To help promote the Australian Cattle Dog, I have decided to offer training. In person lessons are available as well as board and train style training.
I currently still work a full time job in addition to running my farm, and training and breeding my own ACDs. Training dogs are taken in on a first-come, first-served availability schedule. I am taking two to three dogs at a time, and I keep a waiting list. To be added to the list, contact me through E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
My training program is tailored to each dog and each situation. I have cattle and sheep available for training and I am focused on good stockmanship and management of livestock. Your goals for management of your stock and property will be discussed before training starts, and each dog's training plan will be different. I want your dog to be a successful working partner on your place.
Basic Information About Training:
Cost for board and train is $500/month, payable on the 1st day of each month. Dogs are worked a minimum of 5 days a week and video of training sessions are taken and uploaded to YouTube weekly. At the end of each week I send a progress email with links to the training videos as well as a basic synopsis of how your dog is progressing and the skills covered throughout the week. You can, of course, e-mail, call or message at any time to get an update.
Dogs should be used to being kenneled or crated as boarding dogs will be kept contained when they are not being worked, exercised, or out to potty. I have indoor kennels, and outdoor kennels. If your dog is normally kept outdoors I will continue to kennel them outdoors. Same with indoor dogs, or dogs used to sleeping inside. Dogs are allowed free running time in the mornings and evenings in a fenced yard. Dogs who are sociable can enjoy yard time with my other dog-friendly dogs.
Board and Train dogs may be hauled to different locations for exposure to new livestock and new places. If I go to a training clinic or play day I will take my board and train dogs.
I am located in Texas and heartworm preventative is required to be provided by the dog's owner while he is in my possession. Prior to coming for board and train, your dog should be up to date on all vaccinations, including Rabies, and proof is required upon the dog's arrival here. Flea and tick preventative should also be provided by the owner. Dogs do not need to be spayed or neutered.
If your dog is on a special diet, you will be asked to provide food. I rotate dogs foods often, currently I'm feeding Muenster Milling Perfect Balance 30/20. I also rotate through Purina, or Victor brands periodically.
My Training Methods
I come from a performance dog training background. All of my basic obedience training is based on positive training methods. Teaching a basic sit, down, stand, and recall can all be done positively. When I take dogs to stock I use a pressure/release method of training. I do use a long line at times. Depending on the dog's needs I may use a stock stick, or rake. Sometimes a dog only needs light body pressure. My goal is to use the smallest amount of pressure necessary to get the desired result and then to release pressure when the dog is correct. My main mentor for herding training has been Larry Painter (Kuawarri Stockdogs), and I attend multiple clinics a year.
My goal is always to make the dog successful, so I have multiple sets of stock at all different levels of difficulties along with different sized training areas. Start simple, build confidence in the dog, and desire for doing the job, then gradually increase the difficulty, distance, or duration.
I don't use electronic/shock collars. It's not a debate topic for me. My mentors don't use them. I have zero issues with trainers who choose to use them, but I have been successful without using them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you keep the dogs? How long a dogs stays with me depends on what the dog needs to learn and how quick he picks up on those behaviors. I tell most people a general rule to get a dog "started" is 3 months of training.
What is a started dog? Finished dog? For my purposes, a started dog is a dog who can send in both directions (come-bye and away), has a stop and a call off. A started dog should be ready to begin helping with small jobs. A started dog needs lots and lots of stock time and work under their belt. They are not usually 100% reliable on verbals and may need help in new situations. A finished dog (if there is such a thing), is a dog who needs only maintenance work on their commands and is able to work stock in any situation you want to work them in. This dog will have years of experience, and is a reliable working partner.
What does my dog need to know before starting on stock dog training? You need to know that your dog has a desire to work the livestock you expect him to work. If he's 2 years old and never been around cattle and you want him to work cattle, it might be smart to have a trainer or clinician close to you evaluate the dog on stock before you send him for training. A dog who bites and chases isn't necessarily driven to work stock. All dogs have prey drive. Having basic obedience on the dog is nice (sit, down, come) but not a requirement.
How old does my dog need to be? If you want the dog working cattle, I prefer them to be at least a year old. Puppies have growth plates, and are often mentally not ready to take on cattle work. There isn't really an upper age limit, if the dog is healthy and has herding drive, they can learn to work stock.