk in our local woods with a large group of dogs (probably about twenty or so) ALL walking BEHIND me (not on any leads or restraint). It’s not easy, but if you watch the video, I explain how to do it.
      It’s all about the dog’s respect for the owner as it’s leader. The stronger the respect, the more willing the dog will be to obey you, and consequently the easier the dog will be to train on livestock.
      Lead training is another one – does your dog walk on a lead with the lead slack? If it pulls on the lead, it doesn’t fully accept your leadership, and you need to train it to walk properly on a lead.
      Teaching the dog to sit, or stay in place at a distance, is another good one. It’s easy to do when you’re close to the dog, but gets harder as the distance increases.
      I suggest you watch the FREE Sheepdog Training Playlist we just uploaded to YouTube.

  31. AJ avatar

    Hello Andy,
    I hope your well during these testing times. We purchased a “border collie” from a farm and he bred his dogs for obedience and temperament, we think he is mixed with Kelpie though. We only have some chickens, but I was really interested in bringing out his instinct of herding in them.
    1. Do you think I’m knocking onto a futile task there?
    2. Which of your many resources you recommend I do go with if you think it’s feasible?
    3. He seems to enjoy biting their wings and pulling onto them, is there a recommendation how to stamp this out?

    P.s puppy is four months

  32. Paul and Charlotte , USA avatar
    Paul and Charlotte , USA

    Just got 2 of your videos, excellent.
    My question is, in the early video(s) it looks like you are teaching the dog a “stand” or “whoa” (birdbogs) command and then later on you just use a kind of multi-purpose “lie down” command.
    I am imagining this?
    If not was there a reason you discontinued the “stand” command? To make the dogs life more simple?

    1. Andy avatar

      Not sure what you mean by “Just got 2 of your videos”… If you’d mentioned which two, it would give me a clue, but it’s not important really.
      I used to use “Stand” because it was short and sharp. Dogs are sensitive to sharp sounds, so they’re likely to take more notice of a sharp command.
      Since then though, I’ve discovered that softer commands can be even more effective – especially if they’re drawn-out or stretched over a longer period of time. I noticed that a dog which doesn’t want to stop is more likely to slow down while the command is audible but speed up again once the handler’s quiet. It was logical to try stretching the command out – and it often works very well.
      Don’t make the mistake of repeating the stop command – rapidly repeated sounds excite the dog and speed it up.
      It’s all explained in the tutorials. The more you watch them, the more you’ll find out about these things.

      1. Paul and Charlotte in the USA avatar
        Paul and Charlotte in the USA

        Sorry I thought you were a mind reader.
        The last post was a little abrupt and I forgot to wish you and yours the best.
        A little rude, like my dog, sorry about that.
        Anyway, I hope the training and business is good for you.
        I bought the first 2 videos, Sheepdog training Vol 1, and the First Steps in BC training.
        My Aussie thinks she is a Border Collie, I dont want her to be disappointed so I just humor her.
        Just chatting, sorry to take up your time but my wife and I love your training videos and are about to start getting her engaged. My next step, gulp, is to buy 4 sheep and all the fixings so that we can get started.
        Thanks again for your time and the very excellent videos you and your team produce.

  33. Edward Muir avatar
    Edward Muir

    Hello Andy ,this is Eddie from France as you can see I am following commands and asking questions through the website!! Right important question that I would very much like to have your point of view on. In mid June we have a young puppy coming to join our farm he comes from very good breeding and I want to make sure that I give him the best start that I can! Kennels……. the guys that I know here are very inclined towards individual kennels and almost absolute isolation so as to create a very secure bonding without any distractions .I haven’t found any information on your website unless I have over looked the correct page!! If you have the time to reply perhaps you could send me a message so that I know where to look on website for your answer. Thank you very much and I hope you are managing in these difficult times . Regards Eddie.

    1. Andy avatar

      Times are not too difficult at the moment, Eddie. Luckily for us, people are still subscribing to the tutorials, although DVD and Book sales are slower. We are not breeding any new litters for the foreseeable future either, so our income is down, but our spirits are not!
      As for accommodation, it rather depends what you want the dog to be. Some people like them to be mindless robots, but we prefer the dog to have character and personality. We allow them as much freedom as circumstances allow, and they seem to bond with us better than most!
      Our dogs are housed in kennels with galvanised runs. Most of the sleeping accommodation consists of an upstairs and a downstairs bedroom, so that when there are two dogs in one pen, they can choose whether to sleep together or apart. This isn’t a strict requirement, but I thought I’d mention it as a possibility.
      The dogs can all see each other during the day, and some of them can even play together when they want to. Rain, storm or tempest, we take them out for a minimum of an hour (preferably an hour and a half) twice a day, whether they go to sheep that day or not.
      In our opinion, the broader the dog’s mind, the better it’s able to deal with the unexpected. I hope this information is useful to you – good luck with your new pup!

      1. Edward Muir avatar
        Edward Muir

        Thank you very much! As always good sound advice! Regards Eddie.

        1. Regine avatar

          Happy Easter Andy and Gill , just to let you both know that it was with great pleasure that I went back and watched the preparation video!!! As you always say …back to basics all the time….this is such an interesting job . Thankyou both again for the work that you have both put into your website!!! With a bit of luck we will all survive these difficult times !!!
          Regards Eddie

  34. DANIEL GAMBLE avatar

    I have a 9 mths old border collie im a beginner to sheep herding needs lots of help

    1. Andy avatar

      No problem Daniel. I see you have a subscriber account, so I suggest you login and watch the free sheepdog training tutorial. Then if you think our tutorials will be of help to you, simply upgrade your account to full status and you’ll have almost unlimited access to seventy videos!
      Be sure to begin with the ones in the “Where to Start” category so that you understand what’s happening.

  35. Cheryl Barker avatar
    Cheryl Barker

    I’m new to the sheepdog world and I watched your videos to train my first dog that is now 4. We were fortunate enough to make it to the USA National finals in nursery and placed in the top 20. I now have a 2 yr. old bitch that is coming on nicely but I have noticed that she seems to guess what flank command I’m giving her. I have noticed that it seems to happen when she senses that the sheep are getting away and she needs to turn them. Is this something I need to be concerned about or will it correct itself with age. I have trialed her a couple of times in arena trials and it is that issue that causes the most trouble in getting through a course. I work with her on short flanks and she responds well but when out in the open and she’s reading the sheep I seem to lose communication on direction. She has a great drive and really growing in her confidence. I really enjoy your tutorials and they have helped me so much. I also have a 6mo old pup that I have had on sheep a few times. I’m at a point where i’m giving him a break for a couple of months and then headed back to the sheep pen. He is a really sensitive dog but a lot of confidence and some eye so main objective is having him move freely with his sheep. My first dog has a lot of eye and being a beginner I did not realize the issue that would cause as he matured. Thank you for your time and all your great tutorials.

    1. Andy avatar

      I’m new to the sheepdog world and I watched your videos to train my first dog that is now 4.

      Thank you for the feedback Cheryl it’s important for us to know that we’re bringing you the right videos.

      We were fortunate enough to make it to the USA National finals in nursery and placed in the top 20.

      Sounds great – congratulations! I assume you’re talking about nursery sheepdog trials, but being placed in the top twenty in the US must be good in almost any discipline!

      I now have a 2 yr. old bitch that is coming on nicely but I have noticed that she seems to guess what flank command I’m giving her. I have noticed that it seems to happen when she senses that the sheep are getting away and she needs to turn them. Is this something I need to be concerned about or will it correct itself with age. I have trialed her a couple of times in arena trials and it is that issue that causes the most trouble in getting through a course. I work with her on short flanks and she responds well but when out in the open and she’s reading the sheep I seem to lose communication on direction. She has a great drive and really growing in her confidence.

      This is a perfectly natural reaction from the dog because you’re trying to progress too quickly. REMEMBER: the farther you are from your trainee dog when it’s working, the less control you have over it. Shorten the distance the dog works at, and only increase it very gradually.

      I really enjoy your tutorials and they have helped me so much.

      Thanks again!

      I also have a 6mo old pup that I have had on sheep a few times. I’m at a point where i’m giving him a break for a couple of months and then headed back to the sheep pen.

      Why are you giving the dog a break from training at a time when he’s most trainable?

      He is a really sensitive dog but a lot of confidence and some eye so main objective is having him move freely with his sheep.

