I often get asked about pace…when to install it and when to leave it alone. I always hear “I don’t want to take his push away”. Well you might not want to take his push away but you certainly need to take his chase away.
Often times you need to ask yourself, does the dog have a natural tendency to be slow? Or is the dog only slow on the elements he lacks confidence on and naturally fast on the things he likes?? An example is does the dog speed down the fetch line then drive off like a snail? Or does the dog race down the fetch line and turn and speed into the sunset on the drive? Does the dog have eye? Does the dog lack eye (making him more forward?) These are all things to take into consideration when deciding when to throw pace into the training bag. I believe all dogs need a transmission. You should have gears, Fast, medium, slow..but 9/10 of the times you need pace at the trial, if you don’t have it you’ll be stopping all around the course as the sheep won’t tolerate your chase. Just because you ask the dog to slow down, doesn’t mean you’re taking their “push” away.. usually the chase is coming from lack of confidence actually pushing. Often times people confuse the two issues, chase and push. You only know if the dog can push if you slow it down.. Will I slow down a naturally apprehensive dog?? Why yes, I will, because I have a gear shift.. I still have a trot and a lope..but when I ask for a walk, I want it. The chaser takes far more effort to slow down…miles of walking, reminding, “I WANT YOU TO GO SLOW”..You cannot achieve this goal from 200 yards away, Get off your ass and walk with this dog. Make sure the dog knows what the command means.. reinforce it if need be. Take their feet away if they get to fast. Work on sheep that allow the dog to feel and pace…Once the dog has a solid understanding of what the command means… Ramp it up ask for the trot, let them go fast, then ask for your pace…slow things down.. Start developing that transmission. Don’t be scared to get the pace..don’t fall into the trap of I AM AFRAID TO TAKE IT ALL AWAY. Know the dog you’re working, ask accordingly for the right speed for that dog. STRONG EYE.. you’ll need second gear…remember pace is the speed you want, it’s not necessarily the speed of a snail. Pace is a consistent speed, could be a jog, it all depends on the dog. A loose eyed dog’s pace will differ that a strong eyed one. My running pace is different than your running pace. Teaching pace is not different. PACE DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN SLOW…it means go the speed I am asking you for and hold it.