Herding Dogs advice

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inyati13
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby inyati13 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:49 am

Shanghai wrote:That's what I meant about heelers not being biddable
You have to be strong and forceful at even to the point of being physical
Most dogs aim to please, but heelers don't seem to be that way. They are pretty independent



That fits Blue. I do like that nature even in people. I like strength, dominance, independence, and character. I like my dogs and friends to have what I call "substance". And especially in women. Give me a strong woman anyday. And especially hispanic. :D
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TennesseeTuxedo
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby TennesseeTuxedo » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:56 am

Now you're racial profiling Inyati.

Good grief what's the matter with you? :shock:
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Lane
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Lane » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:55 am

I use a dog daily on my place and have bred and trained Border Collies for about 30 years. I would suggest that if you do not
have a dog training background your best approach would be to buy a started dog from a good working bloodline suited for
your type of stock. I would also suggest you work a deal with someone with good dogs to come and "dog-break" your cow
herd. This does not mean letting someone come and abuse your cattle, but to use strong dogs to train them to respect a dog.

A young, inexperienced dog can get run-off by mature cows that have never seen a dog. Training cows can be done in a couple
sessions with good dogs by gathering and holding up the herd. The dogs need to be able to put cows that want to "quit the bunch"
back into the herd and once they return leave them alone. If the group is really tough the dogs may need to bite most of the
cows a time or two, but they must not harass individuals. Once cows are "dog-broke" they will remember it the rest of their life.

To be successful in a real working environment a dog doesn't need a lot of commands, but you need control of the dog. Depending
on how you work your cattle will determine what type of dog you want. For woods or swamps baying-type dogs may work, but
they don't typically drive well, heelers are driving dogs and typically won't cover a herd well, Border collies are popular because
they can gather (that's their natural instinct) and they can be taught to drive as well as fetch.

Bottom line, in my opinion, you can't expect a young, untrained dog of any breed to be a lot of help and putting a young dog in
bad situations too many times will take strength out of them that you can never put back.

To answer your other question, I am in Louisiana and its hot, the length of hair or breed of dog does not make as much difference
as the nature of the individual. A pup that is "wrapped too tight" will burn himself out much quicker.

If I can be any more help, just ask. By the way, Len Dalton passed away last year.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Tim/South » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:13 am

When I decided to use dogs to help work cattle I went with Australian Shepherds. I had been successful in training retrievers so knew some do's and don'ts in training. The thick coat may be better suited for cooler climates but I have not seen that being an issue.
Some herding dogs are natural headers and some are natural heelers. I have one of each, by luck, not design.
Training is an ongoing process. My dogs and I spend a lot of time together with cattle. I wanted a hardy breed and also a breed that had a reputation of wanting to please.
Once the light bulb clicks on in their head that they are just not chasing a bovine, that they are actually accomplishing a task, it becomes much easier to advance.
I enjoy the training. I enjoy seeing a dog grow in knowledge. I use the same hand signals and many commands I was accustomed to using with retrievers. I do not use a whistle because with two dogs you need specific commands for each dog.

About any herd dog can be used to get the cows out of the hay barn or to move them down a lane (more so if the dog is a natural heeler vs header).
With a little training most can easily be taught the "Gate" command. This is handy when you are feeding and do not have to get out and close the gate. Handy when the cows are standing at the gate waiting to be fed. The dog becomes the gate keeper.
The "Come " command means they stop any task and come to you. Sometimes you see a danger and can quickly pull them to you.
I have a "Me" command and that means I am in trouble or expect to soon be.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Katpau » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:34 am

In this part of the country, a really good dog is almost necessity. Cattle are generally run in large groups on tracts of land that are measured by the section, and not by the acre. A section for those who don’t know is 640 acres or 1 mile square. The ground can be pretty inhospitable, and even an ATV may not be useful. Cattle are usually gathered using cowboys on horses and their dogs. A good, well trained, dog can take the place of three cowboys. A $3000 dog can be a bargain under these conditions. I myself run less than 100 cattle on about 1100 acres. It is cross fenced, and I don’t run more than about 25 pairs per group. We rotate pastures often, and most of the time I have no real need for the dog. Like most who run on the small pieces of land common back East, a trained dog is more a luxury than an absolute necessity for me, but I can understand why others don’t hesitate to pay thousands of dollars for one. After all, my dog had over 60 hours of training from a skilled handler to arrive where he is today. That is less than $20 per hour. I consider it a bargain. I went from having an ill-mannered brute, who would ignore me to chase a deer, to an energetic partner, who is looking to me for the commands that allow him to do the job he loves and was born to do. A dog I can really be proud of, rather than one I must constantly apologize for. I do wish I had the skills to have trained him myself, but unfortunately I did not. It would have been like having someone learn to ride horses by breaking a colt.

