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Retraining an outrun

Guest Empress

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Guest Empress

I think I understand a little now how I messed up my 3 year old last year, but I'm not certain about how to retrain. He was coming along nicely, but me, the novice decided to start driving before really proofing the outrun and fetch.


Plus, I had a group of rather wild sheep in a small enclosure to work. I had set him up in situations where he couldn't even take a step without bolting the sheep.

I couldn't figure out then, why my dog, when asked to do an outrun, started walking straight up on them or slicing into them. I'm now getting the idea that his idea of 'quiet' sheep are sheep in a pen, on a fence or being moved along by him. I am no longer in the picture.

It's been suggested that I pen the sheep along a fence and get him to flank around at a distance in half circles. This seems pretty mechanical and he isn't dumb, so I'm wondering if I will just accomplish some 'mechanical' compliance without getting the notion into his head. He is really good in close situations, penning and sorting where little moves mean a lot.

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Guest Amanda

The idea about the penned sheep along a fence is a good one. Mechanical and correct beats natural and all wrong, every time. It might be the only possible solution.

A three year old with chronic outrun problems is trouble. Three means he has practiced and achieved some conviction about the error of his ways.

Most “experts” would not continue with such a serious problem. They would likely say so, in a moment of candour, but ever hopeful on behalf of their trainees, come up with ways to work it out that hardly ever work, or they would be happy to take on such dogs.

You have learned a training progression the hard way. I did the same thing with my first Border Collie.

At a loss to help you out really, go back to square one. Change the type of sheep you train on. Get steadier sheep until such time as you get an outrun on him and be prepared for it not to happen. Outruns are too fundamental for sheepdogdom to be massively troublesome.

“Experts” can’t help with everything even if they’d like to do.

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