You’ll see plenty of cattle in far north Queensland. Dairy herds on the lush rolling green hills of the Atherton Tablelands, and beef cattle just about everywhere else.
When it comes time to muster and move cattle, all kinds of methods are used. Helicopters, quad bikes, 4WDs, people on horses. And dogs. A good cattle dog in action is something to behold.
But dogs bark. Especially when they’re excited. That can spook the cattle and send them bolting into the thick scrub, or stampeding over a far horizon. If only the dogs wouldn’t bark – something all dog owners have wished at some time.
Bruce Burns has been working with dogs bred and trained not to bark when they’re working with cattle. Good human workers are expensive and in short supply, so Bruce has been breeding and training dogs that can keep quiet around cattle. The results have been impressive, generating a lot of interest in the cattle industry.
Bruce talked about his dogs after a long day’s mustering on Welcome Station, near Laura.