Don’t make the mistake of thinking that training a sheepdog puppy can wait until the puppy’s older – your puppy will start learning from you the moment it meets you. But it needn’t feel like work for either of you.
The early months with any puppy are invaluable for getting to know its personality, and for establishing a bond between the two of you; and you’ll also be laying the foundations of your future working partnership.
So how do you train a sheepdog puppy?
- Be a responsible, but fun, leader for your dog
- Introduce the puppy to livestock by all means, but preserve your puppy’s confidence at all costs
- Take care to give clear messages to your puppy. Dogs, and especially border collies, can take things very literally, and you may not always be saying what you mean.
- Even if you’re training a sheepdog puppy, you should allow your puppy to be a puppy. Encouraging play and exploration will help to develop your working dog’s athleticism, confidence, and attitude to new experiences.
- It isn’t essential to enlist a Chihuahua for your puppy training – but it helps! Socialisation with a variety of dogs and other animals can be fun for everyone.
There’s lots of information and advice about sheepdog puppy training in our Online Tutorials library, and much of it, we’re sure, isn’t available anywhere else – except on our tutorials DVDs. Start with our short introduction video, Puppy Training Essentials, and move on to Starting a Young Puppy (parts 1 & 2).
These tutorials are listed in the Preparation category, where you’ll also find Sheepdog Selection & Preparation, which covers choosing a dog or puppy and how to use the early months to prepare it for sheep or cattle work, and the Pack Behaviour tutorial explaining how we believe dogs view hierarchy and leadership.