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An outrun and lift question


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I will start with good news and some background. Some of you may remember that Bonnie passed her qualifying test, and yesterday she had her second trial in Class I. It's the lowest and easiest class for trialling here. Bonnie is under 2 years old, and the tasks are the following: 110 yrd outrun, drive, no real cross drive yet (it's done on balance) no shedding yet, penning normal. Bonnie does great on the pen, very well on the on the drive, could do the real cross-drive if it was required, and manages the outrun, and does a decent fetch. We got 78/100 points, but the judge was very generous since it was a 'handler-friendly' unofficial trial.

 

The problem is that Bonnie goes on the outrun well, but flattens the end and as a result her lift is really bad. At home, she does it very rarely; she usually goes far back, and stops at the balance very well and lifts very nicely. If I simply practice the outruns at home a few times, she goes way out too far. But obviously, there is something she hasn't learned well, if she blows it as soon as she is a bit excited and perhaps unsure of herself(new place). So I thought maybe I should now pretend we don't know outruns and start completely over?

 

Obviously, I did something wrong in the process. Things that she really knows well don't crumble so badly in stress situation, e.g. drive and penning. She always manages these very well.

 

I will appreciate your input.

 

Maja

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If she's doing that well at home then I would think it's the need to get some miles on her.

take her to new strange places with new strange sheep. Nothing better than getting your dog out on different sheep.

They can be all pretty at home on their own fields and thier own sheep but that doesn't mean they don't wig out when they get somewhere new, speically if they don't get off the farm much.

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Kristen

 

Thank you; that's very good advice,and I am planning to go places as much as I can. But the closest strange sheep are 100 miles from me, and the field there is too small. All others are even farther. But we will try of course the best we can.

 

I do hope though there is something I can do at home as well to improve the situation, because the drive is decent wherever we are, it's not so wonderful as at home but it's good. So I was thinking that at the end of the outrun she feels unsure so she pretty much blows it, but then if this was the only factor, she should blow it for the drive - moving away from me and not seeing me should make her unsure, but it does not seem so. And the pen is really good .

 

And it does not seem that she is less confident at the beginning and gains confidence later in the run, because for the qualifying test take the sheep out of the pen first, and then take the sheep to the post for the outrun and then go to the handler's post and we do the outrun. She did the taking out of the pen beautifully and everything else, but the end of the outrun and the lift was bad.

 

Maja

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Jodi,

 

It's possible that this was a contributing factor. The first time in her life when she saw the set out fellow, it seems like a for a second she thought 'what in the blazes is that!' So I practiced at home with my DH and made sure he was close to the sheep, before this trial, and she was ok. But maybe it has to do that it is a stranger at a trial. I will remember that next time we go to strange sheep, and try out different versions.

 

Maja

P.S. On a lighter note: On the way back from the trial I remarked that it is ironic Bonnie gets such good scores on the pen since we don't have a pen at home. To this my DH said, "A sheepdog that can put sheep into a dog house can do any pen."

 

He has a point :lol:

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When Hamish was young, he would always slice with unfamiliar holders--we worked on that a lot by doing "top" work with holders he didn't know. He still slices occasionally, but rarely. More when I haven't been trialing him--like for the last year.....the trick in training that is to set it up and then be there to help her understand how to be right.

 

Lol on the dog house

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Lol on the dog house

I put a movie here on the Boards with it :D : How many sheep can yo put in the dog house?

 

Robin,

What do you mean by "top" work, so that I am near the sheep and Bonnie somewhere off and there is a set-out person too?

 

Ray,

I may be wrong, but to me it seems that when she has it in mind to go correctly she can be set up any which way and she will still go well. Of course I normally try to set her up properly. And the thing is that she starts out decently, and I always think to myself - if she slices in, I just yell lie down, and repeat the flank, because then she bends out. But it happens at the last moment, zooom!

 

Maja

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Julie,

 

I thought about it, but gave up on the idea for fear that she will expect a lie down and then start lying down off balance, but since you've got the same idea, I will certainly try it.

 

Among the ton of things I learned from Derek is that if the dog blows something in a pressure situation, it means that may the good performance at home is not as good and I had thought. This was the case with the flanks: After I started looking at the flanks more critically, I realized that I let Bonnie get away with lousy flanks more often than I realized. So I am also tightening on that on the outruns.

 

Thanks to everybody for the input, it all helps a lot when I am out there.

 

Maja

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

I have copies of almost every issue of the Border Collie magazines published in this country, all of which include columns by experts. Several years ago, I had a too-wide runner I wanted to fix, so searched through these hundreds (lierally) of expert columns for advice on "correcting the outrun".

 

Number of articles? None.

 

Perhaps a top handler - someone who has won a Nationals - can correct a dog's outrun. Perhaps. I have seen a hundred dogs whose outrun was "fixed" and every single one of them had outrun problems that were worse than what would have happened if the handler had merely let the dog mature into a proper outrun.

 

Julie's advice is sound. You can't train the outrun. But you can train the redirect and that may correct the outrun.

 

Donald McCaig

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You can't train the outrun. But you can train the redirect and that may correct the outrun.

Thank you for the advice, but since Bonnie can do nice outruns, there are some pieces missing in the puzzle for me. You can't train an outrun, but why can't you show the dog to do the type of outrun she does anyhow most of the times? To me it is a transfer of skill problem not a skill problem in itself?