      I don’t really understand what the problem is? You say the dog’s very confident but doesn’t move freely with sheep at the moment?

      My first dog has a lot of eye and being a beginner I did not realize the issue that would cause as he matured. Thank you for your time and all your great tutorials.

      If you watch the tutorial “Sticky Dogs” you’ll see that we don’t like the term “too much eye” because it suggests there’s something physically or mentally wrong with the dog, when in fact it’s merely a lack of confidence. If your first dog is four years old, it’s not too late to improve his confidence – watch “Sticky Dogs“!

  36. Neill Rollston avatar
    Neill Rollston

    Hi Andy I have a 21 month old border collie she is going well at every day work but has a habit of when in close contact with sheep will panic and run in and catch for what seems to be no real reason also if one sheep breaks away she will run along side it and hold the wool and seems not to respond to any commands at all is this a common problem and there any advice you could give me I would like to have a go at trailing but with this problem iam not at all confident thank you

    1. Andy avatar

      Perfectly natural, Neill. It’s simply a lack of confidence.
      If you watch a few more tutorials, you’ll hear me banging on about the dog’s confidence regularly – it’s that important.
      Now you know the gripping’s going to happen, be ready for it. If the dog’s working close to you, talk to it as you both get close to the sheep and try to keep the dog under control. It’s bound to dive in to grip a sheep occasionally until its confidence grows, but by staying close to the dog you’ve got more control. Talk quietly to the dog as you approach the sheep, then (if you can see that it’s likely to dive in) a sharp correction immediately BEFORE the dog grips works better than one after the event. Correction after the grip is still worthwhile though. Just one sharp shout should be enough, then carry on talking to the dog quietly.
      Be careful not to discourage the dog too much, because that too, can sap the dog’s confidence. I encourage the dog to nip an aggressive sheep so it learns that it’s allowed to defend itself, but it’s not allowed to dive in and grip for no reason.
      You’ve got very little control when the dog grips further away from you, but the secret here is to remain calm and keep commanding the dog. (See an example of this in “The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training“). The dog clearly isn’t ready to work that far away from you yet. Try to reduce the working distance (so that you have more control) and only increase the distance slowly.
      I think you need to watch ALL of the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category to get a good understanding of how the dog works – and “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough” will help too.
      Your dog is a perfectly normal, keen dog, which just needs training, and it’ll be a great sheepdog for you.

      1. Neill Rollston avatar
        Neill Rollston

        Thanks for your advice Andy if it’s ok I could maybe send you a short video of meg at work to see if you could point out the mistakes on my behalf I probably need to learn more than the dog thank you

        1. Andy avatar

          Yes, of course, Neill. Paying members can make a short video of their dog working and I’ll do my best to give a fair assessment. I want to see the first moments when you get into the field and send the dog off (not part-way through a session) and no more than four minutes in total. If it’s too big to email, why not put it on YouTube or Vimeo (or others) and send me a link to it?
          NOTE: I don’t watch more than four minutes, so obviously you won’t get comments on what I don’t see.

  37. Colin Jones avatar
    Colin Jones


    I was wondering if you guys take in people’s dogs to train them? If so how do I go about booking my dogs in with you?


    Colin jones

    1. Andy avatar

      I know that some farmers send their dogs away for training, but we don’t offer it because it’s often of limited success.

      All dogs are descended from wild hunting dogs which have a very strong “pack instinct”. This means that any dog which has lived with you for more than a few weeks has adapted itself to (what it sees as) your pack, along with the various rules and freedoms that are part of that pack (routines, discipline, play etc).

      When you send your dog to a trainer, the dog thinks it’s moved to a new pack, and it adapts to the rules and routines of that pack. The trainer may well be stricter with the dog, or at least, more enlightened as to how to get the dog working well

      Eventually, the trainer will probably call you to come and see the dog working – on the trainer’s ground and with the trainer in control. Doubtless you’ll be impressed, pay the fee, and take the dog home, but there’s every possibility the dog will revert to the rules and routines of the original pack, and forget much (not all, obviously) of what it learned with the trainer.

      We feel it’s far better to train the dog yourself, and it’s not difficult if you have patience – and if you understand what’s going on. This is why we recommend our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials for people such as yourself. At just £10 per month (or £100 per year) they are not expensive, and you can cancel the payment at any time, using a link which is at the top of the Welcome page, every time you log into your account.

      Why not give it a go? You can watch an introductory preview on this link.

  38. Michael Boggs avatar
    Michael Boggs

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve learned so much in the past few months – your videos are really well thought out and helpful.

    In a response to a comment on the “Backwards is the way forwards” video, you mentioned “better at herding sheep and cattle”. Have you considered making a cattle video? I’d be interested in hearing your perspective on how working cattle is different than sheep and more importantly, how to transition from one to another. In my experience, it’s a different challenge. The cattle don’t tend to group up around me like sheep, nor is that practical. And because I’m working cattle in a bigger area, it’s an entirely different proposition when it comes to getting my dog to circle…not to mention the fact that the cattle I work, although fairly dog broke, tend to move quicker.

    Thanks again,


    1. Andy avatar

      I’d love to bring out a tutorial on training dogs on cattle Michael, but to be honest I don’t have that much experience of it. I used to get the chance to move cattle out of our field and back into our landlord’s field, but since we’ve improved the fences they haven’t broken in.
      Occasionally I’m asked to move cattle for a farmer, but it’s quite rare – and it’s not practical for us to have our own cattle (as well as sheep) on our little five acre patch. Rest assured that if I do see an opportunity, I’ll go for it.
      It’s great to know that you find the tutorials useful though. Thank you for the feedback.

  39. Steve Dollar avatar
    Steve Dollar

    Hey There!
    I am a new member as of a few minutes ago. When filling out the membership form, I was not asked for a password, but when trying to log in for the first time, it asked me for my password. I entered a password and proceeded, but a message came back and said that the password associated with my user name was incorrect. What would you like me to do?

  40. Sunny Mehta avatar
    Sunny Mehta

    Dear sir,
    Order #1078 was made by mistake. My second order #1079 was the correct one. Please cancel order #1078 as soon as possible. I apologized for the mistake and thank you for your help on this. Please send a confirmation that you have received this email and are able to make the changes.

    S. Mehta

  41. Gabriella Reid avatar

    My name is Gabriella, and I just recently started watching your videos, I have found them to be quite beneficial and have given me confidence but I know this will transfer over to my pups as well. Would you offer me constructive criticism if I were to send you a video?

    1. Andy avatar

      Yes, of course, Gabriella. Paying members can make a short video of their dog working and I’ll do my best to give a fair assessment. I want to see the first moments when you get into the field and send the dog off (not part-way through a session) and no more than four minutes in total. If it’s too big to email, why not put it on YouTube or Vimeo (or others) and send me a link to it?
      NOTE: I don’t watch more than four minutes, so obviously you won’t get comments on what I don’t see.

  42. Ludwig Bahneman avatar
    Ludwig Bahneman

    I am interested in your herding tutorials, I have a Australian shepherd/Border Collie mix who is very energetic. I have a herding ball for him which he loves to play with and herd it back to me. I plan on having livestock soon when I buy my new home and would love if he would be able to give me a hand with the animals. To get the full effect of the training should I wait until I have the livestock?

    1. Andy avatar

      Herding ball? Not sure what one of those is.
      Until you get access to livestock, there’s not a lot you can do to prepare your dog for working, other than to gain the dog’s respect and teach it good manners.
      By respect, I mean the dog should do as you say even if it doesn’t want to. For example if it’s playing with something (or another dog) and you call it away, does it come immediately?
      Another test is walking on a lead. If the lead is slack for about 90% of the time, then the dog probably respects you as its leader, but if it pulls on the lead, it’s trying to control you – so it obviously doesn’t respect your leadership. Being the leader is important when you train a dog to work livestock.
      Remember – good leaders don’t panic or get excited when things go wrong – they keep calm and remain in control.
      It’s worth teaching the dog to stop, and stay in place on command – and a good recall is very important.
      The dog may not be very nice to the stock when he first encounters livestock, but with training he should be fine.

