Cattle dogs stir up success in paddock

A cattle dog barking orders at the cattle at the Blue Rock property.
A cattle dog barking orders at the cattle at the Blue Rock property. Philippe Coquerand

IT'S a hobby sport where owners train up their cattle dogs to compete in trials across the region and it's gaining momentum in Mundubbera.

The Queensland Working Cattle Dogs Association held it's trial at the Blue Rocks property at the weekend where cattle dogs have to round up the cattle in under six minutes, competing through numerous obstacles.

President Tom Berry said it's a very competitive sport that aims to improve the cattle dog.

"It's about improving the quality of working cattle dogs and training them so they have strength and are in control of the cattle,” Berry said.

Training up a cattle dog can be challenging however Berry said it's all about the cattle dog genes.

"It depends on how much natural instinct they've got in training them and we try to stick with proven blood lines,” he said.

"You don't waste time on training up a cattle dog that's not going to make it, some you will put in a paddock but not in a control ring, but around 95% will make good paddock dogs.”

"Around 20% of the cattle dogs will make good trial dogs.”

Berry said the trial at the weekend was "good.”

"We had really good cattle and the dogs were of high quality so all in all, the weekend couldn't have been better,” he said.

Berry travels from Bundaberg and often attends the trials across the region.

"I live in Bundaberg but this year I travelled from Wallumbilla, Widgee, north to charters towers and that's because I'm the president of the association,” he said.

Berry said training up the dogs takes a lot of patience.

"You've got to use a lot of patience to train up the dogs,” he said.

"I feel you can't get into them, you got to give them the time to get to where they are, be firm with them but give them praise when they do the right thing.”

Berry believes some of the best dogs can still have bad days during the trial competitions.

"I feel the secret is if the cattle feel like being rough on the dog and knock your dog around, get out of there,” he said.

"The standard of the dogs is definitely improving, it started with just 20 dogs to beat, now there's 80 you've gotta defeat.”

The next trial takes place in Killarney on September 16.

Topics:  blue rocks cattle dogs mundubbera queensland cattle dogs trial queensland working cattle dog association

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