 

Maja

P.S. I agree of course with the maturing thing. I once asked Bob about something similar and he just told me to wait. So I did. And things changed all by themselves, without even doing them - they all happened inside Bonnie's brain.

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

Ms. Maja wondered: "You can't train an outrun, but why can't you show the dog to do the type of outrun she does anyhow most of the times? To me it is a transfer of skill problem not a skill problem in itself?"

 

I don't understand this subtlety. If you always correct the faulty outrun with a redirect when the dog is tempted to go wrong it will think "Oops - last time I did this I got corrected. So I'll not do it."

 

To some extent a correct outrun is the result of pattern training. The more often the dog does it correctly, the more likely it will do the outrun correctly next time.

 

 

Donald McCaig

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Dear Mr. Donald,

 

I guess then I don't understand what you meant in your post. What I meant was that if a dog always does something badly, e.g. alway goes tight on the top, then it's a global problem, the dog does not know how to do it. But if the dog goes wide when comfortable, confident, and tight if, e.g she sees the stake out person as a problem, then, I would think the problem would be not how to show the dog how to do something, but to generalize something is has already done elsewhere.

 

But this is not all that important, since it has no bearing on what actually needs to be done, I suppose.

 

Maja

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  • 2 weeks later...

There has been some improvement. We practiced on completely strange sheep and fairly new place. I enclose one outrun with her worse side- comeby , but this is at home. The drafted set-out team also agreed to take the video. The fetch begins with a little hiccup since the last ewe is a trouble maker. I also managed to execute a little correction of the sheep's course at the end of the fetch - something I am learning finally, but slowly. My course corrections so far had always been very crude overcorrections and generalized chaos.

 

 

So now I just have to convince my dear little doggy to do this at the trial and we won't have traveled 230 miles in vain (the gasoline prices are killing me this year). (We will go for more practice on a different flock of strange sheep before we goo to the trial.)

 

Julie,

Your advice seems to have improved things, though in a strange way. I practiced the lie down for a couple of sessions and things appeared to be falling apart, and the lie down did not result in improvement of the last part. So we took a break, figuring I was pressing her too hard. And the next day I sent her very nice and sweet making sure I didn't use the stick, and very nice voice. I decided that this time no matter what, I won't stop her, thinking I overdid it before. And it was very good first time around. So she probably was learning and probably I was pressing too hard. The problem with good advice is that the "advicee" must know how to follow it :)

 

So thanks again to everybody for your input.

Maja

P.S. I practiced with a set out team.

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  • 3 weeks later...

With the help from many the visible and invisible Angels from this forum there has been improvement. Thinking about the outrun and its relation with the set out team, and its importance, I had this thought:

 

Bonnie sliced in when the set out team was on the opposite side, so on away the set out was a 9 o'clock, or on come bye the set out was at 3 o'clock. So I figured that if there is no other contraindication, I will send Bonnie on the side of the set out team. So 9 o'clock -come bye, 3 o'clock - away.

 

So today I asked my friend to be in a specific place and sent Bonnie accordingly on both sides. To make the situation more difficult, I increased the distance to about 160 yards. And it seemed it works. Now we just have to test it on a new set out team, now place, and new sheep. This we will have on Nov 30.

 

Of course I'm not planning to send Bonnie on the side of the set out if there is an important reason not to do so. But it's an additional thing to take into account at least until she matures (being not quite two right now). [The movie begins when she is well on the way on her outrun already, and ends well before she finishes the fetch.)

 

 

A new but related question:

Controlled observation of outruns is difficult, because mere repetition changes how she runs. But I have had this feeling that she runs wider if I send her right from my side. I was told that to make her run wider I should place her behind. This worked very well in the past, but I have been having this feeling that she runs better when we start close to each other. Can this be possibly true?

Maja

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I put a movie here on the Boards with it :D : How many sheep can yo put in the dog house?

 

Robin,

What do you mean by "top" work, so that I am near the sheep and Bonnie somewhere off and there is a set-out person too?

 

Maja

 

Sorry, I didn't see this before--what you describe is what I meant--basically shortening the outrun to teach her how to be correct when there is a set out person there and with you closer to give her some support.

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Yep. Here's a short blog post i did about just that -- http://shooflyfarm.blogspot.com/2008/04/t-tip-upside-down-outrun.html

 

Nice. Short sweet & exactly what I needed to read! I hope I can get out somewhere to try it this weekend.

 

As much as I hate being the classic novice poster child, I love it when someone has a simple solution.

 

Thanks! :D

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I love you people on this obard :D [here come enthusiastic hugs]! With you I don't get the impression that I am a total theorizing idiot that does not know squat. Thank you! It is very encouraging, and in stock work encouragement is a big part of the success.

 

Thank you for the tips. I will try them. I thought that sending her from my side gave her confidence because of me being close, but the contact with the sheep makes more sense. Sending Bonnie "from the heel" as we say in Polish, though looks stylish, is frowned upon for a dog that is still being trained in an outrun. But my gut was telling me different. And now I know :D .

 

So thanks again for all the suggestions in the topic. In two weeks we are going to a trial. Maybe Bonnie won't freak out and won't slice in, and we will complete the run :). After all she will be officially two then :)

 

Maja

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