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I have had my mind set on adopting a mixed breed puppy for our next dog. However, I have been in love with Australian Shepherds since I was 10 or 11 years old, I really do believe they are quite possibly the breed for me. Their personality, colour, everything; I love it all. :eek:

So...I've been thinking about getting an Aussie and talking to some local breeders. However, I noticed a few members here have Aussies. I was wondering if you Aussie owners could contribute any advice that I wouldn't get in a breed book about your lovely breed.

Anything would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I don't own Aussies but I have been around several and have owned herding breeds. Herding breeds, including Aussies, are high energy dogs that absolutely must have jobs to do. They require both physical and mental exercise daily. They also have a tendency to nip (especially when someone walks, runs away from them) and this is something you must work on to teach the dog when it is and when it is not appropriate. Training must be ongoing and it's a really good idea to get involved in some dog sports.
 

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They are a wonderful breed. (for me lol) I'm just going to first ask you what you think aussies are all about and then fill you in from there.

What do you think of thier...

Shedding
Stranger personality
trainability
berhavior with children
coat care

I just want to see what things you already know about them before I start rattling on about things you already might know.

They are not
a gentle, sweet, happy go lucky type of dog (which is what most people want in a dog)
 

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I don't own an Aussie (and I probably never will!) But I raised my boyfriends sister's Aussie.

An Aussie is a breed I'd reccomend to very few people. A person who works or goes to school for 7+ hours a day shouldn't have an Aussie. They are very clingy with their people, and shouldn't be left alone on the yard or the crate. If you don't want a dog that always wants to follow you around, trip you, wiggle in your lap, then an Aussie may not be a good dog for you. Also, they require HUGE ammounts of exercise every day, way more than I could physically provide without a bicycle or something. And even then, it's a lot. They can literally herd sheep like.. ALL DAY! Also, the mental stimulation is a huge task, too. And without proper socialization, Aussies can be quick to develop behavioral problems, leash reactiveness, territorial behavior, etc. Oh, and shedding doesn't bother me, but it bothers a lot of people. Aussies tend to leave a little fur shadow wherever they've been, lol!

They do have sweet, goofy personalities and are very fun, but to me, they're SO much work, it doesn't balance out for me.

Anyways, if you've never had any experience with Aussies, I'd strongly reccomend volunteering at an Aussie rescue, or fostering an aussie for a while. There's also the option of adopting an adult or senior Aussie, as they wouldn't be as much of a handful as a pup or young adult. Also, breeders and people who show have a wealth of knowledge, go to some shows and talk to some Aussie fanciers.
 

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I am no expert, as my aussie is only 9 weeks old. But, she is great so far. She is picking up on her training very well. She already knows SIT and SHAKE, and almost has COME. She is SMART, but quite stubborn, though. She is well crate trained and that only took a week or less. I even found her playing in there this morning when she got up. No potty, no whining. :) She does nip and chase when kids are running, and we are working on the nipping part. I will be going back to work at the end of August, but I am training her each day by increasing her time alone. Both of her parents and her "aunt" all stay at home while the breeder works, (we teach at the same school) and they all do fine. I agree on the excercise. They need a LOT! My daughter and I hike on weekends and walk over a mile each weekday. Plus we play ball/frisbee/fetch in the yard with her. Agility is in her future as well. As for shedding, Luna still has her puppy coat and doesn't shed at all, but it's coming, I am sure. Her parents weren't shedding when I met them, but they are well brushed and had already done the bulk of their spring shedding. Breeder said it's only a LOT of shedding twice a year.
 

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We lucked out with our aussie in the energy department, she is very low key and happy to go all day or be a big old couch potato. She's definitely smart, and she has been a big challenge in the personality department. She LOVES her family to death, she's cautious but accepting of strangers, she LOVES babies of all species. She's never been a nippy dog or a big herder of the kids. But I truly believe she is more the exception than the rule with aussies - although our first aussie was a laid back girl too.

Training, training and more training is definitely key with them. Ours got her CGC at 11 mos. old. She is now 5 and we still work with her daily on training exercises or teaching her new tricks. My son taught her to crawl the other day for something fun.

Fur "tumbleweeds" definitely come with aussies. We have to rake Bailey out on a regular basis or she starts leaving pieces of herself everywhere. We also vacuum her, which she loves, and that helps keep the hair down to a minimum.

They are great dogs, but definitely a lot of work and challenging at times. They demand a lot from their people, but in a good way.
 

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I fall in love with aussies every time I see an agility or disc dog competition on TV.