  43. Brian Gibbons avatar
    Brian Gibbons

    Hi Andy , not sure if you can advise or redirect my question. I have ‘inherited‘ a 9 month old Border Collie , I have had her for 3 months now she is mostly okay and settled in to domestic not farm life (at the moment ) although I live in a rural area in Argyll Scotland – I joined your site and was wondering before I do a paid subscribe if any of your online tutorials would have any guidance on helping me resolve the biggest issue I have with her which is chasing and reacting to cars , in fact anything with moving wheels – it’s pretty bad and I’m not having any impact – a couple of local dog trainers were not able to help. Let me know what you think , if you give me a direct email I can send you some videos , and I’m happy to pay for some expert guidance from yourself or if you can’t help perhaps you could advise elsewhere thank you.

    1. Andy avatar

      Apologies for the delay in replying, Brian. Car chasing is quite a problem once it sets in.
      I’m not sure what you mean by “not farm life (at the moment)”. Does this mean that you eventually intend to train the dog to work livestock? It makes a difference.
      The first thing to remember is that the dog is just eight months old. She’s in early adolescence…

      The reason for the delay in replying is that I’ve put together a new page on our website to help people to understand (and hopefully correct) their dog’s behaviour. I’ve only just finished it, so please forgive (and report) any errors you might find.
      The message is pretty much there though. You’ll find the page here.

  44. Michael Sweeney avatar
    Michael Sweeney

    Hi Andy, I have an 8 months old collie pup in training for 2 months. When I give him an out run of more than 25m he jumps in and bursts the group of 5 lambs, singles one out for a mouthful of wool. I’m going to the group of lambs and keeping him out from them many times but when I revert back to sending him on an outrun again he bursts into the middle of the group again. I know he’s still young and probably will settle. Any advice ? I have your 4 dvds ?

    1. Andy avatar

      No problem with the young dog. What he’s doing is perfectly natural – you’re just trying to move on a bit quickly with him.

      Just try to keep him working around the sheep at a distance that he works well at, and then occasionally give him a shorter outrun – one that you think he’ll be OK with. Only increase the distance of the outrun very gradually. If he gets it wrong, shorten the outrun next time.

      I suggest you watch the “Outrun” tutorials again and “Backwards is the Way Forward”.
      Backwards is the Way Forward” is great for teaching young dogs so many things, including self-control, how to keep the sheep together, working at the correct pace, and the distance it should be from the sheep – but you MUST do it properly. MAKE the dog stay back so that he brings the sheep at the pace you’re walking back at.

      If you keep him right back, you can walk towards him (about halfway) and send him on an outrun from there. Then if he begins to come in, you can chase him out – it’s all in the tutorials!

  45. Michael avatar

    I am located in the land down under (Australia) and have just set up an account with The Working Sheepdog. I was interested in buying your DVD set ‘First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training’ but I currently have a very tight budget and would like to be 100% convinced that I would be making the right purchase.
    I have a female 24 month old border collie x kelpie who just had a litter 9 weeks ago. From about six months old, I had spent some time with her mustering and driving cattle on horseback on a set route so she got the hang of the routine. I’ve taught her basic commands (away, come bye, lie down, and walk up) which she sort of gets, some days better than others. Her interaction with cattle seems to be good: not too aggressive but enough to assert herself over that size stock. Her interaction with sheep is the same with cattle, so while it may be fine for cattle she is a little too much on sheep. I would have preferred to start her on sheep when she was younger but they were only a more recent purchase. She connects with me very well almost all the time and is very willing to work and very confident and committed when working.
    I would like to have a dog (or a few dogs) that is a great farm companion (which she is), but can also work well with cattle and especially sheep.
    My questions are:
    Is it worth investing the time in her now given the information I have provided?
    What would be your professional recommendation for my situation and also bearing in mind my rather tight financial situation?
    Thanks in advance for you assistance.
    Kind regards,

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for your interest in our training videos, Michael. Your dog sounds fine. She’s at a great age for training and of course, will learn to treat sheep with more respect once you know how to go about teaching her.
      On the matter of DVDs. If you have a half-decent internet connection, we recommend you subscribe to our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials. For just a few pounds a month, you’ll have access to SEVENTY sheepdog training videos, including the most important ones on the ‘First Steps’ DVDs.
      We made the ‘First Steps” DVD set about twelve years ago, and of course, we’ve learned a lot more about sheep and cattle dog training since then. The tutorials are updated regularly as we find improved ways of training, and also clearer ways to explain what’s happening.
      If you’re not sure about your internet connection, try watching the preview – or sign-up to watch a tutorial free of charge. If you can play either one of those, you’ll have no problem with the actual videos.
      If your connection struggles with the videos on the default setting, there are two lower resolution settings (SD or LD) to choose from, so basically, if you have a viable internet connection, you should be fine.
      Members can also ask questions on the tutorial pages, and we usually reply within a day or two. If you’re asking about something which is not covered by the tutorials, we may well produce another video on that subject.
      You can unsubscribe from the tutorials at any time, and continue watching for the remainder of the period you’ve paid for. This means you can dip in, and out of the tutorials as and when you need them. The ‘unsubscribe’ link appears near the top of the Welcome Page when you login.
      In case you don’t have a working internet connection, DVDs would be the next option, and ‘First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training‘ is by far our best-selling DVD because it’s structured. I take three very different dogs, and train them from the very beginning.
      I hope this is of help to you. Good luck with training your dog!

      1. Michael avatar

        Thanks a lot, Andy! I really appreciate it.
        I’m thinking I’ll subscribe for the tutorials in a few weeks when I have some more time up my sleeve to commit to training. Thanks again!

  46. Mark Butler avatar
    Mark Butler

    Dear Andy,
    I have brought all your DVDs in a fit of optimism ! I have looked at a lot of your clips of your DVDs and read a lot of other peoples comments, and I have found your DVDs outstanding, you certainly are a man with a lot of patience and I think that is what is needed with the Border Collie ( and not losing you temper!) I look forward to the viewing and putting into practice your methods, I lost my best friend Jess, a lovely Border Collie early last year and its taken me a long time to finally feel right about getting another, I would never won’t to be without one , so my youngster is ready to collect on the 1st of February, then the fun starts! Keep up the outstanding Work, all the best.

  47. Tracey Hooper avatar
    Tracey Hooper

    Thank you for your time earlier in the week. As suggested I’ve gone back to basics and the dog, Ruby, is doing great out runs over about 150 meters, but the lift is too fast- partly because the sheep want to run to me – which causes Ruby to over flank and not ease off her speed. I think the over flanking may be due to asking her to run full circles and also half circles to check her understanding of left and right and In an attempt to stop her coming in short. How can I get her to cover the sheep and ease up as she approaches her sheep? She also runs in an ark from side to side when fetching over very short distances – just trying to keep the sheep to me, if I stop her and ask for walk on she’s slower but comes to close, so the sheep are pressured into speeding up. I think she’s really worried that the sheep are going to escape her after my attempts at driving, so she’s desperately trying to make shore they can’t. Any help much appreciated. Thank you,

  48. Stuart Blumberg avatar
    Stuart Blumberg

    Hi Andy,
    First of all I am enjoying watching your tutorials very much and I hope I can learn everything I need to get the best from my Welsh sheepdog, who is called Taffy and is 20 months old.
    I am using a horse menage with hurdles across the middle which is roughly 20×15 metres for training purposes and I’ve got 4 Torwen ram lambs from last year to train Taff with. First of all the rams are a bit aggressive and stand their ground and they tend to stick to the edges of the arena so it’s difficult for me to get Taff circling the sheep so I haven’t been able to get him to understand the commands yet. To be fair to him though he does stop when I say lie down and he usually does stay when I tell him, so I’m encouraged by that.
    Can you give me some advice on getting Taff to understand the come by and away commands and indeed any other advice you think would help me at this stage.
    I read somewhere that you would accept video messages from members, so I could get my daughter to film a typical session and you could judge for yourself how Taff is at this stage?
    Look forward to reading your reply.

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for the feedback Stuart, it’s good to know you’re enjoying the tutorials.

      The problem with Taff is the sheep. Why are you using stubborn ram lambs to start your dog off? If you’ve watched some tutorials, surely you’ve noticed that I talk about the importance of the dog’s confidence. Stubborn, aggressive sheep are not suitable for starting a dog off.

      When you went to school, I’m sure the teachers didn’t start you off on trigonometry or complex equations. They will have started you on simple work, and that’s what you should do with your dog. Make everything as easy as possible for the dog, and then as it progresses, very gradually increase the level of difficulty.

