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Judging the top end of the outrun


Guest tucknjill

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Guest tucknjill

Hi,

I would be interested in hearing comments about how people judge the top end of the outrun..specifically where the dog ends up, the lift etc... Also, the double lift...Do you point off the dog that stops short, but is actually in line to bring the sheep down the dog legged fetch to the center panel without a whistle vs the dog that is put down in the correct spot to lift the sheep in line to hit the fetch gates. Just taking a poll. thanks! Sam

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Guest Sue Whiteman

I have just registered and caught this topic. Perhaps Sam has forgotten he ever sent it but it's interesting to me.

First, I don't understand why a doglegged fetch could be better than a straight one but I may be misreading the post. I suggest that the answer lies in the dog to some degree. If the dog needs to be whistled down at the top he may need more work on balancing. I fully endorse the use of a definite stop while training and trialling a novice soasto pace the dog on the lift and fetch but later on I would hope that the dog has enough experience to balance, lift and pace itself s he feels his sheep at that magic point of contact.

I was always taught and still think that the moment to whistle down a dog and avoid robotising him is to give a stop (or slow whistle if you have one) as soon as the dog turns onto the sheep. He has felt the balance and now needs pacing on the lift as well as reminding him that you are still there.Course that isn't easy at 250 yards in long grass but you can tell by watching the sheep's heads. When they turn, the dog has made contact. However don't hold the down so long that the sheep move off contact from the dog. You will then undo all the pacing you hoped to establish as the dog rushes to keep up. and it establishes a confusing relationship between dog and sheep which may upset the whole run.

This is one of those moments when timing is all. and why we keep practising!

 

Sue

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Guest Eileen Stein

<< First, I don't understand why a doglegged fetch could be better than a straight one but I may be misreading the post. >>

 

I understood Sam to be asking about a double lift gather, where the fetch is necessarily a dogleg one because the sheep are being gathered from two different places and the first half of the fetch brings them toward the fetch panels in the center.

 

Good question, I thought, but didn't feel sure enough to answer it. I would be somewhat inclined to point off the dog who stopped short on his own, even though he was in the right place to lift the sheep toward the fetch panel. It has to be just luck that he was "right," because it is not the true balance point for bringing the sheep directly to the handler, which is what the dog should be thinking to do if left to himself. Maybe in that situation the handler should have to stop the dog for full points. But then again, how can you point off for a stop and lift that moves the sheep on the correct line? Hmmm. Damn good question.

 

I would not point off. But I wonder what others think, and also if I understood the question correctly.

 

<small>[ May 20, 2003, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Eileen ]</small>

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Guest Sue Whiteman

Oh NOW I get it!! duuuhhh...

In that case I would whistle a stop and expect him to do so if he were good enough for a double lift. It is a part of a dog's intermediate training ISTM to learn to stop anywhere on the circle around sheep.

If the dog stopped short by himself from the true point of balance I also would point off. I would want to see a whistled stop. I would not point off much if the dog stopped on balance and the handler moved the dog back around the sheep, of course the faster the better, to establish an off-centre line.

Just my opinion...but an interesting subject.

Sue

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Guest waytome
Originally posted by Sam Furman:

Hi,

I would be interested in hearing comments about how people judge the top end of the outrun..specifically where the dog ends up, the lift etc... Also, the double lift...Do you point off the dog that stops short, but is actually in line to bring the sheep down the dog legged fetch to the center panel without a whistle vs the dog that is put down in the correct spot to lift the sheep in line to hit the fetch gates. Just taking a poll. thanks! Sam

I am presuming based on my read of this and Eileen's reply that we are speaking about WHERE a dog should stop and HOW on the the first lift of a double lift trial. For this discussion I will assume that the first out run is to the right.

 

The object of judging is to establish which dog/handler team, on any given day, handles the sheep in the most expeditious and professional manner. In effect, judging is in most but not quite all cases, an evaluation of what the sheep are doing.

 

There are things which the dog/handler can do that could cost points but does not necessarially affect the actions of the sheep, (such as over commanding by the handler) but by and large we are judging what the sheep sheep do.

 

On the first outrun to the right of a double lift the dog should stop at the point from which it can make a lift straight to the first fetch panel, not toward the handler. Most handlers will whistle their dog down when in the handlers opinion the dog is in a position to make that lift properly. Quite obviously this point occurs before the dog hits the spot which would lift the sheep directly toward the handler, the only position to which the dog's natural balance would direct him.

 

If the handler whistles his dog down and the sheep lift straight toward the first fetch panel then the handler and dog are right and should lose no points on either outrun or lift.

 

If on the other hand the dog stops of his own volition, without a perceptable (to humans) stop command and lifts the sheep directly toward the first fetch panel the question is, "How would this outrun and lift be scored.

 

In this case the dog/handler would again lose no points on either outrun or lift. The dog/handler team has handled the sheep perfectly and to presume to penalize them would require that the judge speculate about the communications between dog and handler. Quite obviously the judge should never make a decison based on speculation but should make his decision based on how the sheep are handled. If the sheep are right then the dog is of necessity right.

 

I'll give you a scenario to illustrate why a jduge should never speculate about the communication between a handler and dog. Many years ago I owned a dog I had bought from Peter Heatherington. He was sired by Dick Fortunes old Glenn and out of Peter's Nell. He was not a really top dog because he was sometimes inconsistent but when it came to shedding he was without peer. The dog never needing cueing from me about when to pop in on a shed. As soon as I decided that the time was right the dog would automatically pop in and make the cut perfectly. I know I had to be cueing the dog somehow but I was never able to figure out how, even though I had friends film our shedding on multiple video cameras. If a judge penalised because he didn't hear the command for the dog to come in and make the cut then I would never have made a single shed with the dog because non was ever apparant to anyone but the dog.

