Slowly, Sparky is getting used to the cows. His every instinct is to bark at them—he's a high strung dog during the best of circumstances, and like many dogs, has figured out that barking makes scary things like cows and mailmen go away.
So, to change his thinking about scary things and the quickest way to dispose of them, we have him look at the cows (by saying "Look at the cows!") and then reward him when he turns his head back to us without barking. He gets it—"Look at that!" is a simple trick to teach. We've used this technique for other "threats" in the past, in fact, every Thursday I have him look at the rubbish collectors when they come in their loud truck to collect garbage.
But still he forgets, and barks his fool head off, particularly when the cows move. It wouldn't be so bad, but I can't have him barking at 5 a.m. when he goes outside and sees the looming shapes in the pasture.
So we continue with "Look at that!" and hope Sparky gets more and more comfortable with our neighbors, Mr and Mrs Cow and their large family who periodically inhabit the pasture.
Mrs Cow was at the fence the other day and she obviously wanted an apple. I didn't have any, and she ambled away, with a dejected look back:
They really are placid, peaceful creatures. I just wish I could convince Sparky they mean us no harm.