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Image by William Milliot

& Introduction to the game! 

Herding Behaviour 

Herding Behaviour

The reason Border Collies have become arguably the best stock dogs in the world is due to their unique way of working, It involves using "The Eye" , Flanking and doing it in a silent manner. 

The herding behaviour sequence is derived from the predatory sequence:

Eye  - Orient - Stalk - Chase - Grab Bite - Kill Bite - Consume 

The last two behaviours in the sequence serve no purpose to the shepherd, as if their working dog is going out and killing stock, then it isn't of benefit to the shepherd or the sheep. Through selective breeding for generations, the predatory sequence in Border collies has been influenced to only exhibit these behaviours strongly. 

Eye  - Orient - Stalk - Chase - Grab Bite

The eye behaviour and the chase behaviour being of special note. The eye behaviour is used to put pressure on the livestock through eye contact to manipulate movement, where as the chase, isn't a true chase and has been modified to be more of a head of a flank behaviour. 

For a Border Collie to work effectively, the eyeing behaviour and the flanking behaviours should work in perfect harmony. If a dog displays too much eye, it will become stuck and not move enough and should the dog display too much flanking, it will be too flightly and your sheep will end up all over the place.

Introduction to the game

SheepBalls was created by Kay Lawrence specifically with border collies and their herding behaviour in mind.


By using balls and our body language to initiate the herding behaviour.  

You will need to play this game: 

  • 3-4 Frisbees

  • 3-4 Soft Balls

  • Large flat playing area 


1. No Chasing - Herding is all about control of movement, and we don't want to create any stress or frustration by the sheep (Ball) constantly getting away. 

2. Catching is Key - Control of movement, allowing our dog to catch the "sheep" for fills this need. 

3. Be predictable - We need to be predictable and consistent with our kicking ability... SO PRACTICE 

4. No Mugging- Don't let our dogs learn to come in and snatch, if we are seeing this behaviour, stand on the ball and "Kill" the sheep so they can't practice this. 

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