Owning a pet dog is a dream for most of us. If you are planning to own an active dog breed then Australian Shepherd Dog will be the best Choice. Here is an article which provides you Information, Characteristics, Facts, History, Food, Grooming, Care, Diseases, Temperament for Australian Shepherd.
Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 6 inches to 1 foot, 11 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 40 to 65 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Watching an Australian Shepherd gather a flock of sheep is a beautiful sight. With a athletic and safe movement, he leads the herd using barking, pinching and “eyes”, a penetrating look that says clearly: “I’m in charge”. hardworking, versatile and Intelligent, the Aussie is a sensible dog who thrives in a home where his energy and brain are put to use. You do not have to keep a flock of sheep if you live with an Aussie shepherd – even if it does not hurt – but you have to keep it busy. He is a high energy dog? who does not know the meaning of the couch potato and would not approve if he did. Because he has energy to burn, he needs a lot of exercise – a walk in the neighborhood will not cut him – and at least a small yard to help him do his exercise. Having no work to do, he is noisy, bored and destructive. Or he could invent his own work: keep the children, yours or neighbors; to hunt cars or other animals; or take your house apart.
If you do not have the energy or time to exercise and train the Aussie every day, it is not the breed for you. But if you are interested in competitive dog sports, the Aussie is the one. This medium-sized, agile dog, with his tail naturally dented or tied, is a leading competitor in all levels of breeding, flyball, agility and obedience. He has also been successful in canine careers such as police dog, service dog, audience dog, guide dog. You can even teach an Aussie to help with housework, like picking up dirty laundry on the floor and bringing it to you. However, you will probably have to fold the laundry clean.
The Aussie is a true looker that stands out from the crowd with its pretty mid-length coat and dark amber, green, blue, yellow and brown eyes. His legacy as a working dog makes him a faithful companion who can be protective of the family and home and away from strangers. He gets on well with the kids, though he probably tries to “keep them” unless you teach him not to do it. The Aussie makes life an adventure. He will play and work from sunrise to sunset and win your heart with his loving and loyal personality. This versatile breed is a wonderful working dog and a great family mate – but only if that family is active.
Australian shepherd Facts
• Australian shepherds need about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, preferably with high-energy activities such as playing Frisbee. They also need work, such as agility trials, daily obedience training and competition in breeding.
• Australian shepherds can be bark for long periods of time and very destructive if they do not get the mental stimulation and exercise they need.
• Australians will alert the bark to warn you if they hear or see anything suspicious and will protect homes and families with surprising ferocity.
• Although Australian Shepherds have a reputation for needing an open space, they are doing very well in the cities if they get enough exercise and stimulation. They are not good house dogs, however. You will need at least a small yard to help them get out of their high energy.
• The insistence of the sheepdog with cattle can extend into the house, with a inexperienced or shy owner, he can assume the dominant role in the family. So only a confident owner can handle this breed – Aussies are probably not a good choice if you have never had a dog before.
• Australian shepherds are average excretes, and their coat requires regular maintenance, including weekly brushing to keep it clean and prevent mats, and possibly trimming to keep it in order.
• Australians appreciate the company of their family and prefer to stay close to their human pack. They do not do well in the yard by themselves for long periods.
• Australians are by nature reserved for people they do not know, and unless they are regularly exposed to lots of different people – ideally from their childhood – they may be afraid of strangers. This can lead to biting fear and aggression. Give your Aussie a lot of contact with neighbors, family, friends and even strangers to help him refine his social skills.
• To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible pet store or breeder. Look for a reputable breeder who tests his breeding dogs for ensure that they are free of genetic diseases that they could transmit to puppies, and that they have strong temperaments.
Despite its name, it is a breed born in the United States. The Australian Shepherd was originally developed for cattle breeding for ranchers and farmers in the western United States, and some modern Australians still do this work. There are many theories on which the breeds were used to create the Australian Shepherd. It is likely that the ancestors of the Aussie include collie-type and shepherd-type dogs that were imported with shipments of Australian sheep during the 1840s – hence the name was Australian Shepherd. Breeders have been striving to improve their breeding ability and create a hardworking, intelligent and versatile dog.
The breed grew in popularity in the years following the Second World War, which was accompanied by renewed interest in western riding. Crowds at horse shows or rodeos, and viewers of TV shows or Western movies, were impressed by the athletic dogs they saw working alongside the cowboys. Despite popular interest, the breed was only recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1993. Today, the Australian Shepherd remains the same intelligent, catchy and energetic dog that has proved so useful to breeders and the farmers of the old west. He is loved by many and enjoys his life as a breeding, companion and protector dog.
