Starting to train a working cow dog

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Rawhide_Horseman
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Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:55 pm

Hello,
I have a Blue Heeler cross that I would like to train to help me with the cattle. I know he probably doesn't have what it takes to be a champion or anything like that I would just like to get a foundation on him. I haven't trained a cow dog before, I have been around ranching, cattle, horses, etc all my life and I understand how cattle act and react. At least I have knowledge of it, I think there is always more to learn... Anyway, I was just wondering if any of y'all had suggestions how I can start to learn about training a cow dog. I do appreciate it!
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wbvs58
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby wbvs58 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:35 pm

Start with reading a good book on the subject. A healer will have natural instincts to work from behind.
Start him off on young weaner cattle. Keep him away from cranky old cows with young calves.
Ken
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:33 pm

Do you have any books in mind Ken? And I appreciate the tips
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wbvs58
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby wbvs58 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:48 am

A book that I found very good and written by a fellow that knows his working dogs and was easy to read and follow was.
Training And Working Dogs For Quiet Confident Control Of Stock by Scott Lithgow, published by University of Queensland Press in Australia.
Probably not easily available for you to acquire but with the internet these days and library's doing ebooks, anything is possible.
First published in 1987. Gives a bit of an insight into conditions on cattle property in Australia.
Ken
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Rawhide_Horseman
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:53 am

That book sounds pretty interesting, I will have to look into it. Appreciate it!
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dun
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby dun » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:46 pm

I don;t know about training them, ours just took it up naturally. One thing tobe sure of is that it is bombproof trained for obedience. Nothing fancy, the usual, come when called, stop/whoa, down, walk at heel, sit, stay, etc. When they know those it makes it easier to get them to respond to you when you give hand signals or a whistle.
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Rawhide_Horseman
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:47 pm

I'm confident that he will do well if I, like I said get a good foundation on him. He is interested in the cattle, and he has become more confident around them and has learned how to get them to move off. Even my Longhorn mama cows that are pretty protective and handy with them horns. I wan't to get him to listen well before he just thinks he can just chase those cows around and start ignoring me.
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby dun » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:43 am

Rawhide_Horseman wrote:I'm confident that he will do well if I, like I said get a good foundation on him. He is interested in the cattle, and he has become more confident around them and has learned how to get them to move off. Even my Longhorn mama cows that are pretty protective and handy with them horns. I wan't to get him to listen well before he just thinks he can just chase those cows around and start ignoring me.

That's where the basic obedience training comes in! I used to AI cows for a guy that had a bunch of Rottwilers that loved to "herd?" the cows. If they hadn;t had the basic obeidence it would have been more of a goat--------. At least we could call them off and out of the way when we needed to.
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby bmoore87 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:08 pm

Most seem to figure it out on their own and its more just you getting working on communicating what you want. The heelers I have worked with were naturauly pushers and pretty aggressive so basic getim, sit, stay, come here and most important stop would let you get along pretty good in pushing cattle just make sure you're clear.

Some work better on pigs & sheep and are to timid for cattle while others are good for cattle but rough on the smaller stock.
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:08 am

dun wrote:
Rawhide_Horseman wrote:I'm confident that he will do well if I, like I said get a good foundation on him. He is interested in the cattle, and he has become more confident around them and has learned how to get them to move off. Even my Longhorn mama cows that are pretty protective and handy with them horns. I wan't to get him to listen well before he just thinks he can just chase those cows around and start ignoring me.

That's where the basic obedience training comes in! I used to AI cows for a guy that had a bunch of Rottwilers that loved to "herd?" the cows. If they hadn;t had the basic obeidence it would have been more of a goat--------. At least we could call them off and out of the way when we needed to.

Now that is funny! I see you're point on how it is important to have the basics down.

bmoore87 wrote:Most seem to figure it out on their own and its more just you getting working on communicating what you want. The heelers I have worked with were naturauly pushers and pretty aggressive so basic getim, sit, stay, come here and most important stop would let you get along pretty good in pushing cattle just make sure you're clear.

Some work better on pigs & sheep and are to timid for cattle while others are good for cattle but rough on the smaller stock.


