There is always a lot of work to do on the farm. So to help with all the work we got a new dog to help us herd the cows. Border collies are extremely intelligent dogs that really are born to herd animals. It’s in their DNA, and they can’t help but herd things around.
**Ace, training calves how to walk with the halter**
Our first border collie was named Ace and was probably one of the best dogs ever that we have had on our dairy. He never spent a lot of time lying around, but was continually searching for work to do on the dairy. He was very energetic!
He would disappear at night only to find out that he was busy helping the some of our employees herd the cows to the milk barn. During the day, he would help anyone herding cows or calves. Once he finished helping you though, he would listen to see if he could hear anyone else herding the animals and quickly rush off to help them. Ace definitely loved his job here at the dairy.
The great thing about Ace was that he was very gentle with the cows. He never rushed up to the cows, and tried to bite them. He herded the cows, but made sure that they were never under any sort of stress and that’s very important. Happy cows give more milk so we want them to be comfortable and stress free.
Border collies are great herders. If you live in the city where there is nothing for your border collie to herd, they will improvise because they have loads of energy to expend. They begin to herd cats, people, or anything that moves really. They have a lot of energy so it’s really quite unfortunate if they don’t have any opportunities to work. The Wall Street Journal had a great article and video about Border Collies a few months ago.
Some people think that you can train any dog to herd animals, but you really can’t. Some dogs just cannot learn how to herd animals. I think it’s born into them, just like some people are better herdsman than others.
My uncle tried to train a German Sheppard to herd some of our young stock, but it really hasn’t worked. German Sheppard’s are just not born herders, they are watch dogs. When herding the cows, the dog just narrows his focus to one of the animals and pursues that one animal while neglecting the rest of the herd. As you can imagine this causes chaos and constant scolding’s from his master. The dog cannot help it though; it’s just not in the dog to herd animals. I don’t think there is anything you can do to change that, it’s just the nature of things.
Ace our Border collie was a pretty great cow dog though. Unfortunately one Sunday, someone picked him up and stole him. Apparently trained cow dogs are very valuable to some people. We keep hoping he will turn up.
**Chase, the new puppy**
**Chase ready for a tour of the dairy, a dog with many skills- he drives too**
So a few weeks ago, we got a new Border collie who we named Chase. We only hope that he is as good a dog as Ace was. Chase is still a puppy though so still learning to herd cows. We think he is coming along though. He already herds all of our cats around the house. Chase will be a great addition to the dairy and an invaluable worker to help us on the farm.
**Chase meets the cows**
**He meets the baby calves too. The Calf- “huh, what are you”**
**Enjoying a drink after his extensive tour of the dairy**