      Watch the Sheep tutorial, and give your poor dog a chance, by getting some suitable sheep! Whatever you get, they’re probably going to try to avoid the dog by crowding onto the fence, so you need to lead the dog round them if necessary. Get them into the middle of your training area and then let the dog go. Watch the The Sheepdog Handler to see how to use what I call “the magic cord” to release the dog quickly at exactly the right moment so that you have a chance of keeping the sheep in the middle of the ring once the dog’s going round them.

      I strongly recommend you watch ALL the tutorials in the Where to Start category before you go any further. That way, you’ll have a far better idea of what’s going on.

      Get the poor dog some easier sheep to start with, and then you can graduate to the more difficult ones as his skill (and confidence) increases.

      1. Stuart Blumberg avatar
        Stuart Blumberg

        Hi Andy,
        Thank you for your comments.
        I did watch a few videos yesterday after sending my message to you and I realised myself that I had made it far too difficult for Taff in these early stages and I will use my ewe lambs instead. I don’t want to use my ewes as they will lamb in a few months. I also watched you using the slip lead to encourage the dog to go for the gap when getting sheep off the fence and I will practice that as soon as possible.
        I fully understand everything you said in your message and agree entirely.
        I will try and follow your advice and keep you informed of my progress.
        Many thanks.

  49. Sharon Sharp avatar
    Sharon Sharp

    how does one apply the 20% discount when ordering more than one DVD?

    1. Gill Watson avatar
      Gill Watson

      Hello Sharon. Thanks for your message, and for your interest in the DVDs.

      To claim the discount, all you have to do is add the DVDs you want to your basket/cart. The discount on eligible DVDs is automatically calculated and subtracted from the total.

      I hope that explains it, but let me know if anything still isn’t clear.


  50. Robb avatar

    I have a border collie of about 3 years and 2 months.
    I would really like to train him to herd sheep (maybe later on also cattle but not just yet).
    My biggest concern is if he is not to old.
    He is obsessed with birds and sometimes he gets hold of a chicken, I think he doesn’t bite or wants to kill it but I have never really waited to find out.
    So I am also wondering what will happen if I put him in a field with sheep, and if he will attack them or not.
    Hope you can help me out!

    1. Andy avatar

      Your suspicion is correct, Robb. If you simply release your dog in a field of sheep, it will probably chase them and attack them.
      I see you have a subscriber account, so I suggest you watch the Free Sheepdog Training Tutorial for ideas on how to begin training your dog.
      Three years old is not too late to train him, but it may take a little longer than it would to train a one year old dog for instance, because the older the dog is, the more deeply-rooted its habits will be. Three years old definitely isn’t too old to start though, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t make a great sheep or cattle dog!
      To get you off to a good start and to help you understand what’s likely to happen (and why) I suggest you sign into your account and then upgrade your membership, and watch the “Where to Start” tutorials first. ALL OF THEM! It’s far easier to train a dog if you understand what makes it do the things it does, and what you can do to help control the dog.

  51. Caroline Owens avatar
    Caroline Owens

    Hi, Andy
    I am wondering what you would do with this situation. Perhaps my first mistake was naming him Jet, but my 3-year old border collie brings the sheep in so fast that I fear I am going to be run over, have my knees taken out, or have a sheep bounce up in my face. This is a fairly new issue that seems to have worsened as he grew more confident. It’s not so bad in the open field because there is lots of room, but it really makes things exciting in a training corral with solid fence. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Andy avatar

      You haven’t given any information about the way your dog behaves, other than to suggest he’s pretty fast, and of course you must avoid any situation where the sheep could cause you harm, Caroline.
      You need to go back to basics with this dog, slow him down, and teach him to stop on command. It can be a tiresome business with a strong-willed dog, but it’s very necessary in your case.
      Even if you’ve seen them before, I suggest you watch “Stopping the Dog” (recently revised) and “How can I Slow the Dog Down?“. The tutorials will show you what causes the dog to go fast, and plenty of ways to slow it down.

  52. Maria Clapham avatar
    Maria Clapham

    Hi, I wanted to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to watch your quick tip tutorial for free, I don’t dispute that your further videos would not help me and I still might subscribe to them one day but it made me realize, I am not sure we have the right sheep, totally don;t have the right area, and the dog, well it has a bit of border collie in it but quite a lot is a springer spaniel mix. All in all we keep small amount of sheep for winter, have our own lambs during summer to graze land, mostly in electric fencing which we move around the countryside around us. The sheep are used to it and us and the dog, the only reason I looked at your tutorials is because at the end of the year I take them out to freely graze and could do with a bit of help but it is so shortly lived that I don’t need a border collie breed as it really would not get enough work with us and they do need to work. Had one before but that was before sheep and she was trained to search and rescue and was brilliant at it. .. sorry I digress, I really just wanted to say thank you as your video made me realize that we are fine, every now and again we struggle but we manage. I might one day subscribe as I would love to watch and learn how you work your dogs. I love the outdoors and animals and learning new things. all the best for now. Best regards, maria

  53. Francis and Lorna avatar
    Francis and Lorna

    Hi Andy,

    We have two lovely pups who will be two in February (the eldest and the youngest from the same litter). We currently live in Richmond but we are planning to move to the country, and we want them to live a fulfilling life and herd a few sheep as a hobby. Though we live in the suburbs we are graced with green spaces I’ve started training them; they know come-by, away, and lie-down, but have enever worked sheep (I use a ball chucker). I know time is of the essence and I would like to instill sheepwork into them before they get too old, and suss-out if they are keen and have potential. I’m not aiming for trials nor real animal husbandry, just a handful of ewes to mow the lawns and keep the boys engaged and happy. Would you be interested to take them on for a few days to introduce them to sheep and appraise them?

    Many thanks,

    Francis and Lorna

    1. Andy avatar

      Not great news for you, I’m afraid!
      I don’t really understand what you mean by “the eldest and the youngest from the same litter”! It throws up all kinds of questions about the level of interference when the mother was whelping. (In our experience, the mother prefers to be left alone as much as possible during this time).
      I’d also question the ethics of a breeder who will sell two pups from the same litter to suburban home. Read our FAQ.
      If you’ve been ball-training your litter-mates together in the hope that it will help with training them to work sheep, I fear you’re likely to be disappointed. Pups from the same litter should be trained separately.
      Lastly, we don’t (and never have) taken dogs in for training because we know how important it is for them to be trained by the person(s) they recognise as their leader.
      I’m sorry if this appears very negative. It’s not intended to be, but to hide the truth would be misleading.
      I wish you the best with your dogs in the future.

  54. maggie avatar

    Hi sorry to bother you again. Been trying with this dog . At the moment we have a muzzle on him a heavy chain to slow him down and often a lead as well. He singles sheep out and attacks them charging straight into the middle of them. I have a long stick and push him left and right which he does quite well if sheep aren’t within visibility. With the muzzle on he can bowl a sheep over frighten it to death and then stands over it and wont come away until you make him by putting him on a lead wagging his tail as he thinks he has done well. He gets so worked up in a pen of sheep he rushes around and barks constantly whilst trying to get at the sheep to attack them. There is literally no way of getting him to listen and he gets taken away. The trouble is without the muzzle he does real damage ripping the sheep. I need to understand why his main aim is to single one sheep out like this. Take sheep out of the equation and he is a calm dog loveable and comes back stays and lays down. My question is would castration help him be less aggressive do you think? He is aggressive with strange dogs as well. He wees all the time marking his terrortry constantly. I haven’t given up on him but at 3 years old I am wondering if I can help him. The constant barking is a problem as you will understand he frightens the sheep so much.
    The breed is collie. He is 3 years old. I have watched all the max ones a few times getting started. The smaller holding pen seemed to be where is was most frantic so I took him into a small field. I now have a pen at the back of the dipping pens which is half way between the two. I am keen to try him in here I know he will single one out like he does but at least I will have more control I hope. Its probably not ideal either but I cant get the help I need off the men as they just think spot is a waste of time. He is fed on skinners field and trail lamb and rice. 22 protein 12 fat. When he is not training sheep he is in his own shed. He barks incesently if he is in the pens with the other dogs in the main cattle shed. He is fine on a lead pulls when he sees sheep but trots along nicely. If I could slow him down and get him to respond by lying down when I dont want him to go full tilt into the sheep that would be a massive step forward. The man we got him off showed my son him going around sheep and he seemed to be ok. He used a long whip apparently. He didnt bite the sheep at this point or charge into them like he is doing now. Its like he really doesnt know what he should be doing so to gain control attacks. thanks maggie

    1. Andy avatar

      You certainly have a problem there Maggie, and the fact that the men won’t help you is disappointing (to say the least).

