The Working Dog

By Laci Jones

A dog is commonly referred to as “man’s best friend,” but is the saying still true for a working dog?

Randy Reed, an Oklahoma dog trainer for more than 10 years said having working dogs on the farm and ranch is helpful because of their ability to sort livestock. He said having a good working dog will make the trainer look good.

“These dogs will teach you just as much as you can teach them,” Reed said. “They are intelligent dogs, and all they want is to work and please you.”

Each dog has a different technique to herding livestock, Reed explained.

“Herding dogs were developed to do certain jobs for different types of livestock and for different types of farming,” said Susan Bennett, president of the Oklahoma Stock Dog Association.

Some dogs, known as headers, will herd livestock by putting pressure toward the stock’s head. Other dogs, known as heelers, will nip at the heels of stock to herd them. Bennett said some dogs can be headers and heelers. Each livestock species may require a different approach, Reed said. Pick up a January issue of OKFR to learn more.