Jamie) We’re back! Now let’s join Duane and Randy to learn the special place working dogs have on cattle operations.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you with AGam in Kansas. While at the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo, a chance to catch up with Randy Bradford with Bradford Cattle Dogs. Randy, certainly we think about using cattle dogs in working cattle. A lot of folks may be coming back to doing that after getting away from it for a number of years. Some demonstrations that you put on. Tell us a little bit about working dogs and how they can help a guy in an operation. (Randy) The working dogs can help. They’re tremendous. They can do a lot, probably one dog can do as much as two or three cowboys can on a big ranch and they’re just super nice to have around. We use them at home a lot. We dog trial with them. Just phenomenal dogs. We only have border collies. (Duane) As far as working on a ranch, a little different maybe than the competitions that you go to, but how is it you’re able to teach these dogs how to work?(Randy) I have to give most of that credit to my wife. She does probably more of the training than I do myself. We do both train some, but she’s probably the success story behind the dogs as far as me getting started in it and so forth. We start generally with a young dog. We try not to start them until they’re a year old. We put a down, we put a recall and that sort of thing on them to begin with throughout the first year. We put them on sheep and goats and let them play and bite and so forth. Then we don’t start cranking down on them to train until they’re about a year old. (Duane) So as far as that training process, you referenced some of those basic commands. Obedience, I’m assuming that you start with and then move on from there. (Randy) Yes, we’ll start, like I said, with the basic recall, getting it to come back to us by name. Then putting a down on it and usually we have it that far before we start putting it on stock. We try to put them on goats or sheep to start with to get a little control on them before we put them on cattle. That’s the last chance of getting a leg broken or getting a dog hurt. That’s where we start. Then generally when they’re a year old we start cranking down on them and start putting the real necessity training on them. (Duane) As far as commands I know there’s voice commands, some use whistle commands. Tell me a little bit about why and what you would use each of those for. We start them off with voice commands. Generally everybody can use a voice command and learn the voice commands. A whistle is a little more advanced. With a whistle that dog can hear you so much further, especially with this wind out here in Kansas, they can hear you twice as far as they can by mouth, or even further than that. But through this wind, you just about have to work them by whistle. A voice command works, but the whistle’s the best thing. (Duane) As far as we think about in the livestock industry genetics playing a part, is it the same in dogs as well? (Randy) You bet. We’ve worked for ten years trying to get this blood line that we have here. We’ve always had some dogs that go back to what we call the King Bloodline, that are really aggressive, strong headed dogs and are nice working dogs. But they were really strong headed to train and really tough, hard dogs to train. We’ve crossed them with a bloodline out of Wyoming Juan Reyes’s dog we call Red. We’ve got the smarts, we’ve got the obedience, we’ve got everything going for us with these dogs and they’re a lot easier to train and we just really like this bloodline. (Duane) Our thanks to Randy Bradford, Bradford Cattle Dogs joining us here on AGam in Kansas during the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo. Jamie, we’ll send it back to you.
(Jamie) Stay with us for this week’s Kansas Farm Bureau Update.