Five Facts You Need to Know Before Choosing an Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Updated May 9, 2022

She’s beautiful, isn’t she?

She’s also smart, athletic, a snap to train, devoted, telepathic, and my right-hand girl. In fact, she’s everything you could want in a dog — and more.

It’s the “more” part that gets most people into trouble. The truth is — for as beautiful and brainy as Australian Shepherds are — they aren’t for everyone.

The question is: Are they for you?

Let me walk you through a few key points to help you decide.

In order to live with and raise a healthy, happy Aussie, you really do only need to know a couple of things. If you get a book on Australian Shepherds, these points will be covered, albeit a bit casually. It’s just that these couple of things are huge.

Way back at the beginning of my love affair with Australian Shepherds, I wish I’d known the depth and breadth of the importance of these points. It would have saved me a lot of trouble. I hope that by stressing the vital and critical need to do these few things if you do decide you still want an Aussie, I will have set you down the right path for many years of trouble-free, blissful enjoyment with your incredible dog.

1. Research breeders and lines. Unless you plan on herding, don’t get an Australian Shepherd from working lines.

First, finding a reputable breeder is key to finding a healthy dog. (Aussies are known to have some health issues that are more likely to show up in litters of backyard breeders and puppy mills.) Start by checking with the AKC website. Then check with your vet and local dog trainers. These guys are usually fountains of information on such things. Talk with a few breeders before you make your selection. The breeder should be more than happy to answer as many questions as you have. In fact, a good breeder will have just as many questions to ask you.

Also, research the lines (the genealogy of both sire and dam going back a few generations) from which you’re getting your Australian Shepherd. Working lines (as opposed to show lines) are bred for having a very strong mind and strong herding instincts — neither trait is well-suited for the average family home. Unless you plan on herding (yes, as in sheep, cows, or ducks) with your Aussie and/or you’re a very experienced dog owner, it’s best to stay away from working lines. If you have children, definitely stay away from working lines. (If you have young children, consider a non-herding breed altogether.) If you don’t have time for a high-energy, strong-minded dog, you don’t have time for Aussies.

2. Socialize, socialize, socialize. And then socialize some more. And then some more. I’m not kidding.

While some Australian Shepherds are friendly goofballs, most are pretty reserved. In fact, that’s the breed standard — they’re not bred to be everyone’s bud. In order for them not to become shy and/or suspicious, they need to be socialized.

Books and breeders concur that socializing is important. That’s very true — of all dogs. But just exactly how much socializing are we talking about? A couple of strolls down Main Street? A few kids over? That might be enough for an easy going Lab, but it’s not even close to a beginning for an Aussie. I’m here to tell you that you need to make this your #1 priority in a big way. In fact, this is the single most important thing you can do for you and your puppy.

What books and breeders are often remiss in mentioning is what happens if you don’t do a good job here. Let me fill you in. As herding dogs and protective herding dogs at that, getting your dog used to all kinds of people and situations in and out of your house is key for her while she’s young. Otherwise, you’ll have a dog that’s wary of people and new situations, or worse.

By worse, I mean having a dog that won’t let people onto your property or into your house without at least intimidating the heck out of them. Or, at most, winding up with a dog who will bite (a herding nip is considered a bite by the law) to keep anything she finds unfamiliar — and therefore suspicious — away from her people.

Get her used to different people coming and leaving, people petting her, people flapping their arms, people moving quickly, people with umbrellas, funny hats, sunglasses–you name it. Take her to other locations–downtown, the park, etc. Find a good, positive trainer and take her to puppy training classes. Not only to get her started with obedience but to socialize her with other dogs as well.

Start early! Even if she doesn’t have all her shots yet, you can still carry her places with you to help her get used to different sights and sounds.

3. If you don’t train your Australian Shepherd, she will train you!

I’ve had several breeds of dogs over the years, most from the herding/working category. So I’ve known some smart dogs in my day. Kiera blows them all out of the water. By far. By scary far. An Aussie’s intelligence is something to be reckoned with. So start training the day you get your pup, and don’t stop. Period. If you get lazy, she’ll start seeing how well she can train you.

Aussies are bred to work and think. If you don’t give your Aussie something to think about, she will find ways to amuse herself. And you might not be happy with what she comes up with. So give her direction. The great thing about Aussies is that they learn so fast that it makes them fun to train. Because of their versatility, you can get them into any dog sport and they’ll shine.

Or just train her to be useful around the house. For instance, teach her to go get people instead of yelling or using an intercom. By working regularly with your Aussie, you’re also putting yourself routinely in the position of leader. Aussies do best with a good leader. Otherwise, they tend to take over.

While Aussies will endure quite a bit of physical pain without complaint, they tend to be soft dogs emotionally. That is, they’re really tuned into their owners and are easily affected by their moods and tone of voice. So I recommend that you find and work with a positive trainer. These dogs are such a snap to train that harsh methods are not required or advised. (There’s a difference between being clear and consistent, and harsh.)

4. Australian Shepherds need a lot of exercise.

Aussies come in a range of energy levels. Some are energetic busy bees and some are moderate. Most fall somewhere in the middle –neither crazy whirligigs (except some from working lines) nor couch potatoes. That is to say exercise is important for this breed to be happy. Depending on your dog’s energy levels, a long walk may be enough. Most Aussies will need significantly more. They also do best when they have space — inside and out. In other words, if you live in an apartment and are gone most of the day, consider another dog.

These dogs make wonderful companions on runs, or hikes, or any outdoor activity. The key word here being activity. Because they are such extraordinary athletes with keen minds, there’s literally no dog sport at which that they don’t excel. Find one that the two of you can enjoy, and you’ll have years of fun together.

5. Australian Shepherds need a job even more than they need exercise — which is saying something.

While exercise is important for a healthy Aussie, a job is mandatory for a happy Aussie. These dogs live to work. Their work can be as simple as keeping an eye on you, or another pet, or the kids, or the house while you’re gone. Or as complex as running agility, herding sheep, or doing Search and Rescue work. Again, because these dogs are highly intelligent, if you don’t give them a job, they’ll make one up for themselves.

Kiera has given herself the job of watching me, the property and policing Finn and Graidy. The jobs I’ve given her are to help me around the house and to babysit Cait when I need to make a quick store run and she doesn’t want to come. And, for fun, we’ve done obedience, agility, and we like to herd together.


Australian Shepherds are not for everyone. They require clear communication, consistent discipline and leadership, and an outlet for their minds and athletic talents. Heed these needs seriously. There are already too many Aussies in rescue because people just like the way they look without considering how much time and energy they require.