Then I remember that aussies don't come that way and that those dogs have owners who spend a lot of time and energy getting that perfectly trained dog we see on TV. Beautiful dogs with amazing ability, but definitely one that requires owners committed to grooming, training and exercise.
 

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I suppose for my first post I will throw my two cents in. An ex-coworker of mine always has aussies and she loves them. I adopted a 1 & 1/2 yr old dog that was from one of her litters nearly 8 months ago now. Jerik is only half aussie (and half jack russel) but he is headstrong and independent and super intelligent. When someone new comes into our home we have to be really careful to make sure he doesn't try to nip and herd them! He is an awesome dog but not overly affectionate and doesn't seem to be needy at all. He is loving with us at times but usually he'd prefer to be doing his own stuff around the house.

He definitely needs daily work with training and lots of walks and play or else he gets into mischief.
 

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Check out the aussie rescue in your area. Meet some of the dogs and see if you click with any. Aussies are very high maintenance. Beware of nipping, herding, and chewing. You'll need to provide a LOT of stimulation/training.
 

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Beware of nipping, herding
unless you get an aussie for herding like me then these are traits you WANT lol.

also most aussies require a firm handler. For the most part they are in tune with their master but at the same time they are not particularly a sensitive breed. doG knows I've had to lay the "smack down" on Hawkeye more than once. They are a delicate balance between perfect loving obedient, friendly, And aggressive, tough, "don't push my buttons" kind of dogs.

I have met quite a few people who got aussies and didn't socialize them properly and ended up with a very dangerous animal in the end.

And when I say Socialize, i Mean EVERYTHING! White people, black people, brown people, old people, young people, middle aged people, men, women.

Aussies don't generalize.

Our old dog Jack hates elderly people and has lunged aggressively at two elderly in his life, why? because there were no elderly people he was exposed to as a puppy and in his eyes "they were weird"

Our middle child Kechara can't figure out that Sheep and children are not the same thing, she will nip, snap, and jump at a child that is "too active". Why? Because she wasn't introduced to children when she was a puppy.

Luckily I am older now and I try and expose Hawkeye to everything possible and he hasn't shown any dislikes for any type of people yet.
 

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unless you get an aussie for herding like me then these are traits you WANT lol.

also most aussies require a firm handler. For the most part they are in tune with their master but at the same time they are not particularly a sensitive breed. doG knows I've had to lay the "smack down" on Hawkeye more than once. They are a delicate balance between perfect loving obedient, friendly, And aggressive, tough, "don't push my buttons" kind of dogs.

I have met quite a few people who got aussies and didn't socialize them properly and ended up with a very dangerous animal in the end.

And when I say Socialize, i Mean EVERYTHING! White people, black people, brown people, old people, young people, middle aged people, men, women.

Aussies don't generalize.

Our old dog Jack hates elderly people and has lunged aggressively at two elderly in his life, why? because there were no elderly people he was exposed to as a puppy and in his eyes "they were weird"

Our middle child Kechara can't figure out that Sheep and children are not the same thing, she will nip, snap, and jump at a child that is "too active". Why? Because she wasn't introduced to children when she was a puppy.

Luckily I am older now and I try and expose Hawkeye to everything possible and he hasn't shown any dislikes for any type of people yet.
I definitely agree with you on the socialization issue. My first aussie went nuts when she met black people. Where I lived was almost entirely white so I ended up incredibly embarrassed.

However, a lot of the aussies I've worked with were very sensitive. To them, a leash pop is no different than kicking them snot out of 'em. It could just be poor breeding or something though. They vary, obviously. One aussie is not all aussies.
 

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I have had my mind set on adopting a mixed breed puppy for our next dog.
Given that you're already considering a mixed breed, why not an Aussie mix? It's possible that the other breed (depending on what it is, of course) may counter some of the less desirable traits that people have mentioned here.

I'll give you an example: I love border collies, but I just couldn't stomach a few of their less-desirable traits - in many cases, the same ones that have been named here as Aussie traits. So I got a BC mix instead. My dog has some BC traits (physical ability, prey drive, high intelligence, loves chasing things), but lacks what I consider to be some of the breed's less desirable traits (high strung, obsessive-compulsive, sensitive, never quit attitude). IMO this makes her a great dog, because she has everything I love about BC's, but she doesn't mind spending 8+ hours/day in a crate and chilling by my side in the evening (after exercise).

Of course, finding the right mix could take some time and patience - are there lots of shelters in your area where you might be able to search?
 
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