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Sheepballs Workshop

8 weeks starting 8 June 2021

A Working Course with individualised coaching to develop your skills and those of your sheepdog.

£280

50% discount for Setter Members

sheepball school

For those who experience a thrill in watching their collie behave like a collie and display all the heritage they possess.

Long term benefits

This activity is at the core of Being a Collie. Much of life for collies is about frustration and limitations suppressing their instinctive drive to control movement. Restoring this through the different activities will contribute significantly to a more balanced state both for the dog and the people they live with.

Living with a collie is both a privilege and experience that brings tremendous pleasure when working together and not in opposition. They are amazing dogs with generous passion to work with people and fulfil their role as the Other Half, whatever that job may be.

This is more than a game of playing ball with a dog. We use the games and interaction to release and develop the innate behaviours your dog has inherited. Your dog will not need to retrieve

Have you the time?

This 8 week course will follow your individual progress with your dog. I recommend 2 or 3 sessions a week plus some interim skills that can be developed in association.

Real Work future

Although it cannot be guaranteed I have successfully used these games to begin the skills before transferring to sheep, which gives the youngster an excellent head start and the sheep a bit of a break.

The dog can learn:

  To switch between toys and focus to the one in play
~ this is particularly useful lifeskill for dogs that find busy environment overwhelming

  Anticipate the direction of travel of the toy
~ excellent for learning and predicting body language

  Repositioning to catch and prevent escape
~ for circling, flanking and controlled movement in both directions

  Holding a distance
~ giving space for greater success, strenghtening eye and stalking

Your dog does not need to be a registered Border Collie, but a sheepdog of herding heritage that uses EYE to stalk and hold stock. This course is not suitable for the other sheepdog breeds that move stock by barging, barking or slamming.

The dog should be over 6 months old maximum age 10 years old.

You will learn

  How to release and develop the inherited and innate behaviours

  Develop your reward skills and timing

  Use different strategies to enable successful learning

  To become skilled at kicking soft-balls, throwing a disc, flicking treats.

  Add cues, voice or whistle to predictable movement and patterns

What you will get

Regular feedback on your videos (maximum of 9 minutes total in 3 sessions per week), coaching from me, specific activities suited to your dog to develop or strengthen their skills.

There will be opportunities to learn from other resources through the course as well as engage with other participants and their progress.

If you are enthusiastic about learning, developing and building your relationship, connection and skills then you will be very welcome.

You can’t fall behind as progress is entirely on an individual rate, but you do need to show up.

You will need:

  • A good collection of soft balls, not tennis balls
  • Soft discs or flyers
  • Space to allow free, unrestricted movement (as shown in the video is quite adequate)
  • Level ground
  • Time for at least 2-3 active sessions per week.
  • Non-interference from other dogs or people
  • Video and tripod

When you enrol on the course I will send you a list of resources for balls / toys. 

Each week you will need to share video of your progress (maximum of 9 minutes total in 3 sessions). Learn how to crop and post only the essentials with clear information as to what you would like feedback on. You will get specific activities suited to your dog to develop or strengthen their skills.

There will be opportunities to learn from other resources through the course as well as engage with other participants and their progress.

Not for you

If you plan to be a passive spectator, auditor or intend to harvest material generated by the work of others then this is not for you. You will be given two weeks to demonstrate active participation with your dog after which your access will be limited.

If this type of commitment is beyond your interest then please do not join us.

Background of Border collies:

I require you to have a good understanding of the history of collies, how and why they work in their specific style. I recommend you study the material in the Learning About Border Collies Course
unless you have previously downloaded the pdf of the “Lessons from the Border Collie Course”.

Pre-course preparation

The dog should be started on ball games, from Learning About Border Collie course/lessons. If your dog does not perceive balls or toys as suitable objects that trigger stalk, chase and catch, then joining this course would not be an advantage.

Some dogs have selected other dogs, cats, or specifically only consider live stock, worthy of their skills – no problem, until they “dumbdown” and will transfer to pseudo stock, we cannot really begin. Maybe buy some ducks ?!

This is not a “fix the dog” opportunity

We shall not be working on behavioural solutions or seeking to “fix” behaviours that you find annoying or irritating .

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions: email kay

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