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natural driving dog, need outrun help


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#1 Liz P

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:09 PM

I've always owned dogs with natural outruns who had to be encouraged to drive. Right now I am working with 2 littermate brothers, 2 years old. One has a very natural outrun and flanks, but the other does not.

My problem; the dog who likes to drive has a terrible outrun if I try to start a training session with outruns or working on his outside flanks. He will slice the top and is not opposed to busting up the flock if they start moving before he gets past 3/9 o'clock. If, however, I start with driving exercises and inside flanks he is much more calm and the whole session goes much more smoothly. I had to take some time off from training, but now I am back to a regular schedule and would like to trial with this dog. Are there any specific exercises that are good for dogs who prefer driving to outruns/fetching?

A little background on the dog. He hates pressure from me but loves it from the sheep/goats. If I try to force him to run wider he gets tighter and fast. He has a ton of presence, so if I put him on flightly sheep he needs really wide flanks to not startle them, but put him on sheep that challenge dogs and he is in his element. He backs down to nothing and has been able to move some sheep and goats with nothing but a look that much more experienced dogs couldn't budge. I've been told that with regular training and maturity he will be a huge asset as a stock dog.

#2 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 11:56 PM

I've always owned dogs with natural outruns who had to be encouraged to drive. Right now I am working with 2 littermate brothers, 2 years old. One has a very natural outrun and flanks, but the other does not.

My problem; the dog who likes to drive has a terrible outrun if I try to start a training session with outruns or working on his outside flanks. He will slice the top and is not opposed to busting up the flock if they start moving before he gets past 3/9 o'clock. If, however, I start with driving exercises and inside flanks he is much more calm and the whole session goes much more smoothly. I had to take some time off from training, but now I am back to a regular schedule and would like to trial with this dog. Are there any specific exercises that are good for dogs who prefer driving to outruns/fetching?

A little background on the dog. He hates pressure from me but loves it from the sheep/goats. If I try to force him to run wider he gets tighter and fast. He has a ton of presence, so if I put him on flightly sheep he needs really wide flanks to not startle them, but put him on sheep that challenge dogs and he is in his element. He backs down to nothing and has been able to move some sheep and goats with nothing but a look that much more experienced dogs couldn't budge. I've been told that with regular training and maturity he will be a huge asset as a stock dog.


Sounds like you have a good one there but he'sw noty going to be easy. Take your time with him and the exercise you are doing having him drive some and do some inside flanks is a good way to start with him to work out the crazies and get his mind settled. You will have to start with his gathers at a very short distance and move out as he improves. When I say short, that's what I mean. 30 yards or so. Use about 10 sheep that are not too light but broke well. You have to try and keep things as quiet as possible. Lie your dog down or stay him and walk to the sheep standing directly in front of them. Step to one side or the other, holding your long stick or whip way out as far as possible and ask him to flank one way or the other. Do it quietly. If he starts straight at you go at him "lie down" and stay. When you get to him pick him up by the collar and take him back where he started. Make sure you set him well in the direction you are going to send him. Go back to the sheep and try again, this time moving at him to force him to square off at the start. You will now have to keep at his shoulder so as not to stop him and keep pushing him out until he is coming in behind the sheep. Now, you have to run back to the other side of the sheep so he can fetch them to you. If he is coming in gagn busters behind the sheep, lie him down until the sheep are ahead a little bit and then ask him up again controlling the pace that he brings the sheep by stopping him before he has a chance to bust into them. You have to be fast and your timing must get to be immaculate or he will beat you. Stay on top of him and don't let him get started in any nonsense as this is serious business, this gather and he must know that. Once you get a good gather, quit with some praise, do something he really likes, like driving for a minute or two and then leave with him. Do it as often as you like for the first little while and when you are sure that he's got the idea what a gather is all about, start moving him out in short increments, 20 yards or so until you have a good long gather on him. Remember, you are the boss and he must listen. There can be no fooling around here. You have a good but he will give you a lot of trouble if you don't get this gather on him properly. Get back to me in a little while and let me know how things are going and we'll go from there......Bob

#3 Liz P

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 11:58 AM

My biggest problem with this dog is that if I put pressure on him (lean/walk towards him) he goes faster and tries to squirt past me. I've done a lot of work getting him to take pressure by applying a little bit and immediately releasing and letting him go if he yields. If he does not yield to the pressure I step on the line and force him back to where he started. I am still not at the point where I can use my body to gently push him out. His outruns are much better if I am closer than 50% of the way to the sheep and walking towards them (my back to the dog).

