What you are about to see is me trying to learn to handle my own herding dog. I have to say this is very difficult for me. I’m not one of those people who has dogs for other people to work and play with; I don’t have a dog walker, I don’t have a groomer, I don’t have professional handlers that show my dogs for me. The reason I have dogs is so that I can work and play with them. So if I’m going to have a herding dog, I’m going to have to learn to handle him myself.

I have found videotaping my training sessions really helps me to figure out where I can make improvements in my handling skills in order to help my dog understand what he should be doing. When I’m out there doing it, things move so fast that I have a hard time just trying not to get run over, fall down or stepped on, let alone handle my dog without sucking all the fun out of it for him! So let’s watch the video shall we? (I’ve left in the commentary so you can get the full effect!)

Me handling Cord (bear with me, it’s about 6 minutes long)

So here’s what I learned by reviewing the video:

1. Cord wants to run into the sheep and chase them. I have to learn how to put pressure on his shoulder and move him out. Once he gives to the pressure I can allow him to work his sheep. That’s his reward for doing what I ask.
2. Cord prefers to circle counter clockwise (“way to me”). I need to learn how to get him to circle clockwise (“go bye”) and keep him going in that direction.
3. I cut him off when I’m trying to move him out. I need to learn to not get ahead of his shoulder.

With these three things in mind, the next time I go out I hope to be a little better, calmer and more confident so that my dog will get better and both of us can enjoy our new game.