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Working dog training

Wednesday 19- Thursday 20 June 2024
9am - 5pm





What an amazing experience at the Riverine Plains working dog training! Here's a recap and some key takeaways from our 2-day workshop.

  • We kicked off with an introduction session, where handlers and dogs got to know each other and set goals for the training period. 
  • Demonstrations from our trainer, Paul MacPhail showcased what we were aiming for with good distance off the sheep, ability to get sheep out of corners, stop and hold when required.
  • Practical exercises focused on enhancing dogs obedience and manners.
  • Lunch time gave the participants plenty of time to discuss how their dogs were working and where more practice was required. 
  • Each handler had different challenges with their dogs and Paul gave valuable feedback on how the handler was working with their dog and the sheep. 

Key messages

  1. Requirements for effective training: Quiet sheep (smaller mob = more control),  an enclosed yard, a rake or training stick to act as an extension of your arm (keep it low in the dogs eyeline). 
  2. Obedience is key: Ability to tie up on a short chain, walk on a loose lead, walk at heel, sit, stay, release, recall and do all of this with distractions. 
  3. Consistency: Regular practice and consistent commands (don't use words that sound the same), significantly improve a dog's responsiveness and confidence. 
  4. Understanding behaviour: Recognising and responding to dog and sheep behaviours ensures more effective training and stronger handler-dog relationships.
  5. Patience and persistence: Every dog learns at their own pace. With young pups start with 5 minutes, don't introduce too many commands too soon and let their working style and natural instinct develop.

A massive thank you to the Riverine Plains team, our expert trainers, Beloka Kelpie Stud and all the dedicated participants. Looking forward to applying these new skills and seeing continued progress with our amazing dogs! 🐕💚

Learn how to communicate with your dog

Over this 2-day course you will learn a lot about your dog and its behaviour in general, how to communicate so your dog understands you, obedience, how to solve problems and of course everything there is to know about herding.

We use a ‘hands on approach’ starting with you and your dog on sheep, and back that up with white board instruction. We work in small groups and you learn understanding and developing the instincts of your dog and how to work with it, not against it.

You learn communicating with your position and body movement; this foundation work will build strong working bonds with your dog and develop to a higher standard of ability. We will talk about and practice commands, obedience and stress free stock handling.

What we'll cover

This course includes:

  • Instinct testing
  • Body language and position
  • Obedience on and off lead
  • Working in the paddock on a bigger flock of sheep
  • Commands, off balance
  • Backing and barking
  • Casting and driving
  • Stock flow and leaders
  • Getting rid of bad habits

Morning tea and lunch provided. Bring your own dog (multiple dogs allowed, however please be mindful that time will be divided fairly between participants).

Trainers: Paul Macphail and Anneke Homan, Beloka Kelpies Stud and Working Dog Training.

Riverine Plains members, your discount code is in your emails! For more information, please contact our Member Engagement Officer, Lynn Macaulay on 03 5744 1713 or email lynn@riverineplains.org.au

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