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Training on stock in Oklahoma. Books maybe?

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Ok. We have had BC's now for about 8 years. Primarily as a farm dog...not trained to anything specific. We use them to move our goats from here to there...but just natural instinct...not really any kind of 'formal' training. Well, my old girl is getting old and arthritic. We have a younger one (about a year old) and a puppy. We would like to teach them herding in a more traditional sense....and maybe agility someday? I just dont know where to start.


1. For today or tomorrow....are there any good book recommendations? I dont expect that I will learn how to create the perfect sheepdog from a book....but might have basic things we can start with.


2. How DO people usually train? Do you go to a class like obedience? We live an hour+ from a town of any size...I dont know how practical that is.


3. Sheep vs Goats vs Cows. We have some goats, and I want more. That is where I could use the hand. My understanding is that they dont use goats for training or trials because goats dont stay in a herd/bunch like sheep do? If I wanted to ever do a trial...will it transfer, or is it a totally different thing? Also...the couple of trainers I have found online all have cows. Again, my limited knowledge, I thought that cattle are different in that you might bite them and it be ok etc.



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Where are you? The Mid States Stock Dog club is pretty active in eastern OK. Other clubs cover the rest of the state. There are plenty of trainers around. Many do have cattle, but even most of the cattle people keep some sheep or goats around to start dogs.


Yes, working goats will transfer to sheep. The dog will need some experience with sheep if you want to do well at trials. They often react a little differently, generally being lighter.


Lessons and clinics are the best way to learn. Joining your local stock dog club is the best way to network and find those opportunities.

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I really like Derek Scrimgeour's book and his older videos. The book is simple and has great diagrams that make it easy to understand. I personally did not enjoy the most recent video, I think the others would be more helpful for a novice anyway.


There are clinics held - either 2 or 3 days usually that will get you started. Jack and Kathy Knox hold several in that general area. I know they do some around Omaha, WY, CO, SD and their place in Bulter, MO. Clinics are good since you learn working your dog and learn watching other dogs at various stages in their training.

I believe there is usually a Patrick Shannahan clinic in SD as well.


The goats I have worked were more similar to cattle in that you sometimes had to apply individual pressure to them since they do not flock like sheep but herd more like cattle.


Learning to use a dog well is a long journey. It will happen in one clinic or even in multiple clinics. There are many pieces to figure out with three- you , dog, stock- moving parts all changing and affecting each other.

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Contact Nicole Rhodes or Rhodes Stockdogs on Facebook. She's about 2 1/2 hours from you. Also Angie Coker-Sells is in OK. Along with the great suggestion of Scrimgeours's materials, get Vergil Holland's book Herding Dogs. Wonderful explanations with diagrams of exercises. Indispensable.

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