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Everything posted by ocitalis

  1. Thank you all for the replies. I am located in the northwest corner of Alabama (Florence). If anyone knows of a trainer nearby, that would be great. I am using the Holstein steers because I couldn't locate any dog-broke cattle nearby for sale, and Holsteins seemed to be the closest equivalent. I considered goats, but there are several reasons I haven't bought any: I don't know much about goats, I don't have a pen that can contain goats, and there are many coyotes in the woods here. The coyotes kill goats unless the goats are sharing a pen with cattle. If the goats are in the same pen as cattle, then I don't think I can train the dog using them, because they will run to the cattle for safety. I started helping the dog to move the cows by prodding the cow a bit when he is reluctant to move. I think this is helping the situation. The cows are not as rooted in place as before. Once the cow moves, the dog's natural desire is to immediately race in front of the cow to stop it. Her desire to do this is especially strong when I am helping her to move the cow. I am using various means of stopping the dog from doing this, and she is showing improvement I think. I am working with the dog once per day. She usually lasts 10-15 minutes before her ability to focus on the task at hand has dropped off. When I notice this happening, I wrap up the session. I have read that this drop in attention span is not abnormal for young dogs. After a dog fairly well-trained, how long will a dog generally work before needing a break?
  2. I am trying to train my 1.5 year old female Border Collie to work cattle. I have no prior stockdog training experience. My problem is related to (a lack of) biting. The dog does not bite heels. She doesn't recognize the heel as a target. She only shows interest in light nipping at a calf's head. I purchased 3 gentle 450 lb. Holstein calves for training this dog. My herd cattle are somewhat unfriendly, so I was advised to use comparatively docile milk cows for dog training. The calves were not dog-broke. The calves quickly learned that if they turn their bodies away from the dog, the dog will not bite their rear or heels. When this happens, the dog tries to circle around to the calf's head. This causes the dog to push the calf the wrong direction, or more often, the calf spins away, and the dog chases the head, in a circle. I tried to strongly discourage the dog from running in front of the calf when I want her on the opposite side of the calf. Unfortunately the dog can't do much if she is behind the calf and the calf refuses to walk forward. Even when the dog is face-to-face with a calf, she has trouble forcing the calf to move away. She has a very weak bite, like a kiss, which is really too gentle to motivate the calf to leave. The dog gets nose-to-nose with a calf, but the calf often just stands in place. The calf stares at her, or moves his head away, or butts the dog. If the dog would bite, instead of gnawing at the calf's face, the calf would move. I don't know how to encourage the dog to be more assertive. I try to praise, excite, and encourage her, and she becomes excited, but she doesn't use her teeth to make the cattle move. How can I encourage the dog to bite when appropriate?
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