The Joy of Real Tasks With A Ranch Dog

Native Prairie Hillside
The flock is on a thirty acre paddock with rough terrain. In this paddock are areas of tame grass / alfalfa, native prairie and then hillsides of brush peppered with Canadian thistle.

 
Grass/Alfalfa Hillside
The ewes cleaned up the tame grass and alfalfa within 48 hours of moving in and have been wanting to move out for three days now. One thing about rotational grazing is that animals get used to moving and begin to decide themselves when it’s time. As such, a whole gaggle of them appear over the last hilltop every time I’m letting myself out of the gate.
Brush and Thistle Hill Top

This morning I let myself out the gate, closed it then unleashed Cajun from the back of the Ranger. I held the fence line wires apart for him to crawl between. We walked uphill toward the line of ewes. Cajun taking the left side and I the right. His ewes moved off while mine lingered. I called him toward me and then gave a flank. He swung out, moved behind me and to the other side. Right there.

Sweet. This is not in our repertoire yet. I took advantage of having a wall of sheep and tried this a couple more times. He picked it up well doing very short drives without going into a tight flank because he thought animals were escaping. 

I love doing real tasks with a dog - beats training any day.

The ewes moved off and we found ourselves facing the cows; in particular a momma cow with a calf. Cajun’s a forceful dog who’s all to willing to push a fight, especially on cows (I think he’s nervous of them).

Momma cow fixed us with a look that seemed to say ‘I’m a momma cow, don’t even think about it.’

Cajun stood facing her. I stood, watching. Cajun relaxed his stance and shifted his weight back rather than forward. He looked at the calf. He looked up at the cow. He looked away from the cow. The cow lifted her nose; looked at her calf; looked at Cajun.

Whatever mind game he was playing with her seemed to work. She turned and walked off with her calf. Cajun walked forward, following her. Beauty. Sweet ranch dog move number two.

Then Cajun quickened his pace, got within one stride of that cow and dove in, biting her on the hock. Her bellow was loud and furious.

Cajun just has to have the last word every time. 

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