Slightly longer than it is tall, the Australian Shepherd measures 18 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder for females, 20 to 23 inches for males. On average, females weigh between 40 and 55 pounds, males between 50 and 65 pounds. Australian Shepherd breeders do not recognize these dogs as true Australian Shepherds. The breed is intended to be a functional working dog capable of keeping animals difficult to roam for miles in snow banks or rugged areas, and it does not have smaller varieties.
Australian sheep dog are generally healthy, but like all races, they are subject to certain health conditions. Not all Australian sheep dog will get all or all of these diseases, but it is essential to know about them if you are considering this breed. If you buy a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you the health permits for both parents of your puppy. Health authorizations prove that a dog has been tested and released from a particular condition. For Australian sheep dog, you should expect to see the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Health Authorities.
This is a hereditary condition in which the femur does not fit perfectly into the pelvic cavity of the hip joint. Dysplasia of the hip can exist with or without clinical signs. Some dogs have lameness and pain on one or both hind legs. As the dog gets older, arthritis can develop. Radiography for hip dysplasia is performed the hip improvement program of the University of Pennsylvania or by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be raised. Ask the breeder to prove that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and have found that they have no problem.
This is a hereditary condition common to dog breeds which are large in size. It is thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity. Because of this Painful lameness may be felt by the dog. Consult your veterinarian he may recommend medication to control the pain or a surgery to correct the problem.
The Australian Shepherd can suffer from epilepsy. Seizures are caused by this disorder. Epilepsy can be treated with medication, but there is no cure for this disease. A dog can live a healthy life with proper management of this hereditary disorder.
Deafness is quite common in this breed and can pose many challenges. Some forms of hearing loss and deafness can be treated with surgery and drugs, but deafness usually cannot be cured. Living and training a deaf dog requires time and patience, but there are many aids on the market, like vibrating collars, to make your life easier. If your Aussie is diagnosed with total deafness or hearing loss, take the time to assess whether you have the patience, the time, and the ability to take care of the animal. Regardless of your decision, it is best to notify the breeder.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
Improper growth of cartilage will lead to this disease. It is normally seen in elbows and shoulders. In some severe cases the dog cannot even bend its elbow. This disease can be seen in young puppies as well. Over eating and protein rich food may result to this disease.
A cataract is opacity of the lens that causes difficulties to see. The eye (s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur when your pet ages and can sometimes be removed surgically to improve the dog’s vision.
This condition occurs when an extra row of eyelashes (called distichia) grows on the oily gland in the dog’s eye and protrudes from the edge of the eyelid. It irritates the eye, and you may notice that your dog rubs his eyes. Distichiasis is surgically treated by freezing the excess lashes with liquid nitrogen and then removing them. This surgery is named as cryoepilation and is done under general anesthesia.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Collie Eye Anomaly is an inherited disorder that can lead to blindness in some dogs. It usually occurs when the dog is 2 years old and is diagnosed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. There is no treatment for this disease, but as noted above, blind dogs can very well move using their other senses. It is essential to know that this condition is a genetic anomaly, and your breeder should be informed if your puppy has the condition. It is also important to sterilize or sterilize your dog to prevent the gene from being passed on to a new generation of puppies.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM)
Persistent pupillary membranes are strands of tissue in the eye, remnants of the fetal membrane that has nourished the lenses of the eyes before birth. They disappear normally when a puppy is 4 or 5 weeks old, but rarely they persist. The strands can extend from the cornea to the iris, from the iris to the iris, or from the iris to the lens, and sometimes they are in the anterior (forward) chamber of the eye. For many dogs, the wires are no problem and usually they break down at the age of 8 weeks. If the strands do not break down, they can cause corneal or cataracts opacities. Ophthalmic drops prescribed by your veterinarian can help break them down.
Hypothyroidism is an abnormally low level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. A benign sign of the disease may be infertility. The most obvious signs are irregular heat cycles, low energy levels, sagging eyelids, lethargy, mental numbness, and obesity. The dog’s fur becomes coarse and brittle and begins to fall, while the skin becomes dark and hard. Hypothyroidism can be treated with daily medications, which must continue throughout the pet’s life. To give your pet a healthy and happy life thyroid treatment is needed regularly.
Allergies are a common disease in dogs. Allergies to certain foods are identified and treated by removing certain foods from the dog’s diet until the culprit is identified. Contact allergies are occurred by a reaction to something that affects the dog, such as dog shampoos, bedding, flea powders or other chemicals. They are treated by removing and identifying the cause of the allergy. Inhalation allergies are caused by airborne allergens such as mildew, pollen and dust. The appropriate drug for inhaled allergies depends on the severity of the allergy. Side effects like ear infections may occur because of inhalation allergies.
