Jump to content
BC Boards
RoseAmy

Wide running dog

Recommended Posts

Funny how dog training goes. My young one had no outrun..I mean none..for months she drove myself ( and a few trainers) crazy. I mean this was a dog that WOULD NOT do an outrun.

 

During this time I was "warned" that about 50% of this line were wide runners. Oh how I laughed. And wished.

 

Finially got an outrun..wasn't a great outrun..tight-slicing etc. But a start never the less.

 

We plugged away dreaming of those of this line that were wide runners..

 

Well guess what..We have discovered the joys of outrunning. Can you say WIDE runner? It was like someone flipped a switch. The first time I thought she was running away. She heads out nice but when she zeros in on the sheep she kicks out and is gone.

 

I've started working her on an in command. But I'm interested to hear from other that have had wide runners and get some ideas.

 

I've always had to push dogs out..never bring them in.

 

So fellow sheepdoggers lets hear your suggestions.

 

Oh yeah and be carefull what you wish for--you may get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well if you had to pick a problem I think I like this one better.

 

It is one we have sometimes had trouble with ourselves.

 

A few things I have tried with varying success.

 

Set the dog up pointed straight at the sheep instead of pointed to the side like people often suggest for narrow runners. (At a trial someone asked me if I ever set my dog up poitned out in the ditrection I wanted her to run. My answer was "not if I want her to stay in this county").

 

Occasionally try walking the dog straight at the sheep from the post for just a few steps and then give the directional command.

 

If the dog starts way wide (I assume you'll know) stop him/her right away and bring back to your feet and send again. Repeat as necessary. But not too often as you do not want to worry a good outrun.

 

Do some "managed" outruns OCCASIONALLY (Not too often as you can mess up a good outrunner). By managed outruns I mean where you pick a path for the dog to go -- either wider or narrower than the dog wants - and then give a series of commands (lie downs, redirects, counterflanks) to get the dog to run the path you wan. The idea being that the dog learns it has to listen to you on the outrun. But make sure at the end that the dog gets its sheep if it is right so you don't frustrate it too much.

 

I have worked on too wide outruns by a combination of "lie downs" "walk in" and counterflanks (example - dog going way wide on an away outrun is given a come bye flank until it comes part way back and in and then given away again.)

 

But mainly wide is a good problem on an outrun. I usually just try to watch my litlle girl's head and if she seems to be sighting the sheep I TRUST MY DOG. As long as she is looking and has them sighted I usually trust her to get around and positioned for the lift without disturbing the sheep on the livestock.

 

It sure can make for some scary moments though if you are running on a field where your dog goes out of your sight behind a hill or other obstacle on an outrun. I blew at least one trial run by panicing and blowing a whistle when I thought my dog was out of sight for too long. When she reappeared she was in good position and shep were headed straight towards me. Now I look at my watch when she disappears because they are never out of your sight as long as you think. If you are running after several other dogs you can time how long they are out of sight and add some time for your wide dog before panic sets in.

 

Good Luck.

 

 

Funny how dog training goes. My young one had no outrun..I mean none..for months she drove myself ( and a few trainers) crazy. I mean this was a dog that WOULD NOT do an outrun.

 

During this time I was "warned" that about 50% of this line were wide runners. Oh how I laughed. And wished.

 

Finially got an outrun..wasn't a great outrun..tight-slicing etc. But a start never the less.

 

We plugged away dreaming of those of this line that were wide runners..

 

Well guess what..We have discovered the joys of outrunning. Can you say WIDE runner? It was like someone flipped a switch. The first time I thought she was running away. She heads out nice but when she zeros in on the sheep she kicks out and is gone.

 

I've started working her on an in command. But I'm interested to hear from other that have had wide runners and get some ideas.

 

I've always had to push dogs out..never bring them in.

 

So fellow sheepdoggers lets hear your suggestions.

 

Oh yeah and be carefull what you wish for--you may get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MagRam thanks. I agree that I like this problem much more then the no outrun problem I had. It's just so ironic LOL after all that worry that I would never get an outrun on this dog.

 

You have set my mine at ease, my BIG worry was that a few of the trials I go to don't have fences and some of the wide running dogs get really lost. However mine is one of those that runs out turning her head in looking for sheep..she's very good at spotting them. In fact she really only kicks out after she spies them. So you are right I just have to learn to trust her.

