I have always considered myself a cattleman, I like working with my dogs and horses. Unlike training horses which I do for fun, stockdog training started as a required job skill many years ago, I needed help handling livestock and a stockdog was the answer. It took awhile and I had to learn but after I got the hang of it I figured out what I needed. I searched for a bolder, less timid foundation stock and soon became a breeder of cowdogs. Forty years ago a cowdog breeder was a rare occurance and showing off our "Cowdogs" became a regular activity. Today I am pleased to find the LR Alexander bloodlines in a majority of border collie cowdogs. Names like Tom, Ben, Willie, Gritz, Alexanders Copper, Sue, Jills tom and Ab.
I made some friends and aquaintences in those days which still remember some of the highlights (and lowlights too).
Here is what one long time aquaintence has to say.
I have known LR. Alexander for thirty five years. Reflections of the last forty seven years. Life is too short to work weak dogs!
I have tagged along and helped with over a hundred demonstrations over this period of time.
Many of these demonstrations were on rank cattle that people knew could not be worked with dogs.
They have ranged from Mexican roping steers to Long horn cows and calves to Brahma-cross - you name it.
The dogs have always gotten the respect of the cattle within a few minutes.
These wild cattle will yield to dogs in a calm manner, not afraid of the dogs, but very respectful.
You will hear in the crowd, "I just can't believe it. I would have bet money that it couldn't have been done."
L.R. is very adamant about the stronger Border Collie, and has no use for a weak dog. He produces several rock-solid cattle dogs every year using these methods. If you study them carefully and start with a good strong dog, you will achieve good results.
Lee Hodges, Oldfield, Missouri
Another old friend Bill Hyde, now departed, and LR Alexander 39 years ago.
(published "The Marshfield Mail" June 1984)
My method of training has changed very little over the last thirty five years. The only thing that seems to make a big difference is the socialization of your dog. Make sure the puppies are from parents that are capable of working the type of stock you have. I believe the reason a lot of dogs don't work out is because they were not socialized enough. From weaning to one year of age, a dog should be allowed to follow you around and should be played with as much as possible.
Get a well-bred pup and you can train it.
Reflections of the last forty seven years. Life is too short to work weak dogs!
Life is too short to work weak dogs!