Sensitivity to Drugs
Sensitivity to certain drugs is frequently observed in this breed. It is caused by a mutation of the multidrug resistance gene (MDR1), which releases a protein called P-glycoprotein. This protein works like a pump to remove toxic substances from the body to prevent the harmful effects of toxins. In dogs that are sensitive to drugs, this gene does not work, resulting in toxicity. Dogs with this mutated gene may be susceptible to ivermectin, a drug commonly used in pest control products such as heartworm medicines, as well as other drugs, including chemotherapy drugs. Signs of this sensitivity include coma, hypersalivation, incoordination, convulsions, depression, tremors, and even death. There is no known treatment, but there is a new genetic test that identifies dogs with this non-functional gene. All Australian Shepherds should be examined.
Dogs, like humans, can develop cancer. There are different types of cancer and treatment success differs from case to case. For some forms of cancer, tumors are removed surgically, others are treated with chemotherapy and some are surgically and medically treated.
Solar Nasal Dermatitis
Also known as Collie-Nose, Dogs that have little or no pigment in the nose fell ill to this disease. Dogs that are very sensitive to sunlight develop lesions on the nose and sometimes around the eyelids, ranging from light pink lesions to ulcerative lesions. The condition can be difficult to diagnose at first because many other diseases can cause the same lesions. If Collie’s nose is diagnosed in your pet, protect it from direct sunlight and apply dog? sunscreen when it comes out. The most effective way to manage the condition is to tattoo the black dog’s nose so that the ink serves as a shield against sunlight.
A facial injury can cause the retina to separate from its underlying supporting tissues. A detached retina can lead to blindness or visual impairment. There is no cure for a detached retina, but dogs can live full life with this disease.
If you have a yard, make sure you also have a secure fence that your Aussie can not jump over or dig. Underground electronic fencing doesn’t work for this breed: your Aussie’s desire to go out and keep something will go beyond any concerns he might have about getting a slight shock. For the same reason, walk it on a leash unless you are ready to train it to resist its desires.Your Australian sheep dog needs half an hour to an hour of stimulating activity every day, such as agility exercises, a Frisbee game or a run. When you are not playing with your dog due to lack of time, puzzle toys such as Buster Cubes are a great way to keep your mind active.
Puppies do not need as much exercise as adults, and in fact, you should not let them run on hard surfaces like concrete or let them do a lot of jumping until they have at least a year. It could accentuate their skeletal system still developing and cause future joint problems. The Aussie habit of pinching and chasing is excellent for sheep farming, but bad manners when applied to humans and other pets. The obedience class can help you curb the breeding behavior of your Aussie, and it also helps to satisfy your need for mental stimulation and work. Australian sheep dog respond well to training methods that use positive reinforcement.
Color Coat And Grooming
The Australian Shepherd has a medium-length water-resistant coat to keep it comfortable in the snow and rain. Aussies in cold climates have a heavier undercoat than those living in high temperature areas. Wavy or Straight hair covers the body, with smooth, short hair on the ears and head, the front of the forelegs, and below the heels (known as the hocks in terms of dog). Moderate plumage, or longer bangs, covers the back of the front legs and braces – the pantaloon fur on the upper part of the hind legs. There are long and abundant hair – particularly thick and full of males – on the chest and neck.
Australian shepherds are available in several colors: black, tricolor (beige, white and black), red, red merle and blue merle. A blackbird coat has a patchwork of dark spots on a lighter background, so a blue black dog has black spots on the gray and a red blackbird has red spots on beige. Blackbirds tend to become darker with age.
If you are wondering if the Australian Shepherd sheds, the answer is yes. The breed is spread all year, but more strongly in the spring, as it loses its winter coat. Brush the Aussie coat every week, perhaps more often during the fall season. Before starting the brushing, spray the coat with a conditioner diluted with water to disentangle. Then, using a smoother brush, make a movement in the direction the hair is growing, making sure to get down all the way down the skin – do not just get it over the hair. An undercoat is also useful for removing excess hair. Carpets are common behind the ears, and you may have to work through them with a stripping comb. Grooming tools of this kind are generally available in a good pet supply store.
If you keep it brushed, your Aussie should need a bath only when it is dirty, which will probably not be more than a few times a year. Use a dog shampoo to avoid drying out coat and skin. Grooming sessions are a good time to check the general condition of your dog. Before you start brushing, check to see if your dog has any dry skin, sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as tenderness or inflammation. Check the eyes for goopy dump and ears for foreign objects such as foxtails or burrs. The coat should look bright, not dull. A dull coat may indicate a need for better nutrition or more frequent grooming. Cut the nails regularly to avoid sore splinters. If you can hear the nails click on the floor, they are too long. You can also keep your Aussie in order by cutting hair on and around the tail area, on the feet and between the toes, and around the ears. If you do not feel comfortable handling anything in grooming go to a professional groomer.
