Stockdog Library

Developing Power

THE WORKING AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD: DEVELOPING HIS POWER by Terry Martin In the last article about using Australian Shepherds as cattle dogs, we discussed a few ways of introducing your pup or young dog to cattle. On a ranch there will be limited opportunities to do the things you would like to do with this dog. If your situation consists only of cows with calves out on large pastures you might want to wait until you wean some calves to start…

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Enhancing Heeling Instinct

ENHANCING HEELING INSTINCT by Terry Martin I certainly appreciate the contact I have had from the readership with ranch dogs. Several of you asked for ideas about how to get a dog to heel who will not do so or seldom bites heels in daily work. I also had an interesting conversation with a man whose cows are, in his words, “death on a dog”. In the last issue, I included suggestions on developing the power of your dog by…

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The Aussie Style and Outrun

THE AUSSIE STYLE AND OUTRUN by Terry Martin I have said the ideal Australian Shepherd is one who will grip both the head and the heels. Every ranch or farm has unique situations that the dog will encounter. When stock are refusing to move, the dog or man has to use some kind of force. If they are facing and challenging the dog, he is going to have to be able to handle a confrontational head situation or nothing is…

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Ranch Dog Development

RANCH DOG DEVELOPMENT by Terry Martin There are many different opinions on developing and training a stockdog. Never underestimate how much the end result depends on the dog you had to begin with. My involvement in breeding and studying the genetic traits of working Australian Shepherds can hopefully give some insight into their development and training. For many years we worked ranch dogs completely unaware of any established training methods, so I can identify with the stockman with his first…

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“That’s How It’s Done”

“THAT’S HOW IT’’S DONE” by Dana Mackenzie A friend of mine, Kaye Harris of Crown Point Australian Shepherds, related this story to me some time ago. Names have been changed to protect the guilty! My neighbor Jim called me up wanting some fresh sheep to use in training his dogs. We decided the best way to go about it was to use the sheep he already owned and cross them to my Barbado ram. Hopefully, the resulting lambs would be…

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Rowe’s Commanche Warrior, an interview with Jerry Rowe

ROWE’S COMMANCHE WARRIOR an interview with Jerry Rowe by Terry Martin One of the early successful trial dogs in A.S.C.A.’s trial history was Jerry Rowe’s Commanche. Jerry and his dog were at the first A.S.C.A. sanctioned trial, and Commanche was one of the first dogs trialing with any training at all. That was back in the days when trials were pretty wild and western, and most of us had hardly figured out how to “down” the dog much less think…

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Slip and Red

SLIP AND RED by Dana Mackenzie Sometimes we are lucky enough to be witness to an age-old ballet played out in perfect harmony between man and animal. It leaves us with a sense of awe and makes us somehow reluctant to turn loose of the moment. This is a chapter in the saga of a man and a dog, and the result of the accumulation of a lifetime together. Neither needs an introduction to anyone who has ever known or…

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Some Common Mistakes People Make When Training the Loose-Eyed Dog

SOME COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN TRAINING THE LOOSE-EYED DOG by Dana MacKenzie The term “Loose-eyed” refers to dogs which do not work with the intense eye or concentration of the Border Collie type dog or its derivatives. In general, we are very “early ” in our attempts to train dogs, having only started with the emergence of ASCA, AHBA, and AKC trialing programs. Our teachers have been Border Collie trainers, books and tapes authored by Border Collie trainers and…

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The Measure of a Puppy’s Heart

THE MEASURE OF A PUPPY’S HEART by Dana Mackenzie Betty Williams, an attractive ranch-bred-and-raised woman from Central Montana, told me the following story: In 1986, my husband fractured his ankle in a freak horseback riding accident, John almost bled to death. With him at the time was a young Australian Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog cross that was his constant shadow. Tippy wouldn’t leave the spot where John was injured. Days passed. I took food out to the pup but nothing could…

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Thoughts On Driving

THOUGHTS ON DRIVING by Dana MacKenzie Some thoughts on driving: 1. From about the third exposure to sheep on, as I enter the training area on lead, I ask the dog to “walk up” and “stop”, “walk up” and “stop” etc., as we approach the stock. Secrets: a. This actually starts before you enter the training area, when you take your dog out of his kennel or crate. All you are trying to do is get your dog to include…

