Herding Cattle Again

We went back to Gene’s for the second time to work cattle. First we worked with Bandit on leash in the small paddock area with 3 cattle again. We worked him on moving the cattle in a circle, both clockwise and counterclockwise. We practiced moving them at a steady speed, giving them time to turn the corners without getting bunched up, but not letting them stall in the corners either. We worked on a wait (stop while standing) and a sit, and kept Bandit from cutting in too tight. All went well and Bandit did a great job.

Next we moved to a larger paddock again with 3 different cattle. This time Gene had me remove the lead. We worked on flanks (“Go bys” and “Aways”) in this larger area. Bandit was working well, taking his flanks and moving the cattle without pushing on them too hard, waiting and stopping when told. I could tell he was born to do this! Once he got too close and, while pushing one of the cattle out of the corner past the water tank, he got kicked in the face, between his eyes and his nose. Gene and I could tell it wasn’t a bad kick, so we kept going, not making a big deal of it. I think Bandit learned a potentially expensive lesson at a cheap price. After getting kicked, he was wary of getting too close in that corner and was staying too far back to move the cattle well. So we continued to encourage him to push the cattle without getting in a dangerous position. He recovered well and kept working. Now he has a bump on his nose!

Next, with the help of Joe and Gene, we put the cattle that we had worked back with the herd. Then we took the herd out to a huge pasture, with Bandit still off leash. We moved back and forth behind the herd, keeping them all moving forward. We moved the cattle along the fence and down around a corner, farther out to pasture. With Bandit off lead, I worked at keeping both of us in the right position relative to the cattle. I had so much fun working the cattle. I’m much more relaxed around them than I am with the sheep, I guess because they are more natural for Bandit to work without being overkill.

I was so proud of Bandit today–this was only his 3rd time working cattle. Gene said that Bandit was doing a great job, and that the way he was working today, Gene could put an ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) started cattle title on him. Funny thing, I’m hoping to be ready to enter Bandit in the AKC started cattle trials at the ACD National Specialty this fall, but I hadn’t mentioned that to Gene yet. ;-) We would have started sooner if we had known that we could find cattle herding lessons so close to home. Today was fun and encouraging!

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