Temperament And Personality
When raising an Aussie, it is wise to understand the general character of the breed and to design the breeding program for every dog in particular. Awareness of the general (and sometimes radical) changes in temperament that Australian shepherds show as they age can help owners socialize and train.
General Characteristics of Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, above all a working dog with strong instincts of guardian and breeder. He is an exceptional companion. He is easily trained and versatile, performing his assigned tasks with enthusiasm and great style. He is booked with strangers but does not show shyness. Although an authoritarian and aggressive worker, dangerous towards animals or people is intolerable.
This word accurately describes most Australian Sheep Dogs, but what does it really mean? Australians are smart and learn basic obedience commands very quickly, but this is only part of Aussie shepherd intelligence.
Aussie shepherd are problem solvers and are known for their ability to think independently and make decisions on their own. Aussie shepherd do not see “limits” in their circumstances … only opportunities. This is a important feature in Aussie shepherd work capacity with the stock and it relates to other areas of life. Aussie shepherd owners should teach the limits, before the Aussie takes the opportunities!
For example, fences. Other dogs see fences as an obstacle. A labrador looks at a fence and thinks, “Dam, a fence, I better stay in the yard.” The Australian sheepdog looks at a fence and thinks, “hmm, I can overcome that” and then goes on to try 90 different ways of do it. Aussie shepherd owners are often shocked by their dog’s ability to escape. Many Aussie shepherd die every year after escaping a seemingly secure fence. Is it due to the phenomenal ability to jump and athletics? In part, but the biggest reason for this trait often seen is that the Aussie shepherd does not see the fence in the same way as the other races. If there is a problem with the Aussie (for example, how to cross a fence to see something interesting), the Aussie shepherd will quickly find a solution to the problem.
Another example: if an Aussie is hungry (and the Aussies are generally very motivated by food, a trait that does not appear in the Breed Standard), he will search for food and find a way to get it! If that means unpacking Christmas chocolates, opening a backpack, jumping on the counter, opening a closet, the Aussie shepherd will find a way. Aussie shepherd see roadblocks, but do not submit to them. They find ways to move!
As sheepdogs sport candidates, the ability to solve problems can cause a problem for owners who use repetitive drill training methods. Aussie shepherd learn enjoy and fast a challenge. Repeated “drilling” can quickly cause or even cause an Aussie to dislike activity. Many Aussie shepherd will try to insert something of their own into the “game” and what they insert is not always ideal for work or competition! Keeping a motivated Aussie shepherd includes allowing them to solve problems.
A Working Dog
The average Australian Sheepdog likes to have something to do. This does not mean that they need endless physical activity … quite the contrary! Australian Sheepdog need mental stimulation as much as physical exercise. There should be a healthy balance in this area or problems can arise.
The problem solving of Australian Shepherd is not only a temperament trait, but a motivation. They appreciate a challenge, they like to understand things; success in solving a problem is a reward in itself.
Many homes provide massive amounts of physical exercises, but only little mental stimulation, and this can cause problems. Aussie puppy owners who do not provide adequate mental stimulation to balance with the physical often find themselves with a dog who is extremely physically fit but mentally very agitated. This translates to a dog who is able to strip wallpaper in creative models all day long with enthusiasm and great stamina because of his fantastic physical condition (and his brain eager to solve the problem)!
Much has been written about the Aussie as an active breed that has a high energy level. A more exact statement would be that a bored Australian is an active dog with a high energy level. Aussies who have adequate mental stimulation can be very satisfied with regular leash walks every day and a few active recovery games a week.
Examples of stimulating activities
• Dissection of food
• Chewy bites, but difficult to slaughter
• Recovery games (also physically stimulating)
• Trick performance (rewarded by access to objects of great value)
• Hide and search with the owner (physical for both players!)
• Agility (also physical, but especially mental … on formal equipment in a classroom environment, in the forest, or on the heap of wood)
• Free play with other known pets (also for physical simulation)
• Obedience course
• Flyball (also physically stimulating)
• Livestock work (also physically stimulating)
The ability to steer authoritatively around livestock is a trait that has been cemented by ranchers for a hundred years or more.
Australian sheep dog love to have their world in order and know that they can influence the creation of this order. This means that if leadership and human guidance are weak, the Australian will take the lead role.
Just because they can do it does not mean they should. Australian sheep dog are dogs that have various watchdog tendencies and independence and confidence to back bark with a bite. The breed needs a experienced pet owner to show them the limits and provide them with the leadership they need. Remember that Aussies patrolling cattle are supposed to be run by someone who works with them. Australian sheep dog like to have good leadership and know what is expected of them. An Australian sheep dog who thinks he is the leader of his human “pack” is usually more stressed than he should be and can even begin to “lead” the family members, which can lead to uncontrollable behavior. even to an inappropriate aggression.
