Candy Kennedy – Trials and Errors

B:Tension outruns

The next outrun issue we ran into was of a different “variety”  … not caused by eye at all. “Matter of fact” the dog “in question” leans towards being loose eyed BUT his “error button” is he flanks with tension.

This is a “line dog” and once he has his sheep he is smooth as glass. But when he’s flanking he can tense up, try to rush it and then – slice. If a dog is slicing on his flanks he will be more inclined to do the same on his outruns (but … NOT always :@). You ask why … usually it’s because on an outrun you don’t have the added pressure of you on the other side. If a dog has the wrong kind of pressure put on him while learning his flanks … he can have a natural outrun and slicing flanks.

So, we started working on his flanks by having his owner stand on the opposite side of the sheep (12:00) and the dog at (6:00) then have him flank from 6 to 8. As she was flanking him she would shift her position from 12 to 1 and then on to 2. She has her hand (and stick) out sideways pushing him around. So, she is walking in a circle (away from the sheeps heads) as he circles and is pushing him out as she walks. As soon as he gets to “where” he would normally turn in … she has moved over so he can’t.

What he is doing similar to our other dog (for different reasons) “in that’ he is anticipating coming in – so by circling and flanking we are trying to get him to give up the “come in idea” thereby smoothing out his flanks. I call these “fish hook” flanks in that the dog is going around and when he turns in … he bores in on his sheep. With this “type” of flank even if the dog is wide enough the sheep will bolt just because he ends his flank pushing fast and hard.

Notice I haven’t gotten to the outruns on either of these dogs yet :@) First we clean up flanks and then we will move “on” to outruns on a different post.

Don’t just keep working on one “problem” over and over again until the dog and you both are bored. Mix it up with the things he does right. In this case (as in a lot of cases with flank/outrun issues) this dog is a GREAT driver … so  let him just drive straight away. Just don’t flank  …  unless you are in a position to make it a correct flank. Working on a “take time” could be Incorporated during the driving session.

In other words *turn the page*.

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