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the outrun

Bo Peep

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Usher doesn't have one built in- sad but true. So we are working on his confidence in smaller outruns, building up to larger ones. Is this the proper technique? It's been so long and I always "hurried" them too fast. I want to do this right this time. We are going a little slower and longer at at out runs, his weakness.


His directions are pretty well set- hands in the pockets (it's getting cold) and does his come byes and aways without being "set up"- if you know what I mean......he KNOWS the difference. He knows the "out" command, even with only a paw or two- we'll take it'


Just need some tad bit of help on the outruns. Moving too slow for me. I am too wanted to quickly move up, where my trainer thinks things should move slowly, AH- bad habits by me.


I just want to trial him without crashing and burning. Been there-done that. Not happy. I'm very happy with my trainer. Most important, he is happy with me. Good combo.

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To help you stay patient try to remember that you are teaching, if the dog is correct and stays correct while working slow you can try to speed things up step by step, but if the dog can not stay correct there is no sense asking him to go wrong at a faster speed = crash and burn. It may be why your trainer is happy with the current status, slow and getting steady, vs. fast and wrong all over the place, the more the right method is repeated the better chance it will be right when you add speed and excitement, sorta a way to proof your training but you don't want to do it until you can have faith that there is a chance that the dog will succeed, if it goes wrong when you add speed and excitement then the dog was not getting it and he reverted back to what you were trying to train away from.


Another thing to think about, if your dog was to go fast and started to go wrong are you prepared or quick enough to make the correction at the exact point of failure? If not your better off leaving it slow so you can keep it correct vs. speeding it up and missing the corrections which leads to allowing the wrong thing, which in turn makes the dog think he is right when he is wrong.


Be patient, build a good foundation, I'll bet that when you trainer feels that the foundation is firm he will have you speed Usher up.



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All training is about the small steps. Pushing a dog too far too fast will almost alwasy come back to bite you in the arse. No one starts a youngster doing 300-yard outruns (even the natural outrunners). They start at hand (measured in feet perhaps) and work up to the longer stuff as the dog gains confidence and shows he can do it right at the shorter distances. Keeping him close in means that you can make sure he's doing it right (that is, you can ensure proper flanks, since an outrun is really just a long flank). I would also work on speeding things up while he's at hand as you can influence him more easily and make sure that speeding up doesn't also mean sliced flanks or worse.


P.S. Beware rushing to trial. You can do more harm than good with that. That doesn't mean you have to wait until he is perfect, but don't set him up for failure or backsliding by pushing to trial too soon.



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Beware rushing to trial.


Agreed. While it's certainly fun to get out there and show off what they can do, the real satisfaction is in training the dog properly and seeing the progress,



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Thank you so much everyone. Do you know it's been 13 years since I've started a dog? It's coming back to me. I actually don't shake (or don't realize I am) when I'm out there. It's like therapy! Of course I want to trial!!! But only when Usher is ready. He goes on lots of trips with me, but when we are about 1/2 way there, both him & Bliss are sitting up- they KNOW where they are going. Bliss will NOT be taking lessons. I talked with Kelly and he said she could do the ASCA thing but, at her age, she's never make it at any level at border collie trials. He doesn't charge me for her. It's Usher's rest time. I'm very happy with him.


We are taking baby steps towards the outrun. Getting further and further away with NO crossovers. That's a biggie. I want to train him to be perfect in the field we are working in, because with nerves and etc... things will mess up at a trial. Been there- got the T-shirt. Scio 1997- LOL.


Thank you again. I'd appreciate anymore advice you all could give me!!

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I'm very happy with my trainer. Most important, he is happy with me. Good combo.



Seems like this is the most important thing in your post. If you, Usher and your trainer have that sometimes elusive :good fit: then stick with it and follow that advice you are undoubtedly paying well for.


As for my own semi-natural outrunner I know that every time we significantly increase the distance their is a chance that the outrun which was beautiful at our previous distance has a chance to breakdown - either she will go slowly, stay narrow, possibly stop part way out and look back if she has not seen the sheep, go way wide looking for sheep, even (horror !) cross over looking for her sheep. If any of these happen I try to lie her down and go help her from a shorter distance and then work our way back out. Fortunately I have a fairly quick learner on the outrun and it usually only takes a couple times for her to figure it out. Basically when it breaks down bring in closer and then stretch back out when it is working well at the closer distance.


One thing I have noticed is that it is sometimes difficult to tell when it is a problem and when she is figuring things out. So short of a crossover (I will make her come back and start over) or clearly turning back looking for more direction (I give her the original directional command and she usually gets going as if she was checking if I was sure when I sent her) I will try to swallow my command if I notice from her head that she seems to be checking in and looking for her sheep. This has given me some wonderful moments where she has obviously self adjusted from one outrun to the next. For example the first time I Sent her about 250 yards she went what I thought was plenty wide but the sheep lifted sideways. The very next outrun to the same side she went even wider and I was just about to call her in when I noticed her head looking at the sheep and swallowed my command. Sure enough she went wide and came up directly behind her sheep for a sraight lift. She had learned and it did not take long.


My basic approach is if there is a problem at 300 yards then reduce to 150 for a couple good outruns before moving back out slowly. If there is a problem at 100 yards try 25 and so on.


It seems there are two or three basic approaches to getting the outrun. One approach is to set yourself up on the same side and make the dog go around you to get her sheep. The other is to walk in the opposite direction so the dog uses her sense of balance to get out.


As those here who know me will attest - I am one who is likely to jump in to trial situations above my head at times - so I have had my share of spectacular chrashes and burns. But it has never hindered our training because I have taken it as clear indication of what we need to work on. But I have some friends who have different reaction to crashes and it can destroy their confidence for a long time. Different personality types and you need to assess which one you are. If you are the type that will be devastated by a bad run and go into a shell afterwards then by all means wait to trial until you can be pretty confident you will not crash and burn. If you are more willing to accept the (hopefully) occasional crash then go ahead and get out there. But if you do that you cannot have a thin skin. And MOST IMPORTANTLY watch other handlers - especially the open handlers - and listen. You may even get some valuable advice but you can definitely learn from them.


Unfortunately it seems that PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are both incredibly important to this endeavor. Since you have found a good trainer who you like stick with him/her and keep at it.

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Hello all. Diane, the fact that you bring up Scio from over 10 years ago suggests to me that you need to let it go. No one remembers or cared when they saw it, except you. All of us have had trying moments on the trial field (and elsewhere) with our dogs, and we sympathize. 2 weeks ago one of my dogs drove sheep off the trial field, through a fence into the handler camping area where it took me 10 minutes to get them penned. when i walked back to the sitting area a friend commented "that wasn't much fun" and i simply shrugged "that's dog trialing." another friend shared something with me a couple years ago that has really stuck with me and changed my entire attitude about the dogs. she told me "make trialing about the dogs, not about your ego" and boy did that make sense to me and what a relief!


try to focus on, and feel good about what you did right after a trial and training. that's what you want to build on. let the other stuff go.


as far as your outrun, it helps me to remember that it's just an extension of a flank. so, when i have the flank correct at hand, i gradually begin to stretch it out. as long as the dog is absolutely correct, i continue to stretch, but at any point if the dog is wrong, i back up to where he was right and start over. i also use the "little bit of kindergarten" theory, where no matter how far along a dog is in training, i reinforce the basics a bit in almost every session. 9 year old Price still gets reminded now and again at hand that lie down means rigth now. how long it takes to get a good outrun is dependent on your dog's ability to learn and your ability to teach.


cheers all,

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