Another part of the Australian sheepdog breeding instinct is a high level of prey (instinctive reaction to moving objects / pursuit and capture). Prey drive is what makes an Australian sheepdog a Frisbee fanatic or motivated ball player. Australian sheepdog love pinching moving objects and running. Cars, cats and children are often the target of this campaign. It is important to channel this reader into appropriate activities and to teach the Australian sheepdog what is inappropriate. If the prey is present, the dog will feel strongly motivated to express it. The pet owner must give the pet an outlet or it will find the solution.
As a breed of highly preyed breeders, Australian sheepdog are generally extremely visually sensitive. It is important to remember during the process of socialization. Australian sheepdog notice things that other races do not do, and the process of socialization should be extremely ambitious for that reason.
Exceptional Companion, Versatile And Easily Trained
Owners of Aussies who have experience with other breeds often comment on the Aussie’s ability. Train ability has nothing to do with intelligence … it has to do with the race’s willingness to take the lead.
Aussie train-ability is a combination of physical and mental traits. Mentally, an Australian sheepdog likes to comply and likes to take the lead. Physically, to be a guard dog, they must be tough and bounce easily against the pain or discomfort they may feel (being working in bad weather, kicked by a cow, running in a fence, etc.).
What this means is that Australians need to know what you want, and are generally ready to comply when they know it. As for the work of stock dog, they easily change tactics and learn the wishes of their manager. If they are not directed, they may feel anxious and try to do things on their own, which is not ideal for them. An Australian puppy wants and needs to be shown limits and feel that there is a clear leader, someone he can admire and take directions.
On the physical side, a good Australian cowboy is supposed to be able to kick his teeth and prepare to have more, and immediately dive into his work without apprehension. The cow corrects it pretty hard … and the Australian sheepdog bounces with enthusiasm!
This trait of physical hardness can also cause difficulties in the training of handlers and dogs. An example of this can be the use of a long line to administer pops on a leash (training for stock work, recall, etc.). This can be a great source of frustration for managers who have used these types of successful training methods with other breeds. A Labrador Retriever or Border Collie would probably respond quite well to a long-tailed leash because of their physical sensitivity … but not most Australian sheepdog. If the Australian sheepdog does not connect the leash to the driver, his physical hardness could cause him to ignore the leash. An Australian sheepdog handler must find different ways to show his dog wrongly, ways that allow the dog to comply with the wishes of the owner rather than avoid discomfort. The presence of strong prey among Australian sheepdog may mean that people wishing to have a large sport dog and can use games of prey as motivational drivers of high level. Some Aussies like games of prey more than food rewards!
Tenacity / Stoicism should also be considered with regard to health. Australians can be stoic to the extreme. If your Aussie shows pain, it’s worth investigating right away.
“… reserved for foreigners …” Australian shhedogs are very attached to their families, but they do not easily accept strangers as “friends”. That does not mean they are aggressive or shy. Australians are selective in their social interactions. They can be very affectionate with family members, but not interested in the affections of strangers.
“… aggressive, authoritarian …” If a car accident haapens and people are injured and other people have arrived, there are A) people who intervene and take care of B) people who follow A and C) people who remain spectators. Australians are type A. When something happens, they act. They often do not shy away from a challenge and their problem-solving skills and independence drive them to manipulate their environment. They do not give up easily either.
Stages Of Life
The traits above are expressed very differently at different stages of the dog’s life.
Puppies: As young dog, these traits are rarely seen or not at all present. This is the way Mother Nature allows the dog to explore his environment and learn to accept things.
Teenagers: During Adolescence (10 months to about 18-20 months) Australian sheep dog often go through a phase where they “try” some of the instinctive tendencies that arise as their bodies and brains mature (just like human teens! ). The traits mentioned above are often expressed in an extreme way during adolescence stage.
Adults: The true personality of the adult (18-20 months) is often very different from that of adolescents and puppies.
So what does all this information about the inherent Australian shhepdog personality and the different stages of life mean for the person raising an Australian puppy shepherd?
Basically, this means that the owner must be aware of the intrinsic characteristics of the breed and also aware that these traits may appear at different ages and in different strengths. Especially in adolescence, extreme behavior can be seen. Owners should predict the potential expression of these traits, recognize the preliminary signs, and raise the puppy upfront to prevent future problems.
Puppies should be clearly guided from an early age, from the beginning. They should have clear boundaries and understand that humans control their behavior. This does not mean severity or hardness, but rather that the human should control every aspect of the puppy’s life so that the puppy can perceive it. Toys, Play, food and access to valuables must be carefully controlled so that the puppy clearly understands who the head of the family is.
