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From Beginners to Champions

The NEW Series of Working Sheepdog Training Videos

by Tully WilliamsSheepdog trainer Tully Williams

Welcome to the new series of online sheepdog training videos from Australian breeder, trainer, and author of “Working Sheep Dogs – A practical guide to breeding, training and handling.”

Sheepdog training book by Tully Williams

For all of you who have read the book, or watched the DVD “Natural Ability – The instincts of the high-calibre working dog”, and asked for videos on sheepdog training, here they are.

Working Sheep Dogs by Tully Williams cover image
High value information for those prepared to take the time to understand it
This is an OUTSTANDING piece of work in both the quantity; there is barely a wasted sentence, and the quality of the information it contains. The training section is very detailed and focuses considerably on training the trainer and gaining insight in this area. This is high value information for those prepared to take the time to understand it. I think this book is destined to become a classic in its field. For those of you who value quality books on this subject, BUY ONE NOW!!
Stuart Robertson, NZ Sheepdog Newsletter, Otago, New Zealand
Natural Ability DVD sheepdog instincts cover image
Fantastic DVD…has changed my views so much
Hi Tully, I just wanted to let you know I received your fantastic DVD and book last week. Your DVD is by far the most in depth discussion on natural ability and instinct I have ever come across! I am thoroughly enjoying it, and it's so nice to purchase something like this that isn't over within the hour! I am almost half way through your book and am about ready to start at the beginning again! There is just so much to take in it's fantastic! The little bit I have read has changed my views so much on how I look at my dogs.
Amie Chalwell
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A whole new approach to breeding, training and handling farm dogs
Working Sheep Dogs is not simply a manual on how to train a working animal, but provides a whole new approach to breeding, training and handling farm dogs.
Trudi Salvin, The Land, July 2007
Natural Ability DVD sheepdog instincts cover image
Stunned at how good it is! Worth every penny and more
G’day Tully. Many thanks for the DVD. I am working through it a couple of sections per night and am stunned at how good it is! I’ll let you know more when I’m finished but I’ve already picked up a lot. Thank you!…. G’day Tully, I have finished the DVD and am very pleased with what it taught me. It is worth every penny and more, particularly as I can reference it whenever I want. Again, thank you!
Mark Worrad, Bathhurst, NSW
Simply brilliant!
At the start of 2016, I decided that I wanted to have a try at sheepdog work (both sporting and practical). I had literally no idea where to begin! I purchased a dog, and was extremely lucky when the dog's seller recommended Tully for some lessons.  From having no idea where to start, to managing to muster my sheep into a yard in 4 lessons was astounding! I have found my lessons with Tully to be fun, precise, and he has the ability to find a way to explain exactly what the handler needs to understand. Simply brilliant!
Melissa Harper
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THE book I’ve been needing for years…my BOOK OF BOOKS!
Finally I've found THE book I've been needing for years! I am really starting to understand in detail what herding instinct and ability really means, how sheep behave as a group of prey animals, and how to think about sheepdog training and especially breeding. This remains my BOOK OF BOOKS in my brand new shepherd's life!
Dora Kettinger - Hungary
Working Sheep Dogs by Tully Williams cover image
One of the best, most insightful books on working stock dogs I have read!
This is one of the best, most insightful books on working stock dogs I have read! It would be useful for training a dog, as well as what to look for in breeding good working dogs. I very much appreciated Mr. Williams' detailed descriptions of the traits that go into making a good, independent working stock dog. He describes them, and talks about how they interact in a dog. He also gives practical advice for training a working dog. I found it very helpful.
K. Hazelbaker
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One of the best training books I have
Congratulations on a wonderfully informative Working Sheep Dog book. I have just purchased it and feel it is one of the best training books I have.
Jane Dorrell, Western Australia, 4,800 acres
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Just cannot thank you enough
"...I still carry your book in my bag and most days I will flick through different chapters and it's amazing how things spring into your head when a mistake is made I ask myself "what would Tully say". I just cannot thank you enough for a book that can be read by the most experienced handler or the complete novice like me and learn. A mate of mine has a copy and often we find ourselves asking questions when something goes wrong, we always refer back to the "Tully bible". I hope I am not bothering you but just want you to know what your book has done to us."
Carl Rogge, NSW
Thrilled to be having lessons with Tully
I am thrilled to be having lessons with Tully. I have made progress with my Border Collie in a matter of months, after having years of frustration when working sheep. Tully is very clear with his instructions, ensuring I understand the methods/exercises correctly. Thanks to Tully, I finally feel that being able to work sheep effectively with my dog is achievable.
Louise
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A truly exceptional book…the painstaking obsession of brilliance
It's been a while since I came across a truly exceptional book on breeding. And this was the last thing I expected from a technical manual on working sheepdogs... This book was a joy to read. Williams' detailed research and fine insights reveal the painstaking obsession of brilliance.
Dogworld, January 2008
Natural Ability DVD sheepdog instincts cover image
It’s what I’ve been looking for!
Hi Tully, I received your DVD yesterday and can I say it’s what I’ve been looking for! I’ve wasted a lot of money on expensive DVD’s from trialers, which just haven’t been as educational as I wished. I will be looking to see if you have more DVD’s I can learn from, and will watch the one I have again till it sticks well and truly. Thankyou very much for producing such a quality DVD. You have knowledge that needs to be passed on and a great manner to do so.
Marina Angel-Smith, WA
Working Sheep Dogs by Tully Williams cover image
A seminal book on the subject
Man's best friend can also be one of man's best workers. "Working Sheep Dogs: A Practical Guide to Breeding, Training, and Handling" is a comprehensive handbook to raising and training one's sheep dogs to serve their tasks. Covering every aspect of raising and educating a dog in terms that one doesn't need to be a veterinarian to understand, "Working Sheep Dogs" is a seminal book on the subject.
Midwest Book Reviews
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A treasure of great information – you won’t regret buying this book
Anyone serious about breeding and/or training better dogs must get this book. A treasure of great information. You won't regret buying this book.
Shari Cook
Working Sheep Dogs by Tully Williams cover image
The finest book written on the selection, breeding, training and handling of working dogs
In my opinion this is the finest book written on the selection, breeding, training and handling of working dogs. It has been written by a very knowledgeable person with a great deal of passion to breed and train good working dogs – Tully Williams... This book is a MUST for every working dog breeder, trainer and farmer.
David Kerr, Merricks North, Victoria, Australia
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Wonderful book!
My very favorite herding how-to book.
Terri Austin-Beech
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Most educational and informative
Dear Tully, I would like to congratulate you on your book "Working Sheep Dogs" as I found it most educational and informative and wish you every success in improving the standard of the sheep dog. These books and DVD's that you are providing can only help educate people who don't have the experience or knowledge to know what a good dog is. Wishing you every success in your aim to improve the standard of the dogs and their owners.
Graham Carroll - "Talmore" NSW
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Not just a single DVD, but a continually expanding library of step-by-step videos, dealing in detail with every aspect of sheepdog training.

