Ask an Expert  The “Get Out” in herding

What we do:

When our dog gets too close to the sheep, we nervously start jousting with our dog, saying or even shouting  "Get out, Get OUT!" Often the dog goes into action getting faster and tighter and may even grab a sheep on their way around. This often happens at the pen or in a corner. The whole process makes us anxious. The dog gets a bad rap, sheep can get injured, and we reach a level 10 on the frustration chart.

What we should do:

We asked Scott Glen. His insightful, do less sooner/train more, reply is below. I know I speak for everyone when I say, Thank you Scott for your time and expertise! 

I think a lot of the time a “get out command “ is used after the situation is already desperate. It isn’t taught as a command as such, but as a cry of desperation. If, over and over, we shout "get out" when they are too close, and, over and over, the dog goes tighter and faster, because it hasn’t been taught what we expect, then we are in fact training a “let’s get frantic” command.

If it’s a soft natured dog, we might achieve success, they may get out, without actually training the “out”command for awhile, but it’ll quite often hurt their confidence if we keep relying on them to just figure out what they’re being commanded. An excitable, and/or stronger willed type of dog in the same situation, with lack of understanding of what we want, will take that as “ go tighter and faster".  Also if we’re always late with a command it’s not helpful on how we want our stock worked. if we’re always being reactive rather than active, it’s not as helpful for the dog.