CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Ranchers from eight East Texas counties wereon hand for the annual Cow Country Congress put on by the Texas A&MAgrilife office in Houston County.
Tractors and talks about animal feed andestate sales had the attention of ranchers, but the most anticipated attractionwas the cattle dogs.
The dogs can help a rancher move their cattlein the least amount of stress as possible. The official term is called bayingup.
Every move the dogs make is a piece of choreographyin the bigger picture of herding the animals.
The key is having a well trained dog.
"Cattle respect the dogs, and when thedogs are properly used will cause the cattle to group together, but they won'tabuse the cattle," said Texas A&M Agrilife research scientist Dr. CharlesLong.
"If the dogs are well trained, it is anamazing experience," Kennard resident Shannon Star said. "If the dogs are notwell trained, it can turn out badly for them and the animals."
Using dogs with cattle has its pros
"Properly used cow dogs can reduce yourlabor cost, because it is less costly to have a team of dogs than higher anindividual," Long said.
While most people are familiar with a sheepdogs, Long says dogs are just as good with cattle.
"Most of the time, a person using dogs,either has them for sheep and goats or cattle, but in fact, some of the sametraining methods, some of the same commands are used on both type of livestock,"said Long.
Gettinga dog trained for herding cattle is not cheap. Some can range up to $3,500.
Cattle dogs are just another way ranchers arebeing able to utilize man's best friend.