      The dog needs guidance, and he’s not going to get any when he’s shut away in a shed on his own. Being penned up drives dogs nuts, just as it would with humans. He desperately needs companionship and leadership but he’s not getting any.

      He’s trainable. I have absolutely no doubt it’s possible, but I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile. You’re certainly getting no help or encouragement, and it’s going to take a lot of patient training to get this dog pointing the right way.

      In the meantime, those around you will probably feel you’re wasting time so it’ll be a thankless task to start with.

      On the other hand, whatever the dog was doing with his previous owner, he’s perfectly capable of doing with you, so he must be able to go around the sheep, but for some reason, he’s slipped back into his old ways. This is very common with new dogs because they have not yet bonded with their new owner. How long have you had him?

      If he worked well when the owner used a lungeing whip, I suggest you try him with one. Make sure you can “crack it” beforehand, and if/when he comes in towards the sheep, give it a good crack! (Don’t hit him with it, and crack the whip BEFORE he reaches the sheep if you possibly can).

      Failing that, if he were mine, and if I felt inclined to take the task on, I’d start by spending as much time as possible with him. Has the poor dog had a chance to actually bond with any of you – I doubt it?

      If you watch the tutorials, you’ll know that I repeat over and over again that it’s vital the dog respects you as its leader. That can only come by spending time with the dog and showing it that you’re a suitable leader. (Not screaming and shouting excitedly, or hitting the dog, for instance – and not shutting it away for countless hours in total isolation).

      If you watch the tutorials you’ll also know that I keep talking about the dog’s hunting instinct. Dogs are descended from wolves or hunting dogs, and they all (regardless of breed) have some degree of instinct to bring down and kill animals such as sheep, which they see as prey. In many breeds, this hunting instinct has largely been bred out of them, but in the working border collie, it’s been preserved.

      If they didn’t have it, we wouldn’t be able to train them to work sheep. The instinct is stronger in some collies than it is in others – guess which category Spot falls into!

      A healthy three year old male with a very strong hunting instinct is going to be very strong physically, too. I’m not sure I’d want to be constantly holding Spot back off the sheep, how about you?

      You need to bond with him and teach him basic manners. When he barks, it’s because something is exciting him, so if you calmly take him away from what’s exciting him, he’ll stop barking. Then, after a few minutes of silence, you can approach the cause of his excitement – but the moment he begins to bark again, take him away again – and so on.

      He’ll soon learn that if he wants to get close to whatever he’s interested in, he needs to be quiet.

      That’s the principle on which you need to train him.

      It’s a fact that if you put a dog on a lead and walk it around a field of sheep, eventually, the dog will lose interest in the sheep entirely. Obviously you don’t want this to happen, but if you did it to the extent that he calmed down when he was around them, it would be a massive help.

      It won’t happen overnight, it could take weeks, but it DOES work if you have the time and patience to do it – not to mention the sheer strength to hold him back, particularly in the early stages.

      The first time I did it was with a lurcher who was terrible with sheep, but after a couple of weeks (two short sessions a day) I could walk THROUGH the flock with the dog off the lead, and she’d stay by my side.

      If you want to try it, use a short lead to begin with, then as the dog begins to relax you can use a long lead – and eventually move on to a longer length of rope. On the long lead or the rope, you should crouch down from time to time, and call the dog back to you. If he won’t come, you pull him back, then praise him (for coming back) even though he didn’t want to.

      Eventually, he’ll be coming back reliably enough for you to let go of the rope! If he still comes back, you’re nearly there! And if he charges off after the sheep, it’ll be easier to catch him because you can grab (or step on) the rope. Take care not to pull him up too sharply, in case you hurt his neck though.

      As I said, it’s perfectly “do-able” if you have the time, patience, determination, and physical strength to do it.

      I don’t think castrating him will make any difference, particularly now that he’s three years old.

      1. maggie avatar

        He is out twice a day one for a walk with me around the forest or 5 miles around the railway line the other in with the sheep. Whenever I can I take him out but you couldnt have him just running around the yard as he would get in with the sheep and do damage or attack peoples dogs who walk through. He has been in with the other 2 dogs for the 6 months we have had him but as he barks non stop when in there and is quiet on his own I think the men thought he was better there . We put wood around the pens so it was warmer and also so he couldnt see the stock as much which we thought made him bark but as we lamb 2000 ewes in there is was a bit brain dumbing during this time. He loves Lewis – son and me and is openly affectionate to us. When we got him off his breeder he was in rather a state – thin and bad coat and he now looks the picture of health. I think he was shut in a shed a lot then and not trained very much as the dog was too much for him. It was a knee jerk reaction getting him as Lewis dog who he absolutely loved and he had trained to be a good dog got kicked by a horse and instantly died. Recently I have had him on a 40m lead with no chain and no muzzle in the field and he is slower goes in the direction I ask – mostly and I am holding my breath and hoping he is improving. I am managing to hold on to the end of the lead slowing him before he gets to the end and avoinding jerking but with it I can show him not to be so close to the sheep – to go around all of them and in the right direction. There is no way I am giving up on this dog. He does get excited goes round in circles and starts barking his head off a little later in the training but if I do as you say and take him to away to quieten down and then bring him back that may work. They are finally putting me up a pen 16m where I can see what he does so fingers crossed. I do have faith there will be a turning point with him and its so interesting in your videos that you talk about understanding the dog. The men avoid taking him when they are on with sheep but its just where he needs to be so I do go with them and take spot – i can see their point when he does damage to sheep like he does its upsetting. You didnt mention food? I wondered if just a maintenance diet would be better . Interestingly I have a spaniel who is on James Wellbeloved and it may be wishful thinking and expensive choice but the odd times he has had this he has seemed fractionally calmer but it has more protein in actually by 2%. Thank you for your help with this I will get a whip if you think that may help as well but to me he responds to kind voices . Its a fine line as you also say as he needs to be controlled but also not frightened. Thanks for taking the time to deal with me its good to have the encouragement .

        1. Andy avatar

          Great to hear that you’re going to get a proper training ring, Maggie, but don’t expect immediate results. Spot has got into the habit of attacking sheep, so it’s going to take a little while. You seem to be more positive about him now though – that’s excellent.
          Leaving him unattended and loose anywhere on the farm is not an option at the moment, of course, and to be honest, when the dog is loose on its own, it’s not really learning anything (other than possibly getting into mischief). He needs your company and guidance at the moment.
          Make sure he can’t see any stock when he’s in his pen. If he can see them, he’ll wind himself up mentally, and be all the more excited when he finally gets loose near them.
          I was thinking about the chain. You said you tried a heavy chain, but he scatters the sheep and singles one out for attack. If he can do that, the chain’s not heavy enough. If he’s still attacking the sheep, make the chain heavier (until he can barely drag it along if necessary). The chain will slow him right down, and then you can praise him for moving steadily. Also, if the dog’s strong, the chain does all the hard work for you. Because he walks well on a lead away from sheep, the chain will be more effective because he will associate it with being on a lead (being controlled by you). The pull he feels on his neck is much the same as a lead.
          I forgot to mention the food. It’s the protein level I’m interested in. Too much protein can make dogs uncontrollable but 22% isn’t too bad. Even so, I’d reduce it to 18% if you can. It takes about two weeks to have an effect, so the sooner you do it, the better. Once he starts working properly, I would go back to 20 or even 22% but remember the protein can have a big effect on some dogs. This one is 18% – if you don’t have a local stockist you can even buy a bag on that page.
          At the stage Spot is just now, there’s no point in the men taking him with them. They’ll be too busy to control him, so all he’s learning is to get more and more wound-up. Better he gets his basic training away from work, where he can be guided.
          Just have faith in him (and yourself) and he’ll be a great dog, but I strongly recommend you watch all the BASIC Tutorials so that you understand him better. He just needs firm guidance – but it won’t be quick!
          It’s certainly worth trying the lungeing whip. If it worked for his previous owner, it could well jog his memory. It’t not for beating the dog, the idea is that the sharp crack focusses his attention and makes the dog realise you really mean business. It should only be used to warn him off when he’s going to dive-in, but if you use the heavy chain, he shouldn’t be able to move very much more quickly than the sheep, so you may not need the whip at all.
          If you watch the “Starting a Young Puppy” tutorials, you’ll see that if the sheep are contained in a 16m training ring, the puppy can get around them even though it’s clearly much slower than the sheep. (In the open field, the sheep will simply run away from a puppy). You need to prove to Spot that he can go steadily and still get control of the sheep, without coming to any harm.
          Good luck, and please keep us posted with his progress (good or bad).

