At first I was going to call this “put your dog away” as that was my main topic plan. I realized there are two things that I want to talk about as it’s concerned with livestock reading. New people ask me how to read stock better all the time which is funny because I’m far from the expert. I figure it was probably clever ploys to get the answer from my dad. I don’t want to say I’m not the best livestock reader but I did grow up around one of the best. What I learned primarily came from not being allowed to use dads dogs when I was younger. I had to go into pens or fields and move stock on my own. Pretty soon you catch on to a couple things 1; you work stock like a dog does with open flanks and steady walk ups 2; how stock typically want to move. Now that brings me back to opening line “put your dog away”. I mean that. It simply is the best way to learn livestock. But it only works if you take extreme ownership over the stock. (Extreme ownership is a book that has nothing to do with stock dogs). This is also true if you have your dog. It’s a key to stockmanship. If you never blame the stock for what they do then you are forced to be self reflective. The reality is that they are prey animals and they don’t think like us. Saying “why’d you do that you ignorant… fill in the blanks” is someone trying to imprint their mind on an animal. If you force yourself to constantly blame yourself then you start paying attention to your actions. When you put your dog away while accepting responsibility, then you see the right and wrong steps. You’ll see what the dog sees and it will certainly make you better stockman and a better trainer.