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Stock dogs important on cattle farm

'Better' than people usually
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Callie Holodniuk and her border collie Hoss.
YORKTON - Callie Holodniuk works cattle on the farm near Norquay. 

Or, more specifically, she manages Remmy and Hoss, a pair of border collies who do most of the cattle herding. 

“I went to Vermillion (Lakeland College). They had a stock dog club. I started there,” said Holodniuk during a break after putting her two dogs through their paces during the first day of the Heartland Livestock Services Stock Dog Competition at the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown in Yorkton Thursday. 

Holodniuk said “we always had dogs on the farm, but we never trained them.” 

The training part includes the handler learning what they need to do too, added Holodniuk. 

“The dogs know more than I do usually,” she said, adding often her role is simply “to give some directions” and the dogs do the rest. 

While the Yorkton event was something of a fun outing for Holodniuk and other competitors, Hoss and Remmy are working dogs at home. 

“I use them as much as I can. They’re better than a couple of people usually. If you’ve got a good dog you don’t need a lot of help,” said Holodniuk, adding that is important when finding people to work on a farm often isn’t easy. 

While stock dog competitions – usually a single dog working to pen three cattle with the handler whistling and calling commands -- are held all over the Prairies, Holodniuk takes in only the Yorkton event each year. 

“It’s experience for my dogs and for me, and to see what we can do,” she said, adding that while it “is fun” there in an important education aspect to the competition. 

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