 

Will try your suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RoseAmy,

I have a wide running dog and like you I worry in fields with no fences, but she does turn her head in looking for the sheep. I trained her when I was still a novice and didn't know any better and there were things I'd do differently now (and have done with her son, who at age 3 suddenly decided he wanted to run wide) than I did then. I think training a call in is a good thing. I don't do it with Twist because it's been inconsistent and she's so good about getting to her sheep and getting them to me (silent gathers are her forte) and frankly, on an outrun, she doesn't really listen (I can call her closer when flanking on a shed, for example). The bad thing about a wide-running dog is that at trials they can eat up a lot more time on the outrun, but I've *never* had to worry about her finding her sheep. At the finals in 2005 I was worried she'd go all the way to the set out (no fences), but she ran a bit tighter than is typical and got behind her sheep in good fashion. Since she outruns equally well to either side, I have been known to send her (all other things being equal) to the side that doesn't allow her to go as wide.

 

So I guess I'm a bit the opposite of MagRam. When I started Twist's pups and they went straight up the middle I was *relieved,* because it's much easier to widen a dog, IME, than to bring one in. As I noted, Pip at around 3 started kicking really wide when I sent him and I immediately started calling him in. He already had been trained to know that me calling his name meant to come toward center no matter what direction he was facing (does that make sense? for example, if he's driving and starts to drift to one side, I can call his name and he'll pull back toward the middle behind the sheep), so I could call his name on an outrun and get him to bend in and change his trajectory a bit. I also called him back to me if he was persistent in kicking wide. Sometimes I would lie him down, flank him again, and call his name immediately after--all in an effort to pull him in, and it worked.

 

Now when I send him he doesn't tend to kick wide (Twist leaves square from my feet no matter what, even if I place her directly in front of her, walk her up a few steps, etc.--it's her default.

 

Oops, a lesson is here early, will have to finish this later.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timely subject for me. Echo has just started kicking out way too wide on her outrun, so I've just started working with this, and I'm interested to hear others' ideas. Just worked with Jack Knox, and he is suggesting to work her in a smaller area, and when she kicks out too wide, rather than correcting her, go to the sheep and move them around and let the movement draw her back in. I'll work with that and see how that does. I also know Helsley worked with Blue on running too wide, so I am going to talk to him and see what he recommends also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could you provide a little more information: how old is your dog & how far are you sending it on outruns? How far is it going out before it sees the sheep & kicks out?

 

Lori Cunningham

Milton, PA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Julie

 

I'm not sure we are so opposite. I agree it is probably easier to widen a dog than to bring it in. I just prefer the wider running dog as I find them more to my liking.

 

Anyway - my description of the managed outrun with lie downs, walk ins and counter flanks seems like a different description of your same method of lieing him down, flanking and calling name. I just don't like to do this too often as it can get the dog waiting for the direction on the outrun and hesitating.

 

I have only had two real problems at trials (in limited experience) with outruns going too wide or deep. In one, my dog went way wide and deep and found the set out pen. It took several recall whistles to get her off the set out pen and headed toward the sheep she was supposed to lift. But she did it and that was actually my favorite part of the run that she WOULD CALL OFF. The other time someone not connected with the trial was riding a horse in the field adjacent to the trial field with no fence in between. She went straight for the horse. We think she thought the sheep were near the horse as she came to us from a large western ranch where we think thye used horses to set. Anyway, she did take the recall, came part way back and took the lie down. Then when she spied her sheep she completed the outrun nicely. Obviously we lost major OR points on both instances (well deserved deductions) but I was very happy she would take directions on the outrun in a trial setting even if I was way late and disaster was already striking.

 

Your point about a wide outrun wasting time is valid but has not really been a problem for us as my little girl tends to move the sheep too fast at times so completing the course in the allotted time is rarely a problem for us (either we have totally screwed up and retired or we usually get done). Plus - although she is a wide outrunner she is also a fast runner and so does not waste too much time.

 

Basically, as long as I am able to see her head turn and sight the sheep I tend to trust her. When I get worried is when she is running wide with no sign that she has seen where the sheep are.

 

RoseAmy,

I have a wide running dog and like you I worry in fields with no fences, but she does turn her head in looking for the sheep. I trained her when I was still a novice and didn't know any better and there were things I'd do differently now (and have done with her son, who at age 3 suddenly decided he wanted to run wide) than I did then. I think training a call in is a good thing. I don't do it with Twist because it's been inconsistent and she's so good about getting to her sheep and getting them to me (silent gathers are her forte) and frankly, on an outrun, she doesn't really listen (I can call her closer when flanking on a shed, for example). The bad thing about a wide-running dog is that at trials they can eat up a lot more time on the outrun, but I've *never* had to worry about her finding her sheep. At the finals in 2005 I was worried she'd go all the way to the set out (no fences), but she ran a bit tighter than is typical and got behind her sheep in good fashion. Since she outruns equally well to either side, I have been known to send her (all other things being equal) to the side that doesn't allow her to go as wide.