My main purpose in having the trained dog was so I would have help moving cattle around when we gather and work them. We bring the cattle up into about an acre holding area, and move them from there into the corrals and the squeeze. This usually goes well to begin with, but eventually you get some cows who have figured out what is happening up ahead, and they will avoid the gate that brings them up into the corrals. A trained dog will make this go much faster. I may still need to get a bit of help with dog breaking the cattle, but I have high hopes for this dog. Although our first attempt at a gather did not go well because I chose a terrible location. Brush, a creek and fencing were all located in a way that made for an extremely difficult gather for even the most experienced dog. Add to that my improper positioning and my bright idea that we would push the cattle through the gate with a cattle rub extended over it, and you have a good recipe for failure. When we moved the cattle to a better location and I wide open gate we were successful. I have a big learning curve ahead of me. I may get myself a few dog broke sheep, so we can keep up the learning on a more daily basis.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby cow pollinater » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:04 pm

It depends on what you need help with. A heeler can help you push cows around all day long with no training if that's all you need but if you're looking for a second cowboy then you need to be looking at border collies or kelpies.
Training wise, we would never take a two year old horse and slap a saddle on him for his first time and go do a days work and expect him to act like the teenage ranch gelding and yet we do that to dogs all the time and then blame the dog if they don't perform... You'll get what you pay for someone else to do or what you put in yourself. If you get more than that it's a dam good dog that would be better if you put the time in.
For me, I don't want any more border collies. They are the best working dogs and the easiest to train but if it's over 90 degrees they literally have to quit and go swim in the water trough. On flat ground they're better but with heat and a hill climb they're done for the day.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Shanghai » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:12 pm

Slick haired leggy cattle bred dogs can handle it
Image
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Dogs and Cows » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:30 am

Great information on this page!!! Really good reading. I have extensive experience training coon dogs and some bear dogs. Are herding dogs similar in that not all dogs from a given litter will perform when trained adults? I know even great coon lines if you get a pup or 2 in a liter that excel you are living large...regardless of what I read on sites such as UKC or AKC.

I personally like working with very young dogs (in hunting) and then I was passing them onto a "partner" of sorts who finished them up. When do you start a young dog herding? I would love to have one..already trained...but my better half would KILL me...she says my days of $2000 to $3000 dogs are over LOL!!!

Tim
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby pdfangus » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:35 pm

this has been a good thread....

I have had Australian Shepherds for near thirty years....

I used to use them on the cows and had one who was born knowing more about how to work cows than I do today.....but her daddy was once listed as one of the top ten dogs in the breed......he would work ducks sheep cattle anything....

I have had some that knew they should do something about that cow but were not sure what or how....

the Aussie achieved some popularity and as always happens with popular dogs a lot of them lost their native ability....

my advice is buy from someone who know what they are doing and get them to teach you....

one thing....basic obedience training....sit, stay, down, come, no....are things all dogs should have....and aussies will learn it quick....

why aussies for me....orignally I wanted a heeler....then I saw a good aussie work at a stockyard to sort a bad mannered young bull out of a group of bulls....once the bull was on the trailer...the owner told the dog truck and the dog went to the back of the truck and hopped in and laid down for hours....they are all that smart....they are just not all cowy any more...

to me an aussie strikes a balance between the grit an toughness of the heeler and the obsessivness of the border collie....border collies have to have a job and they have to do it....

I have had two aussies save my bacon by getting bad cows off of me....one of them broke out of the house to come save me...still do not know how she got that door open....

my last four have been from Aussie Rescue but they are not stock dogs....there are great aussie stockdogs...I just don't need em and I can save an aussie by rescuing one....
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:00 pm

pdfangus wrote:to me an aussie strikes a balance between the grit an toughness of the heeler and the obsessivness of the border collie....border collies have to have a job and they have to do it....

I have had two aussies save my bacon by getting bad cows off of me....one of them broke out of the house to come save me...still do not know how she got that door open....

my last four have been from Aussie Rescue but they are not stock dogs....there are great aussie stockdogs...


