Herd sheep and experience country living with this fun sheepdog experience
- Leicester (Leicestershire)
- Gift Voucher valid for 1 Participant
Herd sheep and experience country living with this fun sheepdog experience
Animal Experience Days: Discover the enjoyment of working with animals and enjoy a day
out in the countryside with this sensational Sheepdog Training
Experience - or why not treat an animal loving friend to an
experience gift you can bet they'll never forget...
Whether you love dogs yourself or are looking for a gift for a friend who does, want to see if you’ve got what it takes to be a farmer or have just always wanted to try your hand at shepherding, you're guaranteed to have a brilliant time during this unique activity. On arrival at the beautiful farm in rural Leicestershire, you’ll be given a warm welcome over a coffee as you are introduced to international dog handler, trainer and published author Nij Vyas and his friendly sheepdogs. Then you’ll enjoy a demonstration of the full capabilities of sheepdogs and their position within farming and sheepdog trials. After a briefing the real fun can start, and you’ll participate in a fun training exercise with an experienced dog. After a break for lunch, you’ll see how sheepdog training all began during a fascinating training session and you'll also get to grips with blowing a sheepdog whistle. You'll be working with both fully trained and young dogs, and under such expert tuition you'll be surprised at how quickly you pick things up. At the end you’ll have a debrief where you can see just how much you’ve learned. Working with animals is a wonderfully enjoyable and calming pastime ... just don't forget to keep an eye out for red kites too, who often frequent the farm!
So whether you want to enjoy this experience yourself or treat a lucky friend, Nij Vyas and his dogs are the perfect team to give you a day out in the country that's fun, hands-on, educational and unforgettable!
The Sheepdog Training Experience is available on weekdays and select weekends throughout the year.
Please note, you must give at least 30 days notice if you need to reschedule or cancel your booking.
The Sheepdog Training Experience is suitable for all people over
the age of ten.
When possible photographs will be taken to record your day and emailed to you. Photos may be reproduced on the company website; if you do not want photos taken please advise of this in advance.
Experience Duration: 04:30
Time Spent at Venue: 04:30
The Sheepdog Training Experience is approx 4.5 hours long, from 10:00 am - 2:30pm.
Participants: The Sheepdog Training Experience - Leicestershire is for 1 participant.
Max Group Size: 8
Spectators Allowed on Site: No
Maximum group size: 8
This experience is not suitable for spectators or pets.
You should dress for the weather for the Sheepdog Training Experience; walking boots or wellingtons should be worn, and outdoor layers are advised. It's always a good idea to bring a waterproof too!
The Sheepdog Training Experience usually runs in all weather. If conditions are especially adverse and your experience needs to be postponed, you will be able to reschedule.
Average rating: 5 stars out of 5
The morning was more of an exercise in listening and observation. One person dropped out at lunchtime. They had arrived late and were dressed in unsuitable clothing (even given that conditions were dry and not too cold). The afternoon made the day as the two of us there were able to use the dogs to herd the sheep and bring them to us and maneuver them as instructed. This was great fun and demonstrated how much one has to understand animals to get the best from them.
After a great summer in the city, retirement has really encouraged me and my wife to not only love the city but take a break and head to the countryside! Farming and shepherding has always been an interest of mine and is now becoming a reality! Nij was incredibly friendly and is obviously very passionate about what he does. The dogs are great and brilliant at taking commands which was great help to me and the wife. Will definitely be making another visit!
My husband and I have been talking about leaving the city and buying a piece of land for a long time and I thought this would be a brilliant way to get some insight! Nij introduced us to his 5 sheepdogs who were all very friendly and not forgetting adorable. There was even little pup Lara, who was as new to this as we were! This experience was fantastic and by the end of it we were able to herd the sheep using commands such as Come-bye and Away! I would highly recommend!
5*! A really interesting day. Nij was very welcoming and chatty and clearly has a lot of knowledge. I had a very enjoyable day. Nij and his dogs are very patient as it takes a while to get your head into giving the right commands. Would definitely recommend
On a sunny Thursday morning in Leicestershire, Willow and I set off to Launde Abbey to take part in a sheepdog training experience. We drove though the countryside until we saw a sign that said ‘Launde Abbey.’ We initially parked at a big house thinking this was the Abbey, but soon found out we had to keep driving down a hill, until we reached a grand building and parking area. Nij was waiting for us by his green pick-up truck, and after we were acquainted, he guided us inside for a hot drink. He explained that having a chat over a cup of tea is a chance for him to find out what inspired the customers to do this experience, so he can tailor the day to suit their preferences.
We walked to the pick-up truck, where the sheepdogs were patiently waiting in the back. We drove into an open space where the dogs were released. There was Mac and Mist. Mac is 12 years old, and has retired from competing to enjoy his life on the farm. Mist is 6 years old, and as soon as she jumped out the car, she came up to me and rested on my leg. This was an immediate friendship! Cody is Mac and Mist’s baby, and has a long coat with wonderful orange colourings. Finally, another dog hopped out of the car: a 4 month old puppy named Lara! She was so adorable, and had a red lead on her to prevent her from running off after sheep. Her energy was contagious, and she was so excited and happy to meet new people… not as happy as Willow and I, however, who are both puppy obsessed!
