One of the problems that “came up” during the clinic was outruns … so I will try and explain some of the issues you can have and a few suggestions as to what you can do to correct this difficulty.
First question you ask yourself is … why? Why is the dog outrunning poorly … what is causing the problem? Getting to the *cause* will help you find a solution.
“Most” outrun problems are caused by either eye or tension … and the training techniques used are different for each. However, coming to the conclusion you are dealing with “eye” and not “tension” doesn’t simplify the puzzle. There are different kinds of eye that will alter the way a dog outruns and again you need different methods to help adjust it.
The first “problem outrunning” dog I was working with was the type that loves “confrontation” and it “comes into play” on his outrun. The minute he looks at sheep he wants to come in. Not because he’s “sticky” eyed … he’s not at all.
This particular dog perceives looking away from a sheep as a sign of weakness … so the minute he glances in (sheep facing him) he percieves this as a “challenge”. If we understand this dogs dilemma then we can help him recognize that he will still have his “contact and control” (which is what he was looking for) but not until we say “when”.
This why I always say try to “get into a dogs” head when you are training.
So, first on the menu – was work up close on flanks. I had her put the sheep in the middle of the field, with her “rear” facing the sheep’s “rear”. Then start him flanking and the minute he looked in we gave an *out* command … making sure he turned his head away from the sheep.
She was walking, turning and pushing the sheep to keep him going. If he “out flanked her” … she stopped him and shifted her position to push the sheep away from his “gaze” and then re-flanked him … again, the minute he looked in… she was to repeat the out command. If he took it and went past the point where he felt the need to confront the sheep … then we would say there and let him fetch. The object of this exercise is NOT to make the dog run around in a circle but to teach him to keep “pressure” off the sheep until he’s told to walk on.
Another issue we “uncovered” was when she downed him he would turn and take steps toward the sheep … exactly the opposite of what we needed. So, she ended up working on a stand making him stay facing the same direction he was running (so, no turning in on the circle he was going). This happens a lot during training … you are working on “one scenario” and end up realizing that your have another issue buried beneath the layer you are working on.
I will report on his progress and what the next step might be in another “post”.
I’ll end this with *Turn the page* (meaning don’t just work on one thing … mix it up to keep the dog thinking and happy).