 

So I guess I'm a bit the opposite of MagRam. When I started Twist's pups and they went straight up the middle I was *relieved,* because it's much easier to widen a dog, IME, than to bring one in. As I noted, Pip at around 3 started kicking really wide when I sent him and I immediately started calling him in. He already had been trained to know that me calling his name meant to come toward center no matter what direction he was facing (does that make sense? for example, if he's driving and starts to drift to one side, I can call his name and he'll pull back toward the middle behind the sheep), so I could call his name on an outrun and get him to bend in and change his trajectory a bit. I also called him back to me if he was persistent in kicking wide. Sometimes I would lie him down, flank him again, and call his name immediately after--all in an effort to pull him in, and it worked.

 

Now when I send him he doesn't tend to kick wide (Twist leaves square from my feet no matter what, even if I place her directly in front of her, walk her up a few steps, etc.--it's her default.

 

Oops, a lesson is here early, will have to finish this later.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Julie,

Time was one of my concerns too. It seems that the places with no fences are also the places with sheep that don't pen..tick tock tick tock.

 

I've started on small outruns telling her in..followed by here here which causes her to turn in, then I reflank her. Sounds like what you did using your dogs name. It appears like it is pulling her in closer time will tell what affect is will have on a larger outrun..

 

Lori,

She's right at 20 months. When training outruns I vary them anywhere from 50 yards to 350 yards. The wide doesn't seem to come into play until about 75 yards. The point where she kicks out is always relative to her outrun. She has a pear shaped outrun, when she gets to the "wide" part of the pear she turns out and off she goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RoseAmy,

I think we're actually operating off of slightly different definitions of what a wide outrun is. To me a wide outrunner is a dog that kicks out square from your feet and then proceeds to do an outrun akin to half a grapefruit--not a pear (many people would watch Twist on her outrun and presume that I trained her to run the fence, which is so not true, and she's always checking in on her sheep when she runs out; she's just very square from the start). This is just how my Twist is. And no amount of changing how I set her up to send her made any difference, the second I send her she squares off from wherever she is (perhaps if I had been wiser when I first started her I could have changed her squareness at my feet at least somewhat, but I was a novice and she was the first dog I trained to open level, so my mistakes were what they were). Because my dog is covering A LOT more ground at the bottom of her outrun she will eat up a lot more time than the dog who starts out running up the field at an angle and *then* kicks wide when it sees the sheep, which is what it sounds like your dog is doing. (And this is why I don't like a dog who fits *my* definition of a wide outrunner--it's not efficient work.) At many trials the amount of time my dog eats up running wide isn't critical, but when you get to a trial like Edgeworth, with a 600+ yard outrun, then not having a pear shaped start to the outrun really can take up time. But at any rate, the technique I used to prevent her son Pip from kicking wide at the bottom has worked for him. I don't repeat it often enough for it to have become habit for him to look to me to tell him what to do on an outrun, probably because he comes from natural outrunning lines. So really in his case, when he was tight as a youngster I pretty much figured all I had to do was wait him out and he would widen as he matured (it was certainly in his genes to do so). And then of course all I really needed to do was intervene early on when it looked like he wanted to leave my feet square. And he doesn't always try to leave my feet square (unlike his mom), so it hasn't been a case of correcting so often that the whole messing with the outrun thing becomes habit.

 

ISTM, you're really describing a slightly different problem, but that your solution, which was similar to mine, is working for your dog.

 

P.S. Lest it seem that I am complaining about Twist, I am not. She has many great qualities and she has been a great dog for me. She took me from novice to open before she was 3, and we've been pretty successful trialing--we've garned enough points each year since I moved her to open to have qualified for the finals, even though we've only attended a couple of them. And she's my go-to dog at home and can move anything, but is also excellent with baby lambs. So really my only complaint about her is her (excessively) wide outrun, and her correspondingly square flanks, because let's face it, on light sheep that are hellbent on running, sometimes a dog who is willing to slice a flank is going to have a better chance of catching them.... But I did try to learn from the mistakes I made with Twist, which is why I was not sad to see that neither of her pups that I kept was inclined to kick out from an early age.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Julie I see your point but in my case if she always kicked out say 100 feet from the sheep I may not be as worried, however the longer the outrun the further back she kicks out and the wider she gets. Not good as estimating feet but this morning at one point she was a good 100 feet off the sheep when she got to the top.

