Bud Williams Stockmanship and Livestock Marketing

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Bud Williams Stockmanship
Eunice Williams
883 E 505th Road
Aldrich, MO 65601

Pup too Young?

Dear Eunice  … He is ten months now, has lived in the calf barn all his life [previously Jake told me that he and the kids often played with the pup and he was well socialized] but I never let him get away on me to chase them, he sniffed noses with them and tried to instigate them to run from outside the pen. About 4 times he has gotten away when I wasn’t looking and boy did he have fun with those calves, although I never tried to make him feel like he had done wrong just simply got him out of there. Thinking he might be ready at ten months I started him on ten Holstein calves the other day, but don’t know if he is actually quite ready yet. The first time he watched me very closely, he did run to the lead once I got them moving and when he was there and the calves had stopped, usually at the end of the pen, he came out to see what I wanted him to do now instead of trying to push them to me. The second time I had him out I pushed him back some and although he was on their side a bit more he ever once herded them to me and never really had any contact with them once he got to the lead, sniffing around other things and acting disinterested if anything once he had the fun of running to the lead. Sometimes he went for their face playfully even maybe, but you could tell there was some hesitation, he never got serious enough to grip. His tail is not always down especially when he has eye contact and goes to the face. I have seen him stalk a wild goose at 6 months and his body posture was absolutely serious and beautiful. But none of that is going on with the calves. So I guess I’m wondering why is he paying such close attention to me?  And is he really ready? Also would sheep be easier to start out with, if it’s important enough I might have access to some.  Also, I never gave him any commands, I just let him do what he wanted to with the calves.  Hope I explained my situation accordingly.     Jake

Dear Jake,     First thing your comment “I never gave him any commands,  I just let him do what he wanted to with the calves.” is not what Bud meant.  He was careful to keep moving in such a way that he kept things interesting so the pup wouldn’t get frustrated when he couldn’t figure out how to move the calves. I don’t know how big the pen is that you are working in. The larger the better for this kind of pup who is easily distracted from the calves. You have to realize that since he was raised in sight of them, unless you are making things interesting he just considers them a piece of furniture which may be why he starts sniffing around after he gets them stopped. If the pen is too small, just about the time he starts getting any movement they come to a fence.  Don’t expect him to stop and turn the calves back on themselves and bring them to you at this time. If he has gone to the lead like you said, you need to change your position, bending the movement and pushing your pup so things keep going.  It’s a lot easier to do this out in the pasture.  At ten-months he is still just a baby so I wouldn’t worry about him yet.     Eunice

Dear Eunice,     A lot of people have told me I am an overthinker. Your answer is so simple and fitting. It makes 100 percent sense to me. I included where I keep him tied up for that purpose.  Now when you say don’t worry about him yet, do you mean let him grow up some more or try him in different setting like you suggested, and then see what he does?     Jake

Dear Jake,     Yes, when I said “don’t worry” I just mean don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself or the pup.  Keep it fun for both of you.     Eunice