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Cow Dogs

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Soapweed and I get along for several reasons and one of them are we see eye to eye on dogs around the cattle. Now don't get us wrong we love dogs. But, I've been down the crick aways and I've only seen two real good cowdogs and they sure weren't for sale. One of the worst wrecks I was in was because of a dog that loved to work cattle but wasn't very good at it. I was on the Mustang Meadows Ranch and we just weaned about five hundred calves. As the crew (eight of us plus the owner of the ranch) was driving them away from the cows and things were going great a black and white shepard dog appeared out of the willows. He hit that herd at the front and didn't know nothing except chase calves. he went through the bunch , turned around and went through them again then single handed sent them west. He put calves in the willows, in the crick, through fences and nine riders couldn't call him off or even get a rope on him. We chased and tryed to head those calves for about four miles and finally got them stopped on the neighbors. Some one ran that dog off and we held the calves till they settled down some and started to take them back when here came that dog again and turned them back on us. Two more miles,three fences and the neighbor's hay meadow later we held the cattle again. The whole crew was out of horses and the boss broke a yoke in a real nice gray filly. The boss had to get to town and get on a plane so he lead he horse home afoot as the rest of us put the wreak back to gether. The next day after much dog cussing we gathered and was going to work a herd north of Nenzel,NE twelve miles away. Just as we were getting 250 pairs to the corrals, her came that same dog and spilled the herd. Twelve miles from the day before. This time he didn't get away...... A week later we were telling the Boss about that dang dog and how he got to nenzel the next day. The Boss was kind of sheepish and said that was his fault. As he was leaving the ranch that day, there was that dog along the road. So the Boss got a rope on him, put him in the back of the pickup and when he stopped for the stop sign at Nenzel the dog jumped out. Shooked off the rope some how and waited for the next crew he could help out with cattle work which unfortunately was us.
You are right and wrong, and it's usually not's the dogs fault. My brother had a good Heeler that almost counted cows on the trailer or truck; and worked alley's on command; and in her youth made two horses worth of difference in the open. Her daughter was even better, as she was faster built; an incredible experience to watch. However, my former heeler dog was pretty good in the open, but corrals were not her fort'e. One fine spring evening (after work, in them days), we were loading yearling heifers to haul to grass, and she decided to "play" under the back of the trailer. So I got irritated after not getting them loaded twice, and commenced upon her with the sorting stick. After I flushed her and locked her in the pickup, took a couple of deep breaths, brought the girls around for the third time, and my "good DOG" sat on the brake pedal, which set off the trailer lights, putting the royal spooks into those critters, ending my night in zero accomplished.
I've got a little experience with "stray dogs" which sounds like what you have been through. Not such a fun deal!
Did you ever notice that most of the bad wrecks that happen when weaning calves are at places with dogs around? We have a white Bichon house dog whose pups in a years time fetch about as much as a couple of big steer calves like we sell in January. She's the only dog we ever had that has earned her keep, and will only go outside long enough to relieve herself and then she's scratching at the door to get back in.
I can understand your tough experiences, I'll tell you a good 'un. We had JUST finished weaning calves, I remember it was the next day, the breed of calves we had at the time were not what we have now. They were very spooky anyway and being weaned, very, very much so. Two military helicopters flew over us (the calves went nuts - hit the fence, broken necks, broken legs - worse weaning we ever went through) found out our neighbors called them (the helicopters) in to kill coyotes. THAT was worse than dogs!@!!! I couldn't believe our bad luck that day!!! I'll tell you again, you may have had bad experiences with dogs, we haven't. Our dogs DON'T bug the cows.
We go help our neighbors as much as we can, there is one neighbor who has these border collies who bite the cr@@ out of the cows, (dogs) will not listen, and when the cattle are being shipped, these dogs like to sit in the middle of the alleyway and the poor cows/heifers/steers KNOW they are going to be hurt so they either don't go down the alleyway or they RUN OVER YOU trying to go around them. I hate those dogs, if our Corgi is along, he is either on a leash or in the truck. When we are working cattle at our place, our other dogs have learned not to "help out". They are very good at staying out of the way. Their place is out in the pasture, gathering, or bringing a cow in.
Agreed, Hanta Yo!!!

Our dogs don't even go through the calving pasture. They stay to the outside...they don't go into the corral unless they are asked...they are a help, not a hinderance. But they mind and listen. And check back with you whenever they go after something. Don't just run off~Our older dog, my husband can speed up or slow down with voice commands.

We were on a three day ride, trailing cows with some friends. One good ole' boy NEVER had a good dog, but he always had several bad ones at the same time. This particular time those dogs got a cow down! No kidding. I never saw anything like it.

