Young dogs in training should show interest at an early age though all dogs are different. Some may show potential as early as 9 weeks old, others may take longer; four, five or six months. Initially young dogs will be started on smaller and softer stock so their confidence can grow. During the maturing time, I teach other general obedience skills necessary for herd work, and every once in awhile return the pups to stock. At 8 or 9 months, most of the pups will be introduced to calves. Dogs will usually be 12 months before they are consistently put on stock. This time allows them to grow and mature both physically and mentally. I always try to have the dog be successful in all training and working situations.
Once the young dog is solid on softer cattle, I move on to different, larger and more challenging stock. All dogs will not make cattle dogs. Some will be very usable, some very good and some won’t make the grade. I will continually evaluate the dogs to best determine how they should advance.
I generally train the dogs I have raised as well as helping those who have purchased dogs from me. I also occasionally accept a few select outside dogs for training. My customers typically include ranchers, trialers and other trainers. Though if you chose to try to train a pup on your own, I recommend "The Stimatze Way" for starting young puppies. They have made videos that will guide you through starting a young stock dog.