The 500 metre Rule

This is a part of an email I sent to a friend who I believed was introducing formal training to a young pup too early in its development. It is important to allow a young dog from these bloodlines to learn from experience rather than from instruction.

If he was mine I would make sure he could balance that trainer mob to me without any commands. Just use the rake to protect your livestock if he is a bit too keen. ( He will only be too keen because he is too fresh so go for a longer walk. Sean and I have a new training rule which is working really well.

It’s called the 500 metre rule.

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Genetic differences between lines

Some years ago, we farmed deer on our property in South East Queensland. We started catching the local feral Red Deer but due to their better adaption to the sub-tropics and tropics we sourced a herd of Rusa Deer.

Good dogs can handle these species of deer and it is wonderful to watch a clever dog adjust to the flight zone of livestock very different to sheep and cattle. Rusa can be very aggressive, approaching, rapidly, with stamping front feet and then breaking unpredictably, usually, leading part of the herd away with speed and determination. Useful dogs must have courage, cover and the ability to pat that flight zone bubble with skill and accuracy.

On one occasion we got a call about 150 Rusa Deer which  had escaped the confines of the high fences and made their way down the valley some 14 Kms (8.5 miles) and were enjoying a pasture of irrigated rye grass. This was not good news to the owner of the farm as he needed the feed for his young stud Charolais bulls. It was suggested by many neighbours that the only solution involved rifles,  sharp knives and plenty of volunteers.

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Was that a compliment?

Last week a young team of Kelpies and I had mustered 200 Brahman X yearlings and were moving them about 4 Kms along a  gravel road that runs through our property. As they were quite a heavy mob I was droving from behind on my ATV while Milburn Moss, Tracker Gibbs, Tracker Fiona (Fi) and Tracker Chief guided them along the sides and kept the odd slow follower from lagging behind.

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Ingenious solution

The old post and 5 X 2 rail yard had done its day. Been there 50 odd years and what’s more the long trough was one of those rubber sealed jobs that won’t survive our new “keep dry until needed” policy due to the proximity to the fig tree, bats and Hendra virus. The new trough had to be offset as one of the yards can have stock pressure due to it being a forcer for the draughting system.

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You have got to give credit for 200 years of selection for brilliance.

What an amazing weekend.

What excited me the most?

Was it the well explained theory of better stock handling from chief instructor Sean Barrett?

The fantastic cuisine presented by Auntie Ando and her trusty crew?

The growing camaraderie fueled by a few quite  rums after the evening spotlights had dimmed or the anguish evident during the final days competitive “Oakwood Challenge” where students plied all they had learned in a trial of courage, wits, leadership, dominance and compassion. This challenge was won by a young up and coming stockman from Surat. Congratulations Simon Twidale.

Champion Stock Handler

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