 

Just for the record I never thought you were complaining about Twist. I think the sign of a good handler/trainer is one that knows their dog's strenghts and weakness. they all have them and I think every dog we train teaches us something new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi RoseAmy-

 

A few comments/ more questions.

 

How are your dog's flanks? Do you find them to be square & wide? Does the dog lose contact with the sheep when it flanks? Or, are the flanks not "too" wide? Are the flanks equally square when she's fetching vs. driving? I'm asking this because of your description that your dog doesn't leave your feet square but rather kicks out at some point nearer the sheep. Is the point where she's now opting to kick out the same place were you & your trainer were working to widen her? When she was running lean and had "no" outrun, what were you doing to widen her out "for months"?

 

I wonder about your earlier analysis that she's kicking out when she sees the sheep, since at the distances you describe sending her, she should easily see the sheep from your feet. Also, is someone holding the sheep for you & do you see the same behaviour whether someone is holding or not?

 

I'm asking these questions, because, to me, the answers would be relevant in how I approached the problem.

 

If she were my dog, I wouldn't be doing any big outruns with her for awhile. I'd train the "come in" command close at hand, and I would try really hard not to let her run out of her flanks, i.e. don't let her get anything like the feeling of release she gets from kicking out & running wide on her outrun.

 

So, for ex, using penning or pushing sheep thru a gate or chute (or something where she has to put some pressure on the sheep & she'd be wrong to be too far away from me), I'd flank her, and then very quickly (after just a few steps), blow a stop or there and ask her to walk in. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If the sheep are near you, or in the mouth of the pen and the job requires her to push, the walking in part will make sense to her in the context of the job.

 

hope it helps.

 

Lori Cunningham

Milton, PA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been a really helpful thread -- thanks to all.

 

Julie -- Calli runs exactly like Twist. In fact, I got a huge smile on my face when you described her half grapefruit-shaped outrun. :rolleyes: I'm sure now that I made the novice mistake of pushing her out too early (yes Anna, I know!). There are times when Cal leaves my feet so square that she makes a little dust cloud as she pivots. The good news is that, like Twist, she's watching her sheep during the outrun and there's little else she does wrong (until I mess up the next thing). We're trying to mitigate as best we can. I've started calling her in, lying her down, etc. Also, I'll skip setting her up at all. We'll walk-up toward the sheep (the bye side is her problem and even when walking up she'll anticipate being sent and start squaring off) and, instead of giving her the command, I'll just sssshsh her on. Like Pip, I've found calling her name will bend her in some, but the problem is mostly at the point of departure when she wants to leave my feet at a 90 degree angle. Twist's/Calli's outrun issue does indeed sound different than the problem RoseAmy is describing, where she's getting the pear shape in the beginning but the dog is running too wide once it starts to kick out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lori I'll try to answer. First she's not kicking out at the point we were trying to widen and I guess it was misleading when I said she kicks out when she sees the sheep, cause as you pointed out she see the sheep from where I'm sending her, its just that there comes a point when you can see that she make this BIG committment she turns and really puts on the aft burners and off she goes.

 

In fact for a while I thought maybe this happened when the sheep started getting nervous but that doesn't seem to be the case. No difference if there is a set out person or not.

 

Driving and fetching the problem doesn't show up, she has a nice natural pace, even flanking around for the cross drive she remains the same distance from the sheep.

 

She loves to push sheep, the tougher they are the more she likes it.

 

The only other time I saw this wideness was when we were having problems with her driving towards the draw, (see my question to Bob)

Then when I flanked her to get her to stop the sheep she tore off and went really wide to get to their heads. At the time I just thought that she knew she had to really flank to get them stopped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some advice on this topic long ago that I thought was good. Instead of training an "in" command try working on re-directs or some version of what MagRam calls counterflanks. I would first stop the dog then give the flank command, working toward the point where you can drop the 'stop' and re-direct the dog with just the flank. This will have you hitting more birds with your stone than just one. You should have the ability to re-direct your dog anyway, and an "in" command just isn't specific enough IMO. Talking to your dog during its outrun at a trial is going to cost you points which is why you'd want to work toward just using the flanks on the fly, or just "pipping it out" (or 'in' as the case may be) as they say. Once you command the dog to flank "in" you'll have to be ready to stop it again to make sure it doesn't cross over. In general, working on re-directs is a good thing. Derek Scrimgeour has been heard to say that a dog that can't be re-directed will never win the Supreme.

