Sheepdog Training 13 – Control Your Temper

Control your temper – your dog will sense your mood.

Close up of young stockdog Jess

If you’re training a sheepdog and you find yourself getting angry, there are two simple choices open to you:

1. Control Your Temper
2. End the session.

There is no point in going on with a training session if you’re cross with your dog.

Nothing confuses a dog more than an angry handler or trainer – and sarcasm is a disaster.

Our Online Training Tutorial “The Golden Rule of Sheepdog Training” covers this subject (by monthly or annual membership).


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  1. Just got 3 year old sheep dog. She goes bout 20 yards. Then keeps coming back circling round me. Stands at Mr left hand side. How do I get her to keep going to bring back the sheep?

    1. You haven’t given me much information to work on, Dave!
      By “just got” I assume you have not had the dog long – and I have to assume the dog has had some training already (or has it?).

      The first thing that comes to mind is that whenever a dog goes to a new home, it takes time for the dog to settle in. Puppies and young dogs can settle in within a few days. Older dogs can take much longer. To the dog, going to a new home can be almost like being abducted by aliens – you’re taking the dog away from everything and everyone it’s ever known. Naturally, the dog will take some time to adapt to its new ‘world’. When I sell a three year old dog, I ask the new owner not to work the dog for at least a week – preferably two, to give the dog time to bond with them and settle into its new home.

      If you saw the dog working before you bought it, that’s how it will work for you when it’s settled in, as long as the dog understands your commands. If you (or the previous owner) have a strong local accent, that too, can be extremely confusing for the dog.

      A dog that goes towards the sheep and then comes back to the handler is lacking confidence, so you need to do what you can to encourage and reassure the dog. It could be that the dog’s not sure you want it to go near the sheep, so take the dog as close to the sheep as you need to in order to get it to go round them, and then hopefully, if you walk in the direction you want to take the sheep, the dog will bring them along behind you.

      I hope I’ve read your few details correctly. If not, please let me know.

      1. Hi Andy. Peg my dog is also very shy dog. Any noise scares her. Iv a good bond with her. She comes every where with me. Even hops in to the jeep. Keeps the sheep togther when I driving them on. But just can’t get her to go far enough to go for them.. And at the pin she gives up at the last min. I have her for two weeks. Thank for ur help.

        1. I can’t help you if you don’t give me any information, Dave. It sounds as though she’s had very little (if any) training – and she certainly hasn’t been socialised (that’s why she’s so nervous). She’ll be fine if you train her.
          You need to teach her to be on the other side of the sheep from you. If you can’t get her to go there herself, you need to keep her in place while YOU go to the point of balance. Once there, you praise her, to show her that’s where you want her to be. If you can keep her there on balance, you can try moving backwards and allow her to bring the sheep to you – but try not to let her come back to you. If she does, start again and keep trying until she gets the idea.
          I strongly suggest you sign up for our Sheepdog Training Tutorials and look at the videos in the Starting Training category. Backwards is the Way Forward would be a great help to you as well.
          (You need to be logged-into a full member account to use the “Backwards is the Way Forward link).
          Two weeks is very little time for a three year old dog to settle in, but if the dog was trained I’d expect her to be doing more than just staying close to you by now.

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