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Training your huntaway – Part I

In an earlier column, Starting your young huntaway, I mentioned aspects relevant to the first stage of training a young huntaway. The main objective is to build up a good level of confidence before training commences. Work on making your dog comfortable in front of you (ie: the pressure zone), promote good shepherding skills and don’t let bad habits develop. ... Read More »

Training tips mustered

Ross Nolly asked experienced shepherds and dog trialists at a South Taranaki dog trial what their one piece of advice would be to a prospective triallist or shepherd. Steve Murphy Be patient. It doesn’t happen straight away. To start with you have to learn how to get over your nerves. You need to watch people who have done a lot ... Read More »

Training, trends and trials

I concluded the training of heading dogs in my last column and next month I’ll begin to outline the steps I take to train my huntaways. But this time I thought I might share some observations associated with the training of dogs in general. Information and resources relating to dog training have become a lot more accessible in recent years. ... Read More »

Dog training – the final muster

We ended last month’s column emphasising the need for a definite change of direction when teaching run-out side. You will usually find your young dog will oversteer initially, but will adjust accordingly once they learn how these commands apply to the work situation. The good aspect regarding oversteering is that you can be confident that they know their sides and recognise the need to change direction on instruction. Once ... Read More »

Training your heading dog

The third and final stage of training your heading dog involves teaching your dog steering gear, which allows you to send it and keep it running in the right direction by using run-out sides. In conjunction with run-out sides a run command is an important component, allowing you to keep the dog running hard but changing direction when required. I ... Read More »

Training your heading dog – Stage 2

PULLING SIDES As mentioned in last month’s column, this stage is about “off-balance” work, which requires teaching your dog sides so that you can push them out of a position of balance to allow you to drive stock or push stock away from you. Over the years I have tried many different methods of teaching dogs pulling sides so I will explain the one that I find ... Read More »

Training your heading dog

Stage one involves training your heading dog to “look” for sheep, getting it to run in the right direction casting around the sheep, teaching it to “stop” when its confidence level is good enough, approach its sheep in a controlled but firm manner then to pull them back to you demonstrating good “balance”. This is the primary role of a ... Read More »

Learn from those you respect

In this month’s column I transgress from dog training and mention some personalities and pertinent points that I believe influence the overall result. I recently went to the funeral of Ted Phipps of Lakes Station, which was attended by about a thousand people – a true reflection of the high regard in which Ted was held. Many of the attendees ... Read More »

Starting your young huntaway

As mentioned in my previous column, there is no given age that young dogs demonstrate an interest to chase stock. All you can do is offer the opportunity. However, the same rules apply – quiet sheep, a restricted area and monitor and discourage any unruly behaviour. In the sheepyards when other dogs are working is usually a good time to ... Read More »

Down to business

How and when your young dog starts working will vary significantly from dog to dog. Even within a litter there might be quite a variation in the age they show a keenness to work stock. It is pointless attempting to train them until they demonstrate an obvious interest. It is more about the pup being ready to be trained than ... Read More »