If you can provide these few conditions, you’ll be blessed with the companionship of an extraordinary dog who will go to the ends of the earth and back for you.



183 thoughts on “Five Facts You Need to Know Before Choosing an Australian Shepherd”

  1. Hello. I have a question. I normally don’t write on these type of things, but my husband and I got an toy Aussie back in 2019. We socialized with a pet play at a local pet shop and with my husbands parents dogs. He seemed to be ok. Now he’s going to be 3yrs and everything new scares him. People. Dogs. Bikes. It makes it hard to go for walks. we keep the positive attitude, and encouragement but it seems like we have to keep re training him.. any ideas?

    1. Hi Amanda,
      While what you’ve described for socializing an Aussie is a start, it’s not really enough for Aussies. They need a tremendous amount of socialization to avoid fearful or overly protective behaviors. Though, if I had to pick one, I’d pick working with overcoming fear over protective behaviors.

      While you can deal with this yourselves, it’s a lot if you’re not an experienced dog owner. My best suggestion is to find and work with a really good positive trainer who has experience working with herding dogs. Even better if they have experience working with Aussies. The sooner the better. At 3 yrs old, your boy has already had a pretty long period to set these behaviors.

      Here are a few good links in the meantime.
      Understanding Fear Periods in Dogs

      Helping an Anxious Aussie Get Over Her Fear of Strangers

      Wishing you great good luck!

  2. We have an 8 month old Aussie, Rowdy, who is so fun and smart! We are outdoor people and got vaccinated early (I am in healthcare), so she has actually been socialized pretty well. Unfortunately about 4 weeks ago she got attacked by a pit mix at the dog park and got a couple of deep and wide puncture wounds on her lower abdomen. Fortunately, she is not acting at all afraid of other dogs (though I am), but as she gets older she does bark at other dogs on leash on the street. We are not planning on going back to the dog park, and she has some fun dog friends in the neighborhood, but is there any other way to expose her to dogs in a safe way in the future? Thanks! I love your blog!!

    1. Hi Kathy, oh dear! Don’t even get me started on dog parks–I think they should be outlawed. Glad you don’t plan on returning. And also wonderful to hear that you’ve found her other great dog buddies in your neighborhood!

      Your Aussie girl sounds like a sweetheart. Clicker trainer can help with the barking. This post should help get you started with the concept and principles. “How to Greet a Fearful or Anxious Dog Wile Keeping You and the Dog Safe”

      If you haven’t done clicker training before, it might be a good idea to find a positive trainer to work with you. The most important part of clicker training is timing–so that you’re reinforcing what you mean to reinforce and not something you don’t want to reinforce by accident (incorrect timing).

      Good luck and wishing you many happy years with your girl.

  3. Hello Karen and all, as a fairly new Aussie owner/first-time dog owner I just realized what I signed up for. Socializing during this special time hasn’t been easy and I had to say I was a bit lazy about that as well in terms of trying to introduce my Australian shepherd to get her comfortable with humans in closer distance.
    Facing the frustration of seeing a lovely Aussie at home but super reactive towards humans/dogs on the street/in the parks, I don’t want to give up on her just yet, not before I give my best effort. I have been doing long walks in areas near my house with decent human traffic the last 2 weeks but result has been on and off. Some days she does super well but other days she made me feel that she is the biggest threat in the neighborhood. I know it’s kind of silly to ask for help at this point when my puppy is at almost 10 mo old, but I have tried training with a local trainer. The clicker and treating hasn’t been really progressing that well so far. I’m thinking about giving another dog school a try with their reactive dog program, but in the meantime what else can I do to help my puppy feel a bit easier outside the house?

    Appreciate any advice

    1. Hi Max,

      I appreciate your honesty in the assessment of your situation and contributing factors; that’s a good sign. Aussies are very easy to train and clicker training works exceptionally well. Either you have found a less than stellar trainer, or your timing when you’re using clicker when you’re not with the trainer is off. Or you’re training inconsistently. Or you’re inadvertently reinforcing the reactivity to people and dogs by pulling on the lease while clicking, etc., etc. There are so many factors that can be affecting the outcome. A reactive dog program may help as long as they don’t use things like choke chains, shock collars or any other punishing methods.

      This may sound harsh, but if you are already even thinking about giving up your Aussie, if you are not 100% committed to providing the training she needs to help her be the best dog she can be, do it now. Contact Aussie Rescue and they will help you find a good home for her. The longer you wait to rehome her the harder it will be to find her a good home.

      If you are committed to getting it right, please get in touch with Suzanne Clothier to see if she might be available to help you–she is one of the absolute best trainers out there. She offers video consults if you are too far away. At this point, I think she is your best bet to make sure you get the right training so you can give the right training to your girl.

      Best of luck.

      1. Thank you Karen for the advice! I’ll reach out to Suzanne and continue applying the knowledge I’ve learnt here as well. But one thing I’m wondering: as someone who lives in the city with an Australian shepherd, what kind of work can I give to my Aussie shepherd when she is bored? I do play with her every day and try to take her to park for exercises plus long walk regularly. What else would I be able to do to help her as a herd breed? Thank you!

  4. Carolyn Vegso

    In need of advice
    My daughter has an aussie shepherd/husky and she’s just over a year old. She’s very quiet. Hardly barks. And loves people. Always wagging her tail. Loves attention and cuddles. But then there’s that other side of her which we don’t understand where it’s coming from. We took her for a walk on the country road. And she flew running jumped over the ditch and started to attach a groundhog. Swung it around till it was dead. We have never seen this in her before. My daughter in her 20’s and myself was in shock about it. Would you be able to know why a year old dog would react this way? And what can we do to prevent it from happening again? We have cats and she adores them. We have other dogs also around and she plays with them. It just seems like wild animals she runs after. Ex squirrels and mice also.
    Thank you
    Very concerned

    1. While not all Huskies would do this, this is not unusual Husky behavior. Also Aussies, as herding dogs, can also have strong prey drives. From what you’ve shared, while I understand your concern, I don’t think this indicates that your dog poses a threat to people or other pets.

      As for preventing, you’d have to make sure that she is always on a leash when off the property. And even then, you’d need someone pretty strong at the other end of the leash to not get yanked right off their feet. Your best bet is to contact a positive trainer (someone who uses no harsh corrections) and work with them.

