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Problem with bendouts


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#1 Maja

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 12:30 PM

Dear Mr. Bob,

I have been trying bendouts (I hope it's the right word here) with my 11 months old Bonnie where I walk slightly past the dog, and the dog then moves away from the sheep in front of me and nicely broadens put. But Bonnie would start nicely out and then end up close to the sheep. So I was told not to make an outrun out of it but move close to the sheep which I did. However, I didn't get any results except that Bonnie doesn't bend out as nice as she did in the beginning and she still end up close to the sheep. She is very willing to please and is the type of dog that reacts badly to the pressure from me (e.g. if I do the exercise where the handler walks/runs sort of behind the circling dog, she instead of widening tightens the circles. She also wears better with me walking normal than walking backward).

I have a video with the earlier bendouts without me walking up to the sheep and then with walking/running up to the sheep. If the file is too big, I can reload its smaller version.



Am I doing something wrong, or does Bonnie need some time to catch on? I had one session of each type of this exercise, and now I don't want to continue wrong.

Thank you in advance.
Maja

#2 Maja

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 02:28 AM

I have altered the approach a little in the meantime, and I think, there is a little improvement:



However, I will appreciate advice on how to do it best, since Bonnie is not yet consistent with it.

Best wishes,
Maja

#3 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:42 AM

I have altered the approach a little in the meantime, and I think, there is a little improvement:



However, I will appreciate advice on how to do it best, since Bonnie is not yet consistent with it.

Best wishes,
Maja


Hi Maja. First of all I must apologize for being so tardy with this reply but I have been doing a lot of reno's on my place and just answering posts as I get a minute here and there in between the work and training dogs. I watched your videos and things look like they are progressing about normally for a young dog and handler. The first advice I can give you is don't worry about how close the dog is right now. The thing you should be doing is short outruns and no circling. To start get yourself between the sheep and the dog, closer to the sheep. Make sure your dog is not too far away from the sheep to start with. (about 20 yards is plenty for now) Facing your dog and just in front of the sheep, move off balance some and shush the dog so that she starts on a nice square flank around the sheep. To ensure she stays square, move towards her pushing her out so she stays off the sheep the same distance as she goes around them. Make sure you don't get in front of her and stop her or you'll have to start over again. Just behind her inside front shoulder is a good place to be. As she approaches 9 or 3 o'clock start to back up so she can fetch the sheep to you when she gets behind them. You'll need to back up quite quickly as she will get to the sheep faster than you can back up. I notice that you are lying her down when she gets behind the sheep and I wouldn't do this too much if I were you. The time to slow the dog down is after she has lifted the sheep, not before. Let her find balance when she gets behind the sheep. You can help her here by moving yourself around as you are backing up to change the balance point and make her think about where she should be to bring the sheep directly to you. It is very important to keep the balance in the dog at all times as this is the reason we use Border Collies, because they have balance and the desire to fetch stock to us. You can help the dog establish it's balance by walking around the field and letting the dog bring the stock to you as you walk around. It's a good exercise to do at any stage of training and I always end my sessions with 20 or 30 seconds of balance work. You can also teach the dog pace while doing this as you don't want her pushing the sheep past you. Be sure that when you are doing the balancing that you walk at a good pace and not too slow as it is not comfortable for the dog to be having to put the brakes on all the time and also it is not efficient for a dog to move sheep that slowly. Work on short outruns for now and lengthen them as the dog gets more proficient at it. Make sure you keep letting him bring the sheep to you and just control the pace of the sheep by either stopping or slowing the dog down as he brings them to you, NOT BEFORE THE LIFT! It is really important that the dog learns to read the pressure when she gets to the top and begins her approach to the sheep so that she can help you at greater distances and when you can't see the sheep. Pressure and balance are very closely related and extremely important. Balance is what gives the dog the ability to bring the sheep directly to you even though they want to go elsewhere. Pressure from the sheep causes the dog to, in turn, put pressure on the sheep in order to accomplish the task you are asking of him. It eventually will become a nice flowing movement with the dog going out on his outrun at a nice 30 to 45 degree angle and staying at that angle until she approaches the 3 or 9 o'clock point and then the turn onto the sheep with the dog keeping that same distance she was when she started the turn and then a nice calm approach to the sheep from the point of balance in order to turn them directly to you and begin the fetch. Hope this helps some and don't hesitate to ask for clarification if there is something you don't understand. There are no dumb questions so don't be shy. sincerely ...... Bob

#4 Maja

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 02:07 AM

Dear Bob,

Thank you so much for your answer. It makes perfect sense. I will print it out, read it a few times and try out everything you said. Then I will probably have a question or two.