Now you can benefit even more from Tully’s extensive experience, by seeing demonstrated his sheepdog training techniques and principles that before were only on the written page.

Check out the selection of videos below and see what interests you.  More will be added on a regular basis.

If you would like to ask a question, make a comment, or submit a review of what you have seen in the Beginners to Champions Working Sheepdog Training videos, then please click the relevant button below:

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Need help with renting the videos? Watch this quick guide…

Boho Misty sheepdog iconThe best age to start training your pup on sheep – Free

Best age to start training the sheepdog pup on sheep
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Overview: In this free video (aimed at newer handlers), I discuss the various considerations in deciding the best age to start training your sheepdog pup on sheep.

Starting the pup at the right time can help training go as smoothly as possible.

Running time: 8 minutes

Campaspe Patch sheepdog iconAn overview of the 4 systems of arm signals – $4 for 4 weeks

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Overview: In this video I discuss the four ways arm signals can be used, and answer the question of which is the best method of using the arms for training and for directing sheepdogs.

How we use our arms (and the training stick) when training our dogs, can make a BIG difference to how quickly and smoothly training progresses.  And how we use them when directing our dogs at work (if we use arm signals at all) can greatly influence how effective they are.

Running time: 22 minutes

 How to use the “pointing/guiding” system of arm signals – $7 for 4 weeks

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Overview: A detailed video on how to use the “pointing/guiding” system of arm signals.

Pointing in the direction you want the dog to go (as compared to chasing or blocking the dog), was a much more popular method of arm signals in the past than it is today.  It was used by some of the best stockmen and trial handlers.  This is the method of arm signals (and the way of using the arms in sheepdog training) that I believe is superior to the “chasing/blocking” system.

Running time: 12 minute

Boho Misty sheepdog iconShould you use a command as praise for itself, when training a sheepdog? Free

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Overview: Over the years I have come across a number of pet trainers, and also at least one quite well-known sheepdog trainer, who recommended using commands as praise.  For example, if we sit our dog down, then instead of just saying “good dog”, these trainers recommend saying “good sit down”.

In this free video, I answer the question of whether this will get better results (and why, or why not), or whether it is infact counter-productive.

Running time: 5 minutes

Campaspe sheepdog pup black white tan cutStarting the pup on sheep (Part 1) – $14 for 4 weeks

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Overview: The very first training for the pup on sheep. How to teach the pup to move away from us around the sheep, in either direction, and to remain on the far side of the sheep. (And no, I don’t use a garden rake or a round yard).

