The ‘Look Back’ command – why and how

Title screen of Look Back command tutorial.

In our latest video we show why, and how, to train your dog to understand the “Look Back” command.

Why the Look Back command?

In early training a young dog may not gather all the sheep, and seem to ignore or not acknowledge the others. Or, if a trainee dog is too close and “pushy” with the sheep, the sheep may separate and the dog will choose to bring the easiest group to gather. The longer a dog is allowed to leave sheep behind the harder it is to break the habit, so step in early with “Look Back”.

The look back makes your dog more useful

The “look back” command is easy to teach, and will benefit your dog’s work in several ways.

  • It will learn to keep the stock together.
  • It will learn that its outrun is to gather ALL the sheep.
  • It can be used on other occasions, such as when the dog can’t see the sheep before you send it off.
  • It’s essential in double gather sheepdog trials, where the dog needs to collect two bunches of sheep from opposite sides of the field, and invaluable after shedding.

The How of the Look Back command

Just as when we were teaching the flank commands, the look back is taught using context and repetition. Tell the dog to “look back”, repeat the command until it’s looking in the right direction, then send it off with the appropriate flank command. With practice, and success, you’ll soon be able to direct your dog anywhere. Watch the tutorial for more hints and tips!


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