He can be pretty aggressive with them. We have some goats as well and he seems to be just as aggressive, if he wants to be. That being said, I can still see how he would come in handy if I were to just get the basics working with him...
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Boot Jack Bulls » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:32 pm

Most heelers will have the natural instinct to work all on their own. If they don't, it's an up-hill battle you rarely win. We have a 8 month old red female we bought. She is gorgeous, but dumb as a box of rocks! She just barks and doesn't show any of the instinct I would prefer to see at her age. Most we have bred over the years show a willingness to work by the time momma dog starts to wean them off. In the 25 years we have bred and trained cattle dogs, the best advice I can give is the importance of teaching them what "No" means. Start with basic obedience like other suggested. Keep commands short, firm and simple. They are smart enough, but when you are yelling at them clear across a 40, detailed instructions seem rather dumb. If you have a bit of a sharp dog, usually females and Texas type heelers are, a sound understanding of No and a firm hand are good ideas. I'm not saying you have to beat the shyt out of them, but they do need to know who is running the show, and unlike some other working breeds, they won't hold it against you and sulk for days. Most of the time, they are ready to go right back to work after a stern reprimand. They will try your patience if you let them.

And when all else fails, throw rocks and swear uninteligibly at them! Just kidding!!!!

I would caution you against letting a young heeler "play" with your goats until he is trained though. They can get way too aggressive on a goat or sheep in a hurry and cause real damage. I have only ever had one heeler that had the finesse and attitude to work goats successfully, and I've had a LOT of them!
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Rawhide_Horseman
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Rawhide_Horseman » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:04 pm

Boot Jack Bulls wrote:Most heelers will have the natural instinct to work all on their own. If they don't, it's an up-hill battle you rarely win. We have a 8 month old red female we bought. She is gorgeous, but dumb as a box of rocks! She just barks and doesn't show any of the instinct I would prefer to see at her age. Most we have bred over the years show a willingness to work by the time momma dog starts to wean them off. In the 25 years we have bred and trained cattle dogs, the best advice I can give is the importance of teaching them what "No" means. Start with basic obedience like other suggested. Keep commands short, firm and simple. They are smart enough, but when you are yelling at them clear across a 40, detailed instructions seem rather dumb. If you have a bit of a sharp dog, usually females and Texas type heelers are, a sound understanding of No and a firm hand are good ideas. I'm not saying you have to beat the shyt out of them, but they do need to know who is running the show, and unlike some other working breeds, they won't hold it against you and sulk for days. Most of the time, they are ready to go right back to work after a stern reprimand. They will try your patience if you let them.

And when all else fails, throw rocks and swear uninteligibly at them! Just kidding!!!!

I would caution you against letting a young heeler "play" with your goats until he is trained though. They can get way too aggressive on a goat or sheep in a hurry and cause real damage. I have only ever had one heeler that had the finesse and attitude to work goats successfully, and I've had a LOT of them!


I appreciate your advice and knowledge! I have noticed that he doesn't sulk like you said when I do reprimand him. What is a Texas type heeler?
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Re: Starting to train a working cow dog

Postby Boot Jack Bulls » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:53 pm

Rawhide, the Texas type are usually true Austrailian Cattle Dogs (ACDs) crossed up with another breed. They are usually smaller, finer boned, and have a sharper temper. If you look at breeders who advertise ACDs, you will immeditley notice a huge difference between those and what people who have "heelers" advertise. There are also those AKC registered breeders who have ACDs, but I find it hard to find these breeders with stock like I prefer. Up here in the frozen north, we prefer the true ACD type. Stocky, heavy boned working animals. Our males are usually 60-80 pounds when mature and females are 40-60 pounds mature. The first one we had, though, was a stray Texas heeler female, who was mean as he77 most of the time, but man did she work those Brahma wenches! She never hurt anyone/ anything she shouldn't have, but she did go through a glass paned window to get the UPS man when he came too far up the front steps! We specialize in the true ACD type that work for their dinner, with rare coat patterns and tons of personality. I will try to dig up some photos of our ACDs over the years, we have bred, raised, trained and sold well over 100 of them!

In the end, it doesn't matter which type you have or prefer, just as long as they get the job done!
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