For work on stock, I like the dog to be close to a year or older. A dog may look full grown at a few months of age but their body and mind are still developing. They are just better able to handle the stress of stock work at an older age.
For basic obedience only we can start sooner as young as 4 months old. Some people bring a dog in for the obedience program at this age so they will be much more enjoyable to have around while waiting for them to mature.
I don’t need a trial dog, can you train my dog to just help me with my cattle?
Sure, the basic commands are the same. I try to keep everything simple. I realize you likely just want your dog to help you with your cattle and to be a companion. A well trained cowdog will save you a lot of time and a lot of steps. We will work on gathering,driving, loading chutes etc. if you have certain tasks that you need more, we will work on them.
How long will it take to train my dog?
A lot of this depends on your expectations and what your dog knows prior to arrival here. Like us, every dog learns at their own pace. Everything here will be new to him. New surroundings, new dogs, new handler, new livestock etc. Some dogs are intimidated by new surroundings, some don’t pay any attention to it.
Plan on your dog being here for at least a month. During this first month, we will work on basic obedience and introduction to stock. If this all goes as planned it will usually take 1-2 more months. Again, it depends on your expectations. You might just want a month. I never keep a dog in training just to have him here. I will give you my honest opinion of whether or not he is becoming what you described that you would like.
What if my dog is there a month and doesn’t want to be a stockdog?
If your dog doesn’t show interest in stock or won’t stay focused on stock we will still work on basic obedience. He at least will be much more pleasant to be around when you get him back and he is obedient. I also continue to introduce him to stock as long as he’s here. Oftentimes a dog will turn onto stock later in the training process.
Do you take any dogs in for just basic obedience?
Yes, but there are some breeds I don’t really mess with.