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Australian shepherds?

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  • Australian shepherds?

    My neighbor recently got an Australian shepherd puppy. It looks to be about 3 months old. It comes into our field and follows my ponies around. This morning, I watched as he (she?) played with their tails and pranced around them. They are saints and just ignore him. I've seen him in the field with them quite a bit with no problem.

    My question is that, as he gets older, will he get more aggressive with his attempts to herd them, or will he begin to associate them as "his" herd? A free guard dog would be nice to have around. The neighbors just moved in and are good people. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot with them, but years ago, neighbor dogs killed some of my sheep, so I am very wary of dogs on my property.

    As long as the puppy isn't bothering or chasing them, I'm willing to let things be. Could someone educate me on the traits of the breed? Is this a train-wreck waiting to happen?

    thanks

  • #2
    It is a trainwreck waiting to happen, because that herding instinct is not going to go away, and pup needs to be trained to manage it's herding drive.

    For example, at a barn I used to ride at there was a Border Collie (similar herding drive) who was obsessed with watching the horses in the fields/ring. But he was trained quite quickly and quite early on that going in the pastures/ring was absolutely not allowed. So he would sit outside the fence and obsessively watch all the horses...but he was safe and sound.

    Just for the sake of saving yourself from picking up a smushed or badly injured puppy, start training the pup yourself. "Out!" is a good command to learn. Treat and pet on the puppy while outside of the fences, but if the puppy approaches you while you are in with the horses, put on your biggest baddest face and your meanest voice, point to the fenceline, and say "OUT!" Firmly following the puppy as it retreats, or even, if you have to, picking it up and carrying it outside the fenceline. Aussies are smart (I love mine!) and it will pick up on the command quickly.

    In my experience, they are a breed that is particularly good about self-regulating, too. As in, the second you turn your back they aren't going to do whatever they want....they tend to pick up on the commands/habits/patterns and just stick with them, for the most part. I can leave mine sitting with a dog treat in front of her and leave the room ("Leave it!") and she will sit there staring at it and drooling until I say "Ok," even from another room. And I'm no pro dog trainer, they're just smart.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ditto.....and they need a job or they create entertainment on their own....often NOT the kind you want. They are great obedience and agility dogs as well.... maybe suggest these to your new neighbor....its possible they got the dog as they just liked the looks and have no idea that it is a super smart breed that loves to work so needs training. I have a litter here about ready to leave and they are already learning "out" as far as getting out of things I don't want them into (including the mare pasture where one or two mares will cheerfully stomp on anything coming near their foals....great coyote protection!). Aussies are herders and not guard dogs although they will sound off if something unusual occurs (mine tell me when the mustangs are near 'cause horses, you know, are not to be outside the fences).
      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
      www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
      Northern NV

      Comment


      • #4
        If an Aussie has a herding drive (and not all do), it's only going to get stronger as it gets older. Puppy is herding now, he needs a job so that he doesn't herd. Obedience, Rally, Agility, frisbee, whatever --- dog needs to be kept busy and trained so that it stays out of your pasture.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
          ...In my experience, they are a breed that is particularly good about self-regulating, too. As in, the second you turn your back they aren't going to do whatever they want....they tend to pick up on the commands/habits/patterns and just stick with them, for the most part.
          If only this were true for my Aussie/Lab neutered male. The second our backs are turned (especially if with the DH or DD and I'm not around), he's off gallivanting about the neighborhood. Not a good thing - he's quite territorial and has the most aggressive bark...isn't afraid to use it, either. While, he hasn't tried to bite, he has intimidated more than one neighbor...in their own yard...and has to be closely watched. On the other hand, he's never bothered the horses, is quite intimidated by THEM. Yes, he's a smart, high-energy, extremely agile dog, but doesn't seem to retain any recall training.

          http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/100_1010.jpg
          Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
          <><

          Comment


          • #6
            Ditto them. I love my aussie, but I do NOT let her chase the horses, or get near their hind ends. A whole herd can gallop right by her, and she'll just look at me. If she thinks about it, I can quickly dissuade her with a short "no!" I do have to keep on top of her though.

            The one thing I will let her do is berate my stall door banger. He kicks, and she'll go race over and barks until he stops, and he will. Not sure how she picked that up. I would yell at him to stop, and now she know exactly when and why I did it, so I let her yell at him.

