It is… no secret that I love working Mazikeen on cattle. She’s a tough little girl who gets kicked in the face a lot. However, she is a very independent thinker, and really likes to do things HER WAY. When we first started, she would go in and hit any end of the cow that presented itself to her, nose or heel. She also really struggled with flanking when off balance. We had a really nice working relationship together until I introduced the concept of driving and started to do more work on cattle
Mazikeen has a lot of power and eye, and often works with a more “border collie crouch” than any of the other dogs that I have ever worked with. And I love her, but sometimes, getting her to “let go” of the stock with her shoulder is EXTREMELY difficult.
At the Larry clinic in Florida, on the last day, we finally made some headway that going off the pressure, and rolling out over a square flank was not a punishment, but rather a way to be more efficient at moving stock so they don’t run. You don’t need to go in and bite to get them to go faster if they are already moving, you don’t need to take cheap shot fly bys when you gather. This clinic we focused a lot on calm gathering of stock, getting out and around on the flanks, and moving triangles to really help set her onto a more correct path. We had to do a lot of basic “push her off to get her to give”, and then make sure she gave and stopped on command.
One of the cows, Nike, was very much confrontation and tried to bowl the dogs over a few times, and in the Big Field, she struggled a bit with holding her ground to get her to turn. I put her in the round pen with Nike, and the two Herefords who kept challenging the other dogs, and couldn’t actually simulate a condition that Mazie needed to bite the face, as the cows were perfectly behaving with her pressure. But, after working the round pens, we had to go out in the arena and work a pregnant cow, pretty much as a single, because she kept wanting to run off away from the group. We are also starting to let go to be able to do inside flanks. I am pretty happy with her right now. But it sill feels like a long way to go with her