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Foot Farming

FOOT FARMING by Dana MacKenzie A while back Tony Rohne asked me to write a short article about “Foot Farming” in East Texas. It kinds goes along with the thoughts expressed on “real” dog work in the RDT rather than trial course work. This past winter I worked for Tony tending to his cows, calves and calving heifers, as well as taking care of my 30 head of sheep. The term “Foot Farming” probably applies to a great number of…

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Working Corners

WORKING CORNERS by Butch Larson The purpose of working corners is to build confidence and to teach your dog the correct way to approach livestock in a tight spot. So many times have I seen a dog run in at the pen or at an arena trial because the dog felt the pressure from the fence and the livestock. If a dog runs in when one is working cattle, he could possibly get his head kicked off. Placing yourself in…

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History of the Australian Shepherd

HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD by Maryland Little (editor’s note: Maryland Little was an early breeder of Australian Shepherds in Riverside, California. A paragraph about her was included in the ASCA 1977 Early Aussie Breeders retrospective written by Phillip Wildhagen. The photograph at right is of a dog of her breeding, McConkey’s Tiger Britches, (Littles Mr. Robert x Littles Pimenta Chica) born in 1965. The drawing below was included in the article; it is of Arrogante, a Spanish sheepdog imported…

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Selecting Whistles

SELECTING WHISTLES by Beverly Lambert Teaching a dog to work on whistles is very easy and saves an enormous amount of effort over the long haul. A dog working any distance away front the handler, or in strong wind or against loud background noise can hear a whistle much more easily than he can hear a spoken command. The need to yell and shout to have a spoken command carry any distance is tiring to the shouter and can easily…

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Developing the Whole Cattle Dog: Beginning Work

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG Part 3: Beginning Work by Rusty Johnson If I remember right, we left off last time socializing. Before we move on I want to state: “Even though we are now trying to teach the pup something, socializing should NEVER stop!” The more the pup stays with you the easier training will be. This is especially true if you have a Kelpie. Kelpies, as a whole, are a more independent thinking breed than Border Collies or Australian…

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The Whole Cattledog : Side Commands

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG PART SIX: Side Commands by Rusty Johnson I will include this part of the series because this is what everyone wants. It seems like everyone is in such a hurry to tell their dog “Go right . . . Go left . . . down . . .”, but in all of their haste I really think people have overlooked the most important part. Sure, you see all of these great handlers giving their dogs side…

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The Whole Cattledog: Socializing the Puppy

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG Part two: Socializing the Puppy by Rusty Johnson So, you’ve decided what kind of dog you want. You selected a breeding that filled the requirements of your list. Then, you got to know the breeder. Now you have your puppy at home with you and you’re a little lost. Just before you brought it home, the breeder informed you that you should not begin formal training with your new cattledog before he is one year old.…

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Building Strength in a Young Dog

BUILDING STRENGTH IN A YOUNG DOG by Rusty Johnson Let me say first on this subject, that training a dog is like sculpting a beautiful statue. The statue was there all along. The artist simply chips away the stone that is not part of the statue. However, if there are too many serious faults in vital places or the hammer is used too much or too hard, when you chip away the unwanted portions, the whole thing will fall apart.…

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The Whole Cattledog : Picking a Pup

THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG: part one: picking a pup by Rusty Johnson I am writing this series for those people who, like myself, love, honor and cherish their cattledogs. With the hope that I may change some minds about how cattle can be worked with good dogs and maybe help some people who have found themselves confronted with a dilemma, I present this article. I want to state up front that I do not know everything! Therefore, throughout this series, I…

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How To Know If You’re Ready To Trial

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE READY TO TRIAL by Anne Jespersen These are the guidelines I keep in mind for myself which may be helpful for other people who are training their first or second dog and are wondering when to enter him/her in an ASCA trial for the first time. 1. You will lose about 3 months of regular training when you go from a familiar place to a trial setting with new stock and trial nerves on your…

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Do You Want/Need That Much Control?

