Bud Williams Stockmanship and Livestock Marketing

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

How to Keep Your Dog Driving in the Same Direction

This is how I teach a dog to continue driving the stock in the same direction when I get out of sight or go out to bring in more stock.  You will need to adjust some as each dog is different, but the principle will be the same with any dog.

After your dog is doing a good job of bringing stock to you, watch closely and keep him from coming up the side too far. When the dog has come far enough I will say “Hey!” You can use any word you like, just so the dog understands it should turn back. You must pay attention and not let the stock get by you. As the dog is bringing the stock, keep having the dog turn back sooner and sooner until he is not coming around the corner at all, just going across the back. When he is doing this correctly, move toward the back of the animals, pushing the dog to the front to stop them, then take them the other way, doing the same thing again.

I’m going to digress for a moment and try to impress on you how important I feel it is to “push” your dog to the correct place instead of calling him in then sending him. As you know I want my dogs to be “on the stock” at all times. When he is doing something I don’t like such as overworking I will ride (or walk) towards him and “push” him around until he settles down or is doing the right thing. Don’t say anything. Just walk into him until he is forced to move on.

Now, back to the subject at hand…Don’t overdo this the first time or two. But soon you will be able to go farther each time until the dog will stay right behind without any directions from you. That is, the dog will keep the stock moving in the same direction unless you tell him otherwise. You can be anywhere. In front, along side, or at the back and the dog will keep the right direction.

Push your dog around stock when necessary. Use your command to stop the dog from going too far. When he starts back towards you, use the command to turn him back again. The dog will soon learn to work between these two points until you tell him differently.

You must learn what you can take care of and not have to keep calling your dog to come and help. If you keep doing this, the dog won’t trust you and will keep leaving the back to see if you need him. If you push your dog around the stock, he will still go stop stock when you need him to. If you call your dog back, and send it, he may quit going and stopping stock when you need him to do this.

If you do these things, your dog will continue to drive stock while you go to gather other animals, or you can “push” the dog to go gather while you drive the herd.

 (Published in February/March 1994 Ranch Dog Trainer)