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Wide enough?


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#1 jgambill

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

Hi Amanda,

Just wondering what your criteria might be for deciding whether or not a young dog (under 2) is wide enough off his sheep on the outrun and lift.

I have a young dog when gathering the sheep here (they're all perfect at home, right?) is wide enough to not disturb the sheep before getting behind them which is great. He has not been very many other places so am hoping he will transfer this when he does get to new places. I have tried him with just a person standing with the sheep and that will occassionally pull him in a bit tighter so I will continue to work on that. However, after recently scribing for an open class at a trial, it was quite obvious that he is not nearly as deep as the open dogs. So my question (finally!!) is When do you worry, i.e. work on getting him wider? When do you just let his natural maturity and experience with sheep help teach him the right thing? In the end, I want a good thinking dog who reads the sheep, knows what the job is and learns to adjust to the sheep he is working. I do NOT want a dog who is so wide that he is out of contact with his sheep nor one that is not thinking about what he is doing.

Hope that is clear enough and any advice will be gratefully accepted. :)

Judy

#2 ajm

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:23 PM

The criteria will be how the job goes. So your dog at home, who is gathering well, is doing right. Tell us the truth about your sheep. Sometimes, if they are remarkably doggy and you only train on a handful, they may not react as fresher sheep would react. So maybe your home out running dog would make a mess at a trial with four fresh sheep, never dogged much before. Your dog is young, at under two. So you would do well to take him out places and try to get him worldly. Prevail on your friends to let you come over and school. Make his new outruns small, so you can be in a position to get him out if you must.
Something about his breed, will help you know more about his inclination to run wide. If his parents do it, don't push your youngster out, or he may finish too wide, a trait, which, I despise. Wide running tends to get worse as they get older, when it can really materialize into a vice.
I often wonder if the wide runners we see in open trials would have got too wide if their handlers had not got them out, to help their performance at a Nursery Finals--got them out prematurely. Some people blame the Nursery for this, while I do not--it is a handler/trainer responsibility.
I always have high hopes that the dog I am training will see the wisdom of a deep cast on his own , without my getting him out. I like dogs to feel their sheep and understand the damage or success their touching them, tight or wide, can bring. Usually they do, if I am patient. I scold for chaos and reward order.
We all want "a good thinking dog who reads the sheep, knows what the job is, and learns to adjust to the sheep he is working." Me too.
Pay attention to the quality of your training sheep. Get on fresh sheep whenever possible. Get your dog out on new terrain, new circumstances. Hopefully he will see what a great idea it is to give a little ground to the sheep. If he disturbs the sheep in his nouveau setting, scold him and ask him to get them again, in a more acceptable way, which will likely take him on a wider track, like the one you saw at the open trial. But if the sheep are coming off well at home, correction for tight is a hard sell.

#3 jgambill

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:20 PM

The criteria will be how the job goes. So your dog at home, who is gathering well, is doing right. Tell us the truth about your sheep. Sometimes, if they are remarkably doggy and you only train on a handful, they may not react as fresher sheep would react. So maybe your home out running dog would make a mess at a trial with four fresh sheep, never dogged much before. Your dog is young, at under two. So you would do well to take him out places and try to get him worldly. Prevail on your friends to let you come over and school. Make his new outruns small, so you can be in a position to get him out if you must.
Something about his breed, will help you know more about his inclination to run wide. If his parents do it, don't push your youngster out, or he may finish too wide, a trait, which, I despise. Wide running tends to get worse as they get older, when it can really materialize into a vice.
I often wonder if the wide runners we see in open trials would have got too wide if their handlers had not got them out, to help their performance at a Nursery Finals--got them out prematurely. Some people blame the Nursery for this, while I do not--it is a handler/trainer responsibility.
I always have high hopes that the dog I am training will see the wisdom of a deep cast on his own , without my getting him out. I like dogs to feel their sheep and understand the damage or success their touching them, tight or wide, can bring. Usually they do, if I am patient. I scold for chaos and reward order.
We all want "a good thinking dog who reads the sheep, knows what the job is, and learns to adjust to the sheep he is working." Me too.
Pay attention to the quality of your training sheep. Get on fresh sheep whenever possible. Get your dog out on new terrain, new circumstances. Hopefully he will see what a great idea it is to give a little ground to the sheep. If he disturbs the sheep in his nouveau setting, scold him and ask him to get them again, in a more acceptable way, which will likely take him on a wider track, like the one you saw at the open trial. But if the sheep are coming off well at home, correction for tight is a hard sell.



#4 jgambill

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

Thank you, Amanda. Just to make sure that I am understanding this correctly. I need to watch the work and if that is going properly, I deduce that the dog is right -- at least when using lightly dogged sheep. Also, that I should get him out and about in order to broaden and deepen his experience. When at a new place, start closer to make sure all is well. If not, then I am to set it up again in oerder to teach him the 'right' way.

Would you share some of the techniques you use to help teach this when necessary?

Thanks, Judy

p.s. Sorry about the post last night, I started, but didn't have time to finish and somehow I still managed to repost your answer!!! :(

#5 ajm

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

Yes to your summary of what to do.
Outruns are developed early on in the training, beginning when they first cast around the sheep and stop at twelve. You just keep making them bigger.
I always hope I don't have to tamper with an outrun. Bobby Dalziel said something once that caught my attention, however. He said dogs that did not have a natural outrun, were often easier to redirect on outruns since the non-naturals ran out with less conviction. He'd know.
You sound like you are doing fine. If your dog lets you down, get him back promptly. lie him down where you started the wrong outrun. Walk closer to the sheep to make yourself an enforcer and send him out further.



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