Do You Want or Need That Much Control? by Rusty Johnson When you go to gather your cattle do you want your dog to leave your feet at a 65 degree angle and run out wide so as not to disturb the cattle? Then, go to exactly 12 o’clock; stop, and then walk up to the cow farthest from you – bite if need be, then walk up to the next one, and so and so forth. Until he has…

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Getting a Stop

GETTING A STOP by Anne Jespersen Question: I wanted to start herding and slowly I am, but how do I get my dog to stop on command? Once she is on the sheep she won’t stop. I try to get her to down – nothing; come—nothing, so I walk away and call her from the house, and then it clicks that I have left her and she comes. Anne responds: I try hard not to put the dogs in a…

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Gripping

GRIPPING by Herbert Holmes This article is difficult to write due to the many and varied opinions on grips as well as the number of different types of grips and reasons for gripping. I am assuming that the readers know that a grip is a bite. I believe that what I am about to relate to you about gripping holds true but I would not be so bold as to close my mind to different types of grips. Some are…

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Taking Time

TEACHING A DOG TO TAKE TIME by Herbert Holmes As with all lessons on anything, I do not believe that a particular method is 100% for all dogs and/or people. So take what I write, digest it and incorporate it with your own method of training to develop a good, sound path for your dog to take. Also, the reader’s’ perception of what is written is sometimes different from what the writer is trying to say. Please bear with me!…

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The Drive

DRIVE by Hub Holmes I believe that the most important aspect of training a stockdog is the “drive”. Drive is the dog’s desire to work, chase, maul, and otherwise wreak havoc on the livestock. So many dogs that come to our training center have a low drive level, both manmade and natural, that we spend a lot of our time building the drive to acceptable levels. People cause these problems because they do not understand the development of a young…

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Winter Work

WINTER WORK by Joan Holmes I have to say I was very pleased with my little blue dog tonight! In southern Alberta, February evenings are pretty cold. This night it was about twenty degrees below zero, centigrade–that’s about zero farenheit. Just before five p.m., we happened to look out our kitchen window, which looks directly east across our hay fields towards our neighbors Craig and Lori’s place. We noticed their cows all heading with great purpose towards the north boundary,…

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Teaching Grip, or Unbridled Enthusiasm

“UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM” or TEACHING TO GRIP by Mark Hodges Ad Astra Halcyon or “Hallie” had a firm grip on what the command “Get Ahold” meant in the context of our play in the house and the back yard. She knew that whatever target object I held in my hand was the focus of her bite. It was time to apply this skill to the stock. A friend had been coming to the farm to prepare her dog for its first…

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Three Stories About Rory

THREE STORIES ABOUT RORY by Mark Hodges WTCH Bear’s Aurora of Windsor RTDcs JS-E RS-O GS-N DNA-VP Urban Cowdog: I was always hearing that trialing dogs that belong to “hobby herders” such as myself probably would not cut it in a real life-working situation. Well, an accidental encounter changed my personal thoughts on that opinion. One early February morning, just past dawn, the dogs and I were driving out to the property (at this point it could not be called…

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Rebuilding Confidence

REBUILDING CONFIDENCE by Laura Hicks Confidence. It is such an all encompassing word. A dog needs it to work stock well. It is also something that is developed and built upon with time and experience. Unfortunately it’s also a fragile element. Bad experiences can shake a dog’s confidence just as the good experiences build upon it. Once you have established a solid foundation of mutual trust with a dog, it seems to be a bit harder to completely destroy a…

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Wild Bison, the Ultimate Challenge

WILD BISON: THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Bison management problems had developed during the late 1970’s and 80’s in various national parks throughout the western United States. Part of the problem was tourist liability. Tourists don’t think of this huge, nonchalant creature as a wild animal. Lone bison bulls wander into campsites or along roadsides, drop their heads and graze. They aren’t easily spooked, which makes them appear docile and easy-going. Despite many warning signs along roadsides and…

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Herding Glossary

A GLOSSARY OF HERDING TERMS AND COMMANDS balance point The correct positions of the dog, stock and handler relative to each other, and the dog’s sense of where this is. Also refers to the point at which the stock will move away from the dog quietly. Varies extremely with species and tameness. Finding the balance point is essential to correct rating. Also refers to the point where the stock will STOP moving, ie where they feel pinned (as against a…

