Improve your sheepdog training area. Find out how a little preparation can have a BIG impact on teaching your dog to work sheep or other livestock.
Two factors to keep in mind when you train a sheepdog are: keep the action close to you, and round-off any corners or spaces where the sheep might seek refuge.
A suitable training area will provide the best chance of success, and keeping the dog and sheep contained will save your legs and your temper. We stress in our training tutorials: “The closer you are to the dog, the more control you have,” but it’s especially important for those vital, early lessons.
The size, shape and nature of the training area can make a huge difference to your training experience. It will either help or hinder your dog’s progress. Find out how to improve your sheepdog training area for a better sheep dog teaching experience.
The training area is a chapter on our First Steps DVD. After a few changes and with the addition of a subtitled version, it’s also available in the online videos library. “The training area” looks at how to adapt and improve the space you have available. It also suggests some alternatives, including using sheep hurdles to build a training ring.
The best sheepdog training area is a training ring!
We highly recommend using a correctly-sized training ring when you start your dog on sheep. Once built, we show you how to get your sheep into the ring. After that we take a first look at moving out into the field when your dog’s ready. We even have a tutorial showing how you can use an untrained dog to get sheep into the training ring.
The training ring will continue to be a valuable teaching asset as your dog becomes more advanced. You’ll find it helpful to go back to the ring for a session or two. Whether to reinforce the commands or perhaps restore some confidence to the dog. If you watch “Teach your dog to circle the sheep (inside flanks) Part Two” you’ll also see how useful the ring can be for introducing more advanced work.
Prepare your training area
Whether you are able to use a training ring or not, the Training Area tutorial will show you what to look for in the field or paddock where you will teach your dog. Tight spaces are bad, as well as patches of thick undergrowth, overhanging trees, and even sheds or buildings. The sheep will attempt to cluster tightly together in or around these, to evade the dog’s attentions.
Just a few preparatory modifications to the training area will make a huge difference to training your dog. If you’re new to sheepdog training take a look at the basics – sheep, sheepdog, training area, and the handler – before you start.
NB: Tutorials are available to paid subscribers who are logged in to their account.
You’ll find more information about our sheepdog training tutorials in the video below.