 

If the sheep are right then the dog is right.

 

JDV

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Guest tucknjill

Hey guys I didnt die, just in and out...glad to read some of the replies, been polling some other well know handlers as well...just something that has been rolling around my brain...

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Guest Eileen Stein

<< In this case the dog/handler would again lose no points on either outrun or lift. The dog/handler team has handled the sheep perfectly and to presume to penalize them would require that the judge speculate about the communications between dog and handler. >>

 

That's exactly why I ultimately came to the conclusion that there should be no points off for the dog who "stops short" in the right place. It seems to me that you can't rule out that the handler and dog have some method of communication that brought about the correct result, even if it's not apparent, or that the dog is able to deduce the task he's being asked to do. Even if it's not TRUE, you can't rule it out.

 

<< If the sheep are right then the dog is right. >>

 

I think this is a good general principle, but I'm not sure it's an infallible principle. For example, unfortunately some trial sheep are so dogged that it's hard for a dog to keep them OUT of the pen. If a dog runs round behind the pen as the sheep are approaching, so that he's staring through the back panel at them (Yes, I've seen this happen!), and they go in anyway, I would take something off because there's no way the dog could possibly be right. But that's something I would do very rarely, always giving the benefit of the doubt the other way. And that's different from the case Sam posed, because in her case the dog IS right -- it's just that he's almost certainly right for the wrong reason. :rolleyes:

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Guest waytome
Originally posted by Eileen:

I think this is a good general principle, but I'm not sure it's an infallible principle. For example, unfortunately some trial sheep are so dogged that it's hard for a dog to keep them OUT of the pen. If a dog runs round behind the pen as the sheep are approaching, so that he's staring through the back panel at them (Yes, I've seen this happen!), and they go in anyway, I would take something off because there's no way the dog could possibly be right. But that's something I would do very rarely, always giving the benefit of the doubt the other way. And that's different from the case Sam posed, because in her case the dog IS right -- it's just that he's almost certainly right for the wrong reason. :rolleyes: [/QB]

You're right of course, that's why I said in most but not all cases is it proper to assume the dog is right if the sheep are.

 

I have an amusing but true anecdote at the expense of Bruce Fogt which illustrates the point. I'm sure Bruce won't mind because we have laughed together at this incident many times.

 

In the late seventies or early eighties when we were proving that time/point trials suck for the first time, Bruce was running a little dog named Sparky. Suffice it to say that Sparky wasn't in the class of Bruce's typical dogs. One might even say that Sparky was in a class by himself.

 

We were in west Texas working goats at a trial when the temperture was about 110 degrees in the shade. Sparky had just finished the course and had turned a very credible run so far but it was obvious that Sparky thought it was too damn hot to be running in a trial. He had the goats right in the mouth of the pen and suddenly all five goats turned and faced Sparky. He stood his ground for a few moments with his sides heaving from exertion. Suddenly a light bulb could be seen lighting above old Sparky's head and he turned and ran about thirty yards and ploped down in the shade of a sapling about five feet tall which just barely provided him protection from the sun. Just about the time Sparky's butt hit the ground under the bush, the goats turned and walked into the pen and Bruce closed the gate. Of course under the idiotic point/time system rules Sparky got full points for the pen.

 

I was seated next to a well known British judge who has both won and judged the Supreme but shall remain nameless here. I asked him how he would have scored the pen if the same scanario happend at an ISDS trial he was judging. He replied with a twinkle in his eye that forever obscured whether or not he was serious, "If the sheep are right the dog has to be right."

 

jdv

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Guest Margaret Wheeler

While the topic is beyond me, that story was superb. Thanks Mr. Varnon.

 

PS. Have you written a book or series of articles about your experiences in border collies? If so, could you point me to it? If not, better get cracking! :rolleyes:

 

<small>[ May 24, 2003, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: Margaret Wheeler ]</small>

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Guest Sue Whiteman

Hi Margaret,

I'm hoping Jim's experiences aren't over yet as far as sheepdogging are concerned..I have a nice little bitch I bred just waiting for me to take her over to him later this year.

He did write a book about 20 years ago called "Because of Eve" but he's growed up a bit now and I agree, it's time to write down all these tales he's tellin' me (g).

 

Sue

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Guest Margaret Wheeler

Oh Boy! Lots of good news in that post, Sue. I hope you'll give me some sense of when and where you will be. It would be great to meet you, see your pup and show you my Nell. She has an enormous handicap as a trial dog (that would be me) but she is soldiering along splendidly in spite of all.

 

Despite my rough and ready style of posting, I'm a decent editor. If Mr. Varnon can be persuaded to write, I would be honored to help with any border collie memoirs.

 

Margaret

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Guest Sue Whiteman

Hey, Margaret,

I'll tell him you are interested in seeing him in print! However I am warning you that he will be busy for a while sorting out somewhere for us to live...for those who don't yet know, we are a "couple" and I hope to be moving to Dallas by Christmas, after things are wrapped up here.

I was looking on the USBCHA website at the trials coming up so may indeed meet some of those I have been writing to for so long...I really look forward to that! and don't worry...you will hardly feel a ripple in the order of placement of dogs' points...I have a LONG way to go and I don't mean just 7,000 miles west either!! I was at the Bluebonnet trial last month and was a wee bit impressed with US handling...

Sue

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