Welcome to Sheepballs

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The Rules of Sheepballs

Collies do not want to CHASE, the want to catch to prevent the ball, or sheep escaping.

They play a great role as goal keeper, and boundary guardian.

Balls always live below eye level of the dog. No leaping or flying sheep

When the ball is yours, the dog should not steal. Place your foot on the ball to stop this happening. If they stay out the ball will come to them.

Going round, or flanking sideways is about moving into position to catch the ball. Teach them how to do this, do not trick them into being in the wrong spot.

Sheepballs should be soft, easy to kick. You will need at least two, three is even better. Only use these balls for sheepballs, they should be locked away out of sight unless you initiate the game.

Collies are not retrievers. Their job is done when the ball is stopped. Begin a new game will ball #2.

Looking at the ball you intend to kick, all the time. As a predator your dog will know the point of your focus (it is tempting to watch the dog, but they are not the sheep). If you are walking down the street and focus on the dog/ car/ runner/bike coming towards you, so will the dog.

When they respond as we expect, reward. This will grow quickly, if they are not learning we shall need to examine what they are struggling with.

Teach the dog to swop between balls by changing your complete focus and activity to the other ball. This Ball Not That Ball is a skill to switch from one thing to another. Changing focus for extremely strongly focussed dogs is an essential skill. We cannot expect them to not chase traffic if they have not learned to switch between sheepballs.

4 Comments

  1. Anthony

    Hello there, that was a fantastic video of your gorgeous dog. Could you tell me where you got those balls from? We also have to have 2 balls for our boy to play with, the problem is he keeps losing them because he’s easily distracted by squirrels etc and he pops full size footballs with ease. Any recommendations would be great. Thanks

    Reply
    • Kay Laurence

      The large soft green balls are IKEA, strong, tear resistantfabric but they pick up the wet very quickly, wet days I use the Hollee Rollers – large

      Reply
  2. Amy

    Hi, I’d really like to learn more about this as I have a border collie that loves herding and I teach a lot of collie owners, are you running any courses ?

    Reply
    • Kay Laurence

      We look at individual dogs and the way they play in The Setter members groups. The game is very individual to each dog.

      The Build The Learning course features Sheepballs as one of the Learning Play activities.

      Reply

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