Despite his dislike for pressure from me he is very responsive and willing to partner up. I really enjoy training this dog, so I hope that the wait for him to mature is worth it.

#4 RoseAmy

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 07:24 AM

Hope you two don't mind me jumping in here. My young dog is also a driver and also couldn't care less how much pressure I put on her to go around. Her mission is to have a straight line between point A and point B even it she has to run over me to do it. LOL

I've been taking the appoach the you outlined Bob of sending her and if she goes straight I down her and go drag her back and start over. After a zillion times (I've named this the mule appoach) I am now finally getting a fairly decent outrun.

Now to my question..we are now to the point when she's wrong and I go to down her instead of downing she kicks out and corrects herself and does a beautiful outrun. So what to do..Now this pup is very exicitable so I work very hard on having a good down on her..BUT I've worked very hard in making her understand that she MUST outrun. So what do you think is the best way to handle this.

#5 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 02:27 PM

Hope you two don't mind me jumping in here. My young dog is also a driver and also couldn't care less how much pressure I put on her to go around. Her mission is to have a straight line between point A and point B even it she has to run over me to do it. LOL

I've been taking the appoach the you outlined Bob of sending her and if she goes straight I down her and go drag her back and start over. After a zillion times (I've named this the mule appoach) I am now finally getting a fairly decent outrun.

Now to my question..we are now to the point when she's wrong and I go to down her instead of downing she kicks out and corrects herself and does a beautiful outrun. So what to do..Now this pup is very exicitable so I work very hard on having a good down on her..BUT I've worked very hard in making her understand that she MUST outrun. So what do you think is the best way to handle this.


Hi there. Ok, she's taking your down as a correction so let's see if just correcting her will work. When she gets to the point that you would normally down her, give her a flank to push her out or just call her name and flank her. There's another thing you can do and that's down her and go to her and give her the flank standing beside her to push her out wider. You need to keep mixing up this stuff so you don't create a habit and cause her to start stopping on her outrun. If she kicked out when you went to down her she obviously knew she was wrong and righted herself and that's good. Now you have to put a command with it that means what you want her to do. So when she gets to the point that she's not wide enough call her name and give her the flank to push her out. You are trying to "shape" her outrun and the more she does it right, the more she will do it right. Bob

#6 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 02:41 PM

My biggest problem with this dog is that if I put pressure on him (lean/walk towards him) he goes faster and tries to squirt past me. I've done a lot of work getting him to take pressure by applying a little bit and immediately releasing and letting him go if he yields. If he does not yield to the pressure I step on the line and force him back to where he started. I am still not at the point where I can use my body to gently push him out. His outruns are much better if I am closer than 50% of the way to the sheep and walking towards them (my back to the dog).

Despite his dislike for pressure from me he is very responsive and willing to partner up. I really enjoy training this dog, so I hope that the wait for him to mature is worth it.