Best wishes,
Maja

#5 Maja

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:36 PM

Dear Bob,

Thank you again for your detailed instructions. Bonnie often reacts the opposite way from the expected when I try to put pressure on her with my body, so when I tried to follow her, she would tighten in. Also the sheep caused trouble by starting to follow me before Bonnie completed the outrun, that caused her to slash the las part. So I made a modification where I am farther away from the sheep and I push her out with the verbal command "out" to which she reacts very nicely, except I think she comes in too tight at the top, then brings the sheep at top speed to me. Again, the steadying "stand" command does not seem to work until she has brought the sheep to me at Mach3.

Also the drawback of my modification is that on her non-preferred comebye side she occasionally crosses over, and I have to remember to make the distance smaller than for "away". I am hoping that tomorrow my friend will agree to operate the camera and I will be able to upload a movie showing what I do.

Maja

#6 Maja

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:45 AM

Dear Bob,
Here is the latest video. I am sorry, you can't see the whole route of the dog, but it's the best I can do (the friends video mostly showed me standing with the sheep :) ).

The stakes mark 22yds, which means that Bonnie makes a 44 yr outrun. It is more than what you mentioned, but we started at a smaller distance and I had to increase it because of the sheep and their annoying habit of starting to trot towards me long before Bonnie got to 12 o'clock. It caused a great deal of problem. So I moved farther back.

On the second "away" outrun (0'38") you can't see Bonnie unfortunately when she approaches 3 o'clock. At that moment the sheep sort of jiggle, and she - thinking they are going to move as they often did before - stops dead in her tracks. I tell her 'out' and she continues bending our nicely and comes in correctly.

Bonnie's comebye side is weaker and she wanted to cross over in the vid, but I yelled at her 'out' and she lay down; I brought her back and started her again - this time she did better, I think.

Bonnie also started to react to "stand" and she slows down, sometimes she lies down, though I do not require it of her, and I try to remember not to slow her before the lift as you said.

The second and third outrun the radius is about 30yrds (I know because she goes the width of the field).

So I hope we are on a good path?



Maja

#7 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:21 PM

Dear Bob,
Here is the latest video. I am sorry, you can't see the whole route of the dog, but it's the best I can do (the friends video mostly showed me standing with the sheep :) ).

The stakes mark 22yds, which means that Bonnie makes a 44 yr outrun. It is more than what you mentioned, but we started at a smaller distance and I had to increase it because of the sheep and their annoying habit of starting to trot towards me long before Bonnie got to 12 o'clock. It caused a great deal of problem. So I moved farther back.

On the second "away" outrun (0'38") you can't see Bonnie unfortunately when she approaches 3 o'clock. At that moment the sheep sort of jiggle, and she - thinking they are going to move as they often did before - stops dead in her tracks. I tell her 'out' and she continues bending our nicely and comes in correctly.

Bonnie's comebye side is weaker and she wanted to cross over in the vid, but I yelled at her 'out' and she lay down; I brought her back and started her again - this time she did better, I think.

Bonnie also started to react to "stand" and she slows down, sometimes she lies down, though I do not require it of her, and I try to remember not to slow her before the lift as you said.

The second and third outrun the radius is about 30yrds (I know because she goes the width of the field).

So I hope we are on a good path?



Maja


Hi there. Your dog is not coming in tight at the top but you do need to get on the ball and stop her after she has turned in on the sheep. She must learn to approach her sheep cautiously but with firmness. To do this you need to be very intricate on your timing of your stop command. Right now you are much too late giving the stop. As soon as the dog makes her turn on to the sheep you need to give your stop command quickly. Then, BEFORE THE DOG STOPS OR LIES DOWN, give a "walk up" and then control the pace of the sheep by giving stops and walk ups. Don't be confusing the issue with another command like stand at this time. That can come later. When training for your come by outrun get yourself much closer to the sheep for now until she is not trying to cross over when she leaves your side. You cannot control what the dog does at the top end by being at ther side when you send her. That can only be done when you send her from a point further away from you and the sheep. You need to lie her down and tell her to stay and walk toward the sheep about 20 yards from where you have been sending her. Hold your left hand with the stick in it out wide to your side, go to the off balance side of the dog, give her the command and as she goes out from her position run or walk fast to ensure that she goes around the sheep properly. In the video it is pretty obvious that she knows what a proper come by outrun is as she did it right when you brought her back and sent her again. I would work 75 to 80 % on the come by and only 15 or 20 % on the away outruns until she is consistent on the come by. When she is making her approach to her sheep on the lift and you have insisted that she slow down and approach the sheep properly, start to back up quite quickly so that she has a longer fetch to you. Don't stand and wait where you started the outrun; get going backwards so that she has a longer distance to bring them and let her bring them at an efficient pace, which is not an extremely slow walk. It is a pace that the sheep are comfortable with and could be anywhere from a brisk walk to a short trot. It would appear to me that her outruns are quite nice, but she does need to be taught to lift softer and with firmness and that will come. She appears to be enjoying what she is doing and you are doing a good job with her so keep up the good work and have fun with her. The videos are a great way for me to see what is going on and I certainly can help much more when I have a video to watch prior to giving comments. sincerely......Bob

#8 Maja

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:34 PM

Thank you so much for your advice!

