I have always used an older well behaved dog (if I had one) to facilitate my puppy training. It’s not exactly training as in “sit”, “come”and “stay”. The older dog serves to ease the puppy into his many “First Times”.
  • First night in the kennel:  I put my good old quiet dog, Tip, in the pen next to Ace for company. Tip has performed as an admirable facilitator many times in the past 12 years. However, after two nights of listening to this puppy cry, Tip began avoiding me. Then he disappeared completely. I cannot outrun a 13 year old dog. Nor can I locate him if he chooses to hide. And all this time I thought he had gone deaf.

I don’t have the heart to make my dear old friend do anything he doesn’t want to do anymore. Such as not using my day lilies as an air conditioner.
The baton has been officially passed.
  • First time tied up:  The first several times I tied up Ace,  Puncher was tied right next to him.  It teaches him it’s no big deal. He stays quiet and relaxed because she is. I tie the dogs while riding my horse in the arena. It’s close enough to give a correction and far enough that they can just chill out.  It is imperative that my cowdogs learn quickly to be tied and be quiet. Puncher made the first time a charm for Ace.

 At 5 months he lays quietly alone for as long as I want. I was terribly proud of my training abilities until I noticed he had chewed up the wiring under my horse trailer. …Humbling.
  • First time in the truck, first time going to town, first time in the crate, first time in the house. etc etc Every day was a first of something.  Puncher taught freshman orientation.
  • First time to “Get a Drink”:  Ace doesn’t love water like Puncher. But then Ace has never had the opportunity to get really hot yet either.   He did fall in the pond over his head a couple times. Not a superior first experience.  

I had to start a little simpler with the tub. Puncher will lay in any water any time.
Not a happy cub scout.
We moved up to the stock tank. Still not thrilled. It’s impossible not to laugh.
All cowdogs must learn to “Get a Drink” on command. It saves their life. We have much work to do in the “Get a Drink” department. Slowly it will come. Hot weather solves much of the dilemma. 
  • First Horseback Ride:  My horse, Paint, is an extremely broke horse that is bomb proof with dogs. Ace has been around Paint in a controlled situation almost every day.  Ace already had a “come” and “down” command on him and scores of miles with the 4Wheeler before we ever rode out with the horse.  Puncher is 100% broke to the horses.  This all ensures a simple, safe, and fun little jaunt to get the puppy some exposure to being out on the ranch with a horse.  Again, I will say that this is very controlled setting and will continue to be for Ace for quite some time. Next to the cattle work, the most important thing he has to learn (for me) is how to be around a horse. I’m making it fun right now because he’s a puppy. There are never any cattle in sight on these jaunts.  No other dogs either. Just the four of us.

Right now for Ace the horses are simply a short journey for pleasure. He won’t go to cattle with me horseback for a very long time. However, when he does, it will be second nature to him. Just like Puncher.
Thanks for reading everyone. PLEASE, PLEASE, pretty please with a cherry on top….. leave a comment, question or story.  How do help your puppy with his “Firsts”? 
 Cowdog or not-Cowdog… 
Love,  Cowgirl Red,   aka  Terah      
Ace’s water phobia…..
was likely exacerbated by yours truly.
What does he expect from a cowgirl who left tire tracks on him three days after we met?
Get tough or get a sense of humor.


  1. Lisa at Greenbow says

    I haven't had a puppy in so long I don't hardly remember. I think it was all sink or swim with lots of tough love. Time for training. Lots of time. Then it seems like in the second or third year it all clicks.

    Our latest dog, Luna, came to us as a two year old, well trained in obedience but she is a nut case. Loveable but, let us say, eccentric. She was a rescue dog that had been mistreated. We have had her long enough that most of her kinks have been ironed out.

    We have baby sat our friend's puppy. He learned from Luna immediately. He would sit for treats etc. Sit at the door instead of rushing out at people that come to the door etc.

    Now, Oly, the little poodle that is staying with us right now, is a hard headed little fellow. A lap dog that always gets his way at home. When he comes here to stay for a couple of weeks we have a day of transition to new rules. But he is so smart that he gets back into acting like a real dog fast. He even sits for treats. Unheard of at his house. He doesn't even yap…much. His mom always says tell me how you get him to do that. Ha… She will never learn.

  2. Haven't had a dog for many, many years–and they were pets. You know how I spoil my pets–LOLOL!! 😉

    I love all the photos! So, "get a drink" means dunk yourself? I don't blame Tip. Those puppies have so much energy–hehe! And they will chew wiring. OMG!! 😉

    I am loving hearing (and seeing) all about Puncher and Ace's adventures in learning. :):) Hope you're having a super duper week, Terah!

  3. The Wife of a Dairyman says

    I love how well trained your dogs are! I have a dog who just thinks she's a cow dog and when I call her, she runs the other direction! This is my first time visiting your adorable blog and I enjoyed my visit, can't wait to see more!
    Thanks for your visit to mine earlier:)

  4. Fairchild Farmgirl says


    I know more about obedience training and working with dogs and kids…my round with cattle dogs weren't the best. Wish we could find one that was good. My dog has a naughty streak in her a mile wide. All of the sudden she's grabbing (not biting) the kids and she chewing everything is site. Even Big D's tools! Not good! (Apparently she's not remembering the life insurance policy).


  5. Cowgirl Red says

    Lisa, Luna sounds incredible. I would love to see a picture of her. The younger dogs pick up the drill really quickly with an older stable dog, and owner, don't they?
    Rita, Thanks for loving my silly posts of puppy stuff.
    W.o.D. I love your blog, and cattle pic too. Thanks for visiting
    Suzanne, You crack me up! The good ones are all taken. hahaha.

    Love you all. Terah

  6. Anonymous says

    Well, a little over 8 yrs ago is when I found my "great one", as I believe everyone has at least 1 great one in their time. At 4 1/2 weeks old, already on solids and his owner was on her way to Florida for the winter with him, his momma & rest of pups I fell in love with a small solid white german sheppard that looked like a coke-a-cola bear. He went everywhere with me, and I guess that's how he learned. I'd talk to him just like he was my kid, and I swear he understood every word. For about 3 months he stayed right beside me checking fence on foot and when I'd stop to make a repair I'd make him sit or lay down. Once the repair was done I would hand signal him so we could move up to find the next hole. He finally got it like I said after about 3 months and was good to go down one side and me down the other, when he would find a hole, he would sit and wait for the hand signal. He gets the horses up to the barn (or he used to) and keeps their heads out of the fence. Now days we're working on treating a spindle cell tumor so he doesn't get out much like we used to. He's content to lay at my feet, and after 8 loyal years I believe he deserves it. But he's always been a little more human than the rest.
    Good luck with the new one- I know for me when this one's time is up, it'll be a long time b4 another one sleeps on his side of the bed.