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Vanished Trails and Faded Memories

VANISHED TRAILS AND FADED MEMORIES of Australian Shepherd History by Ernest Hartnagle and Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Some historians propose Basques and their sheepdogs from the Pyrenees played an insignificant role in the history of the Australian Shepherd breed. They believe that Basques did not to go Australia with their “little blue dogs” and then come to the U.S. with boatloads of sheep. They state further that the Basque herders came directly to the U.S., and hardly ever brought dogs with…

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The Walt Lamar Story

THE WALT LAMAR STORY One of ASCA’s Heaviest Heavyweights by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ernie Hartnagle If you mention Walt Lamar’s name to a team roper or a steer wrestler, more than likely you ‘ll get a nod of recognition, because Walter is known for his rugged, athletic, foundation bred Quarter Horses. Lamar is also the historian for the Hancock Breeders Association. “I had always had a horse or two or three, but wasn’t serious about raising them until September…

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Tayor Ranch Tradition

CARRYING ON THE TRADITION — THE TAYLOR FAMILIES OF LIVESTOCK story and photos by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor On a high mountain range in Utah, Joe Taylor grinned at me and offered this sage advice: “The time to gather wild horses is when you see them” –and then galloped off after a small remuda. If that sounds like a scene in a movie, it could be. Joe Taylor’s Ranch is one of the Moab area locations where Hollywood has filmed many…

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Lois George, Copper Canyon, and a Dog Named Red

LOIS GEORGE, COPPER CANYON, AND A DOG NAMED RED by Ernie Hartnagle and Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Lois and Norm George developed their love for the breed in 1956. They were living on a ranch in Cuyama, California when they got Cricket, a pretty little blue female from a friend of theirs who had gotten her from the Basque sheep herders. In the fall, the Basques would bring several thousand sheep into Cuyama to winter on the stubble of the alfalfa…

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Cowology

COWOLOGY by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Working cattle effectively requires an understanding of bovine behavior. Fifty years ago, the men and women who worked with stock still lived on the land. They were for the most part themselves a simple people familiar with the nature and behavior of animals. Today, most people come from urban, man-made environments. City people are often unfamiliar with farm animals and the land. Before the era of hobby herding, people acquired a dog to work their…

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Herding with Ducks

HERDING WITH DUCKS by Terri Hardwick Interest in herding training has been growing rapidly and many of the new people who want to get involved with the sport are not able to keep sheep in their backyard for daily practice. As we all know, regular training (hopefully daily training) is extremely important when starting a dog. For those people who want to be involved in herding but have minimal or sporadic access to sheep, don’t despair! There is an alternative!…

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The Carrillos

ROBERT CARRILLO AND CASA DE CARRILLO: A Long Established Name by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ernest Hartnagle After Bob Carrillo passed away in 2007, we were asked to write an article about him for the Aussie community. I called my parents and we started talking about the past thirty-five years that we knew him. Most people know that Robert Carrillo was associated with the ASCA Stockdog Program and at one time, he was the Stock Dog Committee chairman. This is…

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The Importance of Avoiding One-Sidedness

PREPARE YOUR HERDING DOG PROPERLY FOR HIS WORK: The Importance of Avoiding One-Sidedness by Linda C. Franklin Frequently I notice in testing dogs for herding instinct that a dog is appreciably stronger and freer-moving in one direction than the other. Those new to herding don’t always pick up on this point early on and often fall into the habit of allowing their dog to select which direction he wishes to travel. If you’re going to need two directions on your…

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Teaching the Upstanding Breeds to Drive

TRAINING THE UPSTANDING BREEDS: Driving by Linda C. Franklin, Belgian Terveren breeder/trainer Provided your upstanding dog is now comfortable with and efficient at going to balance on an inside flank without sacrificing depth and width on outruns, he may be ready to start driving training in earnest. Fetching is still important As mentioned before, until you also teach your dog how to shut and lock a pasture gate, you most likely will still find it necessary to walk out to…