Hi. One thing that works very well with a dog that wants to go straight up at the sheep is for you to walk with the dog in the direction you are going to send him, both of you close to the sheep, and then send him when he is moving in the direction you want him to go. I'll try to explain that a little better. If you are going to send on a come bye, put your dog behind and beside you and start to walk at a right angle to the sheep with your dog following along. I see you are using a line so let the line drag making sure there is nothing out there he can get caught up on. You will have your stick or whatever in your left hand and a bit behind the dog. When you get moving at a fast walk or short trot sssshhh the dog with you still moving sending him on his very short outrun. Make sure that you keep trotting berside him to keep him out and when he gets to 3 or 9 o'clock get back behind the sheep so he can fetch them to you. When they get to your feet, lie him down and go give him a pat and tell him he's a good fellow. Do that a few times until he gets the idea of the fetch and then things will come together quite well and you can move on to more distance. This is not going to come overnight so persevere and be patient. It will come. It will come faster than a hard to train to drive dog will too but not much different. Do lots of balance work with these type of dogs ending every session with at least a good 30 second walk around the field with the dog balancing sheep to you and no flank commands, only your stop or ssshhh to get him, which probably won't be necessary. End every session this way because balance is what the outrun, lift and fetch is based on......Bob

#7 Liz P

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 08:47 PM

Did great at the clinic today. A few tight outruns and one bad one, but otherwise he did really well. Cast out on his own despite the hills and blind spots. He stayed calm and authoritative when the ewes tried to outsmart him or act up. With regular work he is going to be a very useful dog.

#8 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:33 PM

Did great at the clinic today. A few tight outruns and one bad one, but otherwise he did really well. Cast out on his own despite the hills and blind spots. He stayed calm and authoritative when the ewes tried to outsmart him or act up. With regular work he is going to be a very useful dog.


I think you'll find down the road that he will be more than just useful. He sounds like he has a fair amount of natural confidence and these are the dogs that make the good ones so keep up the good work, learn as much about him as you can and learn what your needs are as far as being a handler and trainer are concerned. You are welcome to get back to me at any time if you need more help with him and I'm sure we can get through most problems that will arise.....good luck.......Bob

#9 Liz P

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:24 AM

Just thought I would give everyone an update about how Frankie is doing. First of all, I LOVE this dog! I spent my entire vacation budget for the year in order to attend all 8 days of the Bobby Dalziel clinic in April. Best money I ever spent! I feel that I have grown light years as a handler and trainer.

Frankie does NOT respond to pressure by blowing up. I was reading him wrong and he was just taking advantage of me. :rolleyes: With Bobby's help he was working beautifully within minutes. Basically all we did was put him on a very, very long line and stop him if he tried to get away with anything. He learned that I could enforce my verbal commands, even if I was hundreds of yards away. I also learned how to use a lunge whip instead of a training stick to flick him out if he was getting tight. Definitely like that tool much better! No raised voices needed, just a little flick of the wrist.

By day two I think Bobby was wondering why in the world I was saying that I sometimes had problems with him. He did great the entire clinic, until the last day. That morning I stepped in a hole and sprained my ankle while working my younger dog. Frankie knew I couldn't move fast and pulled one of his bowling for sheep moves. (Imagine dog going "WAHOOOO!" and joyfully sprinting straight up the field. :D )

Since then I have continued with Bobby's methods at home and I am absolutely thrilled with my dog. He has taken over as my right hand man. All the issues I was having with him previously are essentially gone. When he was younger I was thinking he wasn't a natural gathering dog because he sometimes left sheep behind. Not now! I have been working on shedding and holding a single this month and am finding that convincing him to leave the rest of the flock can be a battle. With no focused training per say, just practical work, he has learned to sweep the field, do short look backs for stock left behind in the brush and flank on his own (no commands needed) to keep a stray with the rest of the flock.

He is definitely coming into his own and I wouldn't sell him for any amount of money. I had decided this fall to focus all my time and money for at least a year on training, then get back into trialing in the future. Best decision I ever made.

#10 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 06:46 PM

Just thought I would give everyone an update about how Frankie is doing. First of all, I LOVE this dog! I spent my entire vacation budget for the year in order to attend all 8 days of the Bobby Dalziel clinic in April. Best money I ever spent! I feel that I have grown light years as a handler and trainer.

