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Cowdog vs sheep dog


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hello all,

 

I am going to be starting my pup in the beginning of next year. He will ultimately be working cattle where he will need to bite, he already has shown that with refinement he will be a biter (I took him for a test on sheep and he was all about heading and tried to heel the ones that stood off with him.) Now I don't want to discourage this behavior as working with our bulls it is a must to have dogs that will deliver a bite... Would it be best to start him out immediately on calves/cows or should I start him on the sheep? I'm new to starting a BC for herding... My heeler on the other hand is just a natural cowdog, including the heading and heeling. He was started on a group of couple month old calves. Should I follow the same pattern with my BC? Thanks in advance to everyone for their input!

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If you have dog broke calves you can use to start him, I think that would be fine. Many folks also start future cow dogs on either goat kids or sheep. The most important thing, IMO, is making sure you have the skills to properly start a dog, no matter what stock you're using, and if not, that you can get help from someone who does. The bigger the animal, the easier it is for a youngster to get hurt, so you don't want to take unnecessary chances when starting a young dog. JMO.

 

J.

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If you have dog broke calves you can use to start him, I think that would be fine. Many folks also start future cow dogs on either goat kids or sheep. The most important thing, IMO, is making sure you have the skills to properly start a dog, no matter what stock you're using, and if not, that you can get help from someone who does. The bigger the animal, the easier it is for a youngster to get hurt, so you don't want to take unnecessary chances when starting a young dog. JMO.

 

J.

 

Oh, I'm not looking to start him on my own! :D I just wanted to get some people's opinions so I can look for a trainer that will have cattle available to them if that is the route I am going. :)

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All my dogs are cowdogs, but I start them all on sheep. I can more easily control the sheep and what they do than I can calves, which makes it easier to get the dog started properly. As soon as the dog knows to get around the stock and bring them to me, and has an ok down (not perfect), and I can call it off stock reasonably well, then I will transition it to dog broke calves, usually in the 500-550 lb. range.

 

I would definitely look for a trainer that works dogs on cattle, as someone who strictly works on sheep may be into pushing the dog out and backing it off the stock a bit much for eventually working cattle. But I don't really like starting on calves because sometimes that encourages the dog to be too grippy--biting all the time for no necessary reason, and not really engaging the brain to think.

A

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Interesting to hear your thoughts as a cattle person. I used to be of the hobby trial mindset. I fully admit to taking the grip and push out of a dog to make it look pretty at trials. BIG MISTAKE. Putting that back into a dog can be a real battle.

 

Now my focus is on training a useful farm dog that can handle any task, but I am still fighting the bad habits that I learned while training dogs for trials. Just ask my friends. :rolleyes:

 

Currently I am working with a young dog that I want to start on cattle this winter. She doesn't touch sheep (hasn't needed to), but she is quite willing to grip goats when they get fresh. I am hoping that this is some indication that she will do well on cattle since she naturally adjusts her methods based on the stock at hand. She has seen cattle once through a fence and her eyes just about bugged out of her head. If she could talk I think she might have said, "Wow... I want to work THOSE! Forget the sheep!" It was a battle to get her to ignore them and work the sheep instead. ;)

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There are some trainers who go right to cattle, some start with goats and/or sheep, it varies. The main thing is as Liz said, do NOT take the grip out of your dog, rather let the dog know when/where he can grip and hanging on is not too smart.

 

I know some trainers who start dogs in NE If you are interested, PM me and I'll give you contact info.

 

Liz, go get a cookie from Andre's LOL!!! You are learning. And BTW, your bitch does heel sheep, you are just not usually behind her to see it <BG>. And she has a very nice heel bite, low, gets the job done and sensible-now if she would teach this to Butchie!

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Oops. Well, the sheep must not be moving fast enough for her taste. B) She has a nice nose bite as well on the buck and that annoying black cross breed.

 

I can't take any credit for her honest grips. She is related to Frankie, who like Butch, wanted to drag 'em down as a young dog.

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