CQA – Sheepdogs Time Out Comments

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A kelpie and two collies lying close together in the grass

Sheepdogs Time Out - New video

Following on from the very popular An Insight Into Pack Behaviour video - and while we put the finishing touches to our latest sheepdog training tutorial, we thought we'd give you a New Year treat - no less than four great chapters from our DVD Border Collie Sheepdogs & Friends - Still Off Duty DVD.

2 Replies to “CQA – Sheepdogs Time Out Comments”

  1. Hi andy,
    I have two collies both 18mths old. One drives very well, the other is good one day bad the next and there’s no continuity from one session to the next (even baffled my trainer who has been training for nearly 20yrs)
    We have reduced her protein amounts in hope that it maybe diet related!
    She will drive the sheep a way from us and will then cut in front of the sheep to bring them back ignoring a lie down command or a flank, I understand it is more natural to bring the sheep to me than drive them away!!
    I have walked beside her whilst driving for past 5mths and she knows her flanks well but as soon as we increase the distance she goes to pieces and brings them back!! We have tried long ropes to stop her going around them, pipes, cracking a whip everything!! She just wants her own way and is capable of this! Some days she will do it well, then gets excited cuts across and then the sheep are coming back to me not listening to lie down command or even that’ll do!! She’s too far to block it so gets away with it which is obviously why she repeats this as it’s not stopped but not from the want if both of us trying !! Any ideas would be gratefully appreciated, sam

    1. Thanks for your comment Sam (apologies for the late reply).
      It’s difficult to know what’s going wrong from your description.
      How often are you training the dog?
      How far ahead of you is she when she breaks away and gathers the sheep back to you?
      What are the sheep doing at the moment she decides to go?
      Are they walking quietly in front of the dog or are they beginning to run away?
      Can you anticipate when she’s reaching the point of breaking away?

      Either way, one or two things spring to mind.

      First, I would try using your recall command instead of flanking or stop commands at this time. Try to anticipate when the dog’s about to go, and call her back onto line with the recall command – then before she reaches you (and is more or less back onto line) give her the driving command again – repeat as necessary.
      Another thing to try is driving the sheep along a narrow lane or passage of some sort (obviously one with no danger of traffic) as long as there’s a good fence on either side and plenty of sheep, so that it’s difficult for the dog to run ahead of the sheep. You can make one with sheep hurdles if there isn’t a permanent one anywhere.
      Are you using the balancing technique I demonstrate in the driving tutorials? The better you can keep the dog on balance, the less likely it is to break away and gather them.
      With some dogs, it takes a great deal of practice – others take to it quickly.

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