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Training with Purpose
Kathleen Ward


Unfortunately you see many dogs being worked without purpose and trained without a well thought out plan/purpose.

The Border Collies and Kelpies have been carefully selected by breeding the best working dogs to the best working dogs. So we have highly intelligent dogs with much natural skill and we must bring out the best in these dogs and because we (as people) can reason we must make sure our plan how to work and train them has Purpose.

The confusion can be seen in so many of the working dogs. There is too much tension in the dogs so they don’t think and then just “do”. Then bad habits starts and the owner shouts more and so the pattern continues. The progress is slow with the training, or training comes to a halt.

You need to attend clinics and study different methods and see what will work for you. Watching a demonstration is always better than just theoretical books. Videos help but your dog is an individual and you will gain hugely by attending different training clinics or getting someone to help you with a practical demonstration.

If your dog is still doing wrong things a couple of weeks later it is time to stop and take a reassessment of the situation.

After taking in many dogs, with many of the dogs faults going back to lack of confidence because they have been confused by the owners. So their natural ability goes out of the window and things just really get worse.  After working with the dog myself I see progress after a few days and a few weeks later the owners can come and fetch the dogs. I have a well thought out plan what I want to achieve and work towards that.

The same with young dogs that get exposed to sheep as puppies. The owners want to see if the dogs have interest or imagine they are stimulating the dogs interest.    The puppies approach the sheep incorrectly so every time the pup is taken to sheep it gets the idea okay so this is how we will always work these sheep. They are allowed to do things that you would not let an older dog do and so you set a pattern.  NO PURPOSE.

I worked a dog raised in a city, bought from unknown breeding. After a morning of exposure started working and turned into a good working dog without issues that had to be sorted out. 

Also one of our own pups raised in town (was not exposed to sheep until it was 10  months old) showed that if the breeding is there you know it will work and the dog never had the opportunity to get to sheep and learn something it should not.

You need to have a plan when you go out to sheep to train.  The session does not need to be long but it must be constructive. If you allow the dog to do the wrong thing in the first few minutes that is what you are teaching the dog.  And you have failed to have worked with a plan.

Break your training down into small sessions take a break and then tackle another aspect of what you want from the dog.  Not just mindless working and working.

So take time to think through what you want to achieve and work on that.


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