  5. Hi there! My husband and I have owned Aussies for the past 30 years ( not Minis, which I have mixed feelings about) and have adopted them as puppies. Our first we had no idea what we were doing and after a few months adopted another. Was a great idea! Both brought us so much happiness once we realized what they needed. After raising 3 Aussies and 2 mixed breed rescues and a couple of cats over the years we felt we knew enough about Aussies and raising dogs that after our last Aussie passed 6 months ago we were ready for another. We love butt wiggles and the fact they are velcro dogs!!! We have a 6 year old Golden mix and a 7 hr old cat. We actually looked at puppies at a reputable breeder then decided that we should do a rescue and help a dog that needed us. We are also 70 yrs old and active but still older!! We found a great organization that thoroughly vetted us and we drove quite a few hours to go meet our boy. He was very standoffish and barked some when we met him in their back yard but after an hour he became very friendly and we put him in the car for the ride home ( which he seemed to enjoy) He was 18 months old. He was turned into the rescue by a woman who found him and his sister living a bad situation ( what she said) she adopted the two of them ( they were 16 weeks old) brought them home and they were kept crated during the day when she was at work and crated at night so they wouldnt pee and roam the house. She realized, finally, that they needed more so she relinquished to the rescue who works only with Aussies. So……we have our sweet Beaux who is most loving pup, highly velcro, loves our cat and also loves our dog Woody. Problem is he doesn’t love anyone coming into our house! My husband walks him a mile and a half every morning and he goes nuts if another dog or person or bike goes by. We are doing positive reinforcement with lots of treats, mostly cheese which he loves. Had him almost 3 months and it’s tough as we want to have people over and eventually take a few days to go on vacation. We never have kenneled our dogs as we love to have someone stay in our home so our pups are happy. Right now that is impossible. We are having friends stop by for a few minutes and we stuff him with cheese to show him people are good to have around. If someone sits quietly on the sofa, tosses cheese at him and doesn’t even look him in the eye he will still lunge at them and try to nip if they even move to brush the hair off their own faces or cross their legs. Have had several visits from a positive reinforcement trainer who is highly respected and he recommended our vet work with us to try medication. Even though the thought horrified us we made a decision to try this. Our vet put him on Trazadone and also Xanax and after a couple days we stopped as we didn’t like those meds or their effects on him. Our trainer recommended we work with a vet he works with and he suggested Zoloft or Prozac and the vet agreed. Our boy is on his second week of meds and of course training and cheese ?. We are hopeful. He was not socialized and even our vet said that a herding breed is affected even more severely than some less intelligent breed by being crated for so long. The rescue said we could return him to them if we need to but we are so in love with him. He loves to snuggle between us on the bed and on the sofa and we would cry the whole way they if we had to drive him back to where we got him. What do you think about these kinds of meds in his situation and do you think this is something that will take weeks, months or years to fix? We have a trainer, 2 vets and possibly access to a behavioral veterinarian. We really want and are willing to give him our all but right now we are concerned. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Jean, my heart goes out to you and your difficult situation. This sounds eerily similar to what I went through with Magic, our English Shepherd.
      Please get in touch with Suzanne Clothier to see if she might be available to help you. She offers video consults if you are too far away. At this point, I think she is your best bet to help you determine what might be the best options for you. Best of luck.

  6. Hello
    My neighbors drove 3 hours to a breeder and bought a miniature Aussie. They have very little information about her other than the breeder sold her because she had 2 litters of pups and killed every one of them. So she couldn’t make them any money and they sold her. This dog has NEVER been socialized to people ever apparently. The neighbors said she barked in the car the entire 3 hours home and as soon as they got her out of the car she slipped her collar and ran. My entire neighborhood has been trying to capture this dog to no avail. This is a very rural area and I only knew the story from posts on facebook. Then I started catching sightings of her on my trail cams.. Shes beautiful and smart and very very terrified of people. We started leaving food out for her and its been about 3 months and she basically lives in my yard. At first I could not get within 20 feet of her before she would run.. And she is fast!! Now I just sit out in my lawn chair and talk to her sometimes. My husband put out an old dog house and filled it with straw and a chicken warmer lamp… It took her three weeks to trust going into the dog house. Now she lets me get within 3 or 4 feet but she still runs. She will sit and make growling noises but I don’t think its in a mean way… Just a frustration. She wants to trust me. I feel that. She just can’t seem to make herself do it. My neighbors brought a trap and set it up in my yard.. I told them it would never work. She is way to smart. They want to take her back to the breeder. I want to gain her trust and give them their money back for her. Do you think its possible for a 3 or 4 year old completely unsocialized dog to be a great pet eventually?? Or am I wasting my time and heart?

    1. It breaks my heart to read this story. First, I hope you report the breeder. If this mini aussie mom killed both her litters, I’m going to bet it’s because the owners kept her in too small and confined a place and weren’t feeding her properly. Something is definitely off there….

      I don’t believe her growling is truly threatening, just her saying she doesn’t feel safe with you coming any closer. I’d wait until she comes to you. Put food closer to you and let her come eat it. Do nothing. Don’t reach out to pet her. Don’t look her directly in the eye. Let her just get used to coming closer to you without you doing anything. Think of it as teaching parallel play for toddlers. You are just acclimatizing her to being around a human where she is not harmed or threatened. Over time, keep moving the food closer (but in small incremental distances and over many many days). Eventually, hold your hand out with food in it while you are kneeling down, not looking at her and not moving or talking to her. etc. etc. etc.

      The worst thing you can do is to try to grab her. If you can get her to come to you and touch you, then you can start working with her to trust you. But slow and steady wins the race. It would be very easy to scare her which would instantly cause you to lose ground with her and have to start over again at several steps back from where you scared her.

      I don’t believe you’re wasting your time or heart. You are trying to help a terrified animal find peace and a safe place. But is it likely she will ever be a great pet in the way that I think you mean? It could take a long time with no guarantee. Could you have an amazing relationship with what is essentially a wild animal. Yes. But you’d have to be willing to take her on her terms.

      If the neighbors catch her and take her back to the breeder, you can be sure the breeder will kill her. That is 100% certain.

      Wishing you great good luck!

  7. Hello! We got a mini Australian shepherd, Roscoe, in Early June, during the pandemic. He is super sweet, great with my kids, 5 and 13, but he doesn’t like strangers. We unfortunately where not able to get him around a ton of people when he was little. What is the best way to try to socialize him now? He is 8 months old.