Most Australians are “easy puppies“, and far too many Australian owners overlap with the “easy puppy stage” without considering the consequences. An Australian who does not have much practice to comply with human desires does not easily take the lead at times when direct compliance is needed. It’s wise to train your puppy to be non-argumentative, compliant and docile during the time of his life when it’s the easiest.
If your puppy shows a reserve with strangers and watchdog traits from an early age, be sure to recognize these traits and teach your puppy how you want him to behave with strangers. Do not encourage behavior in puppies that you do not want to continue to adulthood. What looks cute in a fluffy puppy can be dangerous on the road in an adult dog. If your dog is sensitive to strangers, then it needs more socialisation. If your puppy is particularly “watchdog”, exercise more control in order to eventually manage it so that no one is in danger. Also, make sure the dog knows that the house is yours but not his by controlling all aspects of his freedom and access to resources.
Because of the extreme intelligence of the breed, its visual sensitivity and its watchdog traits, Australian puppies should be socialized in as many different environments and situations as possible. These breeds generally require three times the socialization of retriever breeds. Do it, start again, then do others. The interview must be continued throughout the dog’s life.
The teenage period in the Australian Shepherd usually marks the beginning of the authoritarian behavior, surveillance traits, and reserve with strangers. Owners should be aware that during this time, these traits can be extremely strong and alarming. Dogs that were gregarious during puppyhood may begin to avoid contact with strangers. Dogs that have never been guard dogs suddenly begin to do so and are often difficult to control by doing so. Because of the Aussie trait of moving to things that bother them rather than back away, this can lead to difficult situations. If the dog does not want to be stroked by a stranger, he can threaten the person with a grunt if he does not leave him alone. People that the dog perceives as “intruders” are treated with a lot of suspicion and can even be greeted with aggressive displays.
Many Aussie owners suffer from severe anxiety during the teenage period, when the dog shows extreme reserve / watchdog or extreme protective behavior. Be aware that the way your dog acts during adolescence is NOT usually the way the adult personality will end … it’s a step that needs to be worked on. Just because it’s a step, however, does not mean you should ignore it and wait for it to “disappear”. Your dog is learning all the time. If he learns that extreme behavior is the thing that works, he will continue to behave in extreme ways. You must control and prevent extreme behavior through management and socialize your pet. You never let him to learn that throwing his teeth around is an acceptable option. You have to consider how the people who meet him will feel if he shows this behavior. You should continue to manage and train until the behavior decreases.
Do not despair even if little progress is evident. It may seem that even if you try hard, your dog is always reactionary over-the-top. It is NORMAL for a teenage Australian Shepherd to show these behaviors strongly during adolescence stage. Continue to connect! Your main goal should be prevention … so that the dog does not learn that these behaviors are working. If you use careful management and training during adolescence, behaviors will subside as hormones and pure experience make your pet an adult.
When it comes to their relationship with their owners, teenage Australian shepherds are beginning to push the boundaries of their world, just like human teens! This means that Australians could challenge authority by reacting differently when asked to do something. They may seem distracted. Sometimes it may seem that they have forgotten every previous piece of training! This should be treated by strengthening the dog’s environmental control and the practice of additional obedience. Do not assume that things will be better if you wait. If you do nothing, the dog will definitely redefine his relationship with you. If you increase control and training, the dog will stay where it should be … below you in the grading structure, a willing and compliant partner
Adult Australian Shepherds who have been properly trained and socialized can usually handle almost everything life throws at him, but not in a same way as many other breeds. Book with strangers turns into “I’m not everyone’s best friend and I will not act that way.” Adult Aussie sheepdog often ignore strangers, and are slow to change the “alien” classification into “friend”. Be the Will Rogers of dogdom, “never met a stranger …” gain the loyalty of your Aussie dog to you and your family members. Do not force unwanted affection on him. Respect his nature and grant him his dignity.
Adult watchdog traits are usually prominent, but a well-trained Australian should have good judgment when it’s appropriate to be a watchdog, and should respond to his owners’ order “Ok, that’s enough. ” A good Aussie sheepdog with a good temperament will probably keep the car and the house with a wild intensity when the owner is not there. He can even keep it like that with people outside the family with whom he has already been friendly … when you are there, they are fine, when you are not, they are called “intruders”.
It is important to remember that Australian threats are not usually bluffs. If a cowboy tries to move a cow, he will save his threat with a bite. This is also true in a watchdog situation. Do not put your Aussie in situations that will cause him, in his mind, “need” to bite someone. If you do, you almost guarantee his death by lethal injection.
A good knowledge of the basic characteristics of the breed can allow Australian Shepherd owners to prepare and train their dog to be the best companion possible. Ignoring these basic traits during the breeding and training process is almost always problematic.
