Sheepdog Training

The videos and articles in this section feature insights into every aspect of training sheepdogs, from starting a young dog to the most complex training and are a supplement to our comprehensive on-line Courses. We believe that sharing our knowledge will empower improvement, enjoyment and understanding between handlers and their dogs.

Videos and Articles

Three-Step Exercise for Precision, Small Flanks & Off Balance Flanks [Video]

This proven cone exercise, “In and Out of the Dusty Blue Bells” is highly effective for improving your dogs overall precision as well as small flanks and off balance flanks.
Why failure is an important part of your sheepdog training [Article]
The Importance of shifting a reluctant sheep without gripping [Article + Video]

We sometimes hear people suggest their dog “needed” to grip just because the livestock wouldn't move-that’s not true! 
A Five- Step Exercise for Reducing “Eye” [Video]

This proven method for "reducing eye" has been especially effective for our own dogs including, my Max and Alasdair’s Tweed
Training Jake Part 2 [Video]

In part 2, Jake is 11 months old and we detail the next steps in his training including teaching flanks, starting to drive and starting to shed. This video provides analysis of what we’re doing and why, observations on his working method, as well as explanations of our training techniques.
Training Chip[Video]

In this video we chronicle Geri Abram’s Chip from his 8th time on sheep through the development of his outrun, the start of driving and his first time coming through sheep at the shed.
The Secret to Practical Sheep Sorting at the International Shed or on the Farm [Video]

This video teaches you how and where to move your dog to stop the ribboned or marked sheep and still encourage the plain ones to go, to help you accomplish your international shed or sorting needs on the farm. This technique specifically illustrates how and when to “open the gate” to encourage the momentum of the shed.
Training Ted - Part 1 [Video]
Ted is 11 months old, by Serge Vander Zweep’s Gary and out of Scot MaCauley’s Flo. He doesn’t have much eye and is quite direct, a nice combination.
In part 1, we chronicle his 5th time on sheep through the development of his outrun. Ted is an interesting contrast in types of dogs, as compared to Jake (Training Jake - Part 1), who has quite a bit of eye. This video provides detailed analysis of what we're doing and why, as well as explanations of our training techniques.

A key concept when working on widening flanks, the lie down, or trying to reduce your dogs “eye” [Article]

This article details how a key concept is connected in these 3 very different facets of training and how it can help your dog become the best sheepdog he or she can be!

Training Jake - Part 1 [Video]

Jake is 10 months old, by Ricky Hutchison's Jock and out of Tierney Graham's Silt.
Even though he doesn’t have a lot of style, he has quite a bit of eye and is very precocious.
In part 1, we chronicle his 2nd time on sheep through the development of his outrun. This video provides detailed analysis of what we're doing and why, observations on his working method and characteristics, as well as explanations of our training techniques.
Perfection vs. Excellence: 4 High-Risk Mistakes to Avoid [Article]
The more perfection that is demanded at the start of training, the more risk of detrimental consequences to your dog. This article details those consequences, and explains how it can lead to talented dogs being considered “not really keen enough to train” —how many dogs have we turned around by following the MacRae Way principles of training….. probably into the hundreds by now!! Read more to learn how you can achieve excellence, while avoiding the pitfalls of striving for perfection prematurely.
The Follow [Video]
Our training system compartmentalizes the drive, breaking it down into 4 steps, making it easy to understand and enjoyable for our dogs. By dividing the instruction into parts, our dogs gain a better understanding of each piece of the training. It also enhances their confidence, proficiency and enjoyment and as a result, they prevail more often. This video details the first step of teaching the Drive, “The Follow”.
The Pressure Path: An Exercise for teaching your dog to push and enjoy applying pressure to sheep. [Video]

This exercise, along with our foundation for teaching the drive, will help your dog to become more positive, confident and effective at pushing and applying pressure to sheep.
Using a distraction, rather than a correction, when starting a young dog[Video + Article]

We employ the use of distraction, rather than correction, when starting our young dogs to help our dogs become the best sheepdog they can be! This article and video explain why it’s so important to be conscience of unintended consequences when starting your young dog.
How to integrate a new training concept or exercise at home [Article]

You learned a new exercise or concept on-line, at a clinic or lesson and are ready to integrate it into your training. This article provides recommendations on how to set it up and execute it correctly at home.
Developing the Outrun [Video]

This video details our proven 4-step formula to effectively and intuitively developing the outrun with your young dog.
Teaching Pace [Video]

This video details our proven 6-step formula to effectively and intuitively teach pace to your dog while keeping your dog positive and confident in his work (drive).