 

This being said I must say that when you see a dog change its behavior on its outrun like yours has it's usually a good sign. Most of the time to me it means that the dog now understands what you been trying to tell it over the last x weeks/months, and it's picking up its speed and really running fast because it's now confident that it's doing the right thing. When they run hesitantly they're still not sure.

 

And one more point. You mentioned the dog finishing at 100 feet behind the sheep... This, IMO, is not excessively deep. Maybe for farm sheep that are being held with hay or grain you might want it to finish closer, but get out on some range sheep that have been skillfully placed by the set-out person at a spot where there is nothing to interest them except the pasture they're standing on and you may feel that 100 feet isn't enough. 100 feet is only 30 yards, and a dog can walk that 30 yards pretty quickly. OTOH, making the dog finish closer, or where YOU think it should finish, may give you a sideways lift which will most likely take you out of the placings for the day. In many of the trials where I've worked as a set-out person I can say that the biggest fault that I see glaring at me throughout the day is that a lot of the dogs don't finish deep enough.

 

Sometimes we have to be careful what we ask for. We can't actually see your dog, so you have to be the one to decide what you can live with and what you can't. Sometimes trying to fix something makes it worse or creates a problem in another aspect of the work. Good luck.

 

Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I got some advice on this topic long ago that I thought was good. Instead of training an "in" command try working on re-directs or some version of what MagRam calls counterflanks. I would first stop the dog then give the flank command, working toward the point where you can drop the 'stop' and re-direct the dog with just the flank. This will have you hitting more birds with your stone than just one. You should have the ability to re-direct your dog anyway, and an "in" command just isn't specific enough IMO. Talking to your dog during its outrun at a trial is going to cost you points which is why you'd want to work toward just using the flanks on the fly, or just "pipping it out" (or 'in' as the case may be) as they say. Once you command the dog to flank "in" you'll have to be ready to stop it again to make sure it doesn't cross over. In general, working on re-directs is a good thing. Derek Scrimgeour has been heard to say that a dog that can't be re-directed will never win the Supreme.

 

This being said I must say that when you see a dog change its behavior on its outrun like yours has it's usually a good sign. Most of the time to me it means that the dog now understands what you been trying to tell it over the last x weeks/months, and it's picking up its speed and really running fast because it's now confident that it's doing the right thing. When they run hesitantly they're still not sure.

 

And one more point. You mentioned the dog finishing at 100 feet behind the sheep... This, IMO, is not excessively deep. Maybe for farm sheep that are being held with hay or grain you might want it to finish closer, but get out on some range sheep that have been skillfully placed by the set-out person at a spot where there is nothing to interest them except the pasture they're standing on and you may feel that 100 feet isn't enough. 100 feet is only 30 yards, and a dog can walk that 30 yards pretty quickly. OTOH, making the dog finish closer, or where YOU think it should finish, may give you a sideways lift which will most likely take you out of the placings for the day. In many of the trials where I've worked as a set-out person I can say that the biggest fault that I see glaring at me throughout the day is that a lot of the dogs don't finish deep enough.

 

Sometimes we have to be careful what we ask for. We can't actually see your dog, so you have to be the one to decide what you can live with and what you can't. Sometimes trying to fix something makes it worse or creates a problem in another aspect of the work. Good luck.

 

Ray

 

 

Hi there. I concur with Ray 100%. You should be able to redirect your dog to any place you want him on the outrun or any other part of the course or work. If your dog is running wide then you don't need another command, just one of the ones you already have; a counter flank. If your dog is going wide on the away side then you need to give him a come bye to the point that you would like to see him and then your away again when he is on the part of the field you want him to be. If you make him do it right all the time, he will do it right without the commands eventually. Don't let him do it wrong. Ray is also very correct when he says 100 feet is not too deep. That's where I would like all my dogs to be at the top of their outrun. Good luck....Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"However mine is one of those that runs out turning her head in looking for sheep..she's very good at spotting them. In fact she really only kicks out after she spies them. So you are right I just have to learn to trust her."

 

 

Gotta love a dog who as soon as they spot their sheep, kick out. Suzanne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×