This fall I took Tagg and Brisco to Texas to learn how to dog-break cattle, and how to handle cattle with dogs.
Cattle, unlike sheep, need body motion to move off a dog, so strong-eyed dogs like Tagg and Cody can struggle to move cattle if they don't learn how to use their bodies and if neccessary teeth.
Tagg is a dirty biter, meaning she bites as a way to release stress, and does it in a thoughtless, adrenalyzed state. This leads to inappropriate, poorly timed, ineffective, and dangerous bites. One of the things I wanted to learn was how to help her learn that biting is an extension of power rather than a reaction to weakness. Strong dogs know when and how to bite, and because they know they can, they don't require it as often. Cody, strangely, has a solid nose grip that is well-timed, appropriate and effective.
Cattle are also handled less often than most sheep, and should never seek humans for safety like sheep do due to safety concerns. My three cows are not 'honest' because two are dairy, and are thus genetically more human friendly, and all are bottle babies, that while I made every effort to not make them into pets, still are not as wary of me as normal cattle will be. This means that if I handle normal cattle like I handle my calves, I will be in the wrong place, blocking them while my dog is trying to move them, so I needed to see how and when I accidentally found myself in their eye, blocking them.
I went with traci Daly and her Aussie, Scout. The place was Jackie Tinker's Arcadia Ranch southish or Dallas/FW, in Texas.. It was beautiful, if pretty flat, country, with green grass, and lots of water. Jackie's personal cows were lowline cattle and mini-herfords. I want tiny cows now!
I learned so much, and Tagg did great! Brisco got to work in a new place, always a huge plus for a young dog, and I really gelled with Jackie. It was a fantastic trip made better by Traci's great company, and the kind folks I met at Jackie's ranch. Tagg was the only bordercollie there, a rare thing for a stockdog clinic!