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Common Commands for the Livestock-working Dog

Come or come in Lie down

The dog is to come to the handler

To lie on all four legs on the ground (not lying on side of body on ground). Also “sit” or “down” can be used in normal obedience work, but are too short for use in the field.


To remain in the position the handler commanded until another command is given.

Stand Heel That will do

To stop in an upright, standing position. Walk at either side of the handler in an orderly manner (usually left).

Command the dog to quit whatever it is doing and return to handler. (Very important command.)

Get back, get off, or back off Get around

Create a wide distance between dog and livestock being worked.

Send dog out to gather livestock (no specific direction is given). It is critical the dog circle wide away from the livestock, a minimum of 50 feet away at any point, until the dog is well behind and prepared to move up (use of flanking dog commands, given on the following page, is more effective.

Bring them in (or bring ‘em in)

Dog gathers and fetches the livestock to the handler without directional commands.

Walk up or walk in

Move closer to the livestock in a straight line. This command should be trained only after the dog totally understands a wide outrun and get back command. (Often, dogs are too tight due to their eagerness to work, and the command is mostly used in a penning situation.)


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