Friday, July 4, 2014

New ON LINE Training Course, MacRae Way: The Outrun

We have a new ON-LINE training course, MacRae Way: The Outrun, available now. The Outrun module provides effective tools and exercises for encouraging the Outrun, extending the Outrun and instruction expressly intended for the expert trainer looking to widen an outrun.

Promo Video, THE OUTRUN

Through 90 minutes of video footage this course explores how to encourage development for a more natural outrunning dog and provides tools for dogs that need training to achieve an outrun.

We contrast both types, detailing the progression with 5 dogs. We also address how and when to introduce a spotter in preparation for a young dogs first sheepdog trial.  

We believe dogs should be committed to going to balance point and outrunning before driving in earnest and sequentially, ‘The Outrun’ module follows ‘Starting Young Dogs’.

‘Starting Young Dogs’ our is flagship offering and details our systematic  training method with an emphasis on balance point. Because our foundation training makes complex training like sorting the outrun & teaching bends/turnbacks intuitive for the dogs, we reference our training system in ‘The Outrun’ and future courses. However, all courses are valuable independent of one another.

The Outrun is available for $99 with 4 weeks of access.

All courses are being delivered on-line only and will not be available on DVD. For details on 'The Outrun' or 'Starting Young Dogs', please visit MacRae Way, ON LINE Sheepdog Training 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here is the SCOOP: You asked, 'What exactly is included w MacRae Way: Starting Dogs & what is the value for an experienced handler?'

Many have inquired, 'What exactly is included in MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs & as an experienced handler, does this course have value for me?'

We have created the attached audio and text to address your questions. Thank you for listening & enjoy the journey.

Click Below Link for Audio:

MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs, Podcast

Corresponding Text Below:

While this series obviously addresses a young dogs start on sheep it holds a greater value as well.

Our objective is to not only provide key information to enable a handler to train a young dog with a solid foundation but also provide accomplished handlers with an understanding of the philosophy of our training system.

 Our experienced dogs have great enthusiasm to
·         turn back,
·         bend, on sheep seen and unseen
·         do blind outruns
·         are positive shedders.

Not just at 3 and 4 years old but at 9, 10 & sometimes older.

For those of you unfamiliar with our open dogs you can view them on film from various years on the final day at the US National. You’ll note these characteristics with Nan, Ben, Bill, Star, Bear, Max, Cap and Sweep.
Successfully teaching these complex components is possible through our training system, which we have used effectively for a combined 40 years. 

Additionally, what we train in the round pen establishes the system that we are able to call upon in later training to address issues such as:
·         Confidence building,
·         Pulling in or pushing out the outrun
·         Holding the line on the drive,
·         Helping Dogs with difficulty holding pressure,
·         Helping dogs that wear excessively
·         Helping dogs to hold a single
and much more.

While many of the 17 dogs that appear in the 20+ hours of total footage are client dogs, dogs we have recently run and are currently competing with are also featured.

Alasdair starts Zac in this segment, and in future courses trains bends, shedding and penning with Queen and Li,

I start Nell in this course, and later introduce turnbacks and bends with Jim and Sweep, shedding and precision work with Cap and Max and we have lots of content on training dogs with ‘eye’ with Nap & Max.

The first course has 4 HRs of video footage with 6 different dogs at various stages. The dogs are markedly different in ability and temperament. 4 of the 6 pedigrees are:
Alba Lyn X Don, McClure’s Lil X Applegate’s’ Buzz, Star X Alba Cap, Ford’s Cap X Ford’s Maddy.

Detailed instruction is included on:
·         Ensuring a good start
·         Starting the outrun
·         Starting to teach flanks
·         Teaching a lie down off sheep
·         Transferring a lie down on sheep
·         Taking your dog from the round pen to the arena to the 10 acre field
·         As well as detailed discussion of our training philosophy

We include quantifiable exercises you can replicate at home and exercises that address specific problems such as:
·         Dogs not covering
·         Dogs not holding the pressure on either the left or the right
·         Dogs not achieving balance point
·         Teaching flanks for dogs inclined to wear
And more

The course is delivered via live stream video and viewable 24/7 for the duration of the subscription.  
In addition to viewing on your computer our product does support HTML 5 playback on mobile operating systems such as iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and Windows Phone.
It is not available as DVD or as a download. 

