Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted November 30, 2014
We are heavily involved in dog rescue. This spring, a family surrendered an 11 year old cattle dog mix. She came to us to foster and we decided to keep her. She is absolutely wonderful. She's very calm and loving - so much so that I am able to bring her into the office with me without a problem. Everyone that meets her immediately falls in love with her - there is just an air of gentleness and sweetness. She sticks very close to me wherever we go but is not a "velcro" dog. She just likes to know where I am at all times. The traits I just mentioned are pure cattle dog - they love their owners, become very bonded to them, and are well behaved dogs (when tired - see below). They are also incredibly intelligent dogs. Suzette was pretty well trained when she came to us but we have done additional training which was a breeze because they are very focused dogs. When they are "working" (i.e.: training) that is all they pay attention to. It really is quite remarkable. I have even trained Suzette to recognize the words "number 1" and "number 2" which helps when she goes out to do her business and gets distracted by the neighborhood cats.
However, a cattle dog does have traits that are very ingrained and cannot be trained out of them. For this reason, you must be ready to accept the traits when you adopt a cattle dog. First, cattle dogs are very attuned to their surroundings. If anything is "off" they will react - most often by refusing food until they have adopted to the change. This can be very unsettling - and frustrating because the "off" item could be something small which you would not think would upset them. They also have a habit of nipping at people (my dog does not do this but that is somewhat odd). Cattle dogs were breed to heard cattle by nipping at them. I've heard you can train this out of them but I highly doubt that as this as they were breed for this trait. Lastly, as a working dog, they have to have a "job" and have a way to let out their energy on a daily basis. This is still the case even with my 11 year old cattle dog - I have to build in enough play time (ball catching, running, etc) every day to make sure she lets out her energy. A daily walk will not suffice for most cattle dogs.