          1. Maggie avatar

            Wow. Thank you so much brilliant of you to respond so quickly thank you. Will give it a month and report again. Thanks

  55. Emma Buckley avatar
    Emma Buckley


    Looking for some mild sheep dog training kind of thing for our 18 month old collie, Blu.
    I brought Blu for my dad when we lost our last collie.
    We live on a small holding with a small herd of cattle, pigs and chickens (no sheep).

    My dad is getting on a bit now and has bad arthritis so my idea is to get Blu & dad trained to help dad out on the farm…

    Dads used to compete with dogs in obedience competition so dads done a bit of obedience training with Blu and he has great recall however, we don’t know how to train him further to use him more on the farm.

    Is this something you could help us with? If not could you recommend someone?

    Idea is to maybe buy dad this for Christmas.

    Kind regards
    Emma Buckley

    1. Andy avatar

      Can I recommend that you give your father a year’s subscription to our Sheepdog Training Tutorials? (Click the link to watch a preview). The principles are just the same with cattle as they are with sheep, apart from the obvious safety issue.
      For cattle, we strongly recommend training the dog to push them away from you first (rather than bringing them to you). The reason for this is that if the over-enthusiastic trainee dog brings a group of cattle running towards you, it could be dangerous.
      There are seventy sheepdog training tutorials available on our site, and they carefully and clearly explain every point. I suggest your father starts at the beginning and watches the basic ones first. That way he’ll get a much better understanding of what’s going on and why the dog is behaving the way it does, than he ever would if he spent a couple of hours or so watching someone in a field.

  56. Samantha Jones avatar
    Samantha Jones

    Hi is there a tutorial for very early puppy training for basic commands Sit, stay, lie down . I have always trained a dog with treats but don’t think this is the way to go with a working collie.

    1. Andy avatar

      I see no problem with giving a young puppy treats to help with it’s very early training – away from sheep, but treats should definitely not be used for training on sheep.
      If you watch the basic tutorials though Samantha, you’ll see that when the pup takes an interest in sheep, certainly, “Stop” and “Lie down” or “Stay” can be taught effectively (without treats). That’s where we do it.

  57. Lisa Vogelsang avatar
    Lisa Vogelsang

    I have purchased your First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog training DVD which I have found extremely good. Unfortunately when I recently subscribed to your website I am unable to view the videos and therefore cancelled the subscription. I am able to watch any other You Tube or video streaming – just not your videos – even when I change the settings to SD.
    Is there a known issue or do I need to download particular software in order to view the videos.
    I am located in Australia if this makes a difference.
    Kindest regards

    1. Gill Watson avatar
      Gill Watson

      Hello Lisa,

      Thanks for being a subscriber to the tutorials, and for letting us know about this issue.

      There are no known problems with viewing the videos in Australia (or anywhere else) and you certainly don’t need any special software. I’ve checked our records and can see that you previously subscribed for some months in 2017. If you could watch the tutorials then you shouldn’t have any problems with them now as we haven’t changed anything, other than make them easier to watch.

      There are several things to try to address the playback problem: try watching on a different device; try watching using a different browser, or; empty the cache of your usual browser and then try again.

      I hope one of these will help you. Of course your subscription to the tutorials themselves has expired, but you can experiment with the Preview or log in and watch the free tutorial. Both of these videos use exactly the same file types and sizes as the tutorials.

      Best wishes, Gill

  58. maggie barraclough avatar
    maggie barraclough

    Have a three year old dog who gets absolutely so wound up when he is with sheep to the point you cant do anything with him. If let loose with the sheep he bites them and wounds them badly. I am trying to talk quietly to him to stop him constantly barking and calm him down. Have you any suggestions please.

    1. Andy avatar

      If the dog is excited to the point of barking, it suggests he’s had little or no previous training with sheep. He’ll settle down OK with training, but of course you need to get him under control.
      I can see you are a full member, so the first thing I suggest you do is watch “Training Max – the GRIPPER” and then “Starting a Strong Dog”. Those two tutorials should help you a lot.

      1. maggie anne barraclough avatar
        maggie anne barraclough

        Yes i have watched both those and have tried to do as you instruct . If you think its a case of repeat and repeat will ry that. Have a feeling he could be a good dog in time but so vicious at the moment with sheep

        1. Andy avatar

          You must protect the sheep, Maggie. Have you tried the rope-chain? That will work if you do it properly.
          If you can’t control him any other way, keep him on a long leash until he calms down. That way you can control him and protect the sheep. As he improves, increase the length of the rope. Give him quiet commands and talk to him softly to calm him down, then eventually you should be able to release the rope.

          1. Maggie avatar

            Thank you very much everyone on the farm – hill farm has given up with this dog but I want to give him a chance. Do you ever take dogs for training? Or do master classes?

          2. Andy avatar

            We don’t take dogs in for training, Maggie. It’s far better for the dog to be trained by its owner.
            As you know, there are seventy sheepdog training tutorials at your disposal on this site. I suggest you start at the beginning and watch the basic ones first. That way you’ll get a much better understanding of what’s going on and why your dog is behaving the way it does, than you ever would if you spent a couple of hours or so watching someone in a field.
            You haven’t mentioned what the result was when you tried to do as I instructed – what did you try, and what happened? If it went wrong, why do you think that was?
            I asked whether you tried a rope-chain, but you didn’t answer that. The methods in the tutorials work, but only if you’re prepared to carefully put them into practice.
            Your dog is showing perfectly normal symptoms of a highly-driven dog which will make a perfectly good sheepdog if someone’s prepared to learn how to train it. I’m writing these replies to try to help you, but it’s pointless if you ignore my advice.
            If the dog’s being aggressive with the sheep, you need to be more aggressive with the dog and MAKE him stay away from them. Watch Max the Gripper again, and see how I control him.

  59. Charlotte avatar

    Hello do you take dogs for training?

    1. Andy avatar

      We do not take dogs in for training, Charlotte. We believe it’s important that the dog is trained by the person it’s bonded with.

  60. Steve avatar

    I have a young dog that’s great at outruns , flanking etc … shy on walking onto sheep ..
    what options do I have to make him walk on to sheep …
    many thanks

    1. Andy avatar

      Not absolutely sure what you mean, Steve… Either way, it’s a confidence issue though.
      If you mean the dog does a good outrun but fails to bring the sheep, you need to shorten the outrun because the distance is too great for the dog’s confidence level at the moment. Either shorten the distance, or go closer to the the dog and give it lots of encouragement.

      If you mean the dog won’t walk up on the sheep when it’s closer to you, again, it’s a confidence problem. I know you’re a subscriber to our Sheepdog Training Tutorials, so to help you build your dog’s confidence generally, I suggest you watch the tutorial “Sometimes Nice is Not Enough“.

  61. Macauley Davis avatar

    Hi there,
    I am looking for some advice.
    I have a 2yr old kelpie. He works has a lovely style, but I have to work him around sheep with a muzzle on, as he intends to knock them over and pull at the wool,
    Even with a muzzle on he knocks them over and trys to pull at the wool, any ideas on how I could stop him?

    1. Andy avatar

      There’s plenty you can do, Macauley – the dog just needs training.

      That’s what our online Tutorial Videos are for. There’s a small monthly (or yearly) charge for SEVENTY great training videos – and you can cancel at any time.
      Watch the Preview

  62. Esther avatar

    I’m a sheepfarm lady in south Africa and my Internet is bad, so i am trying to decide wether to buy the dvds or try the online tutorials with the chance of having trouble seeing them. So i thought to ask you if the dvds are the same as the online tutorials (except for the updates) or if it is more information in the online tutorials.
    With kind regards

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for your interest, Esther.

      Watching online is clearly the best, and I may be able to help you with it.

