My Border Collie is chasing sheep!

April 09, 2022
DSC 6464
DSC 6464
Border Collie chasing sheep

You don’t want to find yourself in that situation, believe me. 

Remember that a dog chasing, injuring and worrying livestock is an offence and the farmer is allowed to shoot your dog!

Too many sheep are killed or loose their lambs every year because some owners think is in their right to let their dogs run around hills and mountains without having a proper recall or even considering if it is safe to let the dog off.

When training a recall we can’t be satisfied if our dog recalls at the local park and trusting our dog not to chase the sheep that suddenly appear on the moor we are walking. 

Once trained a good recall in easy environments and situations, in order to know if that recall works when challenges occur, you need to practise, in a safe way, around the distractions that you fear are going to ruin your dog training and fail miserably bringing misery on your and your dog.

Buy a strong long line, attach it to the dog harness, go to a local walk where sheep are grazing safely on the other side of the fence and practise your recall there, at distance, to make sure dogs get used to see sheep in the distance while the same behaviour is trained and reinforced then usual. You can gradually go a bit closer, not enough to upset the sheep and test how reliable your dog recall is and assess if you have to go back and work at distance or if you are safe to move a bit closer and so on.

What do you do if your dog is locked on to sheep as soon as he spots them and doesn’t listen to any of your cues?

You have to consider two things:

  1. Is my reward and my recall plan motivating enough for my dog or do I need to find more stimulating way to train a reliable recall?
  2. Can my dog focus at distance and have learned to ignore sheep BEFORE even asking to come back to me and break eye contact? If the answer is now, you have some training to do before you can recall your dog away.

Remember, puppy class or obedience recall, in a hall or in a field are not enough to make sure you dog recall is going to work when you accidentally find yourself with a group of sheep grazing in a field where normally there aren’t any! You need to bring your recall up a level and find your inner sheep, becoming yourself a sheep for your dog so they will choose to follow you instead!

So how do you train all these?

I have desigend a workshop that walks you through all you need to know and practise to make sure you are a responsible dog owner and you will not find yourself in a situation where you think you have done enought but your training fails when you most need it!

Join my April Workshop on Managing dogs around livestock following this link to book directly:

Martina Miradoli Border Coolie Expert Dog trainer

Hello, my name is Martina Miradoli and I specialise in training Border Collies.

I’ve owned Border Collies for many years and have trained them, along with other herding breeds in every sport and activity available.

This has allowed me to gain invaluable experience and an understanding of these unique dogs and the behavioural challenges that we may have to face as owners. 

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