            She's a frisbee fanatic, and could not care less about the horses if I have a frisbee to toss for her. She carries it around while I work the horses.

            She also lays on the end of the ring while I ride, though if I have to lunge I put her up, as she likes to circle them and I can't chase her away.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks all, I guess I need to have a chat with the neighbor. He's a full-time farmer, so I'm pretty sure he knows what kind of dog he got. But they are just growing hay on the property, no animals, so puppy is amusing himself with my critters. I'm sure he's not going to bother with agility or obedience training, guess I'll have to hope he ties him up when he's not around to watch him. (good luck with that???)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KSAQHA View Post
                If only this were true for my Aussie/Lab neutered male. The second our backs are turned (especially if with the DH or DD and I'm not around), he's off gallivanting about the neighborhood. Not a good thing - he's quite territorial and has the most aggressive bark...isn't afraid to use it, either. While, he hasn't tried to bite, he has intimidated more than one neighbor...in their own yard...and has to be closely watched. On the other hand, he's never bothered the horses, is quite intimidated by THEM. Yes, he's a smart, high-energy, extremely agile dog, but doesn't seem to retain any recall training.

                http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/100_1010.jpg
                Yeah, well, once you toss some Lab in there, all bets are off! That gallivanting gene is too strong to resist!

                Originally posted by Ginger View Post
                Thanks all, I guess I need to have a chat with the neighbor. He's a full-time farmer, so I'm pretty sure he knows what kind of dog he got. But they are just growing hay on the property, no animals, so puppy is amusing himself with my critters. I'm sure he's not going to bother with agility or obedience training, guess I'll have to hope he ties him up when he's not around to watch him. (good luck with that???)
                Like mentioned though, if you spend just ten minutes a day with the dog for a week, or whenever you catch him on the property, he'll pick it up real quick and leave your horses alone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yup, a little training

                  I have two and love them but, they also know the "out" command very well. I let mine get by with barking at the horses from outside the pasture but NO chasing or herding. My neighbor has cattle and they never seem confused that those cattle are not part of their herd even though neighbor is ok with them going into their pasture. Never once tried to herd them. They do have permission to bark at the cattle or horses when they are rubbing on the fence. They will run over barking and stop when the cow moves away from the fence line. It's saved both of us fencing costs.

                  They have saved my barn cat three times, once from a galloping horse (I'm glad they made an exception in this case). One of them ran under the fence and got in between a galloping horse and a cat that was trying to disappear in tall grass. The second and third times were when a neighbor dog (not the same one) came over and tried to chase my barn cat. They got in between the dog and my cat.

                  I did do some obedience training with them and got their CGC. I've had lots of comments about how good they are.
                  Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    THIS EXACTLY ~ BE PRO `ACTIVE NOW ! PLEASE ~

                    Originally posted by Donkaloosa View Post
                    If an Aussie has a herding drive (and not all do), it's only going to get stronger as it gets older. Puppy is herding now, he needs a job so that he doesn't herd. Obedience, Rally, Agility, frisbee, whatever --- dog needs to be kept busy and trained so that it stays out of your pasture.
                    This exactly ~ please be pro-active now for the saftey of ALL ! Please...
                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Aussies we've had have all been very smart and quick to learn. Ours have never had a problem chasing horses (though one likes to herd the chickens into a very small group!). I'd second the idea of teaching the puppy the command 'out'. I bet he'll learn pretty quickly with some praise and positive reinforcement!
                      Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                        Yeah, well, once you toss some Lab in there, all bets are off! That gallivanting gene is too strong to resist!
                        Yep, perhaps a faulty cross, but funnily enough, our previous dog was a Lab and he stayed on our property...could leave him loose while away over a weekend and find him on the deck when we returned. Our next-door neighbors have two Labs that stick like glue to their yard, yet our mutt has 'terrorized' the owners when he's slipped over. We have a small dog, too, so he's not exactly lonely. Always those exceptions!
                        Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                        <><

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KSAQHA View Post
                          If only this were true for my Aussie/Lab neutered male. The second our backs are turned (especially if with the DH or DD and I'm not around), he's off gallivanting about the neighborhood. Not a good thing - he's quite territorial and has the most aggressive bark...isn't afraid to use it, either. While, he hasn't tried to bite, he has intimidated more than one neighbor...in their own yard...and has to be closely watched. On the other hand, he's never bothered the horses, is quite intimidated by THEM. Yes, he's a smart, high-energy, extremely agile dog, but doesn't seem to retain any recall training.

