When the opportunity to attend a Larry Painter Cow Camp presented itself, I jumped at it. Jig loves cows but rarely sees them. That makes it a bit unfair when we go to a trial and I’m expecting her to handle them like a pro. I’d heard nothing but good things about Larry Painter and so was thrilled when I got a spot. So, on the 22nd I loaded up the truck and headed out to Ohio where the clinic was being hosted. Needless to say, I had a blast and, despite the heat, we managed to learn a lot and come home with plenty to work on.
Before our first session I watched the other dogs work and listened to Larry’s comments and instruction. One thing he was working on was getting the dog to hold the pressure and not pop out of the pocket. Translate that to mean, when a dog approaches cattle she should always give them the opportunity to move off. Jig has a tendency to hit a nose and then start a fight. That was one of the things I wanted to work on. Being a header isn’t a bad thing, but you can’t move cattle efficiently if you’re always in their face. The trick is to have the dog lie down and hold the pressure. If the cow moves off, the dog can get up quietly and keep them going. If the cow steps toward the dog and ‘offers’ their nose… well, a little persuasion goes a long way. That’s the part Jig has problems with. Not so much the persuading, mostly knowing when enough is enough. So we spent some time on that, as well as getting her more comfortable with moving cattle from the rear, and also hugging the fence to pull them off. Our first several sessions were in the small pen, where we both had to work through some issues. We worked once in the arena, and finished up in the round pen with some great results.
One highlight came when Jig showed that (with more experience and confidence) she will hit heels as well as heads. I’ve seen her do it a time or two on my sheep, but this is the first time we brought it out on cattle.
All in all, the clinic was awesome and I’m looking forward to working with Larry again. I’ll have more of a breakdown on some of the things we worked on, but for now, some photos. And a huge Thank You to Kathy Males for manning my camera.