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Training the Inside Flank

TRAINING THE UPSTANDING BREEDS : Inside Flanks by Linda C. Franklin, Belgian Terveren breeder/trainer A few of our upstanding breeds are referenced as droving (driving) dogs as opposed to fetching (gathering) dogs, but even a true driving dog can only benefit from correct fetching training as well. Having seen only one true driving dog out of the well over one thousand dogs I’ve worked with in herding, I have to believe this is a relatively rare natural quality. Who’s to…

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Balance and Pacing

BALANCE AND PACING by Bruce Fogt Throughout the entire training process and the life of the dog, I am always trying to build balance or keep it in the dog. Balance can be taken out of a dog if you never let it develop, or if you don’t let the dog think on its own. A dog that is trained only to take commands and is not allowed to work on its own will never have a chance to develop…

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The Cow From Hell

THE COW FROM HELL by Rhonda Falk Falkland Aussies Star Rt. A, Box 736-A Atmore, AL 36502 My first Aussies were Falk’s Falkland Banjo and Sheba. Banjo (Joe) is a National Stockdog Second Step although he had several generations registered with the Animal Research Foundation. Sheba is a small (16″, 24 pound), Aussie mix, with a natural bob tail, that we rescued from the pound. I got Banjo at twelve or fourteen weeks of age, and he still had a…

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Lending a Paw in Indiana

LENDING A PAW IN INDIANA by Michelle Durkin I live in a semi-rural area of south central Indiana, where small hobby farms and livestock operations are mixed into the ever-pressing onslaught of vinyl tract homes. Our local county 4-H Fair has many a competitor that keeps pigs, sheep, goats and steers on friends’ farms because they don’t have the opportunity to live out in the country. Since so many places are small by most standards, there is not often a…

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Concepts in Driving

CONCEPTS IN DRIVING by Tenley Dexter I like to use middle of the road sheep to start driving with, not too light and not too sticky to the handler, the reason being that they drive the easiest. Once the dog starts to understand the concept of driving on these fairly easy sheep, I start to ask them to drive harder and harder sheep. I might next move on to the stickier sheep that don’t want to leave the handler (for…

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The Difference Between Herding And Obedience Training

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HERDING AND OBEDIENCE TRAINING by Tenley Dexter A list member posted me privately that my described method for getting an obedient working dog sounded very much like the method used by top Obedience competitors, but I wanted a thinking dog and they wanted the dog to display complete blind obedience and reliance on the handler. Al, the person’s alias, said they have a dog that has Obedience titles and loves to please, a thinking dog but early…

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The Old Welsh Bobtail Connection

THE OLD WELSH BOB TAIL CONNECTION by Ann DeChant Working Aussie Source editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a travelogue about a visit to England and Wales in September 1989. At the rainy International Sheepdog Trials, the DeChants get wet, so rather than sleep in their van, they decide to look for a place to spend the night. . . . We asked the men behind us if they knew of a place where we could stay for the…

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Is the Aussie Really A Scotch Shepherd?

IS THE AUSSIE REALLY A SCOTCH SHEPHERD? by Linda DeHaven a letter published in the Aussie Times Magazine in 1973 Aussie Times editor’s note: This letter was written to Linda Boysal from Liz DeHaven about some old-time Aussie-type dogs in Oregon.  Thank you, Linda, for sharing it with us.    Dear Linda, Alan is is Miami, Fla. for the next two weeks and asked me to write you.  He really enjoyed meeting you and we are looking forward to seeing…

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The Early Aussie Breeders

THE EARLY AUSSIE BREEDERS articles by Jan Haddle Davis and by Phillip Wildhagen Editor’s note: these ten short articles were first published in the ASCA 1977 Yearbook, which included a retrospective of the past 30 years, ASCA having been incorporated in 1957. They were presented without an overall title (the above title has been given by me). Photos are also taken from the ASCA 1977 Yearbook, which contains over one hundred photographs of the earliest Aussies to be registered in…

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The Story of Dan

THE STORY OF DAN, AN AMAZING AUSSIE by Ann B. DeChant I have been meaning to write this one for a long time. We lost Dan three years ago, to being hit by a car. I always intended to tell this story while he was still alive, but it is still just as good as a tribute to him. This is the story of a working Aussie who created his own daily work as my assistant. Don’t worry. You already…

