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  • in reply to: dog with eye? #4406

    I wish I could give you a formula for this one but it is too multifarious to do so and we are always learning more about eye! I did reply to the outrun question with a much more straight forward answer 🙂

    in reply to: dog with eye? #4389

    Hi Kat,

    A Border Collies ‘eye’ is said to be what separates this amazing breed from other herding dogs, but what exactly is it?

    With some types of eye, it may cause a dog to stand still and not walk up on sheep yet, eye in another dog may cause him to keep moving and actually boar in on the sheep. 

    It can make a dog very direct or conversely, cause a dog to wear, flipping back and forth behind the sheep. It can be the reason a dog’s head is held down low to the ground yet, it can cause another dog’s head to be held up high. 

    Eye may cause your dog look at the sheep and be tight and or it may result in your dog looking away from the sheep and be wide. The list of contradictions goes on and on… Perhaps the famous supreme court justice said it best, “ I can’t define it, but I know it when i see it”.

    Eye is certainly a paradox. You can generally tell how much eye your dog will have after he comes with his outrun. That said certainly your dog can develop more eye based on how you work him and on the Academy we have exercises to help reduce eye. While we know quite a bit about it and how it manifests, because eye is so complex, it doesn’t fit in a neat box that allows us to provide a simple explanation. If you have a specific question about it, please let us know.

    As it relates to your dog, happy to schedule a virtual lesson to assess your dogs eye for you if you like. Lesson information can be found here,

    Online or Remote Lessons with your dog

    some exercises specific to helping reduce eye can be found here,

    An exercise and everyday practice for reducing “eye”

    A five-step exercise for reducing eye

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Patricia.
    in reply to: Academy Video: The Outrun #4386

    Hi Kat,
    I’ll try to address your questions by each letter below!

    Answers to A. and B. are the same in that, if you were to insist on depth (by pushing a dog out), or a time command by (insisting a dog rate/reduce speed), you would need to put pressure on your young dog. While there’s certainly a time when you’ll want both of these components, when you’re just starting to teach the outrun to your young dog is not it.

    It’s not semantics to say, you can never recreate initial enthusiasm. Philosophically. we believe you’re far better off getting your young dog understanding and enjoying a task BEFORE you beginning shaping it.

    As it relates specifically to the outrun most dogs will come with their natural genetics at the top with regard to depth without the need for your intervention as long as the handler doesn’t try to extend it too far too fast and uses the 4 steps in Developing the outrun (some dogs won’t even need your help developing, but many do).
    For dogs that don’t develop on their own, we have tools on the Academy and in the course The Outrun to help, but not until they’ve come with own natural width and had sufficient exposure. If you push too soon you can make your dog too wide (it is exceptionally difficult to correct this) and risk putting too much pressure which can result in diminishing your dogs enthusiasm, (a risk that has far too great a consequence).

    The same can be true of pace. Pushing for it too soon can diminish your dogs enthusiasm also if you correct your dog at the start of the fetch for pace and you get the correction wrong (timing or method), your dog can associate it with this new facet of work, the outrun. (a stop, (stand or lie down) is a black and white command and does not risk the inherent misunderstanding (teaching the lie down as seen on The Academy in 3 videos under Foundation),


    You’re better off compartmentalizing and teaching the outrun and working on pace later and separately. Unless your dog has a lot of eye and rates naturally in which case pace when training is preferable over the stop.

    C. Brie doesn’t have much eye or natural balance and certainly balance work helps with dogs like Brie. It’s also helpful/important to have good handler input (stops and flanks ) to help her achieve the balance. over time and with the addition of adding pace it will have a cumulative affect of “developing balance” to pick up the straight line. The more she does it correctly with handler help, the more likely she’ll develop skills to be able to do it on her own.

    Under Foundation you’ll see how we develop the outrun with numerous young dogs, Moss, Scott, Ted, Jake, etc (as well as multiple dogs in Starting Dogs). Here is a video on teaching pace as well as 2 articles on young dogs. Hope this helps!

    Teaching Pace

    Be cautious of training too much too soon

    Desire Before Discipline

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Patricia.
    in reply to: Post cone exercise #4318

    Hello! I used just a regular stride and I’m 5′ 4″ (with pretty short legs 🙂 We did have good quiet sheep and if your sheep are a little wilder, you may want to step out a bit longer. It’s a lot of cones so if you have any other questions, please dont hesitate to ask. Happy Easter!

    in reply to: FAQs #4308

    What are the videos on the forum?

    Our Forum, including the topic, ‘Welcome to The MacRae Way’ is the place for Premium members to post your general comments and questions. You’ll also find numerous topics there and you are welcome to start your own topic, including if you have a question, need to find content or would like to request a new topic we haven’t covered-we value your input!

    It’s also now a place for everyone to view additional video. This gives us the opportunity to provide extra content, without all the time and work it takes to produce an Academy video.