    1. This pandemic has wreaked havoc in so many ways. Socializing dogs during this time has certainly been a challenge. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts, and socializing requires having people over and getting your puppy out into social settings with people and other animals around. Masks and a long leash are your bests friends here. You can use these articles for starting places., and

      Socializing is so worth the effort; you’ll be really glad you took the time. Good luck!

  8. Hello Karen,
    This was a great read, thank you! I have been looking into an issue that I am having with a neighbor dog and this looks like a knowledgeable place to start.
    My neighbor has an almost 2 year old mini Aussie whom is an absolute delight. He takes him “Dioje” to the dog park every day to get him plenty of exercise and walks him off leash a fair amount in the neighborhood. He has been socialized fairly well as a pup. I have a great relationship with both the owner and the dog. The owner has a roommate who has 4 dogs (most under 2, Dioje is 2nd eldest! to clarify- 1 Borzoi who is about 1, 2 mini snauzers who are both under 5 months, and 1 similar to snauzer but i am not sure on breed and I would say is 8 or so) and we share a fence line in the back yard. I have a just over 2 year old female boxer and we recently added a male boxer pup whom is now about 5 months. Theses dogs have been well socialized with each other and they get along great when sharing common space. However…..
    I have a recent issue and I am finally realizing what I believe is happening. If the Aussie “Dioje” is in the back yard by himself and l let my dogs out, all is usually fairly well. Dioje will bark to the air as almost a warning call when my dogs come out. However, if the other dogs come out with Dioje and my dogs are out/ come out it is a different story. Dioje will run straight to the fence line and (from what i can see) he will herd his crew away from the fence line and (i say viciously, but its more of a back off/warning bark) bark incessantly baring teeth through the fence at my dogs. Well my eldest boxer cant wait to ‘play’ so she will run straight to the fence to bark when he is out or comes out and approaches fence line. If he does not approach fence line to bark then my dogs will just waIk away and go about their business. If Dioje approaches fence, it sounds like they are going to eat each other through the fence. So…. wanted to get your advice about ways to approach this. A little more info- Dioje will bark at mine to tell them to back off, if his clan comes near the fence (the rest are very friendly towards each other at the fence line, the minis schnauzers bark, but it appears to be in excitement and jumping by fence to greet one another) he will guard the fence and nip at his clan to keep them away from the fence and then bark at mine to warn them away from the fence. This issue has only really become and issue since the addition of the two schnauzers and my new boxer. My eldest boxer, Dioje, and the borzoi were basically all raised together and we socialized them with each other a ton!
    I have done some research and have been through hoards of dog trainings with many previous boxers for various reasons. I have a decent amount of knowledge and sense in regards to dog interactions, but have lots to learn as well. My neighbor understands his dog, he is great with training him and he follows most commands fairly promptly. Dioje has definitely taken it upon himself to make the fenline his ‘job’ to protect. As I mentioned, he is almost always off leash, so I have also noticed that he will often protect his property from strangers in the front of the house as well. Yesterday I witnessed him get out of the car upon arriving home and chase a strangers who was 4 houses away to bark and him (seemingly to say ‘get away’) When his owner called him, he did come back after 2-3 calls.
    Anyway….. here is what I have seen about fenceline, so give me any advice you have please.
    1.Cover the fence line so they cant see each other (we have done this with multiple other dogs- it hasn’t worked ever in the past)
    2.Create an air barrier to provided some space. This way the have a couple feet in between and can be in such close proximity at fence line.
    3. make a gate so the barrier does not exist.
    4 Socialize dogs together (we do this and they are perfect without that fence) We took them all to the dog park together just yesterday, and they played together for over an hour.
    Please give me any other advice you have.
    I am at the point that I just want to cut a hole in the fence…..only I don’t want to have to pick up 5 more dogs poop, ha ha ha!
    Thank you for any time and thought you put into this!!!!

    1. Hi Jess,
      It looks like there are at least 3 things are going on here.

      1. Anytime there are additions of dogs to a pack, it changes the pack dynamic, which can often trigger the need to re-assert or re-work out the position for alpha dog.

      Here is an article you might find helpful. How to Manage a Multi-Dog Household. Maybe you already know all of this, but hopefully you’ll find some good ideas here.

      2. Fence aggression.

      Here’s a good article on this. Solve Fence Aggression with a Better Dog Fence It basically confirms what you are already thinking. Either get a see-through fence or remove it. (I had a good laugh at the “only I don’t want to have to pick up 5 more dog.” Totally hear ya on that one! ) If it were me, I’d be looking for a bigger pooper scooper as we speak. : )
      The main thing is that you don’t want to let this go on for much longer as per article.

      3. Dioje, as the oldest, as a herding dog, and as a now full adult dog, is starting to develop some bad habits.

      It sounds like Dioje has become a very confident dog. So much so that now he’s trying to chase away neighbors 4 houses down. Yes, some of this is unchecked Aussie behavior. Some of it is wanna-be alpha dog behavior. Some of it is for as aware and good to his dogs as his owner is, he is not seeing the writing on the wall. Dioje needs some remedial training. Hopefully with a positive trainer who has experience with Aussies, or at least herding dogs.

      When an Aussie doesn’t have a strong leader, the Aussie himself will step in to fill the void. This is not a good thing and can actually become a source of stress for the Aussie, which can begin a downward spiral of behaviors.

      You and your neighbor sound like great dog people who truly care about your dogs. I’m hoping you find a way to put a hole in the fine and that your neighbor gets his Aussie some positive training.

      Best of luck!

      1. Karen,
        Thank you so much! I will have a read on the articles you sent.
        I did have one question. I do agree that he is attempting to be alpha, the new addition of my boy and then their two little pups is when this started. In addition, I think Dioje is trying for that top dog spot, however I think he is very fearful of others. Is this common for Aussies or more of learned behavior? He seems to bark bare teeth more out of fear than dominance. Also, sometimes he will incessantly bark at and stalk my other neighbor, and she is afraid of him. I don’t mean to sound rude, but we all think Dioje is intimidated by black skin “racist”. Any individual of color that I have seen him interact with he will go near if their back is turned and bark and backs way up and barks if they are facing. Thoughts???? now I have to go search for that giant pooper scooper.

        1. I agree–that was also my sense from what you’ve shared–that Dioje is actually a bit overwhelmed/stressed and is trying to bring order to his world. One of the ways to do that is to make a bid for alpha. This can happen when there’s a change in the pack and a vacuum in the leadership (which should be coming from your neighbor).

