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Frequently Asked Questions

Cowdog Breeders are often asked a variety of questions about their dogs.  Here you will find answers to some of these commonly asked questions.

How long will it take to train my dog?
A lot of how long it takes to train your dog depends on what all he knows before he gets to the trainer. See the Raising Your Puppy Right article. If your dog gets to the trainer and has some basic obedience training and knows the down command or knows the here command, is used to being led on a rope etc., things will go much easier for the dog and the trainer.The sooner your dog learns these things the quicker he gets to work cattle which is why he is here in the first place. Like anything else, some dogs pick up on things faster than others but teaching these things early and socializing him can be the difference in your dog being a good cowdog or not. If a dog has a good start and has been well socialized, introduced to stock some and has basic obedience, he could have a good foundation in as little as 30 days. More realistic though is going to be 45 to 60 days for a good foundation. Of course the decision is up to you the owner as to how long you want to leave the dog and a lot of that will depend how much experience you have in working him once he gets home. A good trainer will help you with all of these decisions.
Will a trial dog make a good ranch dog?
Wow! This question always gets us cowdog guys going. The question should have been asked Can a Trial Dog Make a Good Ranch Dog? The answer then would be yes. Of course some are better suited for ranch work than others. A lot of it depends not only on natural ability but on how the dog is raised and trained. The dog certainly doesn't know if he is a trial dog or pasture dog when his training begins. A good trial dog does not necessarily have to have good balance (although it is usually wanted) but in most situations a pasture dog does. Something else that is often said is that a trial dog doesn't have to think on his feet because the handler tells him where to be in relation to the stock. Although this is sometimes true, a good cowdog with natural instincts will be able to handle the cattle by himself with enough practice. Trial dog or not. Another comment often heard is that a ranch dog doesn't handle as good as trial dog. Again, this goes back to how the dog is trained. It is not usually critical that the dog stop on a dime or Square Off when sent to gather out of the pasture. It is also been said that a ranch dog has more stamina than a trial dog. This of course depends on how good of shape the dog is in. Something else to consider when looking for a good cowdog. There are some really good dogs at the trials.Of course if the dog is winning consistenty he is bound to not be a slouch. However, just remember, the best dog doesn't always win and the worst dog doesn't always lose. There are three different but probably equal elements to a dog trial, the dog, the handler and the cattle. Just like a good dog makes the handler look good. Good cattle can make the dog look good. When looking to buy a dog at a dog trial, don't get too caught up in watching the dog when the cattle are cooperating.Pay attention to see if the dog keeps the cattle calm or stirs them up. Watch what the dog does when the cattle turn to fight him or they try to run away. This will tell you a lot about what kind of cowdog he is. If a dog has the strength to move cattle and natural herding ability he should be able to work well in the pasture or trial if exposed to either.
How to control my cowdogs barking
Sometimes when your dog is barking it is for an important reason. Most of the time however, the reason is not likely important to you or your neighbors. One of the most effective ways to control your dogs barking is with an electronic bark collar. Bark collars are made by several different compaies. The basic idea with most bark collars is the same. The dog barks, his throat vibrates, which triggers the bark collar to send an electrical stimulus back to the dog. It is a very humane way to control the barking because the dog controls it. Another dog barking will not trigger the collar. Only the dog wearing it can. Most bark collars have variable intensity levels. Just put it on your dog on low and gradually move the setting up until you find the setting that is best for your dog. It is recommended not to put a bark collar on your dog until it is at least a few months old. Also, it is not recommended to put a bark collar on dogs if they are kept together until they get used to wearing it as it might cause a fight when one or both dogs get a correction. Do not leave a bark collar on your dog for extended periods of time because it can cause sores from a reaction to the probes. If used correctly a bark collar is a great tool to keep your dog quiet and your neighbors happy.