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rac

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Everything posted by rac

  1. My experience is that a dog will really run on an outrun when they're confident. Can you continue to take your dog to unfamiliar places until it's not a big deal ? I'm not a big fan of hiding sheep so the outrun is blind for the dog. I think the time would be better spent teaching re-directs which would be more useful in more situations. Blind outruns can have a negative effect on the dog's confidence especially if it doesn't find the sheep. I find escaping sheep to work well for a dog that tends to slow way down as it nears the TOP of the outrun but not the whole thing (keeping in m
  2. Or just send me an email at raynamy (at) 4fast (dot) net. Ray
  3. imo it's best to begin with a whistle that you can reliably get a decent sound out of. You may not be able to effectively use the whistle you think you "ultimately want to use". We're all made differently and there's different styles of whistles to choose from and try. Most of us wind up with a drawer or a cigar box that has all the whistles that we've tried over the years. Some to be tried again, some never again The whistle is a tool, when you learn how to use the tool well the work becomes a little easier. You can also liken the whistle to a musical instrument. How many kids express an
  4. GG, Probably the best whistle for a complete novice would be either a triangle or one with the nubs or 'wings' on the bottom (like a plastic whistle). The wings and the corners of the triangle are both designed to catch the corners of your mouth to help prevent you from spitting it out while you're using it. Then you can blow the whistle with a more relaxed mouth because you're holding it with your lips and you don't have to clench your teeth to hold the whistle in place.
  5. Liz, I would say the "best sounding" whistle is the one you like the best. It's mostly subjective.
  6. I've recently ordered some buffalo horn from my supplier and the quality of the horn they're getting now is better than I've seen in some time. So I'm going to be making buffalo horn whistles again for anyone that would like one. I've been making whistles for some years and had actually stopped making horn whistles for awhile due to the poor quality of the material that was available. I was the first to make a shepherd's whistle out of Corian, and as far as I know the first to use buffalo horn for a whistle. I'm flexible as far as meeting customers' needs about the shape and size whistle they
  7. I would practice playing familiar songs to get better with pitch and breath control. Play them until others can recognize what tune you're playing. If you can blow softly you can blow harshly but the opposite not always true. Work dog as much as possible with soft whistles, it will learn to listen much better and possibly be a little more responsive. Good luck. Ray
  8. Just to mention my general agreement with Elizabeth and Amy... It's generally not considered good medical practice to use lab tests or modern imaging to go on fishing expeditions. How these tools should be used is to confirm what the diagnostician already suspects based on the careful history and physical exams that were done. In my opinion you've been referred to a very good ortho specialist, you should consider learning what his opinion of your dog's condition is before you have the MRI. If Dr. Richardson wants an MRI then fine, he'll have a good reason for ordering that test, and he'
  9. I've taken one of my dogs in the past to Dr. Richardson and I have the utmost respect for him. Years ago my Sally had a lingering little thing going on with one of her hind legs. You could convince yourself it was almost anything if you looked at her long enough. The local vet had no real idea either. I would try to rest this little lameness out of her and it would come back then I'd try to rest her longer and it would come back. This went on for about 4 months. I had to find out what it was, so I asked around my friends and one recommended Dr. Richardson, an ortho specialist (used to be
  10. rac