          I don’t know if you’re in a position to have that honest kind of conversation with your neighbor, but Dioje would greatly benefit from the eyes of a trained profession to assess the current situation and to give your neighbor some training advice on how to handle it.

          I am sure Dioje is not a happy camper right now and would be happy for guidance and structure to help take the pressure off of him. Without that, this has no good place to go. This is not one of those “let them work it out themselves” moments.

      2. Karen,
        Thank you so much! I will have a read on the articles you sent.
        I did have one question. I do agree that he is attempting to be alpha, the new addition of my boy and then their two little pups is when this started. I agree Dioje is trying for that top dog spot, however I think he is very fearful of others. Is this common for Aussies or more of learned behavior? He seems to bark bare teeth more out of fear than dominance. Also, sometimes he will incessantly bark at and stalk my other neighbor, and she is afraid of him. I don’t mean to sound rude, but we all think Dioje is intimidated by black skin “racist”. Any individual of color that I have seen him interact with he will go near if their back is turned and bark and backs way up and barks even more if they are facing. Thoughts on that, aside from more training and socialization of others? Now I have to go search for that giant pooper scooper. Thank you again for your time and thoughts.

        1. Jess, it is totally possible that Dioje has developed a fear of people of color. This isn’t specific to Aussies–any dog breed can develop phobias/fears and then develop fear aggression.

          It’s not hard to desensitize from that but the owner would need to enlist willing people of color to help.

          The biggest mistake owners make in training is to not chunk down the learning into small enough bite-size steps. When this happens, the dog gets confused and the bad behavior inadvertently gets reinforced. A skilled professional trainer would be worth their weight in gold here. I speak from experience.

          1. Karen,
            Thank you so much for your time and insight! I will let you know how it goes.
            Happy Holidays!

    2. Hi, there. We have a toy Aussie that we got early in the pandemic. So, like the above comment, socializing was tough. She does ok after the person has been there for a few minutes. She’s very particular with who she lets pet her outside of our immediate family. We love her and she loves us. She’s 10 months old. Is she a lost cause on socialization or can we still get her some training and make progress?

      1. Hi Mika, Aussies weren’t bred to be everyone’s best bud, so you shouldn’t worry that she’s very particular with people. Just like not every child wants to be forced to go kiss or hug Aunt Sarah. Just make sure that your friends and family respect that.
        Socialization is not something that’s done once or a couple of times. It needs to be looked at as a life-long process. At 10 months your girl is absolutely not a lost cause. Training with a positive trainer and ongoing socialization will bring great rewards.

  9. I have a two year old mini Aussie. She is the sweetest girl. My husband and I live downstairs from my daughter, her husband and her two kids. 12 year old boy and 6 year old girl. Our dog, Stella spends time everyday with the kids. Stella is housetrained and never messes in our house. However, when she goes upstairs she will often pee. Sometimes it is just excitement dribbles but then there are times she will full on pee. We have had to resort to putting a diaper on when she goes upstairs. She has never been aggressive with any of us nor the many kids that are in this house on any given day [pre covid).
    My daughter has now brought home an 8 week old Pomeranian. Tiny little thing that is not even 2 pounds yet. The dogs have gone through the initial introduction very carefully. Today was the day that they were allowed to be side by side for a few minutes. All was going well. Stella went into submissive posture and the puppy was licking her and then Stella growled and bared her teeth. Is this something to worry about? I appreciate any advise.

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Whether it’s Excitement or Submissive peeing– drips, dribbles, or more, controlling the environment is the first place to start. Here are some articles that may help. and

      Enlisting the help of a good positive trainer would also be a help.

      As for growling and baring teeth, she’s just giving good clear communication that she’d like the Pomeranian puppy to stop licking her. I wouldn’t worry. As the older dog in the house, she’s just giving the puppy a training lesson on what’s ok behavior and what she doesn’t like.

  10. Hi Karen,

    Kiera is a beauty! I’m so glad I found your blog post. My husband and I are the proud owners of a 3 month old male Aussie named Monty who is a lovable klutz and already 25 lbs.. Our breeder said he was the calmest of the 8 puppies, and he comes from good family dog lines. We both work from home and have lots of time for him, plus our grandkids play with him several times a week. He is not afraid of anything so far, including vacuums and leaf blowers. He is extremely friendly to everyone, and will start puppy classes in December.. BUT we have a couple concerns.

    We had a high energy Lab/Springer Spaniel mix for almost 15 years, so Monty’s energy level isn’t terribly daunting, but he is a running, jumping fool. Our wonderful breeder said to avoid vigorous running and no jumping until he’s older, but this guy will invent his own jumping games in the house and our backyard, climbing on rocks and planter boxes to jump off, and leaping on or over anything he can find. He wigs out once or twice a day, leaping and zooming around the yard like a dervish. And this is all after playing fetch, and tug, and 2 long-ish walks a day. He sometimes gets overstimulated, and a time out finds him collapsing in his crate for a good nap, fortunately. I think agility training is in his future, because I can’t find a way to keep “four on the floor”.

    The other thing is his periodic nipping. He is well and truly into his velociraptor stage and my hands are sore. We aren’t into harsh punishment or using his crate every time he misbehaves, but we are running out of ideas. If we reprimand him and turn our backs on him, he barks at us like a sassy child. Most of the time, he just wants to be petted and lay by our feet, and he loves his nightly brushing. Kind of like a canine Jekyl and Hyde.

    We absolutely love him, and he is so easy to train except for the nipping. We would appreciate any ideas.

    1. Hi Lynee,
      It always thrills me to hear when people have both the right setup and the right resolve to train their Aussies to be the amazing dogs they were meant to be.

      I have 2 thoughts:
      1. Are you switching out your hand with any toys to redirect the behavior?
      2. It sounds like you are half getting it right with the training away from nipping. Mostly what you need to do next is to be prepared to wait out the barking. By giving any attention during the barking, you are inadvertently rewarding the behavior. Sometimes when Kiera wasn’t getting that she needed to stop. I would get up and physically leave the room for a minute or two.

      Here are a few links that may help give you some ideas.

      Also, anything by Suzanne Clothier is terrific:

      If all else fails, try soliciting the help of a good “positive” trainer. I always found it helpful to have another pair of trained eyes watching what I was doing to catch my training mistakes.

      Wishing you good luck!

      1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! That was really great information, Karen! I went to both websites and read several of Suzanne’s articles. It seems that we are doing many things right, fortunately, and now have some new tools to fix our nipping mistakes. Monty starts puppy training classes next week, so I will get some good in-person training techniques and feedback there.

