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Author Topic: Introducing a pup to sheep  (Read 652 times)


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Introducing a pup to sheep
« on: May 28, 2018, 11:32:57 am »
I'm afraid I know next to nothing about dogs.

Our neighbour has just bought a spaniel pup though, and I'm wondering what the best way is to teach it that sheep aren't for chasing?  At the moment it's ok, since it hasn't figured out how to jump gates, but once it does.....

Neighbour is fine, and obviously wants the best for both dog and sheep, so does anybody have any tips?

Thanks in advance!  :thumbsup:
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 12:39:36 pm »
I think a lot will depend on how often your willing to let your neighbour onto your land to get the dog used to them.

I would expose the dog to sheep as much as possible, so that they are just something they come into contact with regularly. Walk the dog through the middle of the flock on a lead. I think a lot will depend on the dogs reaction, some dogs get overexcited and just want to chase, others aren't that fussed unless the sheep run and some dogs are scared of them!  Over time you can switch to an extendable lead so that if the dog does try and chase you can still control it.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 12:49:24 pm »
As above plus never without a lead and make sure the pup is wormed and that your neighbour poo picks. 

Ask your neighbour as he trains his dog to include instructions such as 'sit' and 'leave it' and 'come here' so it is well controlled as soon as possible with appropriate commands for a dog running amok in the flock.

We have always trained our pups to meet each sheep and get to know them individually.  Might sound weird, but the animals then become individuals to the dog, not just 'sheep' (which are a group for chasing).  Well, I know what I mean  :dog: :hugsheep:

I know nothing about spaniels particularly but were they not bred to pick up downed game, rather than to chase?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 12:52:18 pm by Fleecewife »

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  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 01:00:11 pm »
In order to teach a dog right from wrong you have to respond to its actions immediately and at the time that an undesirable action is on the dogs brain.
So - for example - if a dog runs off and doesn't come back when you call it, it is no good telling the dog off when it does come back as you are then actually punishing it for coming back. Remember dogs don't speak English, and if a dog appears to be disobeying you then it is more than likely your fault as you have not made it clear exactly what you want it to do.

I therefore would attempt to establish the ground rules as early possible and nip any thoughts of chasing in the bud. Like bj says expose the dog to the sheep but from the other side of the fence so it has no chance of chasing them. If it starts to get excited or run up and down excitedly I would take it that it sees them as playthings and I would say a firm NO at the time that it is doing it. Then as soon as the dog quietens down and moves its attention away from the sheep, give it a treat. If it ignores your NO I would spray it with water from a water pistol and again reward it when you have its attention.
There are variations on this to suit individual dogs but the important thing is to respond to what the dog is doing NOW - not what it did 10 seconds ago.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 01:51:09 pm »
Take the pup in with a ewe with a lamb at foot.  Keep it on a lead but the ewe will be damned sure to tell it if it takes a step towards them. Best time of year for this too as lambs are gambolling and very enticing to a puppy.

For information -
Spaniels of any sort hunt undergrowth within gunrange or less (or should do) - 50 yards.  They are hunting for fur and feather.

Retrievers hunt for downed game

Pointers hunt outwith gun range becasue they go on point and hold game when found then handler flushes game and it is shot.  They hunt for any type of game

HPRs - Hunter Pointer retrievers do all three, because they've got brains  :innocent:  -  Brittanys in particular are nerve breakers - they have been known to hunt 300 yards each side of the handler.

Here endeth ................ etc  :eyelashes:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 05:14:25 pm »
I wouldn't be advising anyone to spray water at a puppy.

If the pup is very young I would be hopeful that it will grow up to ignore the sheep and as long as your neighbour is sensible and dog and sheep savvy then encourage them to walk through the field as much as possible initially with the pup on a lead. Once pup is old enough and knows basic commands given in its own garden I would be giving some obedience lessons in the field with the sheep, on and off lead. Idea being that the dog learns from a very young age that it is to obey commands in with the sheep just as it would on its own ground. Does depend on how much control your neighbour has and on the individual dog.

I don't think that gundogs in general are that bothered about chasing sheep but the fact is that any dog can and will chase.

Important that it isn't left alone in the garden unsupervised for long periods in the early days if there is any chance that it can get into the sheep. Bored dogs ..... Bad habits ..... Hare to break.


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2018, 10:32:37 am »
Thanks everybody - great advice as ever  :thumbsup: .
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Introducing a pup to sheep
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2018, 11:06:41 am »
One thing I found very useful when training pet dogs was to teach them that looking at sheep is naughty.  Firstly you then don't miss the moment (because your reactions are slower than the dog's) and secondly, if the dog gets used to looking away when it sees a sheep, it is much less likely to find itself suddenly chasing a sheep it came upon unexpectedly.

If the dog is a pet rather than a worker, it's very helpful to get it obsessed with a toy, then use the toy to distract it when it thinks it might like to look at sheep.  ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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