We are extending our introductory offer through March 29 with pricing at $199 available for 8 weeks.

This production would not have been possible without the collaboration of Kristi Oikawa and advocacy of Eileen Stineman. We are grateful for their contribution and thankful for the tremendous support from the sheepdog community on this project.

Thanks for listening. Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs, An ON-LINE Training Course

For those that train young dogs or those interested in our methodology, we have a new on-line sheepdog training course!
We have  a fundamental belief that how you start your young dog and early training can have a profound impact on your dog achieving his/her full potential.
Our objective in the The MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs module is to provide enough information to enable a handler to start a young dog as well as an understanding of the foundation & philosophy of our training system; which sets the stage for all of our more complex training. 

This course is aimed at those actively starting a young dog, those preparing to start a dog as well as handlers interested in understanding our system, which we have used successfully for a combined 40 years. 
Just as we learn from others to improve aspects of our approach we feel there are many valuable pieces of our method that can be integrated into other training systems.

This first module is our most comprehensive and sets the stage for upcoming releases. 
Our philosophy, emphasizing balance point, begins with our dogs first exposure to sheep. We are far more concerned with helping our dogs become all that she or he can be in the long term rather than a dog that peaks young. 
This begins with the foundation and our system is important to realizing a dogs full potential particularly when training on dog-broke the sheep.

Additionally what we train in the round pen establishes a system that we are able to utilize in training such as outruns, blind turn backs, bends and strong shedding skills. This will be elaborated on in future respective courses.
In the first course we show 4 HR of video footage with 6 different dogs at various stages. We include quantifiable exercises you can replicate at home. The course is delivered via live stream video and viewable 24/7 for the duration of  the subscription. It is not available as DVD or as a download. 
Our introductory offer makes this course available for 8 weeks and should you like to repurchase this course at a later date there will be a discount identified by your single sign-on.

In producing our own training courses we strive to bring you a much more complete offering with courses broken down by each aspect of training and available in a 'shopping cart' format. Future modules include instruction on: Flanks, Outrun, Drive, Shed, Bends, Turnbacks and more. 
I hope to also have Alasdair do armchair conversations on theory  and stories of legendary dogs and handlers. 

In addition to viewing on your computer our product does support HTML 5 playback on mobile operating systems such as iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and Windows Phone.
For Our Introductory Offer and Details on our on-line training please go to our website, The MACRAE WAY: Starting Young Dogs

Our Promotional Video can be viewed, HERE as well.

Enjoy the journey!

Monday, October 14, 2013


A tremendous amount of time and effort are required to produce a trial of this magnitude. THANK YOU to the committee, co-chairs Barbara Ray & Lori Cunningham, Michelle Dobbs, all the volunteers, the set out crew and every one who made this week at Belle Grove possible. While the extreme weather conditions made executing the National much more difficult, it appeared seamless to the handlers and we greatly appreciate the hard work. Thank you also to Susan Rhoades for offering the practice field.

Congratulations to Scot Glen & Don and all those in top placings.

Neither Alasdair nor I did well in the nursery. Alasdair ran Renee Newcomb's Skye and like many dogs, retired in the first run. Nell showed glimpses of both her mother & father (Star X Alba Cap) in round 1 and made it through to round 2, but with running sheep that she could not get with I retired. We enjoy  watching the young dogs and it is a treat to see those from parts of the country we do not travel.

The highlight for me was running Max in his 10th consecutive National at 12 yrs. old. We drew a difficult ewe in the qualifying and did not make the semi but as always, Max punched above his weight. He looked more like a 6 year old than a 12 year old in this, his last National. It has been an brilliant journey. His natural ability and talent have afforded me invaluable experience. He is a tremendous partner and friend; I am so grateful and incredibly blessed.

