Working Dogs on Strange Cows

Posted June 19th, 2011 — Filed in Stockdogs

Question: We really enjoyed that posting where you wrote about people willing to make their play a challenge but not their work. How true. Never thought of it that way. You told me to let my dogs be around the cattle a lot just to let them be used to them. This has worked very well. The dogs meander around while I’m feeding and calving and don’t cause much fuss and now when I move even quite young pairs there is little or no fighting the dogs. What fun. Occasionally a neighbor will see how well my dogs work ( for me) and call when they have a problem, and wonder if I can bring a dog and help. This is almost always a disaster. If all my dogs ever do is work well and help me that would be fine but I’m wondering about that particular situation. The neighbor wants help but wants it his way. No patience or understanding that we need to take some time. What should be my thinking about this? Is it realistic to think that a dog should be capable of moving in on strange unbroken cows and take control? Maybe this is part of ( no limit to better) and this is down the road for me. Just kind of wondering how to think about this. As for now I just tell people my dogs don’t really work on strange cattle.

Answer: There is working animals, then there is working animals with a dog, and then there is working animals with other people. They are all the same yet quite different as YOU need to change – as the dog can change very little and the other people will change very little if at all.

This has got to be your choice as each one of these things requires YOU to be willing to make changes that are not easy to make sometimes.  Your thinking probably should be “Do I really want to do these things?”  If you do, then do it otherwise stay with what you like.

Certain dogs can handle strange or new unbroken cows with very little problems, some dogs never will be able to. What this is really about is” are you willing to try – even if you may fail?”  What would it hurt if you tried to use the dogs and they were not able to do the job, would that be the end of the world or just starting a new learning experience?

This is only about YOU, not the dogs or the other people.  Always remember that they are only an excuse – or a chance for a new learning experience, nothing else.

Cattle/Grain Squash

Posted June 16th, 2011 — Filed in Marketing

Question: Can you explain how the crush works or should I join your site for more information on this. I have a basic understanding of it but I don’t know how to play the commodities with it. If that makes sense. Maybe it is too risky but I would like to see if it work in the actual commodities market.

Answer: I guess you went to Ann’s class as I don’t use the fat cattle, feeder cattle, grain spread as a way to trade commodities  (I think she calls this a “Squash”).   We don’t talk about how to trade commodities on our site.  Since I’m not a bonded commodity broker I’m not allowed to do that.

I used the  information from that spread  when I was buying cattle for the feedlot in Canada as it really helped tell me what people thought the future cash prices would be.  Not what they would be but what they thought they would be. That helped me know when the middle weight cattle should be sold or kept as well as using over or underpriced.

A commodity broker really likes this spread as it generates a lot of commissions. If you were to study it for several years and knew some of the extremes that it will go to it would probably work alright. Actually there is less risk and more reward to just trade cattle or grain alone, not as a three way spread.

I Always Knew Bud Was a “Top 10”

Posted June 10th, 2011 — Filed in Miscellaneous, Stockmanship, Testimonials

Beef Producer Magazine readers chose Bud as one of the “Ten Greatest Innovations in the History of the Beef Industry.”  He’s right up there with Barbed Wire, Antibiotics and Refrigeration.  You can read the entire article here.

Comment from Another Student (more)

Posted June 7th, 2011 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

Comment: I’d just like to add this yet. Don’t give up encouraging someone that is having a hard time comprehending. There were days that I was so frustrated I didn’t ever want to see another cow. And then I’d think of what Bud says about watching the animals, they will tell you what to do and that made it even worse! But somehow I stuck with it and now I understand what he was meaning.

Answer: You don’t have to worry, I never give up on anyone unless they give up on themselves and then there is very little chance to help. After spending 40 years learning these things and then 20 years teaching I realize just how hard it was for me to learn and sometimes even harder for some other people to understand.

We shouldn’t look at this as easy or difficult, it should be looked at as a challenge to overcome. When attempting to do something that is considered work people approach it with a totally different attitude than they would approach a game. People like a game that tests their skill and as they get better then they want a more difficult game.  With work they are just the opposite, they want everything to be easy and always work. Life is not like that.  We should learn that problems are good, mistakes are good, thing that are difficult are the best. Why do you think some people climb mountains, cross oceans, and do all kinds of dangerous things that have no value and just love it? Yet someone that has a little problem while working will get so upset and want things to be easier or even done for them.

Problems while we are working can be a wonderful thing as they give us an opportunity to improve our skill level and really learn how to get better, or the problem can upset us then the job is difficult our skill level gets worse and we learn nothing.

When someone climbs a mountain, the more difficult the better and even with all the problems at the top, they are so excited even though they have actually done nothing of benefit and probably at least 10,000 other people have climbed the same mountain before them.

When someone is gathering a group of cows and calves, even if they have lots of problem, but finally get things right and get the cows to where they are going and they are all mothered up calm and quiet, this should be the very best.  They have increased their skill level, they have learned a lot and they have actually accomplished something that 10.000 other people before them have not done that well.

Comment from Another Student

Posted June 6th, 2011 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

Comment: Good  morning. I was really happy to read the last post you put on the website. It is  the same experience we’re having here and I have really been wanting to thank  you. Sorting pairs for different pastures this spring has been an real  enjoyable experience and we always come in at the end of the day amazed at how  much we actually got done. No more stirring in the corral and mis mothering.     Thanks!

No Limit to Better

Posted June 6th, 2011 — Filed in Testimonials

Comment from a Student: We learn from our mistakes but when something goes right it’s nice to look back and review it and understand why it went the way it did. You told me that things don’t go right because a person got so good but because he did the right thing every time. This has helped me a lot to think of it this way. I helped a friend get some cattle in the other day and sort some he wanted to haul and things went very well in spite of the fact that these cattle are usually moved at high speed with motorbikes. Starting and moving right , they behaved like any other cows even though they had never seen me before. My own tame slow motion cows are driving much better. If they are waiting at the gate which is seldom anymore I can turn them all and drive them away no problem. Ok here’s my question about that. We are grazing our first grass much taller this year instead of younger grass that’s pure protein. Much less going out the back end so I think their protein / energy balance is better. I really don’t know much about this. What I do know is the cattle are content and I know that’s all that really matters. But when pondering what went right, I wonder, is it more to do with training and proper handling, or with better feed balance? Probably both. They don’t even hardly look up when stringing up new fence right beside them and I move them almost every day. Whatever it is its much better than it used to be. Thanks again for all you do.

Comment from Bud: Almost everything about working animals or even owning animals is a combination of things and they all must be done reasonably well to get a good job. Very seldom does doing just one thing better make things work really well.

We’re really proud of what you two are doing and the progress you have made. Just keep getting better – there is no limit to better.