All of Dave’s pups are handled from birth to develop a strong bond / relationship with people.
At 6 weeks old Dave puts collars on the pups and attaches a light cord when taking them for a walk. As Dave is walking with the pups he will often grab or step on the cord and call the pup to him. This is the start of developing a command so that the dog can be called to the handler at all times.
Young pups are shown a small mob of “pup friendly sheep” (trainer mob) generally at around 3 months old . This is done to bring the natural instinct out of the pup. Any training sessions at this age are kept very short and generally only once a week. This keeps the pup keen and eager to work. During this period pups are taken with Dave as he goes about his general work to expose them to other sights and sounds. This helps to develop the dog’s confidence.
As the dog develops it’s skills the trainer mob is increased, with the mob taken outside of the yards into a small paddock. After this can be done the young dog is used to assist an older dog when moving sheep through a gate way or just before yarding up.
Started dogs are generally shown cattle at about 9 to 12 months. This is always a mob of steers or heifers that are educated to be handled with dogs .
Dave increases the work load as the dog physically and mentally matures. The young pup or dog isn’t pushed too hard or given tasks that can’t be achieved, so that the dog is always succeeding in it’s mind.
Dave has attended a number of dog and stock handling courses to widen his knowledge.