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Moving stock without a dog


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For some reason this morning during my commute to work my mind wandered back to the year I lived in Davis, California. In my spare time I helped a woman on her farm. She had racehorses and a small herd of dairy goats. My task was to take about 20 dairy goats and their kids out of their pen and graze them around the farm. I had to be careful not to let them get into the neighbors crop fields. I was given a time to keep them out grazing. Then I had to get them back in the pen. Might sound easy but this was well before I had a working dog and I was still very much a girl from the suburbs then. Boy did I learn a lot about pressure zones and which goats to watch to predict where they were headed. I ran A LOT!!!!


I also occasionally had to *try* and round up other goats that had escaped. These goats were not part of the group that was used to me. Sometimes I had to release some other goats to "help" me. Sometimes I had success and other times I just had to accept defeat. Mrs. Pfanner then would come out and gather up the naughty goat and make it look so easy.


Not long after this experience I got my first dog!


I haven't thought about that year in a long time. And it was only this morning that I realized how important it was for me to learn to move stock without a dog. Little did I know then where I would be today!



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Just the other evening I was moving the lambs, well actually trying to get them up in a corner so I could remove briars from their wool. What I discovered (well, actually I knew this, but had to try anyway) is that I couldn't push the lambs into the corner and hold them there myself while trying to grab individuals to remove the briars. I had to go get a dog.... :rolleyes:



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Food. My older Cotswold ewes, who were not dog trained & think the dogs are for smashing, will follow a bucket of alfalfa anywhere. Inlcuding 1/4 mile up the road when they went on walkabout once...


I spent about 3 months without a dog last summer. It. was. AWFUL. I had to set up so much electronet to make lanes & chutes... and forget penning! I don't know how people do it without a dog!


Dairy goats... if you put a dog to ours, one would run, and the other two would flatten the dog faster than you could call it off. They do NOT like dogs- they learned from our recently-deceased ancient Toggenburg doe. The Nubians are so friendly, though- they come when called. They'll do anything for a banana peel or a corn chip :rolleyes:

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  • 3 weeks later...

when i had sheep i shared grazing at my friends farm with her sheep (the 2 flocks grazed together, her 70 odd and my 10). my friend would sometimes move them with her dog, (tikki moved them for me sometimes too, though it was never pretty to watch!)

every time i went to the farm when she had moved sheep she would say that mine were still out on the hill!

sam (her dog) is a damn good dog, but my girls were horrible!

i'm sure the only reason tikki was able to do much with them is because he is a 'driver'. he learned that at the goat farm.

but in a rush the easiest way to get my sheep in was to stand at the gate and yell 'COME ON ALONG GIRLS!!!!!'.

they all came running. or waddling if they were nearly due.

my sheep were horrible and used to harrass anyone walking dogs through the fields.

gods i miss em :rolleyes:

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I still on occation will move sheep and goats without the help of a dog. And an old instructor that I use to go to told me to do just that when I first started learning to work dogs. I enjoy it still today, and sometimes do it just to keep me fresh about pressure, and the how, when, where, and why. It'll certinly help. I too have found that goats dont much like being pushed around by dogs, they are smarter than sheep I think. I just recently started keeping goats, so I havent got the little buggars sorted out yet. Darci

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