This question comes up a lot, especially during this time of year. Many who show lambs/goats in Texas have heard you do not need to start tracking your animals till October when the lambs/goats start to put on cover. This is true to some degree however the challenge is, by October your lambs/goats are mature and teaching them to track is much more difficult by waiting due to their maturity.
With maturity come other issues, for example lambs/goats want to turn and fight the dog as well as a better chance for the animals to get hurt.
Let me explain:
If I fall down my stairs I might end up at the hospital with broken bones, whereas my granddaughter at 8 falls down the stairs she will have some bumps and bruises but probably not get significantly hurt.
It is much easier to put fear of injury into an 8-year-old than a grown man. These same principles definitely hold true with tracking lambs/goats.
Dog breaking young animals is much easier and safer. This was covered in an earlier blog, but here is the basics.
The idea of putting a dog with your animals in a small pen with your dog wearing a bell, then letting your dog teach the animals how to move away from the dog, is a tremendous asset. When you dog break, your young animals, they will develop a natural fear of the dog. Then when the animals hear the bell while tracking, the animals associate the ring of the bell with being worked by the dog, which for the sheep/goats is a natural fear of a predator attack. Of course, the animals then want to quickly move away from the ringing bell and the dog, and they then run much harder in the track.
For more information on Tracking for Success, give us a call! We are honored to help you find and work your new Track Dog.