      On our video player there are two settings. HD (the default) which plays at high resolution and SD for lower resolution (which is far easier to play). Have you tried this?

      You can access the SD setting by clicking on HD first (see picture below). Once set, the player will remember your preferred setting until you change it.

      How to play our videos when your internet connection is not strong

      Click this link to watch a PREVIEW.

      If you try the SD setting and it works on your system, you’ll be able to watch all the online tutorials (on the same setting) because they are all made at the same resolution.

      Most of the Tutorials are included in the four Tutorials DVDs and some of the ones not on the tutorial DVDs are covered by the First Steps in Border Collie Sheepdog Training DVD set, but the big advantage of the Online Tutorials is that while your membership is valid, you’ll be able to watch any new tutorials we bring out. As well as this, we’re updating and improving the Online Tutorials too, so the improvements can be seen immediately, whereas by their nature, the DVDs will be older versions.

      Unfortunately, post to South Africa is really bad at the moment – it’s taking at least a month for DVDs to arrive, so we won’t ship to SA without a note from the customer to confirm that they understand this.

      If you try the SD setting on the player and it won’t work, or it’s buffering, please let me know because I’m considering an even lower resolution setting for those with not-so-good internet connections.

      1. Esther avatar

        Thank you very much for your advice, I’ll try and see.

  63. David Leejohnson avatar
    David Leejohnson

    It looks like it is not possible to download videos? Our ranch is northern California doesn’t have good internet, so I was hoping to download a few videos to watch at home.
    I just imported a lovely bitch from Ludivine at Raise Lodge and your videos are very nice :)
    David Leejohnson

    1. Andy avatar

      A lot of people have that problem David, especially farmers! Our internet’s not very good either, so we’ve put most of them on DVD for you:
      Sheepdog Training DVDs

      You’ll find the DVDs on this link:

      If you’ve tried and failed to watch the tutorials, did you try selecting the SD setting? (See the post below).
      The SD setting is for people with poor internet connections, and often helps a lot.

      Please let us know if you need any further information.

  64. Paul Conner avatar
    Paul Conner

    Love the videos/tutorials.
    I try to watch them on my phone, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
    I thought I saw somewhere that you now have an app that makes viewing them better.
    Let me know if you do.
    Thanks Paul

    1. Andy avatar

      Thanks for the feedback on the tutorials, Paul. It’s good to know they’re useful.
      We don’t have an App as such, but if your internet connection’s not too great, click the “HD” icon on the player (when it’s playing) and select “SD” which will play much better. I hope this helps. Please let us know if you need more information.

      How to play our videos when your internet connection is not strong

  65. Claire Davies avatar
    Claire Davies

    I have a 6month old puppy from registered working parents, we are a working farm with one trained dog, not train ed by myself. The puppy is walked twice a day, spends some time in a crate and sometime in the porch or kitchen. She is sooooooo keen. I used to let her run free in the garden but she just escapes and goes to chase the small bunch or sheep behind the house. I stop her immediately and do not scold her as I don’t want to put her off or discourage her. It has happened about 10 times . She is now not allowed out unless on the long line or tethered. I walk her on a long line, she is mostly well behaved will sit, lie down, come to me, does not pull a after first 5min. I can not walk her off the lead as we are surrounded by sheep and she she knows she is off the lead she just goes under a gate and off. If no sheep she has a very good recall. I have started this week with a small pen and 5 sheep inside letting her run round the outside. She goes both ways, stops and will lie down although very difficult to catch, hurdle put my to block her then I tell her lie down and go to her. Just wondering if you have any advice, how often should I train her and how can I make her learn not to go off by herself? I hope to make a larger pen with sheep inside soon so I can do more. Many thanks Claire. I am signed up to watch tutorials.

    1. Andy avatar

      I think you’re on the right track, Claire. It’s a frustrating time with a keen young (adolescent) dog, but it will be well worth it in the long run. We’ve been going through the same experience with Portia (about 6 months) and fortunately, she’s far better now, but we still can’t leave her unattended. It’ll come though.
      Presumably you’ve watched “Stopping the Dog (Part 1)“? We’re working on Part two at the moment, where I talk about catching a keen youngster, but that’s in a larger training area. Using some hurdles to restrict the dog will make it easier to catch it – and of course, if you let the dog go again, it will be More likely to let you catch it, than it will if it learns that when you catch it “the fun stops”.
      The more you can let the dog go again, the quicker you’ll be able to catch it in future, but I understand how difficult that is when you’ve struggled to catch the dog in the first place.
      Nobody said training a sheepdog was easy, but it’s well worth it if you stick with it!

      1. Claire Davies avatar
        Claire Davies

        Thank you very helpful, I will look forward to stopping part 2! how often can I train her do you think?

  66. Ben Ackrell avatar
    Ben Ackrell

    I was passed your number by a friend who has your collection of training videos…. I’m sure you have many hundreds of people ask you questions but I’m
    Beginning to feel at my wits end with my merle collie, in every sense of the word she is a great dog apart from the fact that when we near the sheep she turns and makes a run back to the farm for her kennel…. She was locked in a stable for the early parts of her life and I can’t help but think this is a contributor to her nervousness, is there any advice you could give me to try and put into her to get her started and realise the sheep won’t chase or hurt her so to speak?
    Many thanks for your time
    Bitch is coming up 16months and I’ve had her from a pup

    1. Andy avatar

      For some reason, the dog has got into the ‘habit’ of being frightened of sheep. There are many possible reasons for it, but I doubt if being shut away as a puppy is likely to be one of them. Usually when this happens, the pup takes fright when it first sees sheep, and the fear sticks (but who knows).

      The older the dog, and the longer a ‘habit’ has been allowed to develop, the harder it will be to break that ‘habit’. It can be done if you have the patience, but at sixteen months, I suspect it’s been going on for quite a while now.

      As with all things which frighten dogs, familiarity is the key, but whatever you do, don’t try to force or drag the dog towards sheep. That will only make matters worse.

      I suggest you make sure the dog walks very well on a lead (well away from sheep). Take the dog for short walks and make sure the lead is slack for at least 85% of the time. If it’s not, keep practising lead training until it is. This is important.

      Next, when you’re sure the dog fully respects the lead, try taking it towards a handful of sheep VERY CAREFULLY. Stop at the first sign that the dog’s getting nervous, and quietly try to make the dog feel at ease. Don’t be tempted to show any interest in the sheep or to encourage the dog closer, or attempt to pull it nearer to them. Simply stroke the dog, talk to it, and try to get it to relax for a few minutes, and then take it away.

      A small number of sheep is less intimidating to the dog, so just three or four would be ideal if you can arrange it.

      The next day, take the dog a little closer if you can, but again, whatever you do, don’t try to drag it or force the issue. Stop when the dog begins to get nervous, and try to relax it again. If you can approach sheep which are separated from the dog by a fence it will help.

      The idea is to get the dog to realise that it’s coming to no harm – but you must do it SLOWLY. If you’re definitely making progress, you could try two sessions in one day if it helps.

      Once you can get the dog fairly close to the sheep without it trying to run away, watch it closely. Is the dog looking at the sheep (even glancing at them is good) or does it try to deny the existence of them? Some dogs will totally blank the sheep out as a way of avoiding them. I’ve even got another dog to gently bump the sheep into the nervous dog, and it still won’t look at them! (Talk about being “in denial”)!

      If the dog will look at the sheep, you’re in with a very good chance. If it won’t, it’s going to take a while.

      I suggest that once you can get the dog close to the sheep without it running away, you subscribe to our Sheepdog Training Tutorials and watch “Starting a Non-Starter“. It’s a two-part tutorial with a lot of information about starting a dog like yours. (Far more than I can write here).

      There’s also a lot of information about the dog’s confidence and it’s working instinct, which should help you a lot, and there are many videos about training the dog, of course.

      It would be great to hear how you get on with getting your dog interested in sheep.

  67. Michael avatar

    Hi Andy
    What tutorial would you recommend ?
    I’m getting on great with my dog & had a wee go at a novice trial.
    I find him a bit tight for steering round obstacles or getting the sheep in the pen!
    If I could bend him out a bit it would be great!!
    If I push him out he’s liable to turn on him self which I don’t like

    1. Andy avatar

      Clearly your dog’s not ready for the work you’re expecting it to do, Michael. You need to go back to basics – get the dog working nicely when the sheep are close to you, giving them plenty of space and stopping well.
      Once this is going well, move on to “Walking Backwards” – and then “Back to Forwards”.
      You should make a point of watching all of the tutorials in the “Where to Start” category before moving on to “The Outrun” and “Driving“.
      Finally, before you enter it in a trial, your dog should be able to Circle the Sheep on Command – so watch the tutorials in the “Flanks and Circling” category, and make sure the dog can do it PROPERLY!

