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Selecting Your Employee - page 11 / 12





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The following commands are flanking (directional) commands along with some additional commands which allow you a great deal more maneuverability in the field and will prepare a path for trials. All these commands are explained in detail in Anybody Can Do It; A Lifetime with the Working Collie, Their Training and History; and The Farmer’s Dog. Each author uses a different training method but accomplishes the same type of command.

Away to me

To send the dog counterclockwise or right (can be 360 or 10 degrees).


To send the dog to its right, not the handler’s right. Similar to the “away to me” command (which is the preferred command).

Note: Once these two commands are trained, the “get around” command is not necessary.


The dog stops moving in the direction it was going and changes direction. It is not necessary for the dog to completely stop.

Steady, easy, or take it easy

Commands the dog to settle down.

Look back, back around, or look for sheep

Send the dog back around the field to look for additional livestock. Also, the handler can train the dog to tell the difference between livestock (cattle, sheep, or ducks in the same field) by name command.

Up or hup

To jump over normal stock fences. Does not matter how the dog accomplishes it (climbing or pushing with feet).

Get in the pickup

Helpful when you have a busy day or the handler needs the dog to stay in a place out of the way for a long period of time without being tied. The command instructs the dog to stay in the pickup until requested to move.

Whistle commands

Are trained after voice commands are completely trained and understood. Whistle commands should be shrill and specific. You must be careful always to be distinctive and consistent when giving the whistle com- mand. To train a dog to whistle commands, give the whistle command followed by a voice command in repetitive fashion. Whistle commands are valuable in large or hilly fields where voice commands may not be heard. A “stop” whistle command (stand or lie down) often is more effective than voice, no matter the distance.

Remember: Select the commands you intend to use, and always be consistent in training and daily work. If, when using directional commands, your dog goes in a different direction, never use hand signals. A livestock- working dog often is out of sight and should be listening to its handler, not looking at him or her.


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