Teaching Dogs How to Do an Out Run in Herding

Teacing the outrun is an advanced herding movement.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

The outrun is an advanced herding movement that your dog must learn following the training of basic commands. It is part of a fluid movement that starts the gather -- bringing the livestock in to the handler. The outrun is an important component of herding trials. The dog will need to leave the handler in an increasingly wide arc that takes him away from the flock to circle around behind them.

Step 1

Begin work in a large area, such as a field or paddock. The object is for the dog to circle the sheep in a wide, sweeping movement that takes him out and away from the flock to a point behind them. This must be done quietly, without disturbing the livestock. Start by guiding your dog on a 10- to 20-foot lead to the flock. Use the "away" command to send your dog out toward the sheep.

Step 2

Teach the arc. Your dog's instinct will be to move close to the sheep. Send him out in a wide arc away from the flock, using the groundwork you have laid with flank training. The dog must be close enough to the flock to be in position for your command, but not so close that the sheep know he is there. When he is in position, praise him and ask for a stay. Use the "fetch" command as you slowly walk toward the sheep.

Step 3

The dog must move away from the herd in an outrun.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Once your dog is in the proper position, guide him back to you with the leash toward the "post," or fetch gates. This will move the herd with him in the "lift," the movement following the outrun. If the dog gets too close to the flock, correct him with the "get back" command.


  • Practice this movement daily with your dog in a variety of settings, so the dog is accustomed to encountering different terrain and barriers such as trees.

  • Use treats as needed during your early training so your dog understands the movement and commands.

Items You Will Need

  • Long lead
  • Training treats