Dog Fighting Cows

Posted August 24th, 2009 — Filed in Stockdogs

Question: . . . . . Reading your articles on dogs and talking to you has helped things get way better and both my dogs do fantastic with stockers. However some of the same old problems with cow/calf pairs surface when we go to the mountains to move them. That is cows turning and fighting the dogs. Not all but always a few. When we are in the open which is seldom, I can go back and push them around to a new spot but most of our moves are on a narrow road or trail. Now I have watched close and I feel my dogs are very fair with cattle, trying to ask them to move without a fight. Or are they tentative? Does a cow ever just need to be taught a lesson? Lately I have just been letting them push as hard as they want and staying out of it , cause they always let her go when she turns but it still seems like certain cows won’t learn. I also realize I have messed these dogs up with my previous training and probably regulated some of the push out of them. I’m sure the cows know this. Where to from here? . . . . .

Question:     It sounds like you are doing fine.  On a narrow trail it’s sometimes better for you to drive the cattle.
The best way to correct the “fighting cows” is to work them regularly when they are dry until they work well for the dogs.  Then take the dogs with you a lot when they are calving etc.  In other words, don’t just take the dogs around them when you are moving them.  This way they will realize that the dogs are just like you, not a threat to them or their calf, but they are “in charge.”  Also, it doesn’t hurt if the cows fight the dogs some, they have to keep the coyotes away and maybe even wolves in your part of the country.