Good Pet and Working Dog Too!

Posted on: December 7th, 2009 by Webmaster 3 Comments

I talk to people quite often who tell me you should not try to make a pet out of your working cow dog because it will mess up their ability to be a great cow dog. I don’t agree with this.

I have had a few dogs that slept by my bed, would sleep in my lap if I let them and they were still super working cow dogs.

When it comes to dogs, I’m not a person who will pet and love on my dogs all the time but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about them. I treat my dogs very well. If they need a vet they get one. They are wormed when they should be, have a dry bed to sleep on and nice, clean kennel runs.

My Hanging Tree Sport dog will lay by my feet and be as happy as a dog can be and he will let me pet on him anytime I want. But he doesn’t bug me to pet on him and that is what I like. But don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great thing if people want to pet on their dogs a lot.

I sold a nice cattle dog a few months ago because she really wanted to be loved and petted on when she wasn’t working and she wasn’t getting enough of that from me. I thought she’d be happier with someone who’d pet on her all the time like she wanted.

I believe one of the things people don’t understand about a cattle dog is that if they’re from the right bloodlines of great working dogs then they’re going to live to work. If they’re going to be a good companion and a good working dog, then besides coming from good bloodlines, you’re also going to have to spend a lot of time with them to get them where they will do whatever you tell them, when you tell them.

My dogs Sport and Chic with my granddaughter

My dogs Sport and Chic with my granddaughter

Hanging Tree Sport is not only my buddy, traveling companion and family dog, he also lives to work cattle! Sport is 10 years old now and has been one of my greatest working cow dogs as well as a fantastic family dog.

I owned a Border collie about 11 years ago who was the coolest dog. To him, me and “live stock” were the only things that he cared about. He wouldn’t work for anyone but me, no exceptions, and he would work anything I asked him to. If I let him loose, he would gather stock and put them in my roping  arena or at the gate and hold them till I found him, it didn’t matter if it was 5 minutes or 5 hours, he would hold the stock and wait for me. But he was all “work dog”…and none of the other stuff mattered to him.

So a cattle dog is not for everyone. But they can make great pets. They need exercise and a lot of it, especially when they’re young.

I have seen my wife, Jodi, play ball with her dog Tren in our living room when we’re watching TV. Her dog is so amazing because she can throw her ball 10 feet and that dog will get it time and time again without breaking anything and be the happiest dog alive. Now that Tren has gotten older she doesn’t need the ball thrown for her as much. The thing is, when Tren was younger and needed the exercise all the time, she got it even though sometimes she wanted to play in the house. Jodi taught her to be careful and not break anything. If you go to the Montana story you’ll see Jodi and Tren working cattle on the ranch. So you can have both a working dog that’s also a great pet.

Cattle Master Female Chic

Cattle Master Female Chic

I also own a Cattle Master female who is about 5 years old now and she is the most extraordinary female dog I have ever owned as well as one of the toughest. She would definitely sleep in my lap if I let her though!

So my thoughts are, if you want both a good pet and good working cow dog, find one from the right parents, train it well, give it lots of exercise and I believe you can have both in the same dog.

If you would like more on this subject, drop me a comment and I will be glad to try and help you!  Thanks

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3 Responses

  1. Carole Fratscher says:

    My name is Carole Fratscher and I found you on the internet when I looked up the hanging tree cow dog. I have been offered one of these dogs as a pet. I live in a city house with a medium sized back yard. Apparently this pup is not showing the normal herding instinct although it is very smart compared to other breeds pups of the same age. The owner seems to think it would be OK as a normal house pet in the city. I have only recently heard of these dogs and their amazing abilities and don’t know anyone who has ever had anything to do with them.

    I wondered if you thought this breed could be content as a house pet, not a working dog, or if it would be bored and frustrated if there was nothing to herd. I am an experienced dog owner , ( bouvier, Doberman, Boxers and several mixed breeds) and I expect to keep any dog I have for it’s lifetime so I don’t want to make a mistake. If you have a few minutes to spare I would appreciate any information you could pass along and I would also appreciate hearing if you feel this could work out as a pet.

    Thank you in advance and I will understand if you don’t have time to respond to my request.

    Carole Fratscher
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  2. Marvin Pierce says:

    Hi Carole,
    Thanks for your inquiry. I believe that yes, the Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs do make great pets. The biggest thing you have to remember is that they’re bred to work stock. If you get them around stock they may want to go to work so you have to have good control of them through good training. I know several people who have had Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs that didn’t make the cut for working dogs and became great pets. Just remember, they need exercise!
    Marvin Pierce

  3. Tokecia says:


    I’m a new owner of a Hangin tree cow dog! I have a love for animals and when I got a call that my friends neighbor needed a home for her puppies I took one without hesitation. We have had her since Christmas Eve and so far she is a joy when she wants to be (she is only 11 weeks or so) I’ve been doing a lot of research to see what’s the best diet and how to train her a realized these are outdoor working dogs and have been told she will “herd” my kids. I just wanted to know what were some tips you could give on her being around kids (she is in crate most of day for now while house training and only out for 30 minutes to play in the morning and 30 at night) when she begins to hang out around the house more. Will she be an unhappy dog? how can I make sure she will be good with kids other dogs and visitors?

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