  11. Hi Karen, we just adopted a 5 yr old mini Australian Shephard about 4 weeks ago from a rescue organization. They did not have very much information about her, except she lived her 1st 2 yrs of her life in a pound and then was adopted by a family but there a divorce situation in the family and Daisy was given to a rescue organization.. Daisy is very timid and does not seem to have had any type of training. She is afraid of every noise in the house (washing machine, dryer, dish water, fridge) , very stressful in the car (pacing back and forth) and she is very bad at recall to the point that if you ask her to come , she just sit there and watches you. Because of Covid , most classes are online and we have signed her up for a weekly zoom obedience training. We are also taking an obedience group class once a week at the humane Society and we will also starting next week, will do a in house training session weekly , where the trainer will come to our house to work with us specially since Daisy is very reactive on walks when she sees a loud big truck or a delivery truck. I am worried that we may not be able to train her because of her age and the lack of training she had in first five years of her life , but the trainers tell me to be patient!!!! She is our first Australian Shephard! Do you think thee is Any hope for us and her?????

    1. Ni Mina,

      Given what you’ve shared about your mini Aussie, it sounds to me that you may need to recalibrate your expectations. You may need to go a lot slower with your girl to give her time to both feel safe AND acclimate to her new environment.

      Many of our rescues took up to 6 months or more to start feeling comfortable in our house. While I always started gentle “positive” training right away, I mostly just worked on building our connection/bond together and let them take the time they needed without pressuring them, and just rewarding them every time they showed the behaviors I wanted.

      Also, not all dogs are going to love car rides, and not all dogs are going to love going on walks. Some dogs really just want to stay home where it feels safe and familiar.

      That was certainly true of my rescue Border Collie, Graidy. We never got him to like walks but eventually he was able to tolerate car rides after we got him a carrier he could lie down in, in the car.

      The main thing with training is to start with building a connection of trust first and then to chunk down the steps into small enough bite-size pieces so that you’re setting her up for success. You might find this post helpful. Also, I love anything by Suzanne Clothier.

      I know a month can feel like a year when you feel that you’re struggling with something that may feel beyond you, but really that’s a very short amount of time to be looking for significant results. If you have the time to give and you have realistic expectations, it’s all very doable.

      Good luck, and I hope it works out for your girl. It sounds like she really needs a lucky break.

  12. Hi Karen,
    Just wanted to know, I work full-time from 8:30 am to 5:pm. I have a 12-year-old son, who kn0ws how to train a dog like a boss. We are thinking to get an Aussie, I’m fine with waking up at 4:am to walk her, I would like to know how to take care of her while at work, I cant drop her off at a friends house or at my neighbor’s house, could you help me on how to take care of my Aussie while at work, plus i don’t want her to destroy everything in the house while I’m at work.

    1. Hi Bob, I appreciate your thoughtfulness in considering an Aussie.

      Not many dogs do well being left alone for several hours at a time. If for no other reason than the need to relieve themselves. I always ask people to time the longest they can go between bathroom breaks and then think about how they would feel if they were not allowed to go for between 7 and 10 hours. I personally think it’s borderline cruel for what many people expect of their dogs. So unless you are able to install a dog-door that allows your dog access to a fenced area or you are able to hire a dog walker or are willing to find a doggie daycare, then your current situation probably isn’t a good idea for any dog.

      Also, you don’t mention whether this would be your first dog or whether you’ve lived with dogs before. If this would be your first dog, an Aussie wouldn’t be a good one to start with. While there are some calm, mellow Aussies, most have fairly high energy and like to be busy. The boredom and loneliness of spending most of the day alone would leave any dog open to destructive behavior, but especially Aussies.

      But so much depends on the dog, herself. If you are committed to having an Aussie and you’re able to solve the need for your dog to be able to go the bathroom and have some kind of stimulation for some part of the day, then it all comes down to the breeder. A good breeder is more than willing to talk with you about their dogs’ temperaments and should be able to assess their puppies for which would be the most calm with moderate energy levels. After that, it’s all about the training. Aussies do best with positive training. While they are hard dogs physically (think, little tanks), they are soft dogs emotionally and don’t need or do well with punitive training.

      Another medium size dog that is a great family dog and less likely to have the high voltage that many Aussies do is a Lab.

      Wishing you great good luck on finding the dog of your dreams.

  13. Hello Karen,
    I have a 9 month old mini/standard Aussie.
    She is very smart and loving dog who has alot of energy.
    She barks at strangers and we find it hard to stop her. We discovered that if we bark that she comes running inside to the house and is extremely happy.

    We don’t know what she is thinking when this happens.
    thanx so much,

    1. Hi Nancy, what is likely happening is that by you barking after your puppy barks, you’re reinforcing that she’s done a good job and now the leader of the pack is ready to take over.

      There are those who might say that by you barking, you’re interrupting her behavior–think in terms of “snapping her out of it” and then she realizes you’re there and she’s happy to return to you.

      Take your pick. Though, I suspect it’s a little of both. : )

  14. Hi!
    Recently we have been considering getting a miniature Aussie shepherd pup, and I was wondering if they have as much energy as a usual sized Aussie? And is it better to get a puppy while the kids are on break, or in the school term?

    1. Mini Aussies can have as much energy as full size. But a lot is dependent on who the parents are. If you are getting from a good breeder, that breeder should be familiar enough to discuss with you what “normal” energy levels look like for their dogs–high, medium, low.

      I would have to say whether to have the kids home or not depends… Not knowing the ages of your kids, except that they are at least school age, and not having mentioned if they’ve had previous experience with puppies dogs, and not having mentioned who this dog will belong too–Aussies are often 1-person dogs, I think you may be better off soliciting the help of a positive trainer who can better assess your current situations.

      Best of luck!

  15. Greetings Karen, I am the proud owner of a mini named Auggie, who is my first Aussie. I have owned dogs most of my life. My last dog was a Boxer who loved people but did not get along with other doggies. It was a difficult problem bc I couldn’t take her anywhere there were other Doggies. Which is why I started socializing w/ Auggie from day one. Now Auggie wants to be friends with EVERYONE….I wish he was more reserved. When I take him to the beach he will go person to person all the way down the beach and into someone else’s car if I’m not very careful to watch him. I see most of all the other dogs will stay w/ there owners. Any suggestions??? Auggie is only four months old….born 4/12/20….any pointers? Ty

    1. Hi Jonathan. Kudos on doing such an amazing job socializing–that makes me so happy to hear. AND almost every Aussie owner would like to have your problem! :)
      But, still, a problem is a problem. The solution would be to now put that same socializing energy into teaching HEEL. Suzanne Clothier, I think, is one of the best trainers out there. Her website is a fountain of valuable information. You might find this article a good place to start; Google “teach dog heel walking positive training” and you’ll find a wealth of good information to get you going.