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History of the Australian Shepherd in the Northwest

by Mrs. Roy E. Cotton Working Aussie Source editor’s note: Elsie Cotton was the 4th president of ASCA, and her dog Cotton’s Blue Bobby and his son Mays Adobe Rebel, are in back of many Aussie pedigrees today. My Uncle Earl acquired his first Australian Shepherds in either 1917 or 1918. At the beginning of World War I, he started raising sheep and tried out many breeds of herding dogs but was not entirely satisfied with any of them. In…

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Hardheaded

HARDHEADED by Roy Cox Many dogs are referred to as Hardheaded by their owner or trainer due to the undeniable fact that the dog has never fully given himself over to the dominance of that person. These types of dogs are most often misunderstood. Placing the stigma of “Hardheaded” onto a dog can do more harm than good to the future of the dog’s learning capabilities. People need to honestly evaluate their dog to see what type of dog they have.…

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Pressure

PRESSURE by CynDee Cooper Pressure comes in many different forms. There is pressure from a trainer, pressure from livestock, and pressure from the environment. Understanding pressure and how it works is one of the keys to training and using a stockdog. Training Pressure When a person starts a young dog in their training they use various forms of pressure. As an example: in order to get a dog to the other side of livestock the trainer makes it uncomfortable for…

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Training Secrets of the Pros

TRAINING SECRETS OF THE PROS by CynDee Cooper They must have secrets! They consistently train dogs that are useful, willing workers. Some of their dogs have become legends. “They” are the renowned trainers. A wealth of knowledge and an insight into their training secrets can be gained by spending even a few minutes working with trainers such as these. Having had an opportunity to observe, talk to and, in some cases, work with these sages of stock dog training, I…

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Jack, the Handiest Dog I Ever Trained

JACK, THE HANDIEST DOG I EVER TRAINED by Cyn-Dee Cooper This year I had the honor of training a really good Australian Shepherd named Jack for sixty days. Jack was bred by Elree Horton, of Buena Vista, Tennessee who has Flapper Hill Kennels. Jack is out of Flapper Hill Blossom and by Flapper Hill Sandy River. Both of these dogs go back to Lookaway Luke who is by Judd’s Chickasaw Dan. He was about 14 months old when he came…

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Putting a Look Back on a Dog

PUTTING A LOOK BACK ON A DOG by Ian Caldicott I very rarely go out to train or work dogs with the thought that “today I need to work on a LOOK BACK”. The Look Back is something that just gets incorporated into the day’s work or a training session as a situation arises where there is an opportunity to work on it. Once a dog has a good understanding of balance and has a decent stop I start looking…

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Cowboy Driving

COWBOY DRIVING by CynDee Cooper Whether you use a dog for ranch work or trials it becomes necessary at times to “Cowboy” drive stock with your dog. This technique can be taught to any breed of stockdog during the earliest stages of its training. Having a stop or check command on your dog helps but even if the younger dogs only respond to their name you can teach them how to work on the back side with you. Blocking a…

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Sorting Tips with Dogs

SORTING TIPS WITH DOGS by Tom Blasdell Here are some different ways to use your dog to help you sort. One thing the handler has to keep in mind is that sorting with a dog is going to be slower that using people. Better than having the wild helpers from town come and knock the fences down! I like to sort on a horse best. Gather the cattle into a good fence corner, hold them there and just let them…

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Old Dogs Never Die Young

OLD DOGS NEVER DIE YOUNG by Dr. Leroy Boyd (editor’s note: although this data was elicited from Border Collies, Aussies might very possibly come up with similar responses.) We have no detailed records of the trials and tribulations experienced by those responsible for domesticating the dog. For centuries we have credited the human with making all the final decisions. For several thousand years humans have spoken and written often and at length, and even filmed their interpretation of what was…

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The Crooked H Ranch

THE CROOKED H RANCH by Charlie Berthout Working Aussie Source editor’s note: this is a letter sent to Terry Martin, which appeared in her Aussie Times column, ‘Stockdog Corner’. Crooked H Ranch has winter range in the Cottonwood Basin southeast of Camp Verde, Arizona, and summer range around Clint’s Well, southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. The homestead base is in the Long Valley at Clint’s Well. The balance of the range is cross-fenced Forest Service permit range of about 100,000 acres.…