    It may be footage from:
    a trial we’re at
    a sneak peek of a dog we’re training
    and insiders look at day to day training
    video of a new dog (I’ve posted about 2.5 minutes of Roy, who’ll be for sale later this year) 
    an outtake of an upcoming Academy video
    (such as Nite working on his own or Nell shifting a ewe and lamb) or other

    We encourage your comments or any general question (such as,”where can I find content on The Academy that addresses this?”, “how old is he?”, “what trial is this?”, etc)  but these videos will not be for analysis, (that will be reserved for Academy videos).

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Patricia.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Patricia.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Patricia.
    in reply to: Starting Dogs #4292

    Hi Laura, When we first start a young dog we often allow them to continue to circle one direction and we only ask for a lie down once theyre ready, which certainly varies. Some dogs want to turn in naturally at balance but many run past and thats ok. It’s up to the individual dog as to when they are ready for a lie down and a good barometer for that is being certain they get back up with the same enthusiasm as before you asked for the lie down, if not, there’s a good chance that’s asking too much of your dogs at that time. In Starting dogs other than Zac the young dogs are a bit older . On The Academy we start several dogs before 12 months that illustrate some of your questions including Training Jake Part 1, Training Ted Part 1, Training Scot, Training Chip. In terms of lie downs you’ll find lots on that as well, Teaching Lie Down on and off sheep, How The Lie down can help you help your dog and Introducing the Lie Down on Sheep All of these can be found under Foundation, or by going to the drop down Sheepdog Training>Foundation. Also Figure 8’s for every level you’ll find helpful here, (Focusing on the first few stages), you can find that here, The reason we adjust the width of the cones in Starting dogs is to be certain there is enough sideways movement for the dog –the width can vary depending on the response of the sheep (more reactive vs. less reactive sheep). Moving them closer creates more reaction, hence more flank. As it relates to the very detailed questions about the video, we’d be happy to address those specific issues in a private lesson where we can drill into the detail while having the video available for discussion. Details for those can be found here, cheers!

    in reply to: Welcome to the MacRae Way! #4074

    Hi Scout! Neither of us have ever put a young up but it is interesting question in that we’ve certainly heard of that practice. I think it mostly occurs with trainers who put too much control or pressure too soon for dogs that aren’t ready or put their dogs in situations over their heads, diminishing their dogs keenness.

    We go the other way, getting he dogs to enjoy it as much as possible and increasing enthusiasm (too keen is more of a problem for us !) to your point, we may work a keen young dog 3 times a day in a shorter 5 min sessions versus a single 15 min session.
    When we’ve had dogs that we’d like to see become more keen, sometimes we change the working pattern for a week or 2. For example, we will work them for 3 days in row and then give them a break for 3 days in a row. This often makes the desire for getting back on sheep build up and the anticipation becomes the boost they need. We generally start our dog between 8-11 months old. I hope I answered what you were asking. If not, please let me know, cheers,

    in reply to: Field Hazards #4071

    Hi Scout, one of the reason we always walk the course is to evaluate it from our dogs perspective.
    Because their welfare comes first we’ve been to trials where we’ve scratched a dog do to a hazard on the drive that couldn’t be avoided. Also, we’ve sent on the outrun a less advantageous direction to avoid a hazard that was on the other side of the field—we’ll do whatever necessary to act in our dogs best interest!

    in reply to: Crossovers #4066

    Completely agree cross overs can have many causes, including lack of scope, lack of training, over training, complacency from the handler, over confidence from the handler, excitability and lots of other reasons.

    The recommendation would be dependent on the cause but the biggest piece of advice I could give is, help your dog sooner rather than later!

    It sounds simple and obvious but very often, you see handlers wait too long, often hoping their dogs will sort it themselves, even when they are clearly on the wrong trajectory.

    Even if we have a very experienced and reliable outrunning dog, we would still watch our dog from the moment we approach the post all the way through the completion of the outrun.

    If our dog appears tight, at any point, we’ll give him a bend to improve the trajectory, sooner rather later.
    This will result in a point loss of at least 2, if we bend our dog on the fly (more if we need to stop our dog before we bend him). Yet, this is still far fewer points lost than a possible -19 with a crossover.

    Also, we prefer to lose the points here and ensure a better outrun, which sets us up to retain all of our points on the lift and the first part of the fetch. We don’t reflect on the fact that we have lost X number of points, but rather, we focus on the top end and do our best to retain the remaining points.
    This is in contrast to those who let their dogs be tight on the outrun (often just hoping the dog will correct himself) and risk him only crossing and/or being too tight on the outrun and losing points there, but because the outrun is wrong, the lift is wrong (lose points there) and because the lift is wrong the first part of the fetch is wrong (also lose points there). You can read more about this in , The Mental Aspect of Trialing

    The way we teach bends is very intuitive, and helps our dogs to understand the reason we’re giving input on the outrun is because the sheep are in a different place than where our dog thinks they are! We’ll be releasing more on this soon.

    in reply to: 3 Easy Steps to Film your dog when working on your own #4063

    Hi Lindsey,
    Great to hear you and Doc are doing well! My first recommendation would be to watch on The Academy, The Secret to Inside Flanks Figure 8’s are a fantastic way to get dogs on their sides as long as yours is not too flanky naturally and you dont do it in excess.