      Another way that I trained Kiera when she was a puppy (along with heel) was to keep her on a leash attached to my belt for a few hours a day, for a few weeks. First, it reminded me to stay connected to her emotionally as well as physically. I found that I engaged with her much more–talking, checking in, using positive reinforcement, etc. which then became a life-long habit for me. And it taught her that staying close to me was normal and rewarding for her.

      Wishing you many years of bliss with your boy.

  16. Hi Karen!

    I love this post so much! While my Aussie is the best thing in my life I can’t help but sometimes get down when she isn’t so accepting of strangers and new people. I know she isn’t a golden retriever and I don’t expect her to be but it has been a long road with socializing her. She was very fearful of new people from the very beginning So I believe in her case a lot of it is due to genetics. I make sure all interactions with strangers are positive and I don’t let strangers pet her as she is uncomfortable with that. I try to let all interactions be on her terms as she does warm up to people eventually when they “leave her alone”. I want her to be able to enjoy all the things “other normal dogs” get to enjoy so I’ve been muzzle training her (this is more for me to be able to relax than any fear of aggression from her). Do you have any other tips for me for getting her to be more comfortable around new people? Anything at all would be appreciated!

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Kendyl,
      Sounds like you’re putting in a lot of good work with your girl. I’m glad to hear that you protect her from “friendly” people and dogs “who just [fill in the blank].” My Kiera never liked anyone trying to pet her, but because she was so striking, a lot of people couldn’t help themselves and would rush up to pet her. I would have to literally stick my hand out in a “stop right there” motion and say loudly, “My dog DOES NOT LIKE TO BE PETTED. Please do NOT come up to her.” Some people were hurt or shocked by that, and then I would have to explain that not all dogs like to be petted and not all dogs are friendly.

      It is our job to keep our dogs safe. And thereby keep other people and other dogs safe. I have to say though that I’m not a fan of muzzle training. I would suggest instead that you try clicker training with high value treats. Any time a new person begins approaching and your girl stays relaxed, click and treat. Rinse and repeat. Dozens of times.

      Keep the approach distance initially far away. Once she’s comfortable seeing someone far away and can stay calm, Have them move a few feet closer. Rinse and repeat. Until they can get within a foot of her and she can stay calm.

      Your best bet is to work with a Positive Trainer who can help you get the timing on your clicking and help you make sure than you’re chunking down the “getting closer” in small enough increments.

      Great good luck to you!

  17. Hi Karen!

    I was looking up Australian Shepherds because I am absolutely smitten with my neighbor’s 8 month-old puppy, but he poses some consternation because he is so very timid, and barks incessantly at anyone (including me) who comes near. Who appears in the first page of search results but YOU!

    I hope you and your family and your Australian Shepherd are doing well!


  18. I raised my daughters mini/you aussie from birth until she was 4 months old. I had about 6 mini aussies besides her, and my daughter had moved out on her own, and truly loved the female, she renamed her Annie. Fast forward a year, when Annie comes back to my home for visits and holidays, she exhibits terrible jealousy and will not listen nor obey my daughter , but she will obey me. She also pees and poops at my house, but doesn’t ever do this at my daughters home. My daughter adores the dog, but is brought to tears every time she comes back home, because it looks like her dog is disobedient and hates her. What do I do to help her?

    1. Hi Cindy,
      Please assure your daughter that her dog doesn’t hate her. At least part of what is happening is that Annie is trying to reassert her status in the pack at your home. Hard to know whether the peeing and pooping are stress-related or territorial or both. A session or two with a good Positive Trainer at your house to observe what is going on and make recommendations for solutions is a relatively quick and easy fix. Leaving this as it is will only continue to spiral downward because Annie needs help and direction to make different choices.
      Best of Luck

  19. Hi Karen,

    We recently got a male Aussiedoodle who is now a little over 3 months old. We’ve been diligent about socializing him, and he really loves meeting people and new dogs. He’s super smart (has learned 8 or 9 commands) and is awesome on the leash, EXCEPT for our first walk in the morning. When we get outside, he does his business, and then when we start walking he begins to jump on my legs, nip and sometimes hump. For the past few days, I have just become a statue and he stops, then I stand there for another minute before walking again. This repeats 4 or 5 times before he eventually knocks it off. On the the walk back home, he doesn’t do any of these behaviors, and he doesn’t do any of these behaviors on his 3 to 5 subsequent walks throughout the day. It’s ONLY on the first morning walk away from our place. Do you have any experience with this? Thanks!

    1. Matt, a couple of thoughts. He is trying to communicate something to you. Has he been neutered yet? If no, this may subside after that. If yes, then there may be something about the leash, collar, etc that could be initially bothering him. Or he could just be really excited to get to go for his first walk and has a lot of bundled up energy he needs to disperse. See if immediately out the door if you start to run with him for a short distance to help get his jollies out helps. If none of these things seem to make a difference, then you’ll need to get a trainer involved to watch. They would be better able to comment by watching the whole behavior chain.
      At any rate, your response to stand still until he stops is good.
      Good luck!

  20. Hey! Love the article! I have a 10 month old Mini Aussie boy that we adopted 4 months ago. All of this totally rings true. He is a ball of love and energy. I’ve worked hard on training and socializing, but we still have a ways to go.

    I have a 10 year old son and we have other kids and family over often. My Aussie thinks he’s one of the kids. My one concern is that when my son is outside running (we have a few acres) the puppy will chase him and start nipping. It’s only when he’s running, and it’s not aggressive or mean. I think it’s his herding nature coming out, but I’m expecting in a couple of months and don’t want any sort of biting with kids. He’s never done it to me, so it’s hard to correct without actually seeing it happen. Any advice would be appreciated :)

    Thanks again for the article!

    1. Hi Brittney. You are correct, this is herding behavior, and you can train away from this. Someone needs to physically be there to work with your dog and your son together. Please find a good local positive trainer and they can help you get on the right path with this.

  21. Janelle Burdick

    Hi there, I have a few questions regarding my Australian Shephard. She is 1 and 5 months.