Cap ran exceptionally well in the semi's but did not get the breaks; with a difficult ewe and a shortened clock we timed out before the single, missing the cut for the final. Alasdair and Jim suffered a similar fate but Alasdair made it through to the final with Sweep and was Reserve Champion! They had a flawless turn back, best gather, excellent drive and Sweep was very impressive and positive in the ring.

We bred Sweep in 2009. He is out of Alba Lyn (Alba Cap's litter sister) & by Don Russell's Sweep (a son of Alasdair's Sweep).
With the same complex formula in which I selected Cap (looks like my Bear :-)) I choose Sweep as a puppy. I ran him in the nurseries in 2011 National (we finished 8th) & gave him to Alasdair in Dec 2012 as I had 4 open dogs. In that short time Alasdair and Sweep have developed a remarkable partnership and they are an amazing team!
I am also very excited and proud of Peg Anderson and Spot. They had a great National finishing 4th in the Double Lift-congratulations.

Although fashion lost out to function and the weather was gloomy, the good friends and good dogs (especially the good friends who make a mean lemon drop), made for another great National!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pylons and Tigers and Dares, oh My

The start of the month we loaded up the pylons and the dogs and once again dared to cross the Canadian border. This time, however, our phones were not confiscated, our rig was not searched nor our trip detained- in a word, seamless!

The clinic at Chris Jobe's had excellent weather, good people and nice dogs. Thank you Chris and all the participants for a great 4 days.

photo by Michelle Bryan (Kristi you are here in spirit!)

We had a fun visit with Stormy, nearly collected on the bets he owes us and worked a few dogs.

Stormy's young male dog & his Kate

One of the highlights of being home was the visit with Annemarie, Vergil & the Caplettes! (Brooke X Cap)

Another awesome clinic with Polly Simpson-the hostess with the most-est! Always enjoy working with the group in Wisconsin and great to have new handlers join us.
The WWSDA Labor Day trial field is excellent and sheep were in the main, responsive to the dogs. The shed in the final was difficult and the turn back a very good test. Huge thanks to the WWSDA and all that made the trial possible.

An exceptional weekend as Max had a 1st & 2nd in the qualifying, won the overall and was the only dog to get finished in the double lift final, getting 2nd place to Cap. Max will be 12 yrs. old next month and it has been nothing short of a brilliant journey. I am very blessed and incredibly grateful!

Max, photo by Michelle Guderian
Finally, bringing August to a close my alma mater, Clemson knocked off no. 5 ranked Georgia Saturday night-go Tigers!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

An Opening,,,

After a packed 6 weeks of projects, lessons, travel, judging, trialing and clinics our schedule is fairly open. Fitting this shot of Gail in the opening above was taken just this morning.

We spent two weeks of June at home & good news for Spangle; more than just the wit was cutting.

Spangle's summer haircut
We departed June 18 for Parker, Colorado. We had a great time working and visiting with Susan & Ladd Squires, always considerate and generous hosts.
The highlight was our Vancouver visitor. We worked on Rex having less wrecks! We also tackled video editing, impersonated 80’s girl band, ate sushi, drank wine and laughed endlessly.
Kristi's Rex
June 26th we headed to one of our favorite trials, Free to Be Classic in Mountainair, NM
Lurena's Bliss
This is a trial to put on your bucket list. Although we did not have great results we had an excellent time. The courses and the sheep were tremendous. Thank you again to Geri Abrams and her dedicated and talented set- out crew and all the contributors.

