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this is for Julie Poudrier


bill virginia
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I have witness your marvelous out runs at Debbie and Roy Johnson’s trials in the past. I am trying to extend my out runs and I am gaining somewhat of a success. I station myself at 9 o’clock and three o’ clock in order to move out my dogs. I seem to have success, but when it comes to 12 o’clock the dogs cut in to tight.

 

I try to move as quickly as possible to the 12 o’clock position to move the dog out, but because of my age (80) running at them is not an option.

 

Do you have any suggestions on how I can solve this problem?

 

I would appreciate your input, but if you do not wish to comment, I will understand.

 

Thanks

 

bill

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Bill,

First I can't take credit for my dogs' outruns, as most of the dogs you've probably seen run at Roy's are from lines that are natural outrunners, or if anything, tend toward wideness. So widening out an outrun hasn't really been a training issue for me.

 

For many dogs, though, if you move toward them, they will simply speed up to get around you, and that's probably what's happening in your case: the dog kicks out from your pressure at 3 or 9 but only far enough to allow it to cut back in at the top, which of course defeats your attempts at widening/deepening at the top.

 

I will tell you what Pat Shannahan had me do with my youngster (not a good outrunner) at a lesson in January. Basically I left Ranger at the spot from which I wanted to send and walked toward my sheep. I didn't send him till I was close to the sheep. I positioned myself on the opposite side of the (upcoming) fetch line from the direction I was sending him (that is, if I was sending him to the right, then while facing him, I would be on the right side of the fetch line (my right). I faced him as he ran out, but did not move toward him. I used my stick in my rendition of Derek Scrimgeour's "dangerous ground" method to put pressure on the ground between the sheep and Ranger or behind the sheep at the top so that he did not come in tight. I also spoke to him as he came around: a sharp "Hey!" to remind him to think about his approach.

 

We had near-instant success with this method. But as Pat cautioned me, this was something I would need to continue doing for months to come until Ranger figured out that giving ground on the outrun and coming in deeper behind his sheep felt right to him.

 

I've also done work in close with him flanking around the sheep and using my stick to put pressure on the space between him and the sheep to help him widen out on his flanks there as well. When doing that, I have added a command for each flank (stay out for come bye and get back for away) so that in the future I will have additional commands in my "arsenal" for moving him out on a flank (which might be necessary, for example, on extremely touchy sheep at the pen or shed).

 

I normally tell people to move in the opposite direction of a young dog--taking all pressure off--to help it widen out. That often works. But with Ranger it didn't, and I had to move toward him and put pressure on him to get him to give space around the sheep. But doing so wasn't having any long-lasting effect: as soon as I stoppped moving into him, he just got tight again.

 

Using Pat's method, and teaching him some "get wider" commands seems to have had a positive effect. He was a bit tight at the trial this past weekend, but that's not surprising given the stress and excitement of a trial situation. In general, though, his outruns became much nicer once I spent some time following Pat's advice.

 

I hope that helps! It's tough to tell what's going on when you can't see the dog and handler working together, so this may not work for you, but it's worth a try.

 

J.

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  • 10 months later...

I will tell you what Pat Shannahan had me do with my youngster (not a good outrunner) at a lesson in January. Basically I left Ranger at the spot from which I wanted to send and walked toward my sheep. I didn't send him till I was close to the sheep. I positioned myself on the opposite side of the (upcoming) fetch line from the direction I was sending him (that is, if I was sending him to the right, then while facing him, I would be on the right side of the fetch line (my right). I faced him as he ran out, but did not move toward him. I used my stick in my rendition of Derek Scrimgeour's "dangerous ground" method to put pressure on the ground between the sheep and Ranger or behind the sheep at the top so that he did not come in tight. I also spoke to him as he came around: a sharp "Hey!" to remind him to think about his approach.

 

We had near-instant success with this method. But as Pat cautioned me, this was something I would need to continue doing for months to come until Ranger figured out that giving ground on the outrun and coming in deeper behind his sheep felt right to him.

J.

 

I need to get my dog wider at the top, especially deeper at the 11:00-1:00 o'clock area. Can you clarify for me where you are positioned in the above description? Are you between the sheep and dog, or slightly to the rear of the sheep and off to one side? My understanding is that you place yourself on the opposite side from the flank your dog takes -- is that correct? Rather than move toward Ranger, to get him wide, you use your stick to create "dangerous ground". Can you elaborate a little on how the stick is used? Is it a matter of tapping the ground between yourself and dog to create pressure and to flank him/her wider?

 

I really like the issue that Bill raises in this thread, and your success motivates me to try the method. Appreciate any clarification you can provide. -- Thanks, TEC

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TEC,

You need to be between the starting point of the dog and the sheep. So you leave your dog at the "post" and walk toward the sheep up the fetch line (the line between the sheep and your dog). Once you get close to the sheep, you don't stay on that center line but move a little ways to the opposite side from the one your dog will be traveling on its outrun (thereby releasing pressure). So if you're going to send your dog right, then you would position yourself to your right side (as you're facing the dog at the post; this is the same as stepping off to the dog's left) of that center line. It's a modification of moving away from your dog as you send it from your feet--in this case you just happen to be closer to the sheep and facing the path the dog will take instead of facing up the field beside your dog and sending it right while you step left).

 

This creates the same effect as stepping away from your dog when you send the dog from where you stand: you're changing the balance point slightly, but that slight change and release of pressure encourages the dog to give more space on its own side.

 

You don't need to tap your stick on the ground. You just point it at the space you don't want the dog entering. It's a means of applying pressure without applying that pressure *directly* on the dog. If you point directly at the dog, you'd be setting up the same situaion as stepping in to the dog and the dog will speed up to get around it (or perhaps stop or flip to the other direction if you inadvertently put the pressure in front of the dog), but if you're applying pressure indirectly, by focusing your attention on the space where you don't want the dog to enter, then the dog will stay out of that space.

 

Try if up close first and see how it works.

 

J.

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You don't need to tap your stick on the ground. You just point it at the space you don't want the dog entering. It's a means of applying pressure without applying that pressure *directly* on the dog. If you point directly at the dog, you'd be setting up the same situaion as stepping in to the dog and the dog will speed up to get around it (or perhaps stop or flip to the other direction if you inadvertently put the pressure in front of the dog), but if you're applying pressure indirectly, by focusing your attention on the space where you don't want the dog to enter, then the dog will stay out of that space.

 

Try if up close first and see how it works.

 

J.

 

I'll try it next practice/training. Just turning to face her, and pointing the stick, as she bends-around at the top, may make all the difference. I have already been doing essentially everything you suggested, except use of the stick, and was a little disappointed in my dog's depth near 12:00 o'clock. Josie ran wide on the flanks, but still a little tight at the balance point. Stepping through the sheep as she bent around them them somewhat worked, yet it is pretty startling to the dog, disturbs the ensuing lift, and for me didn't have lasting effect. Thanks for the clarification. -- Kind Regards, TEC

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