  68. Oliver Hosier avatar
    Oliver Hosier

    Hi Andy, I have got a young puppy, and I am aware it’s too early to start actually training, what should I be doing in the meantime with my puppy. What obedience training is most necessary for her strive. E.g. Can I teach her away and come by without sheep. Etc

    1. Andy avatar

      We’re working on a tutorial which includes “pre-training” at the moment, Oliver. It should be available in a couple of weeks’ time.

      In the meantime, I strongly recommend you watch the tutorials in the “Starting” category – especially Puppy training essentials.

      Basically, you need to “bond” well with the dog, and earn it’s respect as a leader. It’s also very useful to teach the dog to “Sit” and “Stay” – and make sure it has a really good recall.

      I HAVE  heard of someone teaching the dog to flank both ways, but to be honest, without the presence of sheep, this is in the realm of obedience training, and I wouldn’t know how to go about it.

      1. Oliver Hosier avatar
        Oliver Hosier

        Thankyou so much, for this information. This is much appreciated!!

  69. Shalene avatar

    Hi Andy, I am wanting to purchase your program although i am looking to train my border collie on goats. Would you recommend following your program or is the training different for goats than sheep. Thank you!!

    1. Andy avatar

      Personally I have no experience of working goats with dogs Shalene, but I know that people do.
      Basically, if the dog is keen to “get at” the goats, and the goats would prefer not to be near the dog, then the tutorials will apply.
      As well as sheep, Border Collies are used for working chickens, ducks, turkeys, cattle, and other animals.
      Why not try it and find out? It’ll only cost you $14.50 (US) for a month, and you can cancel at any time. Signup here.

      1. Tanya avatar

        we have had goats and they can be very helpful for training dogs. They tend to have the fight vs flight response so not easy for some pressure sensitive dogs but similar to working cattle. they behave more alike than do sheep

  70. melissa Taylor avatar
    melissa Taylor

    I have just found your site and hope it helps . I have a young male around 21/2 years Not much socializing done he was in a pen next to cattle working pens we sent him to a trainer they used a shock collar on him . The trainer called in 30 days and said the dog is no good in trainable the dog runs and hits the ground when you raise your voice he thinks you are going to hit him when you raise your hand is there any hope in getting his confidence back? He acts like he wants to work behind the fence but when you let him in with the sheep he is afraid to do anything

    1. Andy avatar

      Hmm – some trainer! I can’t help wondering what inspired you to send your dog to such a person in the first place, and how much the trainer charges people for electrocuting their dogs!
      The dog’s young enough, and if it’s showing an interest in sheep, you should be able to rebuild its confidence, but it might take a lot of patience on your part.
      The secret of training a dog is to make the work as simple as possible (for the dog) at first, then very gradually develop the dog’s new skills until its work becomes more practical.
      If he’s keen on the sheep when they’re inside a pen, that’s a good place to begin. Try walking him around inside the pen on a lead or short rope. Give him loads of reassurance and walk him towards the sheep to show him that they’ll move if he approaches. Avoid any conflict with the sheep. If they threaten him that will damage his confidence further, so if necessary, move the sheep yourself, and make sure they don’t stand up to him (or attack him, of course).
      If the dog’s frightened inside the ring, crouch down and make a fuss of him, to reassure him that he’s safe and that you’re not going to electrocute him.
      As soon as he’ll walk around inside the pen with you, let him off the lead but keep helping him to move the sheep around. If the sheep are moving they’re unlikely to threaten him, so keep them moving!
      Once you can get the dog to relax a little inside the pen, even if he won’t approach the sheep there are plenty of things you can try to get him interested. I suggest you watch the tutorial “Starting a Non-Starter” (watch parts 1 and 2).
      You also need to watch the tutorials “Calm But Firm”, “The Dog’s Confidence”, “Sticky Dogs” and “Starting a Reluctant Dog” to find out how to go about this. You can sign up for the tutorials on this link.
      Don’t expect quick results, but if you’re patient I’m sure you can do this.

  71. gary longmuir avatar
    gary longmuir

    I have a 19 month old cross female border collie.
    Due to continuing job commitments I can no longer keep her in the active lifestyle she is used to.
    I would prefer if she could go to a sheep farmer for training as a working dog if possible.
    She has been exposed to sheep but is too full on with them and just wants to chase so is a complete novice.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Gill Watson avatar
      Gill Watson

      Hello Gary. I’m afraid we don’t get involved with re-homing any more, although we’d always take back any dog we’ve bred or trained if its circumstances change. I think you should contact the breeder of your dog and explain the situation. For the dog’s sake, a conscientious breeder should be prepared to help you.

  72. Rachelle Bennett avatar
    Rachelle Bennett

    Hello, I was hoping to find out if you think these tutorials are applicable and would still help if you have an Australian Shepherd. I have since added an Aussie to the mix. My border and I haven’t done much herding since I was last signed up over a year ago I believe. a lot of things got in our way, I enjoyed the tutorials and was hoping to start up again. Just curious regarding a loose-eyed breed. Thank you so much!!!

    1. Gill avatar

      Hello Rachelle. The short answer is yes, the tutorials will help you train your dog, provided the dog is of a gathering breed. We have very little experience of training Aussies, but we’ve trained collies and Kelpies with the same techniques. So long as Aussies have a basic gathering instinct then all of the tutorials will be useful. The driving tutorials will help with a breed that drives, rather than gathers, and all the tutorials that look at commands, the dog’s distance from sheep, and the dog’s confidence are equally applicable to any working dog.

      I hope that helps?

      Thanks, Gill

      1. Rachelle Bennett avatar
        Rachelle Bennett

        Thank you so much for your quick response. Yes, this helps. I figured the process and basic commands would be the same regardless. I am very excited about improving our skills. Yes, Aussies do fetch and will drive. They don’t have that “stare” and most don’t crouch as much. Very fun breed. Love both my dogs :)

        One more question if I may: how few sheep is ok to start with? I am in the process of getting proper fencing to house some sheep we can work at home on our own. I was thinking of starting with 2 because I have the funds and adding some later. Maximum probably 5. Your thoughts.

  73. Ian Wood avatar
    Ian Wood

    Should a young 11 month bitch border collie ever be hit [4 times on head in lie down position] after it appeared to be heading into a pack of nervous fragile sheep in a square pen?

    1. Andy avatar

      The only time I would condone hitting a dog during training would be if the dog was physically attacking the sheep and harming them. In other words, if hitting the dog was the only way to keep it away from the sheep and protect them. To find out how we train our dogs to work sheep and other stock, why not subscribe to our Online Sheepdog Training Tutorials?

  74. Hope avatar

    I have a question not so much a comment. I have a 4 year old BC and he likes to do everything 100{e9f43a434d6010da6dbd2b3f7c84d70e19d11d359b130214b424d1842cfa3837} quickly. When I work him on our very small flock of sheep he is so fast that he startles the sheep. This could also be the sheep breed by reacting quickly. I have tried slowing him down by giving him a long drawn out command, and also stopping him which is a lie-down. I don’t particularly like the lie-down as he is popping up and down as I give the come bye or away to me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Andy avatar

      The dog simply needs training, Hope. The majority of keen Border collies are like your dog when they begin working with sheep.
      I thoroughly recommend you watch “Backwards is the Way Forward” and train your dog to do this properly. If you have the resolve to insist he brings the sheep up to you at the same pace that YOU choose to walk backwards, and at the distance that you choose, it will transform him. He will learn to creep forward steadily, and he will learn that whatever distance you keep him back off the sheep is the correct working distance.
      I can’t promise it will be easy with such a strong willed dog, but it will be well worth it in the end.
      When you say you don’t like “Lie down” because he’s popping up and down, do you mean he actually lies on the floor when you give the “Lie down” command? If so, I suggest you encourage him to stay up on his feet. You can do this at the same time that you’re practising “walking backwards”. It would be worth watching “Sticky dogs” too!

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