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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The girlfriend and I just picked up a 10 week old pure bred Australian Shepherd. He isn't at home with us yet but he will be next Saturday when we move into our new house. He was the only puppy in the litter that had a naturally smaller tail (compared to the others) that was almost a cross between the shortness of the docked tail and the regular length the others had.

Is he too old to have the tail docked to an even smaller length (like most Australian's do)? Or is he too old? It's not really a big deal to me but the girlfriend would like to have it done if it is possible. Thanks.
 

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Yes, he's too old to be docked. It is usually done when the puppies are just a few days old.
 

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Why do you want it docked? Is there a health issue with regard to his tail?
 

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I don't think he's too old. It is usually done at a younger age, but that doesn't mean it can't be done at his age. The surgery can be more complicated at his age and have more complications though. You need to consult a vet to be sure, but to my knowledge there's no reason why the surgery can't be done. I have a 10 yr old basset and was told my vet that they could do the surgery on him if they had to. (Don't ask, long story.) Anyway, he's not too old, it can be done, but you need to talk to your vet about it.
 

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It wouldn't be worth the risk. Thanks everyone.
I don't think it's risky. If it was risky, my vet would not have suggested it for a 10 yr old dog. The risk is going to be much less for a 10 week old dog. I'm not saying to have the dogs tail docked, I'm saying talk to your vet if you're considering it at all, don't just go by the non-expert opinions (and I include mine in that number) on a message board.

My vet told me it was an option for my dog. That would indicate to me that it could definitely be an option for your dog as well.
 

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Having a dogs tail docked at an older age due to injuries or "happy tail" something like that is different then doing it simply for looks. I am PRO tail docking but not after 3-5 days old. Once the pup is over 5 years I think you need to have a very good reason for it.
Why didn't the breeder have it done? I mean, if it was short but not correct, I am surprised she/he didn't have it done at the normal time.
 

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Having a dogs tail docked at an older age due to injuries or "happy tail" something like that is different then doing it simply for looks. I am PRO tail docking but not after 3-5 days old. Once the pup is over 5 years I think you need to have a very good reason for it.
Why didn't the breeder have it done? I mean, if it was short but not correct, I am surprised she/he didn't have it done at the normal time.
Agreed. It is different because it can be a traumatic surgery and it's a surgery being done purely for cosmetics. But it can still be done. That was my point.
 

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Yes the pup is too old to have it's tail docked. If you were to have it done now it would be an amputaion. Which would require full anesthesia, a skilled vet, lots of pain meds, and weeks of recoverytime. Puppies are docked between 0-5 days old, depending on the breed and vet, because thier nervous system hasn't fully developed yet. Not good quality vet would ever consider docking a pup or dog after that age unless there was a diagnosiable medical reason for doing so.

Did the other pups in the litter have natural bob-tails? That would be the only reason I can think of that the pup wouldn't just be docked along with the rest of the litter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The breeder wasn't really a "show" type breeder. The woman who I got my puppy from had a litter of puppies between her two purebreds and wasn't really looking to make much money from them. They were just kind of farm dogs that happened to be both purebred. The dog is registered and everything but she wasn't too concerned with docking their tails. He was only a couple of bills and he has all of shots for the year. I was very content with his price and she was very generous in letting him stay with the litter for the next couple weeks while we get settled into the new place. Personally, I'm not picky at all about what the dog looks like as long as I like him. I don't have any standards that need to be met.
 

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I don't think he's too old. It is usually done at a younger age, but that doesn't mean it can't be done at his age. The surgery can be more complicated at his age and have more complications though. You need to consult a vet to be sure, but to my knowledge there's no reason why the surgery can't be done. I have a 10 yr old basset and was told my vet that they could do the surgery on him if they had to. (Don't ask, long story.) Anyway, he's not too old, it can be done, but you need to talk to your vet about it.

After the first few days it's no longer a dock, but a much more complicated amputation as vital structures have started forming that weren't present at birth.
 

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no, he's not to old...as stated, it can be done surgically....but, from experience, i wouldn't recommend it....i had a Schnoodle (there's that "designer" name:D) yrs ago that would chase/attack/tear up his tail....at 7 mo it wasn't any better (actually was worse) and his tail was a mess so i had it docked....not only did it not stop him (he still chased his (imaginary tail when he had nothing to do) but it also seemed to bother him when he'd sit sometimes or if it was touched....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just for the record, I think Aussies look startlingly beautiful with undocked tails.



Agreed. I like it where it's at but the girlfriend has almost "Show-like" standards for the dog and would like to see him as perfect as he can be...I on the other hand could care less. As long as we get along just fine, I'm a happy camper.

Thanks for everything everyone. :D
 

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My puppy Hawkeye was also born with a naturaly short tail but he had his docked shorter at 2 days old because it wasn't quite short enough for show (has to be between 4" and 2".

I think the risks and higher amount of discomfort at this age is too much for such a thing.
 

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Yeah I say keep it long! :)

We do occasional tail docking at the vet clinic I work at, but we won't do it after 4 days old. After there it's considered an amputation and the dog has to be put under anesthesia. We only do this for injuries and not for cosmetic reasons. It is more risky because of the anesthesia...
 

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I never have liked the look of a docked tail on an aussie.
 
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