An Australian is an intelligent working dog, with strong instincts of breeder and guardian, an aggressive and authoritarian personality, a dog who thinks that there are no limits in life and that he can manipulate his own environment if he just tries hard enough. He is a dog who loves his family beyond measure and tolerates strangers with dignity, but not an effusive affection.
For some, these traits will be unwelcome and disappointing. For the true Aussie enthusiast, these traits are what makes the breed the best dog in the universe.
Agile and strong, Australian shepherds love to work. Like many breeds, they often do better if they have a job to do. Australian sheepdogs are medium-sized dogs, solidly built. Australian sheepdog male shepherds measure between 20 and 23 inches and females measure between 18 and 21 inches. Males usually weigh between 50 and 65 pounds and females weigh between 30 and 45 pounds. It is a very intelligent breed and they need a regular activity and training to be happy. Otherwise, an Australian Shepherd left doing nothing all day can become destructive at home and develop behavioral problems.
By weight, the National Research Council of the National Academies recommends an average daily caloric intake of 1353 calories for an active adult Australian Shepherd weighing 50 pounds. Dogs that have been neutered or spayed, or are older, may need less calories. More calories are needed for some dogs depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. A working dog will defenitely need more number of calories. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs, as do young adult dogs. A young Australian adult weighing about 50 pounds, for example, and getting a lot of exercise would need about 1451 calories a day. However, if your Aussie tends to stay around the house all day with few opportunities to exercise, he will need fewer calories. These are just estimates. The metabolism of each dog is different so a dog may need more – or less – calories than another.
Like all dogs, Australian shepherds require good quality protein. The Association of Feed Control Agents (AAFCO) recommends a minimum of 22 percent protein for growth (puppies) and 18 percent protein for maintenance in adult dogs. These are general recommendations only. Most good quality dog food will exceed these percentages. Fat is an essential source of energy for dogs and should account for at least 8% of the diet of Australian puppies and 5% of adult diets. Most dog foods today have more fat than these percentages. Grease also adds flavor to dog food and makes it very interesting to your dog. Fats are also one of the sources of fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 which are good for your dog’s brain, heart, coat and skin.
Dogs that are more active will need more energy from their food. This is usually provided by the fat in the diet, but the good proteins are also very important. In addition to breeding, Australian Shepherds are very versatile and have been used as search and rescue dogs, narcotics detection dogs, therapy dogs, hearing dogs for the deaf and guide dogs for the blind. They also excel in sports such as frisbee and flyball, as well as obedience. Dogs who spend many hours exercising and training often need more calories in their diet.
Australian shepherds may have health problems that are affected by the diet. The breed may be prone to epilepsy, cancer, thyroid disease and hip dysplasia.
As with other medium to large breeds that may experience elbow or hip dysplasia, it is important to ensure that your Australian Shepherd does not gain extra weight. Becoming obese can aggravate any tendency to dysplasia problems and worsen arthritis as your dog gets aged. Carrying more weight puts extra stress on your dog’s joints and bones. Since Australian Shepherds are usually very active, you probably will not have to worry that your dog will get too big while he’s young or alive, but even Australian Shepherds can start taking a few extra pounds as well as they age. Make sure your old Australian continues to get enough exercise as you get older. You may also need to adjust your diet as he gets older and change the number of calories he receives as his metabolism begins to change.
We also recommend measuring the amount of food you give your dog, letting the food sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then removing the bowl. If you have multiple dogs, watch them while they eat. Often, dogs eat at different rates and a dog can be greedy and eat his slow friend’s food, too. Feed them separately if necessary so that both dogs can eat at their own pace.
As with many breeds, cancer can also be a concern for Australian shepherds. It is very difficult to prevent cancer, but many people suggest feeding dogs without sweeteners, preservatives, artificial colors and other ingredients that have been questioned by various studies. We try to advise you on cancer-related ingredients, but we may not know them all.
Hypothyroidism can also occur with Australian Shepherds. If your dog is gaining weight quickly – especially if he loses his hair or seems lethargic – he may have a thyroid problem. This is not usually a food problem. Your dog should eat a huge amount of kelp or other foods containing iodine to affect his thyroid levels. You should ask your veterinarian to test thyroid levels of your pet. Fortunately, a this problem is easily treated once it has been diagnosed. Soya and some other ingredients can interfere with thyroid medications (which are synthetic thyroid hormones), so you will probably want to avoid feeding dog foods that contain soya products. There are many good dog foods that are soya free.
Australian shepherds may also be prone to epilepsy. The causes are not well understood and there is no DNA test at the moment. In some cases, food or some ingredients are suspected to be a trigger, such as rosemary and monosodium glutamate (monosodium glutamate – sometimes mentioned in dog foods as “natural flavoring”). Individual dogs may have their own personal food triggers, so if you suspect that a ingredient or food may cause an epileptic seizure, try to avoid it.
