CQA – Backwards is the way forward, tutorial comments

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Picture of a sheepdog trainer walking backwards as the dog brings the sheep to him

Backwards is the way forward

It's boring - and it might appear pointless to the novice, but walking backwards with the dog bringing the sheep up to you is the single most important exercise you can do once your dog has basic control of the sheep.

As well as tutorial clearly demonstrating how to get a strong dog to bring the sheep up quietly - this tutorial provides a valuable tip on how to read your sheep.
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4 Replies to “CQA – Backwards is the way forward, tutorial comments”

  1. Hello Andy i have question. You said a lot of “lay down” but the dog do nothing. I my opinion is “lay down” is lay down.
    When dog knows, now is lay down and now is only be slow or something else?

    I am wrong ?

    best regards patrick

    1. Hello Patrick,
      Thank you for your question. You are right – in the video there are a lot of “Lie down” commands where the dog appears to do nothing, and yes, strictly speaking, “Lie down” should (perhaps) mean the dog lies down (or at least stops). But it’s not that simple.

      When you work a sheepdog, you need a lot more than “Go” or “Stop”. Sometimes you want simply slow the dog which is bringing the sheep a little too fast – or sometimes you want the dog which is walking to slow down and creep forward.
      Some people give many different commands for each different speed (rather like gears in a car) but I think this can be confusing (for the handler as much as the dog).
      Collies are more intelligent than many people realise. During its training, a good dog will learn from the tone of your voice (and the current circumstances) what you want it to do – and regulate its speed accordingly.
      You may prefer a more “mechanical” training system, but I prefer my dogs to use their brains – they learn a lot more about us than we realise.

      1. Thank you for your answer. I think the Problem is coming when you whistle.

        yes i prefer lie down is lie down. And slow is steady..

        I have to different whistle for slow or fast. I think that’s different as your System. I don’t like to talk to much with the dog. If i send him in the mountain then he will think i never see him. that’s work. He study by him self. For trail i must have a dog how is doing all like robots. I see in many DVD that the top handler whistle all the times. In my ideas you will make the dog confuse. But I am not one of the top handlers.

        1. Hello Patrick,
          How you train your dog is entirely up to you. I use and teach methods that work for me – something else may work for you. I encourage anyone to try different training methods.
          I don’t understand what you mean about the problem coming when you whistle. The tutorial associated with your reply contains no whistling to my knowledge.
          If “lie down is lie down. And slow is steady” as you say, how slow is slow? If the dog learns just two speeds – one slow (whatever that is) and one normal (whatever THAT is) how do you manage when you need a speed in-between or even above or below either of these – how do you tell the dog to creep forward extremely slowly? If you want a dog to flank really wide or just close to the sheep, how do you tell it?
          The answer is (whether consciously or not) most handlers vary the tone of their voice or whistle and a good dog learns to interpret this.
          Listen carefully to the whistle commands on the DVDs in which the handlers whistle all the time and you’ll notice a variation in tone.

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