After we had all made our introductions, we hopped back in the truck and headed to our first location. There are four fields that Nij can bring you to, each for different sheep with different temperaments. It wasn’t long before we arrived at a field of Scottish sheep. Cody rounded them up and put them in a pen, so we could practice herding them on an easier level. Nij demonstrated how well-trained the dogs are by rounding up the sheep with a few commands. I was initially struggling to understand what these commands were, before I was told some of the dogs are trained in Welsh, Cody being one of them. We watched in awe as Nij effortlessly told the dogs what to do, and the dogs obeyed. I was given much insight into how laid back and disobedient my dog is at home! Then it was time for Mist to have a go. She was quiet, speedy and in control. When two sheep were separated from the group, Nij was able to direct her left to right until they were reunited with the others.
The time had arrived for Willow and I to step up and find our inner sheepdog trainer. Mac jumped out of the car, and waited on the outside of the pen. He is almost deaf, but very intelligent. Nij informed us of how sometimes he can hear you, but will completely ignore you - and you can never tell if this is due to lack of hearing. I was up first, and had the mission of telling Mac to go left, right, or stand when I say so. After learning “Away” means to turn left, and “Come-bye” means to turn right, I shouted to Mac, but got no response. After a few tries, I was told my voice was too gentle and not very authoritative. Willow’s voice is deeper than mine, and Mac listened straight away! This was very irritating, so before we left, I had to ask for a second go. This time, I’m happy to say that Mac listened! (Even if I lost my voice in the process…)
By this point, we were really intrigued to see what 4 month old Lara could do. Her excitement to see the sheep meant that she didn’t always listen to instructions. However, she was remarkable at circling the sheep and showing no fear! I thought a herd of sheep with horns would intimidate such a little puppy, but no! In fact, I was the only one who found the sheep intimidating. We were told that Lara was showing great promise for the future, and with 5 minutes training a day, she is quickly becoming more obedient. On our way back to Launde Abbey, Nij noticed that one of his sheep, Fred, had escaped into the neighbouring field. We pulled up, got Mist out the car and began walking.
A white fluffy sheep came trotting up to me, whose name was Wilma. She began nuzzling me like a dog, and Willow and I instantly fell in love with her quirky nature. She tried to gallop with the black sheep, who didn’t seem as impressed. We reunited Fred with Wilma and went on our way. Nij expressed that no two sheepdog experiences are the same, and are very much based on real life, spontaneous events. We shortly arrived back at the abbey and said our farewells.
This experience is different to anything else on our website, and extremely popular. Now we know why! A huge thank you to Nij for inviting us to take part in his Sheepdog experience. We had a wonderful time.
We absolutely love dogs here at Experience Days, so we couldn't wait to hear all about this experience!
Nij Vyas Sheepdog Training is one of our most unique yet highly popular experiences. Learn how Nij and his dogs became the perfect team and whether you have what it takes to shepherd a flock!
Read on to see what this experience is all about...
1. What encouraged you to take up sheepdog training?
I had a chance meeting with a farmer in North Wales in 1987 when I got my first Border Collie, and he encouraged me to work my dog and it changed my life.
2. Talk us through a typical day of sheepdog training
I run a flock of some 250 Scottish Blackface ewes and some rare breed Hebridean sheep so they need shepherding daily. This gives me a chance to work the dogs on a daily basis which they love. I can have two to three clients daily and use my dogs to keep the sheep in the right place. Sometimes people use my dogs to learn aspects of training. During the breaks I usually train my dogs also so clients can learn by watching me work the dogs. I also undertake training with dogs which worry sheep as well as with pet dogs. I also offer behaviour consultations. Consequently, my work and experience is pretty varied.
3. How long does it take on average to train a sheepdog?
To train a dog for simple farming tasks takes three to four months. Whilst training a dog, to trials standard, and to manage all tasks on the farm can take up to a year or more. Patience is key and not putting undue pressure on young dogs.
4. Are the sheepdogs your own or from elsewhere?
Most of my dogs are home bred but I have just bought a puppy for the first time since 1994.
5. What tips would you give to an aspiring trainer?
To be calm and patient, and to have a sense of humour. To focus on the positive elements and be understanding when their dogs make mistakes, or indeed if they make mistakes. Mistakes offer both the handler and dog with opportunities to learn and improve.
6. Can anyone become a sheepdog trainer?
Not really. It requires dedication, knowledge and a vast amount of experience. They also need all of the above.
7. Introduce us to your current sheepdogs!
Mac – 12.5 years - retired from competition but still works on the farm.
Jake – 8 years - Recovering from a spinal stroke and working his way back to fitness. England Team member.
Todd – 6 years – Strong and keen dog, very good on the hill. World Sheepdog Trials Winner as part of the England Team 2017.
Mist – 6 years – superb flock dog and tremendous on the hill. Very biddable but naughty which I like. Current Midshires champion.
Cody – 3.5 years – Best dog I have had and most consistent. Current UK nursery champion.
Lara – 4 months old – showing great promise and is a fast and brave dog, fearless.
The Sheepdog Training Experience in Leicestershire is able to cater for small group bookings, with a maximum of 8 participants. In order to make a group booking, please contact our customer service team.