Several of the women at my clinic have a rescued Aussie for a family dog...
Is there a herding or working association?
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby cow pollinater » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:18 pm

Dogs and Cows wrote: Are herding dogs similar in that not all dogs from a given litter will perform when trained adults?
Tim

YES! My big border collie that is training two catahoulas for me was free to me as my cousin had him and was breeding him as he's papered up one side and down the other but only half of his pups want to work no matter what they breed him to. He's lazy for me but will work and is trained better than my horses so I get by with him but won't breed him.
I bred a heeler bytch(accidently) that came from imported stock to a border collie/kelpie and kept four male pups out of the litter and not one of them wanted anything to do with stock. I wound up giving them away as pets. A little girl took the runt female of the litter and when her parents got divorced a year ago asked me if I'd take the dog back... I did and she's turned into a really great dog. I need to spend a little time with her but she wants to WORK.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby cow pollinater » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:23 pm

pdfangus wrote:this has been a good thread....

I have had Australian Shepherds for near thirty years....

I used to use them on the cows and had one who was born knowing more about how to work cows than I do today.....but her daddy was once listed as one of the top ten dogs in the breed......he would work ducks sheep cattle anything....

I have had some that knew they should do something about that cow but were not sure what or how....

the Aussie achieved some popularity and as always happens with popular dogs a lot of them lost their native ability....

my advice is buy from someone who know what they are doing and get them to teach you....

one thing....basic obedience training....sit, stay, down, come, no....are things all dogs should have....and aussies will learn it quick....

why aussies for me....orignally I wanted a heeler....then I saw a good aussie work at a stockyard to sort a bad mannered young bull out of a group of bulls....once the bull was on the trailer...the owner told the dog truck and the dog went to the back of the truck and hopped in and laid down for hours....they are all that smart....they are just not all cowy any more...

to me an aussie strikes a balance between the grit an toughness of the heeler and the obsessivness of the border collie....border collies have to have a job and they have to do it....

I have had two aussies save my bacon by getting bad cows off of me....one of them broke out of the house to come save me...still do not know how she got that door open....

my last four have been from Aussie Rescue but they are not stock dogs....there are great aussie stockdogs...I just don't need em and I can save an aussie by rescuing one....


My dad is the same way. I literally learned how to walk hanging onto an aussies collar. They've had some that were as good as it gets and some that I made disapear for them and they were happy not to ask but another one always shows up. This time I think they've found a really good line. If it wasn't for all the hair I'd try them myself.
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby pdfangus » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:44 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
pdfangus wrote:to me an aussie strikes a balance between the grit an toughness of the heeler and the obsessivness of the border collie....border collies have to have a job and they have to do it....

I have had two aussies save my bacon by getting bad cows off of me....one of them broke out of the house to come save me...still do not know how she got that door open....

my last four have been from Aussie Rescue but they are not stock dogs....there are great aussie stockdogs...


Several of the women at my clinic have a rescued Aussie for a family dog...
Is there a herding or working association?



there used to be herding locally but I have not been active in the local Aussie groups for a while....I know a lady who has border collies and she goes somewhere almost every weekend to work sheep.....

I would contact some breeders and one of them may be able to point you at some working groups....our state aussie club just to have herding clinics and such but then the show folks took over and there was less emphasis on the herding and I sort of dropped out as that was around the time we bought the farm and I had enough to do.....
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby pdfangus » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:49 am

Cow Pollinator, I have taking to giving mine a spring haircut...usually in May. not always easy but it does make the house a little tidier....... and quieter.....
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Re: Herding Dogs advice

Postby wbvs58 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:59 pm

I have two Kelpies. The youngest is about 20 months old now, he is from strong working families and straight out of the box he had a strong desire to head the cattle. I had trouble getting him in behind them but now we have that sorted and I can still send him around them. I have found the sit command to be my most powerfull tool for him, it gives me and him a bit of time to think about things and from there I can put him anywhere now. I think as he matures he is going to be a very good dog, I just wish I had more work for him.
I think Border Collies are the easiest to train as they are naturally very obedient. They say that when you tell kelpies to do something they ask "why" where BC just do as they are told. I would totally agree with this, my be nice is a classic example, she is very smart but thinks she knows everything and prefers to do what she thinks is best. Since I have been training the new dog and she has been missing out a bit when she does get work she is working very strong but has been spot on with where she is putting them, just a bit too strong.
Ken
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