I really enjoy having friends come to the desert to work their dogs while I work my dogs, too. And, I never mind constructive criticism and I don't think my friends mind me throwing in my two cents either. I think it helps to have others watch you handle. They see different things that you may not see in either how the dog is working or how you are handling. It's really helpful to me. I'm always open for suggestions.
Both Stacey and Melodie are just starting their whistles. I noticed last Sunday neither were using their whistles. I probably should have broke out a bit of Bailey's and coffee for them :0) I encouraged them to USE their whistles. That is the only way it is going to HAPPEN. And, I understand it is embarrassing at first when you blow squeaks and sqwacks, but you can't learn any other way.
I am the worst whistler ever. Most pro's when I take a lesson now and then, say "what whistle was that?"
I can't carry a tune and I am tone deaf. I mean really tone deaf. I used to have to ask my husband when my son was an infant, "How does Rock A Bye Baby go again?" LOL That's hard to believe!
But, it's okay to be a bad whistler. It's better than no whistle at all. Your dogs WILL understand your whistles...no matter how badly you chirp away at them. Only rarely one of my dogs will not take a whistle and possibly look back at me with a quizzical look as if to say, "Could you try that whistle again. I'm not sure I heard that correctly." Thank goodness they can't talk, eh? Or they might call me a few unpleasant names. God Bless our dogs :0)
And, I love it when some of the guys come out to the desert with me. Since they are further along than my girlfriends there is lots of chatter, different perspectives on how certain tasks should be accomplished, etc. I always find it very entertaining. And, sometimes we do those really LONG outruns. It helps to have someone at the top of a 600 yd. outrun to raise their hand if the dog is cutting in or not going deep enough. It's a hell of a long way to run for the handler, but they can blow a down whistle and get a run on. :0) Most of the time the dogs on an outrun that large will be right on...if anything wider than you might want them.
It seems to me that once you have a correct outrun at 100 yds. you can stretch it fairly quickly to 400 yds. But, you better have a good 100 yd. outrun. Don't stretch it until your dog knows it. The longer outrun gives the dog more time to watch and THINK. They seem to understand easier where they should be on a longer outrun.
Several friends with fairly novice dogs have come to the desert with me with narrow running dogs on the outrun. Once they had a chance to use their brain on larger outruns, they just GOT it. It's fun to see the light bulb go on. The sheep enjoy the open land. And, the dogs enjoy the desert. And, the humans always have a nice time, too. Sometimes you can sit in your chair and not hear a thing. It truly is zen-like. :0)
Yoko just before she was two years of age. I know some trainers don't like to let their pups to blind outruns, because they can't be there to correct them if it isn't done the way they would like it. Me, I'm 'not' all about trialing, I get pure enjoyment out of watching my dogs figure things out. I love TRUSTING the dog to find their sheep and bring them nicely.