I have included a few seconds of a video to show why I decided to do outruns with me staying put rather than going forward. If I get to the sheep a little closer (I think the magic distance it if I am closer to the sheep than Bonnie at any moment), they start going towards me. In the video, Bonnie is at about 50 yrds radius from the sheep when they begin moving towards me. I think it is not good what is happening in the video. So instead, I send Bonnie on outruns of about 60yrds and more, and I am at no less than 50 yrds from the sheep.



In the video, I think you can hear me (in spite of the gale) guiding Bonnie to slow down. I use “stand” as a rough working command. It is, depending on the force, supposed to slow her or stop her. I don’t use “stop” command, so the only way I can stop her is to say “stand” or “lie down” for now.

It seem to me that I can guide her verbally the way you described, if I get the timing and the tone right and be on the ball in general as you said and do it without coming toward the sheep and causing other trouble as shown in the video.

I will try to update the situation, when I can conscript somebody to stand out in the cold with the camera, and show the results. However, since the bend-out problem seems to have been resolved, I won’t take up any more of your time in this topic. Thank you again for all your help and encouragement. This is really tremendous that so many people have been willing to spend time and help me on this Board.

Maja

#9 Maja

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:57 AM

Here is the promised final update showing, I think, that Bonnie has caught on what I require of her in regard to slowing down you told me about. The outrun is still very rough of course, but there is gradual improvement.

In the first outrun:
- She very clearly slows down on her own;
- I also think that in the first outrun she slices in a bit, but the sheep go straight.

In the second outrun:
- She also slows down before I say "stand" but it is not apparent in the video.
- you can see how tricky for me the slowing down is - since this is a fresh pasture, if the sheep slow down too much, they stop, and make it difficult for Bonnie to push them (she does not have a great deal of push on these sheep, but she is 12 months now).
- I noticed how she looks at the sheep and corrects her course, which makes me very happy.



Am I at least somewhat on the ball?

Thank you again for all the help, and I hope I will be able to ask you again if (or rather when) we get stuck somewhere else in the training.


Maja

#10 RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:59 PM

Here is the promised final update showing, I think, that Bonnie has caught on what I require of her in regard to slowing down you told me about. The outrun is still very rough of course, but there is gradual improvement.

In the first outrun:
- She very clearly slows down on her own;
- I also think that in the first outrun she slices in a bit, but the sheep go straight.

In the second outrun:
- She also slows down before I say "stand" but it is not apparent in the video.
- you can see how tricky for me the slowing down is - since this is a fresh pasture, if the sheep slow down too much, they stop, and make it difficult for Bonnie to push them (she does not have a great deal of push on these sheep, but she is 12 months now).
- I noticed how she looks at the sheep and corrects her course, which makes me very happy.

I very much like what I saw in these two videos, especially the last one. The dog is rating her sheep very well and in control and pushing just the right amount. You did very well at getting her to slow down just after the lift like I had suggested and then you controlled the pace of the sheep all the way to you. The dog did a good job of keeping on contact with the sheep all the way and you contolled her well so that she brought them at an efficient pace all the way. You will see the push come down the road as she matures and you help her to be right. Keep in touch and we'll go from there. One thing with a young bitch like this is to always be aware that you are not pushing her past her capabilities as you can sour a young dog if you ask her to do too much too soon. This young bitch appears to be quite biddable and likes to please so be careful with her that you don't ask too much too soon. Also watch that you don't get her too wide on her outruns, especially at the start of the outrun. You can control this just be the way you set the dog up before you start the outrun. If you want her a little narrower at the start put her ahead of you a bit and vise versa if you want her wider. She looks like she is plenty wide now so don't push her out any more at the start of her outrun or you'll have wide running dog on your hands down the road. Keep up the good work and have fun with her......Bob


Am I at least somewhat on the ball?

Thank you again for all the help, and I hope I will be able to ask you again if (or rather when) we get stuck somewhere else in the training.


Maja



#11 Maja

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 01:43 PM

One thing with a young bitch like this is to always be aware that you are not pushing her past her capabilities as you can sour a young dog if you ask her to do too much too soon. This young bitch appears to be quite biddable and likes to please so be careful with her that you don't ask too much too soon.

I will be very careful, since it's all too easy to fall into that. The one thing that helps me is that she is much further ahead than I had ever expected her to be at this age (because we do not have an easy access to a trainer) so I am very relaxed about her progress and feel we have all the time in the world.

Thank you for your kind comments and good advice.

Maja



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