Strong Dog / Weak Dog
June 16th, 2010
These cowdog terms are pretty self explanatory but we added this just in case someone wasn't sure how they related to cowdogs. This is not intended to say that a weaker dog can't get the job done or that everyone needs a strong dog. It is simply helping to explain the terms.
A dog shows strength by not showing fear of cattle when around them. A strong dog will go into a jam packed corner of the lot or into a stock trailer full of cattle if asked. He will walk nose to nose up to cattle or let cattle walk right up to him with out backing away or juming around to try to get them to move first or biting out of control. When he has to or when he is commanded, he will bite and remain under control.
A strong dog will usually keep his tail down in a natural position when working cattle. Not between his legs and certainly not over his back. As for the bob-tailed cowdogs, I guess we will have to rely on other signs.
A weak dog will often try to stay out of a confrontation with cattle altogether. When gathering cattle he will push the cattle that are moving the right way and act like he doesnt see the ones that turn back to fight. He will often jump around and back and forth to try to get a cow that is facing him to move. Not calmly and under control like a strong dog.
Don't confuse bite with strength. Some dogs do a lot of biting out of fear or adrenalin. Or, they have figured out when and where to take a cheap shot and get away. Athough some strong dogs have more bite than others, strength comes from not showing fear when being close to cattle.