                          http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/a...e/100_1010.jpg
                          Are you KIDDING? Your dog is threatening your neighbors on THEIR property???? You are lucky he hasnt been SSSed, much less that he hasnt hurt someone, who will then sue you. Take off the lazy pants and train or restrain. GEEEZ

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            AN AUSSIE = NOTHING BETTER BUT NEED DIRECTION

                            AUSSIE = NOTHING BETTER ~ BUT THEY DO NEED DIRECTION BUT BUT
                            ARE SO SUPER SMART MOST CAN LEARN TO DO WHATEVER YOUR LIFE REQUIRES ~ IMHO
                            YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ENJOY YOUR NEIGHBOR'S DOG AND ACTUALLY COME TO WISH HE WAS YOURS !
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks for all your replies. You've taught me a lot about the breed. Puppy is a bit shy and runs back under the fence when he sees me, so he already knows 'out.' I'm relieved to hear they aren't inclined to chase. I'm most concerned about the old pony, running him would probably kill him. The others can take care of themselves.

                              I'll try to catch up with my neighbor soon and just chat about my concerns. He seems like a reasonable person, and I'm sure we can work something out.

                              Thanks again.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by lovey1121 View Post
                                Are you KIDDING? Your dog is threatening your neighbors on THEIR property???? You are lucky he hasnt been SSSed, much less that he hasnt hurt someone, who will then sue you. Take off the lazy pants and train or restrain. GEEEZ
                                Well, HI there little Mary Sunshine...that time of the month for ya? Not going to take the time to explain the entire situation to a crank, but will say it involved following OTHER neighbors' dogs that were first in our yard. Yes, we're not the only ones with roving canines...which, BTW, actually killed two half-grown kittens of one neighbor's.

                                Now, you go and have a nice day...bless your little heart.
                                Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                                <><

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yup, that's me-cranky PMSer. So, in your world its not your fault if your dog follows other dogs off your property and "terrorizes" neighbors? (Your words.)Since other neighbor dogs terrorize the neighborhood its OK for you to allow same? Dont think that'd fly in a lawsuit.

                                  No, I sure dont know the entire situation, only what you have posted. You are here leavng proof of your negligence if your dog takes the next step to something more serious-he doesn't even have to bite--he can scare someone into falling and breaking their head open--civli suit minimum, w/hosp. expenses. Really ugly and expensive.

                                  I am sorry to hear about the kitties. That is truly heartbreaking.

                                  If it was you being menacingly barked at by a largeish dog, on YOUR property, how would you feel?

                                  You have a nice day, too I'm off to PMS some more while cranking--gotta visit mother-in-law in nursing home-watch out ol' lady
                                  Last edited by lovey1121; Jun. 11, 2011, 01:14 PM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    ^^^ That's right, you don't know the situation, so crank it down a notch or two, why don't you? The 'terrorized' was used slightly facetiously...thus the ' '. All I know is, thank gawd YOU'RE not my neighbor, because the ones I do have weren't nearly as riled as you come across. So, not to worry, it's all good in the 'hood.

                                    Tell your MIL "hi".
                                    Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                                    <><

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      MEOW.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have 2 aussies that I adore more than anything in this world.

                                        Zack is 11yo and never had an ounce of herding instinct. When he hears hooves, he leaves. He will NOT come in the barn when horses are in it.

                                        Zorro is every bit as adorable and IS. NOT. ZACK.

                                        Zorro has very VERY strong herding instincts. He is now 4yo and still forgets the rules on occasion.

                                        When the horses run, he WILL chase them if I am not there to remind him "no"

                                        I would not be so quick to be relieved that aussies don't chase-they will.

                                        Zorro remembers most times. I had to give him a job when the horses run-his 'job' is to get in the golf cart and guard it.

                                        So on a good day, horses run, Zorros sprints to the golf cart to keep it safe.

                                        On a bad day-well....I am certain things will be perfect once he is a 5yo!

                                        Patience and Persistence. Patience and Persistence.

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