Host: Killili Working Kelpies
Written by: Courtney Robinson – Owner, Killili Working Kelpies.
Now that the dogs are more experienced, we usually work on the tail with them. Or we go out on the point of the wing and let them work the tail by themselves They are good enough now to figure out where they are supposed to be.
We have two pups out of Meg ready to start working, so it’s going to be back to basics and teaching them how to cast, getting their sides, working on a stop etc. It’s a slow process but really rewarding to see them working with their natural instincts, and always improving.
I don’t know if any one dog is my particular favourite because if I try to choose one, I can’t choose between them. They all have negative and positive points and all balance each other out as a working team.
Two of the biggest things I have learnt while working with dogs:
Everybody remembers what the dog/s did wrong, not what the dog/s did right. Generally the mistakes are spectacular and full of drama. E.g. – A beast going through or over a fence/es or a big scrubber holding his ground and stomping on a few dog heads (seen that a few times). Whereas, when the dogs have nailed it and the cattle are behaving beautifully there isn’t much to see. Aaahhh the serenity if they are your dogs.
Shit happens. When you start using dogs, on cattle especially there is going to be action. Let it happen. We all learn from our mistakes, dogs included.
It’s an undeniable fact. Dog educated cattle are quieter and easier to handle. Quiet cattle are safer for everyone to handle, have faster and higher weight gains, and are easier to process in the yards and muster in the paddock.
Here are some cool links to check out the results of dog educated cattle.
Better clarify some terminology that you might not have understood, in my words.
- Sides are basically their Left and Right. I’m trying to teach my dogs that Get over is clockwise and Go back is anti-clockwise. The great thing about a Kelpie, even though sometimes it drives me crazy, is that they are very independent and don’t like being told what to do.
- Stop is exactly that, stop! Or you can use Sit, Lay down, or Stay. As long as the bloody dog stops or halts for long enough to do the job you are winning.
- I don’t want to tell a dog what to do, but I want it to do what it’s told. This only comes with opportunity and experience.
My dogs aren’t ‘trained’ as such but everything I do with them is by working with their natural instinct. They understand my tone of voice and body position/language better than any words I can come up with. I’m not going in any sheep dog trails so commands aren’t essential to me and as long as they think about what I have said and try to do the right thing, I am happy.
If you would like to keep up to date on my adventures with Meg, Max, Dan, and Pippy you can find us on Facebook at Bush Chooks Photography.
Thanks for reading this, hopefully you haven’t been bored shitless the whole time. We have enjoyed sharing part of our story with you!
Court, George, and the dogs!