1. Is a male or female
best? I hear a male is more aggressive… is harder to housetrain….etc.
Whether you're picking a
companion, worker, or competition prospect, in our opinion the sex of the
dog is not a determining factor in how good it works, whether it's a good
watchdog, or companion, etc. It all depends on the individual animal and
how their genes happened to fall. We've known females that were very
dominant, much more than our males, and we've had males that were sweetie
pies, and vice versa. A lot of people say that a male is harder to
housetrain because of his tendency to "mark" his territory, but
again, this depends to a large extent on the personality of the individual
male. Some males never mark inside, on the other hand, there are females
that are very hard to housetrain. Neutering does seem to help the marking
problem, and the more submissive males do not seem as inclined to mark as
the dominant ones. If there are no other males around, or no intact
females, you may also find your male less likely to "mark".
In short, analyze the individual puppy
for the traits you are looking for, without regard to sex.
2. Is it true that
red dogs are more aggressive than other colors?
We've heard this for years, from
people who have been in this breed a long time, and from people in other
breeds who claim that red dogs are more aggressive. We have yet to
establish the criteria by which they make this claim; the reasoning behind
it, and the facts substantiating it. In our opinion, we find nothing to
support this theory. We have known black and blue dogs that had very poor
temperaments. Some of the best dispositions we've seen were those of red
dogs. So again, we think it depends on the individual dog, how their genes
happened to fall, and perhaps handling and upbringing, rather than color.
3. Can I let my
dog run loose?
Yes, if you don't care anything
about your dog or your neighbors. Any dog that's worth anything is going
to be a little trouble, and Aussies are no exception. They are an
intelligent, high energy breed, inquisitive and easily bored. Remember
that they were bred to work livestock. If left unconfined and alone, they
will quickly seek a way to amuse themselves. If they have any working
instinct, they will look for stock to work -- either yours or your
neighbors. When they find it they will work it by their own method, and it
most likely will not be a method you will approve of!! They might bring a
neighbor's stock home to you, push stock through fences, become excited
and chase young stock -- all sorts of things. One of the quickest ways to
teach a young, good working dog bad habits is to allow it to run out and
work the stock any time and any way he wants to.
Even if they don't have any working
instinct your dog will find something to get into…something that can be
fatal. Things that we don't even think of as being harmful can be deadly
to a dog. We even know of a dog that swallowed a golf ball he found on the
neighboring golf green and nearly died. And of course there are always the
highways. "But my dog never goes anywhere" you say. Well, he may
stay around for a while, even a long time, but one day he will decide to
explore. Especially an intact male dog -- the enticing aroma of a bitch in
heat travels for miles and a male dog will forget all about his loving
master and home and do whatever he has to do to find that bitch. And when
he does, if she has a conscientious owner, you can bet your male won't be
welcome in her boudoir!!
We love dogs and animals as much as
anybody, more than most people. But we will also be the first to say that
there's nothing more irritating than a dog that comes around uninvited, be
it a much loved neighbor's pet or a rambling stray. We've had neighbors'
dogs carry off our shoes and cooking utensils that were left sitting by
the grill, kill our chickens and sheep, pick a fight with our dogs through
the kennel fence, bark at us in our own yard, and sit in our yard and howl
at the moon at two o'clock in the morning. We are firm believers that no
dog, including ours, should bother anyone. But everyone is not as patient
and tolerant as we are. If you allow your dog to run loose and be a
nuisance, it may very well turn up missing or injured, or even dead by
very unpleasant means. Some people will do anything. So if you care about
your dog, don't let it get in a position where this could happen to it.
Contrary to some people's misconception
that confining a dog is cruel, it actually is one of the most responsible
and loving things you can do for your dog. But let's be sure we define
what we mean by "confined". We don't mean crated all or even
most of the time, or confined in a small space with inadequate exercise.
What we mean is having a good, secure fenced yard (be sure the fence is
high enough and remember that Aussies are very athletic and can JUMP and
CLIMB!!) or a nice, shady or covered secure kennel that your Aussie can
stay in when he's not with you. All of us love our Aussies but remember
they are animals, and since they don't have our reasoning ability they
don't always perceive danger. It is up to us to protect them.
4. My Aussie is
about eight months old and all of a sudden is scared of everything. What's
It has been our experience that almost every Aussie goes through a
"fear period", which can occur when it is anywhere from a few
weeks to several months old. Suddenly everything becomes a
"booger". You might walk out one morning and the dog barks at
you like you’re a stranger. Things that it has seen every day since
birth are new experiences. It acts scared of everybody and everything.
This stage can last from one week to several weeks but with few
exceptions, they all do recover. During this fear period, we continue to
treat our dogs just as we always have. Don’t pamper them, just normal
treatment like nothing is wrong. One day you’ll go outside and
everything will be back to normal.
5. Do you have any
of those "rare" white Aussies for sale?
Sadly, we get inquiries similar
to this quite often. We also get inquiries from people who have bought a
"rare" white Aussie and now notice or heard that there might be
something wrong with it, and want to know to do. White Aussies (also
called merle whites and lethal whites) sometimes result when two merle
Aussies are bred to each other. (For more information on the merling gene,
Whether caused by ignorance or greed of money, anyone who knowing sells
these puppies should, in our opinion, be banned from the registries.
6. Do you breed
merle to merle?
We breed dogs, not colors, and
our crosses are planned years in advance. We try to avoid merle to merle
breedings if possible but sometimes it is not. For example, there may be a
litter we want to keep a solid female from, to breed to a merle male, but
there are only merle females in the litter. Then, we don't have a choice
and we do breed merle to merle.
7. My Aussie is
scared of bad weather and loud noises. Is there anything I can do to help
This is a common problem in
Aussies, and a tough one to solve. We've had Aussies like this and through
various conditioning methods have seen some improvement in their behavior,
but no cures. We've bought relaxation CD's of thunderstorms and even
cassettes especially designed with thunderstorms and gunfire. The dogs
paid the tapes absolutely no attention because they knew they weren't
real. We've tried conditioning by getting out a favorite toy and playing
with the dog while it's thundering, to distract them from their fear.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Even if it helps in that
particular storm, the next time one comes up, you will need to do the same
thing all over again. We've tried herbal remedies with very little
success. We think that it’s not only the sound of the thunder that makes
dogs afraid of the storm, it also has something to do with the change in
the barometric pressure. Our dogs that don’t like storms act peculiar
and let us know several hours before the first cloud appears that a bad
storm is on the way.
8. Are there
any suggestions for new Aussie owners?
We do have a hand-out that we give, to view a copy click here.