    In the early stages we actually weave around the cones as seen here, Figure 8’s

    As our dogs advance, we do the exercise with 3 cones, 2 for the figure 8’s themselves, and a 3rd cone for us to stand, about 10 yards away (such that our dog is working in front of us).
    We extend that distance we stand away from our dog incrementally and when our dogs are fully trained we do the figure 8’s at 200-300 yards away. Here’s a super short clip of figure 8’s with Nite w me standing at 200 yards away.

    For a young dog the progression is first we walk backwards around the cones, then we stand still in the center then we stand away approx 10 yards away from the cones for the 8’s, then we stand 15 yards away, you can adjust it for you and Doc. The Circle-A versatile and excellent driving exercise is also great for flanks, be sure to use verbal when you’re getting your dog on his sides.

    If you’d like a Course, Starting Dogs details how we teach we flanks with 9 dogs (we get our dogs 90% or greater on their sides before we start driving in earnest) and The Drive discusses when and how we start driving with 7 dogs.

    in reply to: Welcome to the MacRae Way! #4044

    Hi Lindsey, Please set up video submission directly at .
    So glad you like the Circle! It’s one of our most versatile exercises, great for young dogs to understand the task of driving, be more comfortable working the sheep from behind, more solid on their flanks, Small flanks, Pace and for more advanced dogs, Shaping flanks, Smoothing flanks and Different speeds of flanks.
    It can also be great for Reducing eye. In the future we hope to set up video submission on protected forums (like ‘Training Scot’) in a similar format to our Zoom clinics and we’ll keep you posted on that. Have a great weekend!

    in reply to: 3 Easy Steps to Film your dog when working on your own #4034

    Thanks Lindsey! Film review is such a great tool for self development, to assess what you’re really good at and where you need to strive to make improvements; we encourage all levels to use it. Have a great weekend!

    in reply to: Welcome to the MacRae Way! #4019

    Hi Helen!
    Here are 10 considerations we look at when considering a stand. Please let me know if you’d like me to expound on any of them. Hope you and dogs are well. cheers,

    Lie down versus stand, considerations:
    Dogs are more likely to cheat on a stand, this can be a problem and lead to your dog “blowing you off” at distance or at a sensitive situation at hand.

    its often more difficult to put a good lie down on a dog that’s been allowed to stand rather than vice versa

    Harder to put a dog that stands, on a stay command that works as well as a stay command on a dog lying down.

    If you have a lie down and your dog has a lot of eye, it can make him even more Sticky.
    This dog a good Candidate for a stand.

    A lie down can be disturbing at hand if the dog flops down hard.

    If your dog is willful or pushy, he sounds like a candidate for a lie down.

    Does your young dog dive past you every time you try to catch him?
    This is just enthusiasm, probably need a lie down but this is not necessarily an indicator of what will best suit in once he’s trained.

    Is your dog a team player?If yes, he would be a good candidate for a stand.

    Does your dog have a lot of eye?…..does he wait to move until the sheep do?, is he cautious or careful? Good candidate for a stand.

    10. Finally, consider the parents, their working style, if they were willful or easily handled, had a lot or a little eye, etc.

    in reply to: FAQs #4014

    Can I ask you questions about Academy content?

    We try to answer all general questions and are happy to help! Feel free to create a new topic or click HERE on the Forum.

    Additionally, we’ve created a short tutorial to show you how to access your favorite content, HERE
    If you’re looking for specific content, we’ll try to direct you towards it on the site or create a video or article to help with your topic of interest!

    We take the responsibility of advising handlers with their dogs very seriously, as helping dogs and handlers is our priority! To that end, we only can only advise about your specific dog when we can see him or her and we have a visual as a basis for one on one discussion. Details for virtual lessons if you’d like to set one up, can be found here,


    Without video if you ask a question based on a description of what your dog is doing, the question is formulated based on your interpretation, and further subject to our interpretation of your account. If you or we are incorrect, the recommendation will not be accurate.
    For example, if your dog had a great deal of eye and we (and you) did not know this, and it was not evident from your assessment, and we then advised that you stopped your dog more frequently that advice may actually exacerbate the eye in your dog, making for a greater problem! Yet for the dog without a great deal of eye it might be very sound advice. This applies not just to eye but to all different types of problems and different types of dogs. Dogs that are very flanky require a different approach than the line dog, the excitable dog versus the cautious dog, the confident dog compared to the dog that needs confidence built, etc. Additionally, many words have different meaning to different people. The definition is vast for: forward, square flanks, straight lines, tight turns, feel, power, honest attempt and the list continues.

    You can see the concern in providing advice without absolutely seeing the dog, the situation and having that as a point of reference in a one on one discussion. If we have a video we can reference, we can absolutely set up a lesson!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Patricia.
    in reply to: FAQs #4012

    What type of internet connection do I need to watch?

    The Academy videos are in High Definition to enhance your training experience and make every nuance easily visible. You can access them with a consistent speed of at 7 mbps or greater. Our Courses can be viewed at 4 mpbs or greater. Satellite services can be inconsistent, providing a high speed, i.e. 8 mpbs, one minute and dropping to 2 mpbs the next. You can check to determine your speed and a reliable test for your connection can be found here,

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