This is sometimes referred to as “counter-balance”. This is also a stage where we continue to evaluate the pup’s instincts.

Running time: 27 minutes

Campaspe sheepdog pup black white tan cutStarting the pup on sheep (Part 2) – $7 for 4 weeks

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Overview: Following on from the pup’s very first lesson on sheep, this video continues the pup’s early training.

Running time: 11 minutes

Campaspe Bella icon

Widening the pup out – $25 for 4 weeks

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Overview: In this video I demonstrate my method of teaching the pup to “get out” to command, and to work a bit wider off its sheep.

Most handlers just tend to chase their dogs out wider in some fashion while yelling at them to “get out”.  This is often not very effective. My method has important differences that mean the dog understands very quickly exactly what we want it to do, and is therefore far more effective and gets far better results, with minimal time and effort.

This also slows (and calms) everything down (dog, sheep, and handler!). It makes it much easier for the handler to maintain a position of control (see The Handler’s Position). This is particularly important with pups lacking the natural instincts of “width”, “square break” and “breakaway break”, but all dogs should be taught the “get out” command at some stage.

I also use this as the foundation for teaching the dog to cast.

Running time: 20 minutes

The handler’s position – in control, or out of control?! – COMING SOON

Sheepdog training videos coming soon preview imageOverview: Knowing where to position yourself, and what to do in that position in order to influence the pup in the way you desire, is vital in becoming a good sheepdog (and livestock) handler.

In this video, I explain how to get yourself into a position where you can control the pup and influence its behaviour, and maintain that position, rather than being out of position and allowing the pup to run riot!

Campaspe Flame iconIntroducing the directional commands – $7 for 4 weeks

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Overview: This video deals with the first introduction of the directional (or flanking) commands after having initially broken the pup in to “go back”.

Running time: 23 minutes

Campaspe Chloe iconIncreasing the pup’s early experience – Free

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Overview: Once our pup is broken in to stay on the far side of the sheep (as explained in “Starting the pup on sheep (Part 1 & 2)”), we can begin to widen the pup’s experience.

We can do this by allowing the pup to bring sheep along behind us, or to hold them to us, out in larger paddocks, or with larger numbers of sheep. We can vary these conditions, perhaps by using more flighty sheep, or walking through timbered or rocky areas, or having the dog bring the sheep behind us across a river bed or eroded gully. With a pup with good natural ability we can do this fairly safely.

However, if your pup lacks this type of natural ability, and is likely to split the sheep or make any other common mistakes (as many pups will), then getting out in larger areas too early can allow the pup to quickly develop bad habits. If you have a pup of that type, then you would be wise to leave gaining experience until the pup is much further along in its training. Even with a good quality pup, it is a good idea to stay fairly close to the sheep and the pup, so as to prevent anything going astray.

In these two short videos, I take Rust and Annie (the two pups shown in the video “Introducing the directional commands”) and give them some experience outside the training yard.  Here they get to work a few more sheep, and sheep that are more runny and flighty. In these training sessions, Rust and Annie have been started as demonstrated in “Starting the pup on sheep”, and have had a basic “Introduction to the directional commands”, but have had no more training than that. At this stage they have they not been taught to “sit down”.

You might also notice that they tend to work a bit wider off their sheep in this situation, than they did in the training yard with quiet training sheep (in “Introducing the directional commands”). This is due to their reading of the more timid sheep and the bigger area.

Moorlands Georgie iconIntroducing “Sit down” – $15 for 4 weeks

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Overview: In this video we introduce the pup to the “Sit down” command on sheep.

“Sit down” (lie down) is really a foundational sheepdog training command, and having a reliable “sit down” will make future training much quicker and easier.

Running time: 22 minutes

“Sit down” – Achieving a high-quality response – COMING SOON

Sheepdog training videos coming soon preview imageOverview: In this video I look at some further points on how to continue laying the foundation for a quick, easy and reliable response to the “sit down” command.

By that, I mean that as far as possible our dog should lie down quickly and without resistance the first time it is asked, and should then remain lying down solidly and calmly until asked to move off.  How we handle the “sit down” command in the early stages can lay the foundation either of a high-quality response, or a slow, poor response.

The stationary directions – COMING SOON

Sheepdog training videos coming soon preview imageOverview: After giving the pup a basic introduction to the directional commands, it is time to begin increasing the pup’s understanding and gaining more control of the directions.  In this video I look at the next exercise in my method of teaching the directional commands – the “neutral” and “offset” stationary directions.

And many more in-depth sheepdog training videos to come…

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