We had three dogs along and they just minded their business, stayed behind the horses where they belonged. You never knew they were there. My husband had to get the cattle off the creek and they were such good help there. So good in fact, the cattle made the trail home a day sooner than normal. Just because those dogs got the cows out of the creek. Sour old sows just knew they could get in there and get away. They got fooled that time, and everytime after that, because we were always asked to come help and to "bring your dogs along."

Talking about dogs, this Dixie is the toughest pup we have ever owned. If she wants to do something bad enough, she does it.

I'm getting a little concerned about her watch-dog instincts. She is already barking when someone drives up, which is GREAT. But today, our neighbor drove into the stack yard and she got really upset about it. We don't want her to be mean, and she showed a little too much possessiveness for a pup so young. I wonder what to do about that. I guess I will call the breeders and see if they have a suggestion. The old dog was dang sure possessive and a one-family dog, but she didn't show it at 4 months of age. This day and age you could really cause yourself some problems with a mean dog!

Sounds like you have a very good dog. I hope for your sake she doesn't come up mean. In the beginning, we had blue heelers (my spouses' dogs) and took in a black border collie. They killed all the cats and I was afraid for anyone to come into the compound, that they would get bitten. I was also afraid for my 2 yr old daughter. Thank GOD they are gone, we have nice doggies who help us out a lot with the cows, love the kitties (who kill the mice)and are nice pets. I wouldn't own a dog if he/she was a detriment to the ranch (spousey agrees, now) and caused problems.

I think if you had lots of people make a point to visit you, your pup would chill out. I'd be willing :)
The old dog we had got quite a reputation for not liking people. In fact, I saw one of those "You might be a Redneck if" calendars. On that day the 'if' was 'IF your dog has a criminal record.' So I tore it off and brought it home and we put it on the wall. She always barked when someone came, but didn't show the dislike for people until later in years, so I am suprised that we are seeing it in Dixie this early. Seems like we have a lot of people that come and go through here as it is. Once they are in the house she is so happy to see everyone.

Our other dog is so mellow, he doesn't bark at anything unless the coyotes howl at night, so I thought that would keep her pretty soft. There has to be something we can do. Guess I best get to finding out. She learns so fast. She sits, stays, doesn't jump on you, gets in, gets out, everything is just a piece of cake for her. I really hope it is just a stage~isn't that what they use as an excuse for kids? LOL!!

Thanks for your input.
I look at things now as this; I have a grandchild, if we have a dog who is going to be mean to a kid, dog is gone. Unfortunately, I've been wanting to get of a couple of our dogs but they LOVE CHILDREN!!! Guess they have a lifetime pass. :lol: :) :D :)
Well I had a horse that bucked, so 4wheelers are better than horses?
I had Ford that overheated, so Dodges are better than Fords?

Dogs are like neighbors, you can find good or bad in either. I have a 15 year old border collie female that been through the wars. I won't tolerate a free wheeling dog, but I don't know how to pop brush without a dog. I've loaded hundreds of bulls in the pasture with my dog Susi gnashing the bull up the twine. One night I was coming home from a roping when I came upon a Sheriffs Deputy struggling to keep several hundred cows off a highway. Poor Deputy was almost frantic, I said watch this. I cut them a hole in a hay pasture and said bring them sus. It used to be every time I'd go to the flinthills, sombody would try to buy my dog. I figure the first offer is tolerable since people just don't know, but any further discussion about buying my dog after the first offer is impolite.
Have to agree and disagree I have seen good and bad the bad ones need to be shot period.

The good ones have a place mine follows me to the calving pasture but waits at the gate unless I need her last year had a cow take me was running for the fence when the dog showed up she saved my but that day.Also have had my cows out and can gather them off the neighbors land and drive them home her and I in the dark.

However when I help other people with their cows she can stay home she tends to screw up if there are alot of people most have no patience so the first chance they get they kick the dog hard.

I think many people who do alot of the cattle work by themselves appreciate a GOOD dog.They take lots of work you cant leave them home all the time and expect them to work when you need them.

When I got my dog we had 30 sheep would let them run the yard she would just lay on the porch until they made it to the road.I would tell her to put em away she would gather them all up and put them in the barn then come back to the porch and it would repeat all day long.She was 4 months at that time.

She wont work cows in a corral been kicked to much there.

Dogs need to obey if they dont their worthless.

Mine's not perfect but she's worth more than a few hired men and a whole lot cheaper.
My nephew raises and trains Border Collies and finds that just because they come from the same litter doesn't make them all the same.
His neighbor has some half wild brahma cross calves he wanted to keep for replacements. My nephew borrowed them for a couple weeks to work his dogs on. When neighbor came to take them home, he parked the trailer out in the middle of the pasture and nephew got the dog out, told the guy to stand back and loaded those calves with no fences.

There are a lot of good dogs out there that would like to do a good job, just don't have anyone to train them right.

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