Figure 8s in the Round Pen [Video]

Alasdair demonstrates an exercise for introducing flanks and structure to your young dog.
The Triangle - a Driving Exercise for Shaping Flanks [Video]
This exercise is designed to open or square flanks, as well as teach dogs to drive straight lines and then release, as you would with panels at the trials.
Desire Before Discipline [Article]
Desire before discipline is an extremely important concept, but what exactly does it mean?
Encouraging Confidence While Training [Video]

An in depth analysis of how handling one aspect on the fetch can profoundly impact your dog's overall enthusiasm and enjoyment of work as well as performance at the trials.
Balance Point [Video]
Balance point, the fuel that makes the engine run. Balance point is the foundation of the MacRae Way System and the key to helping your dog become the very best sheepdog he or she can be!
How the "Lie Down" can help you, help your dog [Video]

The lie down - how it helps you, help your dog at every stage.
Teaching the lie down, on and off sheep [Video]

A detailed illustration of how to teach the "Lie Down" command off sheep with our 4 step formula, and an example of how to transfer it to sheep.
Introducing the Lie Down on Sheep [Video]

An analysis and comparison when introducing the "lie down" on sheep, with Moss and Niamh.
Niamh from her 5th time on sheep to a winning Nursery run [Video]

Following a young dog, Niamh, from just starting on sheep to a winning Nursery run.
The Significance of the Outrun [Video]

Developing and encouraging the outrun properly is extremely important.
The importance of properly developing the outrun [Article]
Fetching with Sheep That Won't Stand [Video]

How to practice fetching when your sheep won't stand well at the top of the field.
Bending or re-directing a dog on his outrun [Video]
Jim illustrates a 90 degree bend on his outrun.

Stopping your dog at the top of the outrun [Article]

Important Advice When Starting to Teach the Drive [Article]

Avoiding A Common Mistake When Starting to Teach the Drive [Article + video]
4 Tips when working at hand [Video]

4 things to look for when working at hand -an analysis of Wisp’s flanks and shed.
An Analysis of a Shed [Video]

Alasdair analyzes a shed by Nell in slow motion.
A Discussion about Shedding with Alasdair [Video]

A comprehensive armchair conversation with Alasdair on the principals and standards of shedding, as well as how we start instructing this important phase of work with our dogs.
The Importance of Working a Single [Video]

Working a single is both an excellent and important way to evaluate your dog (shed).

What working a single can tell you about your dog (shed) [Article + Video]

Why a good "lie down" gets a bad rap [Article]
Good Sheep for a Good Start [Video]

It is especially important to have good working sheep to ensure a good foundation for your young dog.
Putting pressure on sheep - what it means and why it's important [Article (drive)]
4 Tips to Increase Enthusiasm at the Shed [Video]

Four key tips to increase your dog's enthusiasm and confidence at the shed.
Sweep & Jim: An Analysis of Shifting Ewes with Lambs [Video]

Important qualities that can be assessed when shifting ewes with lambs

It’s all in your head! The mental aspect of trialing [Article]
Teaching Your Dog to Turnback Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought! [Article]
Foundation of the Turnback [Video]

Why introducing turnbacks when your dog is young will increase his enthusiasm, confidence and proficiency.
An Overhead View of Nell's Turnback as Seen by a Drone [Video]

Watch a free preview of our online course, The Turnback.
Training in the Summer Heat [Article]
Some Dos and Don'ts of Raising Your Puppy to Work Sheep [Article]
Want to Leap Out of Your Training Rut?
Should I buy a puppy or a trained dog? [Article]


Whistle While You Work Audio (originally released as CD)

We would never use, nor do we condone the use of the electric training collar. As important as the humane aspect, we do not believe that ‘the collar’ has any value as a training tool for the border collie and moreover, we believe it causes permanent mental damage and precludes the dog from ever achieving his or her potential.