Frankie does NOT respond to pressure by blowing up. I was reading him wrong and he was just taking advantage of me. :rolleyes: With Bobby's help he was working beautifully within minutes. Basically all we did was put him on a very, very long line and stop him if he tried to get away with anything. He learned that I could enforce my verbal commands, even if I was hundreds of yards away. I also learned how to use a lunge whip instead of a training stick to flick him out if he was getting tight. Definitely like that tool much better! No raised voices needed, just a little flick of the wrist.

By day two I think Bobby was wondering why in the world I was saying that I sometimes had problems with him. He did great the entire clinic, until the last day. That morning I stepped in a hole and sprained my ankle while working my younger dog. Frankie knew I couldn't move fast and pulled one of his bowling for sheep moves. (Imagine dog going "WAHOOOO!" and joyfully sprinting straight up the field. :D )

Since then I have continued with Bobby's methods at home and I am absolutely thrilled with my dog. He has taken over as my right hand man. All the issues I was having with him previously are essentially gone. When he was younger I was thinking he wasn't a natural gathering dog because he sometimes left sheep behind. Not now! I have been working on shedding and holding a single this month and am finding that convincing him to leave the rest of the flock can be a battle. With no focused training per say, just practical work, he has learned to sweep the field, do short look backs for stock left behind in the brush and flank on his own (no commands needed) to keep a stray with the rest of the flock.

He is definitely coming into his own and I wouldn't sell him for any amount of money. I had decided this fall to focus all my time and money for at least a year on training, then get back into trialing in the future. Best decision I ever made.



Hi there. Even though I am much older than Bobby, he is my mentor and I think that his Wisp is the best dog I have ever watched run, bar none. I try to follow most of Bobby's methods if at all possible and talk to him as often as I can. With dogs of your type he is a wizard so I hope you learned lots and took it home with you. You have a great dog there and he will serve you well throughout your time with him. Good luck and stay with it........Bob

#11 Liz P

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:57 PM

Quick update on this dog.

I needed to get sheep out of a pasture that was down a steep, wooded slope. Feeling a little lazy and not wanting to brave the icy rocks, I sent the dog and gave him a "look" command. He ran down through the trees and across the frozen creek, at which point he encountered a fence. I gave him another look command and he slipped through an opening in the wire. I could see him cast out to the right but my view of parts of the field was obstructed by the trees.

A few minutes later he showed up at the fence with the flock. I had him drive them along the fence to an opening, maybe 150 yards. Once they were through the opening and at the creek they stopped, not wanting to cross. I guess they didn't like the ice. Frankie had to hit a few heels to convince them to go, but they were honest, well placed grips. He fetched them up the slope then drove them past me into the front field.

The farm owner told me that the outrun down the slope and across the field would have been about 600 to 700 yards, the first 300 being blind (through the woods). Not bad for a dog that wanted to play bowling for sheep when he was younger. I think he is a keeper ;)

#12 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 02:29 PM

Quick update on this dog.g

I needed to get sheep out of a pasture that was down a steep, wooded slope. Feeling a little lazy and not wanting to brave the icy rocks, I sent the dog and gave him a "look" command. He ran down through the trees and across the frozen creek, at which point he encountered a fence. I gave him another look command and he slipped through an opening in the wire. I could see him cast out to the right but my view of parts of the field was obstructed by the trees.

A few minutes later he showed up at the fence with the flock. I had him drive them along the fence to an opening, maybe 150 yards. Once they were through the opening and at the creek they stopped, not wanting to cross. I guess they didn't like the ice. Frankie had to hit a few heels to convince them to go, but they were honest, well placed grips. He fetched them up the slope then drove them past me into the front field.

The farm owner told me that the outrun down the slope and across the field would have been about 600 to 700 yards, the first 300 being blind (through the woods). Not bad for a dog that wanted to play bowling for sheep when he was younger. I think he is a keeper ;)


Pretty nice when you can have that kind of confidence in a dog that he can pretty well get any job done. Good luck and thanks for getting back to me. Also I would like to recommend that those folks who can get to a Bobby Dalziel clinic get to it. I know that he is putting one on back east this spring and this would be a good opportunity for some of you to train under one of the masters of the world. Bob



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