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Hip Check

HIP CHECK In the battle against canine hip dysplasia, identification, treatment, research, and careful breeding selection are the weapons of choice. by Jerold S Bell, DVM, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine (Working Aussie Source editor’s notes: C.A.Sharp writes, on the Australian Shepherd Genetic Institute website, that of the most common inherited maladies in Australian Shepherds, hip dysplasia probably is ranked fifth in frequency of occurrence, after cataracts, epilepsy, dental faults, and autoimmune disease—which she ranks in that order. Orthopedic…

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Sit, Stay, Heal: Diana Decker

SIT, STAY, HEAL : DIANA DECKER interview by Jen Barol It is Diana Decker’s hard-working bond with Gus and Shine and the other herding dogs she trains that keeps her fighting the illness that consumes her. Decker and her fifteen herding dogs are throwbacks to another time and place. In a society where working breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are more accustomed to car drives than cattle drives, visiting Decker on her Edgewood, New Mexico ranch feels more…

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Starting the Stockdog

STARTING THE STOCKDOG An interview with Sherry Baker by Kay Spencer For fifty years, Twin Oaks Australian Shepherds in Galt, California has provided ranchers and stockdog trialers with sound, stock-savvy using dogs. Although the founder of the kennel, Audrey Klarer, is still a large part of the operation, her daughter Sherry Baker has become one of the preemininent Aussie stockdog trainers in the country. Sherry is the breeder, trainer, and handler of two ASCA Supreme Champion stockdogs, meaning a dog…

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Reading Livestock

READING LIVESTOCK SIMPLIFIES HANDLING by Orin Barnes Many articles have been written about training dogs but no one has mentioned that the more knowledgeable stock person will become the better handler. Understanding the stock you are working will always give you the advantage of knowing where to put your dog to be more effective. It is important to view the world in the livestock’s perspective. Having eyes on the sides of their head gives cattle and sheep 360 degrees of…

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Population Genetics and Breeding

POPULATION GENETICS AND BREEDING by John Armstrong Editors note: This article was originally published on The Canine Diversity Project website, which contains a wealth of material on the same subject. Highly recommended reading for all dog breeders. Early genetics When Mendel’s work was rediscovered at the beginning of the twentieth century, the new field of Genetics went in several directions. The T. H. Morgan (1) school quickly got tired of crossing green to yellow peas and moved on to discovering…

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The Story of Allen’s Ebony Joe

THE STORY OF ALLEN’S EBONY JOE by Lilian Allen I first became interested in Australian Shepherds in the early 1970’s, watching them help with show cattle at the livestock shows. This was before the rule of “No Dogs Allowed”, and almost every show string had an Aussie. These wonderful little dogs would follow the show cattle to the wash racks, the night tie-outs, or wherever the handlers needed to take them. If the cattle became lazy and refused to go,…

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Dog Tales from a Cattleman

DOG TALES FROM A CATTLEMAN by Norm Andrews Working Aussie Source editor’s note: this photo essay originally appeared in Terry Martin’s Stockdog Corner column in The Aussie Times, with the following introduction: “I received a letter from Norm Andrews, a farmer in Nebraska who runs 150 cow/calf pairs. He has a dog of my breeding, Slash V Andrew’s Red Chickaspike OTDc. This letter is a cattleman talking to other cattlemen, really … about a dog that he loves and that…

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Dog-Breaking Cattle

DOG-BREAKING CATTLE A Ranch Dog Trainer staff interview with L.R. Alexander Imagine breaking cattle with dogs — a chaotic scene of cattle bawling; dust swirling in the air; dogs biting noses and heels; calves slamming into corral panels. If this is the scene that comes to your mind, you need to watch cattlemen who make their living buying and selling cattle. When a good dog handler breaks cattle with dogs, control is the order of the day, not chaos. Missourian…

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Confidence and Bite

CONFIDENCE AND BITE by L.R. Alexander Just because a dog bites the nose and heels of an animal does not make him a cattle dog. He can have balance, speed, eye and concentration, and still not make a good tough farm dog. All of the above are great but if he doesn’t have confidence when working cattle he is not the help he could be. I have said for many years lack of confidence or fear, which usually is the…

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