HART II's Registered Working Stockdogs.  

Training a Working Bred Australian Shepherd
for Ranch and Farm Work
(the Hart II way)

We housetrain, leash train, and crate train all Australian Shepherd working dogs. WeShorty do not use electronic training devices on our Aussies. This is not necessary as our dogs are genetically bred to work livestock, and they are born to please their person. We are simply speaking of genetics; nothing can come from corn but corn, and nothing can come from nettles but nettles. We do not use human corrections on our dogs. We shake the pup’s scruff, (hair on each side of face) gently. Then walk away after the pup relaxes. Dogs do not understand human corrections.

Most of the calls we receive, from heartbroken folks who have lost their Aussie due to an accident, are the result of dogs running loose and unattended. If your Australian Shepherd is not with you, then it should be kept in a secure fenced area -- no matter where you live. This also prevents bad habits from forming like chasing livestock on their own (yours and other folks). Priefert Ranch Equipment makes a great powder-coated kennel (Tractor Supply). Put it under a shade tree. We use Dogloo Dog Houses.

We take 1 year old Aussie pups with an adult working dog to cattle. We start pups out in the open pasture on dog broke cattle. Be careful when correcting the older cowdog as the pup may take it personally. First sessions may last no more than 10 minutes. Depends on pup. We say nothing to pup - nothing. We work the adult Aussie cowdog. Pup does anything it wants to do. No eye contact with pup. Adrenalin flow will take over pup's mind, so leave pup alone. Each Australian Shepherd stockdog pup is an individual, thus the challenge for a cowdog trainer.

When pup starts to lock onto cattle and is copy-catting the adult cowdog we speak to the pup, softly. We are watchful for signs of overheating, like the tongue hanging out the side of mouth. Go to water, NOW. We encourage our working dogs to get a drink anytime they need water while working cows. Heat exhaustion is Enemy #1. Carry a canteen of water and Nutri-Cal. Rest the dogs in the shade. Give them a day off. Tired dogs are more likely to sustain injuries.

How many Aussies? How much work? Size of pasture? Rotate your stockdogs. Once dogs have cattle gathered up, we want them to drive the cattle, as this is less stressful on cattle and stockdogs, as well as more sensible in large pastures. We are behind the cattle, adult cowdog between the cattle and us, flanking and wearing back and forth, keeping cattle moving together. If a cow tries to run off, adult stockdog will get to the head and stop it and then will return it to herd. We start Aussie stockdog pups with an adult dog on dog-broke cattle, in the pasture. We are building a foundation. Dog training is 50% genetics of dog, and 50% the stockdog’s environment (how well the cowdog trainer does their job). We are not training our Aussies to work cattle. Our Aussie stockdogs were born with that instinct. We are training them for the rate of speed and the direction that they must take the cattle. We give free training for you and your Hart II’s Aussie pup. You must come stay with your dog, and we have a bunkhouse for your stay.

We never let our working dogs ride loose in the back of the truck, never tie the Aussies in the back of the truck, put them in the truck, or use a dog crate tied down in the back. We do not allow dogs to jump in or out of vehicle until 1 year old. We do not allow them to jump in the air for balls, etc. until they are 1 yr. old. Australian Shepherd stockdogs make terrific companion dogs, as well as working cowdog partners.

Hart II’s Aussies are working bred so they are naturally protective and territorial. The closest bond gets the best results. Australian Shepherds work for their person, and will not willingly go to or work for anybody else. If you purchased a started dog, do not work them on livestock for 2 weeks after receiving them. Spend this time creating a strong bond with your Aussie stockdog. Do not turn them loose on your ranch off-leash for 4 days. They may try to come back to us. They need time to transfer their loyalty to you.

Come see us,
The Harts

  Memac Star
• John & Norma Hart • MeMac Ranch •
• P.O. Box 1148 • Gainesville, Texas 76241 •
• Tele: (940) 736-8606 •
• • • United States of America • • •

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Copyright © John & Norma Hart