Australian shepherds may have other health problems, but those in question here may be affected by the diet. The food that you feed your Australian Shepherd can make a big difference with some of these health problems.
Ingredients to search
Australian shepherds require good quality protein in their diet, like all dogs. Of course, not all fats and proteins are the same. It is crucial that these nutrients come from good quality ingredients. You can feed your pet a lot of protein, but if it’s not from a source of good quality, those proteins might not be used effectively by your pet.
Ideally, a good dog food will have some meat protein in the first ingredients. The first ingredient should not be carbohydrate or another grain. Meat dishes and Whole meats are good protein sources. Whole meats refer to ingredients such as lamb, fish, beef and whole chicken. However, whole meats also contain a lot of water. If the water from these meats were removed, they would be lower down the list of ingredients. This is because dog food companies are required by law to list ingredients by weight before cooking. Water in whole meats makes them weigh more. Some people do not like meat dishes as much as whole meats, but they are a concentrated form of meat in which water has already been removed. They contain many times as much protein as whole meat. Meat meals are usually very good as one of the first ingredients in top quality dog food. They are found in many good dog foods. Meat “digests” or “by-products” are less desirable.
Dogs also need fat from good sources. Some vitamins are only soluble in fat and your dog needs it in his diet. But fat, like proteins, varies in quality depending on the source. You should try to avoid artificial preservatives such as ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT, if possible. Avoid dyes, artificial flavors and sweeteners. Your dog does not need it and in some cases they have been linked to health problems like cancer. However, it is not always easy to avoid some of the less desirable ingredients because they can be labeled in a more difficult way to recognize.
Tips for feeding puppies is similar to feeding adult dogs in many ways. You must look for foods with good quality ingredients, such as named fats and meat proteins. Many good quality puppy foods include a compound called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that has been shown to help brain development in puppies (and children). It is also very important for puppy foods to have the right ratio between calcium and phosphorus. Nutritionists recommend that dogs have calcium and phosphorus in the ratio of 1.2 parts of calcium to each part of phosphorus (1.2: 1). This is especially important during puppy growth. You can usually find the calcium-phosphorus ratio for a puppy food on the website of a pet food company.
Note that if you add supplements to your puppy’s diet such as yogurt, milk, cheese, etc. during its growth, you will disturb this relationship and this can lead to health problems for your puppy now or in the future. If you feed your puppy with good quality food, you should not need to add supplements during the first year. Donot add extra meat to your puppy’s diet while feeding a puppy because it will add more phosphorus to the diet and will also upset the ratio.
Some nutritionists do not recommend cereal-free foods for giant breeds and large puppies. This is because these foods often have very high calories, high protein percentages, high fat percentages, and the calcium / phosphorus ratio can be turned off. All of these things can cause pups to grow large and too fast, resulting in joint and bone problems. If you want to feed your Australian puppy without cereals, be sure to check the calcium / phosphorus ratio and watch for calories.
The general recommendation for all puppies is that you should be able to feel their ribs but shouldn’t be visible. Puppies should not be allowed to become roly-poly. The exercise is good. Encourage your puppy to play. Just use common sense and do not let it do anything potentially dangerous.
What about Australian Shepherd puppies?
For Australian Shepherd puppies, we recommend giving the food at regular times instead of feeding it for free. Feeding regular meals encourage dogs to eat their food when you serve it instead of becoming difficult on their food. If you have more than one dog, we recommend that you make sure that each dog eats his own food and does not steal food from other pets. In some situations, you may need to feed a dog separately to make sure that they receives all his food since some dogs eat faster / more slowly than other dogs. You can usually start the transition from a puppy to an adult food when it has reached most of its adult size. Australian sheepdogs can reach most of their adult size at the age of 8-10 months, so you can usually start getting your dog to eat an adult food at this time.
Children And Other Pets
Australian shepherds are sheepdogs and many consider children to be part of their “herd”, so you will have to teach your Australian sheep dog that hunting and hitting children to keep them is not allowed. Once this lesson is taught to Australian sheep dog they make wonderful companions for families with children. Always teach children how to touch and approach dogs, and always watch for interactions between young children and dogs to prevent bites or tail or ears from pulling on the parts. Teach your child to never approach a dog while sleeping or eating, or to try to keep food away from the pet. No dog should ever be left unattended with a child. They can get along with other animals, even if they try to keep them. This may not be too good, especially with cats. Keep an eye on your Aussie when other animals are there until he learns that they are not members of his flock.
Australian sheep dog are often adopted without any clear understanding of what is happening in the possession of one. There are many Australian sheep dog who need to be adopted. If you can not find a rescue listed for your area, contact the local breed club or national breed club and they can direct you to an Aussie rescue.