    pace

    I agree that some dogs will develop a pace (the pace that THEY deem appropriate to the situation) over time and with experience. You may not like their pace, however, and also may not have the patience to wait for them to accumulate all the experiences they'll need to achieve their "light bulb moment". You can wait a decade for a dog to develop pace, and, IF this happens, are you really seeing the result of the dog finally processing its experiences into a reasonable working speed, or are you just watching a dog working that's getting a little long in the tooth ? I also agree that working
  11. Donald, I think we're both on the same page. Have a good holiday! Ray
  12. I agree with not using the flank command words until the dog is doing close to what you want, less to unlearn later that way. As far as the 'stop', I will see that the dog is stopping reliably (on-balance) then I'll add time. Asking for an extended stop at this early stage IMO may be asking the dog to do something it may not be capable of (and it may lead to a struggle or an outright pi$$ing contest so why go there now?). When I add time I usually do something with that time... like maybe walking the sheep away a short distance to begin their assisted outruns... basically just making the ci
  13. Have you experimented with seeing how you set her up for the outrun might affect the path/route she takes to the sheep ? Ray
  14. No, Gloria, your message did not sound like a complaint to me, there's no need to apologize. I merely took the opportunity to explain how I've come to my most recent position. I also added some hopefully helpful info for Tea and her friend, Pete, if he should decide to start making whistles. I learned everything I know about making whistles the hard way, and I thought I might save someone some time and trouble. The tip I offered to you about keeping the whistle in your shirt is not only for the whistle's longevity but for your own personal safety. The whistle is attached to a lanyard whic
  15. Just a few points... Firstly, I'm still making whistles out of Corian, and Corian makes a very nice whistle which is unaffected by heat or moisture (which does affect the horn btw)). I've personally been using Corian for the last several years and many top handlers are among my faithful customers. I was the first person in the world to use Corian to make shepherd's whistles. I researched this because of some complaints I heard from folks complaining about the taste of some of the horn whistles when they were new. Corian caught on quickly, and as of a couple years ago there are many mor
  16. Couple things to consider... It's going to take some time before this dog works for you like it worked for its previous owner. Some people will tell you it takes a year to get with a dog to where you become a team. A trained dog should do what you ask until you tell it to stop (walk-up, flank, etc). You are probably doing something different than what its used to. Did you work the dog with the previous owner at your side telling you what and what not to do ? Giving the same command over and over could easily be confusing the dog. For instance, multiple walk-up commands can easil
  17. Along with how the sheep are handled by the set out crew, what sets the stage for your run is the outrun. By the time you get the sheep to the post to turn them you have already had a chance to lose more than half your points (for a P/N run). Try to set up each phase of the run with the previous phase. So your lift is set up by the outrun, the fetch is set up by the lift, and you should begin working on the turn once the sheep make the fetch panels. And, as follows, you should be setting up the entrance into the shedding ring/pen (and the attitude the sheep have when they get there) when t
  18. I agree with Julie. I carry a stick, though, all the time when I trial and most of the time when I train. I find it helps if the dog is used to it being there. The only time I use it is at the pen and once in a great while to help at the turn. I bought a dog long ago that I found was stick-shy, and he taught me to shed with the stick held in my hand that is away from the dog and sheep. I always turn to face the group that I want the dog to take, and my stick is always in the hand away from the dog. If I turn to face the the other end of the line of sheep I change the stick to the other h
  19. I sought out the specialist that was recommended by a friend. No referral was needed. (I think the referral requirement is something that may be mostly used by insurance companies that insure humans to prevent patients from running to a specialist before getting checked out by their primary doc first.) I would ask around and see if you can find out what your friends' experiences might be and if they feel they could recommend someone. I drove about 250 miles one-way to see this vet. He was working in a group practice with other ortho vets. A couple things I liked about him at our encounter was
  20. I agree with getting an ortho vet to check out the problem if you can't overcome it with rest. A trial dog of mine once had a hind leg problem that kept coming back after rest periods, this went on for months. The ortho vet took a careful history and went right to the problem. This dog's problem wasn't particularly common, and after she got back on the field eventually wound up having to retire early from competition because it also developed in the other leg. "Rest and leash walks" can be good advice, but sometimes a more exact answer is required. Ray
  21. I try to start inside flanks by following directly behind the dog (and 15-20 yds back) as it's driving. I'll mix short outside flanks with short inside flanks. If the dog hesitates on the inside flank I'll help by stepping back toward the center line and extending my stick a little to block it from wanting to go around behind. In time the dog will stop caring so much which side of the line I'm on. Then I'll slowly make the flanks bigger. Pulling the dog off a fetch and all the way around is the last step in this process. I've had to use a fence occasionally but not often. Starting small s
  22. A very good handler/trainer once told me that "just because a dog can do a 400 yd outrun doesn't necessarily mean they can do a 400 yd fetch". You might try working inside her 'envelope' a little more often and pushing out the edges of the envelope more gradually. Work mostly so she mostly knows success. An idea to try that I just thought of when you test to see where the edge of the envelope might be would be to send her on a long-ish outrun but walk/jog up the centerline so the fetch isn't so long and you're closer to the top when she gets there. You can use your imagination with ideas l
  23. I'll try to address the second issue first, and please bear in mind that it may take trying several "solutions" to find the one that works in your case. Also know that what you're asking your dog to do is fairly difficult, that is to hold one side that has pressure then flank around to the other side without slicing. If I were watching a dog of mine take a flank like you described I would set the scene up again and try stopping the dog before the flank and allow the sheep to walk on a bit to increase the distance between the dog and the sheep. By doing this you increase the chances for a go
  24. Good topic and good tips from everybody. Walking along with the dog (from the side and from behind) that's beginning to drive is fundamental. When the "sheep turn" is the dog turning them toward you (or back to you), or is it just following whichever way they go ? If the dog is just beginning to drive I'll walk along wherever is needed to keep the drive going, and I don't particularly care where the drive goes as long as it continues (targets come later). I find most dogs will start driving easier if you walk off to the side, often they prefer one side at first. Some don't mind taking the
  25. I would have to say that I probably don't teach the "lift" as such. I see it as developing along with the dog's other sheep handling skills that are learned in the early going when we're doing short outruns and fetches and circles and flanks and the dog is figuring out its 'method'. So I see the lift as an extension of the general timbre of the work that is set by the trainer and the dog, an extension of the general way they do things. Your time to have an influence on how the dog lifts would be in the early going not after sending the dog X100's of yards to gather sheep. The only train
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