I judged the nursery so we ran our nursery dogs in Open ranch and each won a class. Overall Nell did capably, Li, Sweep and Cap all ran well. I ran Jim 2 of the Opens and my lack of preparation with him was evident. I entered Max the last two days and unfortunately he ran me!
There is consolation in the first dog you moved into Open, at nearly 12 years old, running as strong and fast as a dog ½ his age; just as well, as there are no prizes for it :-)

Following the trial we did a 2 day general clinic. Good people and lots of new faces; we greatly enjoyed working with the young dogs and eager students. The 3rd day was an international shedding clinic and the sheep were fantastic. We finished out the week with a tribute of  the song, ‘Who the eff is Lisa’ for Peg Anderson, 2 days of lessons, 1 day of laundry and a Sunday respite.

The next 3 weeks we will have the privilege of leasing and working the Rambouillets on the ranch. Geri has over 330 acres with every size working area imaginable. In addition to the clinics and USBCHA trials, she also hosts AKC & AHBA events. She has goats for the young dogs as well as dogged sheep for those not quite ready to work the range ewes.

The sheep and fields are an incredible opportunity for the nursery dogs

Alba Nell
as well as the 3 year olds without much experience, Jim and Gail.


With the same sheep the same color as the terrain, spotting them at a distance can be a challenge.
Ground & sheep identical beige?

An 850 yard outrun opportunity at every corner, training the Open dogs on fields of this scope is invaluable.

When not used for training, the arenas double as an excellent puppy play area. Brae & Jaff are growing like weeds! 

Brae & Jaff
My forward thinking girlfriend sent mindless novels for relaxing in the shade with the dogs in the hot afternoons (Kristi if you are reading this, books only after dedicated hours to the project of course :-)).
The weather here is hot during the day & cool in the mornings and evenings; varied but never subtle.

Excellent sheep, a brilliant training facility, gorgeous vistas and good Mexican food; the makings of a great summer!

Max, walking at last!



Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Need for More Bars,,,,

'The need for more bars'--could have been a dissertation for many of us in the '80’s! 
Much more tame with middle age, the 'bars' referenced are the measure of cell signal strength on the phone- or in our case, the absence of bars. Without connectivity have been unable to post including the great trial in NC last weekend.

The laptop acquired signal as we were departing NC & I was able to upload some photos from the trial to FaceBook, a practiced process on my PC.
This connection was short lived but my phone looked to have a reasonable signal & I thought I would give that a try.
Smart phones really are amazing and as they do not require as much bandwidth, we are able to do more with less.
This is the snag for me; they enable a false sense of competency.
The result of my technical prowess? I unwittingly managed to delete the very photo album loaded the previous evening, ugh.
Apologies to those copied on photos; I hope to get it right next time & managed to re post a few below.

Dr. Ben’s provided a challenging outrun, brilliant weather and good people. Ann Allen hosted a live twitter feed to relay many of the nice runs over the holiday weekend. Stand outs included Vic Wilcox and Ken Arrendale with both their dogs, Dwight Parker with Craig, Emily Falk with Spain, Bob Washer with Clare and many more. Linda Fogt with Jill put together two runs in the Open as well as a good run with a solid finish in DL to win the NC Championship. Alasdair and I only managed 2 runs in the prize list combined; Alasdair with Sweep in Open II and Jim & I in Open I. We did not compete in the trial with our young dogs but we stayed to watch the Nursery Monday morning. Dee Penatzer with Floss won with a very good run.

Thank you to Emily and Dr. Ben Ousley for their generous hospitality, Dean Holcomb, the entire set out crew and all of those that contributed to put on a great trial!
We enjoyed watching dogs we don’t see often and visiting with friends that live far away. Sunday evening a fun handlers dinner included Vic Wilcox’s reign as the mistress of martinis as well as the Hanley’s providing honey badger enlightenment. We had a fun stay at Dee's Memorial Day and hope to make it back to North Carolina soon.

Laura & fellow connoisseur Trig, the glass is empty but the nose, knows!

Chris & Vic Wilcox

Dee & I anticipate the nectar Vic is swilling above
Have some quick business and the chance to get the young dogs out to a new spot on the road home. The dot on the field below is Renee Newcomb’s Skye. Will be in Missouri until we depart for Geri Abrams excellent trial in New Mexico later this month.