Bandit on Cattle

Finally, after working with Bandit on sheep for 3 years, I found a place nearby to try working cattle. We went to Carey’s place and he showed me how to start Bandit on three cattle, working in a small area. I think we did very well together. Carey sent me in alone first, to get a feel for what it would take to move the cattle. Then I took Bandit in and worked at giving the cattle just enough to get them moving, then backing off a bit. Bandit worked very well and with a lot of control. His eyes got kind of big at first, like, “Wow, I really get to be in here with these cows! Yippee!”  

Carey warned me not to yell and distract Bandit if he should get in a dangerous situation, that he will take care of himself just fine if not distracted at that moment. Once Bandit got under a cow and I had to resist the urge to yell. Yikes! Bandit’s “overkill” for sheep is just what he needs to do what he was bred to do—work cattle. It was fun to see! He went right to their heads as he was supposed to and wasn’t afraid to go by the fence to get them out of the corner. I was more timid, not having the same instinct for cows, and need to be more confident to show Bandit which direction we need to go.

By the end of the lesson, we were working off lead, moving the cattle in a clockwise (“Go by”) and a counterclockwise (“Away to me”) circle. Carey said he was impressed with how well Bandit and I worked together and how much control we had (hah—we fooled him!). He told me that some guy had come out before with a cattle dog and didn’t have a clue how to work with the dog. So all those miles that we put in on sheep made a huge difference. I ended up using some of my agility commands too, like “here” and “with me”! I need to make sure I give him strong direction and work with him as a team. I’ve had to learn so much just to stay on top of this dog! Without herding, I think one of us would be dead by now. His “overkill” for sheep is just what he needs to do what he was bred to do—work cattle. It was fun to see! 

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