By Michelle Wolf
[media-credit name=”Jennifer Ward” align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Man’s best friend. The tradition of cattlemen using dogs to help them with their day to day activities on the ranch continues. Coming into the 21st century what has changed with tradition is the variation in breeds. You could ask several different ranchers from California to the Midwest what is the best breed of dog to work livestock and you would not get the same answer twice. Over the past 10 years, mixed breed dogs have become more popular with livestock owners. It is due to the fact that ranchers are learning that certain breed characteristics are more suitable for different working environments. Dogs are born with a certain amount of natural toughness, balance and bite. Instead of letting mixes happen naturally, quality breeders are harnessing the positive attributes of multiple breeds so they will enhance the unique features that produce quality animals. These individuals work hard to determine the best crosses and build confidence along with trust in each dog to bring out the best in them. It is difficult to impossible to make a weak dog tough, but it is possible to weaken a dog that is too aggressive.
All in a day’s work at Five Dot Ranch. Often times the cowboys will start their day before sun up and not return until late in the evening. There are pastures to be gathered, pens to be sorted, trucks to be loaded and processing to be done, so the days can be very long. Dave Ward is a cowboy who has been with the ranch since 2003. Dave depends on his four-legged friends each day to help him complete his jobs timely and efficiently. He is well aware of the fact that there is no equal. No technology will replace the basic instinct and energy of a good dog. Uno and Bingo are two of his favorites. Dave also states that with a good dog you can handle cattle with less stress. It saves time, which saves money, and they make the job more enjoyable. Until next time.