Happy ‘Moo’ Year! January is National Dog Training Month. Of course, dogs aren’t the only animals that can learn to follow orders. Horses, elephants, and birds may come to mind when one thinks of trained animals. Cows also can—and should—learn a few things. Here, a Westminster, MD vet lists some things that Bessie should know.
Walking On A Lead
This isn’t an absolute must, but it will definitely make your life easier down the road if you ever need to move Bessie, whether it’s to or from a field that’s across a street, into or out of a barn or catch pen. Start this training when your cow is still young. Keep in mind that cows are very strong, even as babies. You’re not going to win a shoving match. You also don’t want to use negative reinforcement. That may frighten your cow, and make her scared of you. Use a halter and a line, with the line pulled through the halter’s ring. If your cow resists, you can turn them to the side or in circles. Ask your vet for tips.
Come When Called
This is one thing that many of our animal companions are able to learn. It’s definitely worth your while to put in some time here!. The easiest way is to teach Bessie to associate treats with a certain noise, with the obvious choice of sounds being a cowbell.
If possible, you should get Bessie used to being handled while she is still a calf. However, you won’t be able to really complete her training until your bovine buddy is nursing her own calf. Don’t try using a bucket right away: you can incorporate that later. The main thing is to stay close to her flank, at an angle that will make it difficult for her to kick you. Ask your vet or a professional for tips.
Life Is Good
Did you know that happy cows produce better milk, and in higher quantities? It doesn’t take much to keep Bessie content. Clean comfortable shelter, plenty of time in a good pasture, and, of course, buddies, will all keep your hooved pal happy and a’moos’ed. Treats and ear scritches are also helpful here!
As your Westminster, MD animal clinic, we look forward to providing your animals with great veterinary care in 2022 and beyond. Contact us anytime!