Smiddyhill Lodge

Luxury Holiday Accommodation - In the heart of the Scottish Borders

Sheepdog Training & Demonstrations During Your Stay

​Julie Hill is one the most successful trainers in the history of international sheepdog trials. She has won the ISDS International Supreme Championship as well as the International Brace Championship, Scottish National Singles and Brace and Driving Championship, International Farmer's Championship, and International Shepherd's Championship.

How To Book

Julie has a busy schedule and cannot guarantee that training or a demonstration is available whilst staying at Smiddyhill Lodge.  You should book early to avoid disappointment.  You should also check the Training Availability Calendar below before booking.

Assessment £45 (approx 1 hour)

Julie will start by explaining and demonstrating her 'Natural Way' method before assessing both the dog and the handlers connection with each other. It is important that the dog has the correct attitude and respect towards his handler in order to maintain enough control whilst working the sheep.

Guidance will be given whilst working the stock and throughout the session. Julie will explain how to use correct body language and gestures.

Julie also has a training book and DVD which is well worth a read before attending a training session.


Training £35 (35-40  mins)

After initial assessment Julie will be able to set a training program for individual handlers and dogs.

At the start of each training session Julie will assess progress and move through the training stages as possible.  

Once the handler has established good control of both dog and sheep Julie will allow for a short practice in between tuition.

Demonstrations During Your Stay

This is a great chance to see and interact with some wonderful dogs. Watch them work at Smiddyhill Lodge or in their home environment at Carcant Farm (a short distance away). Carcant is a breathtaking place to visit, set in the beautiful Moorfoot Hills, where wildlife roam undisturbed.

Whether you want to see these dogs for pleasure or want to learn more about her Natural Way method, then Julie can adapt the type of demonstration to suit requirements.

Watch and view in comfort!
You can sit with a coffee and enjoy the views that overlook the field. With opportunities to watch the lambs playing (seasonal).

Julie will talk you through the way she trains and communicates with her dogs. There is no need to stand out in the cold as a sound system can be linked to the cabin or viewing area for those who book the Lodge.

Type of demonstration on offer
Overview of training a sheepdog using "The Natural Way". This demonstration shows in brief the different stages of training, from the early stages of communication to the advanced stage of training that is required for hill work.

Allow 1 hour for demonstration and an extra half hour for socialising.


Hands on demonstration alongside Julie
If you would like to get close up with sheep and dog to see and feel how the three way communication works between the dog, sheep and handler then this is the demo for you.

Allow 1 hour demonstration and half an hour socialising.


Educational Demonstration
For those wanting to learn the intricacies of "The Natural Way" method. Timescale will depend on clients requirements.

Overview of a sheepdogs life
​This starts with a brief explanation of "The Natural Way". Followed by a tour of the farm watching the dogs working in the hills. This requires fit able people to walk on rough terrain.
Small groups can be transported by trailer.
Appropriate clothing is required.

Allow for 2 hours for demonstration and tour plus extra time to socialise.