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Thread: Working/Stock Dogs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland
    Posts
    7

    Default Working/Stock Dogs

    G'day guys!

    Just wondering if any of you out there work your dogs on stock (cattle, sheep, deer anything else)? It could be because they are working dogs, or maybe you just take your dogs to sheep herding trials/classes for exercise/fun?

    I am looking into getting a kelpie and they are born stock dogs, so would love to learn how to work it on animals. Will definitely be trying to track down herding classes for exercise/fun!

    If any of you do, I'd love to hear about it and of course to see pictures!

    Cheers guys
    Phil

    PS if anybody knows of places around Brisbane/Gatton that do that sort of thing, I'd love to hear about them!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,367

    Default

    Hi Phil,

    You might be interested in going to Dogmania.
    When: 2nd - 4th May (Labour Day long weekend)
    Where: Lawnton (Pine Rivers) Showgrounds, Qld

    Dogmania Home - Canine Sports Carnival

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Hawkesbury NSW
    Posts
    514

    Default

    Hi Phil,

    If you are geared and serious re working dogs and the great commitment, get into their background. Learn all you possibly can and then so much more!

    We have a stunning Kelpie female from a respected RB. She was my fulltime job until the age of 3 at least... still is!!

    My Husband managed some remote properties a while ago, and has great respect and experience with working dogs.

    If you are lucky i may be able to get him to give some tips

    Well i will give it a try at least

    Nic

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Cheers for the replies guys!

    I wasn't really thinking of getting 'super serious' into it - just something to work on once a fortnight or so.. Was wondering if there are any little 'clubs' that meet regularly where you can be taught herding etc.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Hawkesbury NSW
    Posts
    514

    Default

    Hi Phil

    In my opinion, firstly and most significantly, you are best served purchasing a well bred dog from proven working parents. Ideally, you should view at least one of the parents working on stock and/or sight trial results and registration papers, if any.

    Based on my experience, the best working dogs are from good working parents. Just because it is a kelpie, doesn't mean it will work or work well no matter how hard you try. The best workers are always 'looking' to work. They rarely 'switch off'. Bella our Kelpie is a good example of this. Nic is always amused by her drive.

    I believe it is unfortunate if working kelpies are left for extended periods tied up or left in small yards, e.g. a suburban backyard without satisfying the hereditary drive to work. I believe it is important to handle pups at a young age. By 6 weeks pups should have collars and by 8-9 weeks of age be learning restraint. You will find this makes pups easier to handle in the long run.

    I have experience in training pups to work with experienced working dogs together or alone with very docile and quiet stock. Usually goats and older whethers are best. If you do not have the 'luxury' of training 'on the job', you would be best served, to contact The Working Kelpie Council to put you in touch with local trial clubs. Trialling is something I have not done.

    The benefit of training with live animals is that the dog's natural drive can be encouraged and directed more easily. If the subjects, i.e. stock being worked, are experienced, this will assist to encourage and reward the dog since the dog will see the results of its actions.

    I have started dogs at 3-4 months. They ran out of puff fairly quickly, so were carried on my stock horse for the remainder of the work. Pups can be started in yards as young as 9 weeks. It is best to start with small and short musters and moving stock (say 1 hour or so) so you are not left carrying a tired pup all morning or day.

    You will need to get the pup used to working with voice commands, such as 'over' for going from right to left or 'here' for going from left to right. 'Stop' and 'drop' for the obvious. These can be combined with hand signals as well so waving the right hand and saying 'away-over' will mean you want the dog to cast to the right and and move from right to left behind the stock.

    We have found Bella to be a wonderful companion and a highly intelligent dog. While we do not have stock for our current working kelpie Bella to work, she finds stimulation overseering our horses and chickens! In some respects, since she has a strong working drive it is unfortunate her talents are not curently used for what she has been bred for. Although, she has plenty of room to run around our property (she is a free spirit like Nic) and keep active and has never attemped to jump over our rural fencing, which she cold easily do if she was so inclined.

    Lastly, it is vitally important that the health and wellbeing of the dog is maintained, i.e. worming, vaccinations and regular feeding of fresh bones and a good diet. Especially for a growing pup.

    Good luck.

    Greg

    "There is enough love and concern for animals in every community to overcome the irresposibility of the few"
    Nathan Winograd.

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