    The other night my aussie growled at my husband when he moved her butt on the bed (she was sleeping) when she was in the way, our vet friend said that this is territorial behaviour and its fine to snuggle her on the bed but she needs to go off the bed to sleep basically, teach her to hop off the bed when you say “off”… we tried using the command “off and this is what happened…

    The other night my Aussie nipped in the air at me..something to be worried about or just something to teach her not to do??
    Its when I physically move her because she wont listen/doesn’t know the command. I was saying “off” to teach her to get off the bed. She gets off the bed to the command “down”. Our friend said to just use the command that works. Not to change it. What commands are best to teach for getting off a bed…Off? or use Up and Down for getting up and down on things. The problem is we say “lay or lay down” for when we want her to lay, so if we use down again for down off the bed that is two different meanings for one word. We may have to use just “lay” for her laying down.
    I just want to be able to physically move her at any time without her getting nippy..How do I teach her not to nip at me if I ever need/want to physically move?

    Also I have blown in her face before and she will nip in the air at me, she will also nip in the air at me (I think as a play response) if I ever put my face (we are facing straight on) towards hers swiftly, being affectionate. Our friend said to stop blowing and jerking my head towards her like that…or do you just teach her not to nip when you do that??

    She nips or gets mouthy (opens her mouth and rubs her teeth on you) when playing..

    Is this nipping behaviour common or not? Im really worried we will have to get her put down or that she will actually bite. how do I stop this and teach her never to do it?


    1. Hi Janelle,
      From what you’ve described, your Aussie is showing some dominant behaviors that you definitely want to nip in the bud. You don’t mention what training or socializing you’ve done to date. Whatever has been done, it sounds like there’s room for more.

      Now to be fair to your girl, growling is her way of communicating, so you don’t want to teach her not to growl, because then you are removing her warning communications, which can escalate her to nipping/biting to communicate.

      You also don’t mention if it’s a little growl, like please don’t do that, or a more serious growl of DO NOT do that. Not saying either is ok, but they mean different things.

      Yes, be consistent with the word you use for her to get down/off vs lay down. I use the word “Off” but the word you use doesn’t matter as long as it’s a word that’s only used for that behavior so you don’t confuse your girl.

      Set up some training sessions with her where you allow her to jump up on something, preferably outside like a low table (anything stable), and reward her for jumping up. Then say “Off” or whatever word you choose, and point to the ground. If she doesn’t know what you mean or doesn’t immediately jump off, lure her with food, and then reward her with the food once she has jumped off. Rinse and repeat until she can do this instantly on command.

      Then move to inside and the bed, and practice during the day.

      Nipping in the air is not a play response. It is communicating that she wants you to stop what you’re doing. As for blowing in her face, she’s letting you know she doesn’t like that, so I’d suggest you respect her wishes and stop. : )

      Her behaviors are not unusual for untrained Aussies. The fact that she is giving you good and clear dog communication tells me that she is not inclined to bite, but if you continue to not listen to her and not train her, you could inadvertently push her to bite. She needs strong guidance and positive training. If you are thinking that you will have to get her put down, then you should consider rehoming her with someone who has experience with Aussies.

      If you are already afraid of her, you should rehome her. If you’re just worried, enlist the help of a good “Positive Trainer” like a clicker trainer or positive reinforcement. That will make a world of difference.

      But for now, until you work with her or you get some help with training, either crate her or keep her out of your bedroom when it’s time to go to sleep.

      1. Janelle Burdick

        Perfect, thank you for your response. I am going to talk to our dog groomer when we take her to get groomed (as they also train dogs) to see if they would be able to help or even give some advice. I am just about to buy and and a book on how to train an Aussie. Love her to bits just don’t want to mess anything up =) Time to start training!

      2. Janelle Burdick

        Hi Karen,

        In your reply to my message you said “Now to be fair to your girl, growling is her way of communicating, so you don’t want to teach her not to growl, because then you are removing her warning communications, which can escalate her to nipping/biting to communicate.” ….. I don’t think she’s growled at us about the moving on the bed in a long time now but she is mouthy/nippy in the air? when we physically move her on the bed, sometimes shes just playing but not sure if its always that…what does nipping in the air mean? When she does this her mouth never makes a snap noise or im not sure that her mouth even closes, like i dont think her teeth ever touch…is this more what you would consider just mouthy?…She is alot better at getting up and down off the bed when we command her to now.

        You said…”Nipping in the air is not a play response. It is communicating that she wants you to stop what you’re doing.” What about when she does this if we physically move her on the bed, or touch her tail or the groomer is blow drying her for some examples.. its nipping back at what she doesn’t like…is it fine to teach her not to do this in these situations? I would have thought we should be able to do these things without her doing that…is it fine to do the whole hissing thing and say no to teach her thats not an okay response? When I did that today she seems to take notice..

        Kind Regards and thanks again,


  22. Esther Boucher


    I have a 5 month old puppy, just a sweetheart. She is 99.9% potty trained and doesn’t chew on stuff that she isn’t suppose to, except for tissues… My only concern is regarding how attached she is, because my spouse works from home we never had to let her alone, either in her playpen or in her crate so whenever we try to she cries and barks, do you have any tips to get her used to being alone on rare occasion, for short period of time?
    thanks in advance

  23. So glad I saw your article, we are in the process of adopting a male mini aussie from a shelter. He is thought to be about 16 months old. He is VERY shy/timid. I am not sure if it is due to where he is at , but I hope so. When I went to visit him for the first time I was able to get him to eat from my hand and rub on him some. Every time the other dogs starting making a ruckus he would move away and bark along with them. I feel he has a lot of potential and will make a great addition to our home. I know we have a lot of work to do with him on the trusting, but I feel we can give him the good home he deserves. I am up for any advice you can give. Thank you

    1. Hi Dee–
      1. Enlist the help of a positive trainer immediately.
      2. Socialize, socialize, socialize
      3. Go at a pace that he can handle. If/when he seems overwhelmed, step it back.
      Good training and time are your friends.

      Good Luck!

  24. Josef Bucshpun

    I was by mini Austrtalian Sheppard, now he is 4month old ( puppi ) but he is very agressiv. Ilave him but can you hallpe me with Thanke you.

  25. Hello! I stumbled across your page while researching Aussies. We currently have a 2 year old mini aussie. She is a joy and VERY well trained. It’s evident how much she loves my husband and I by getting excited when we come home from work. We recently started talking about getting a 2nd aussie to keep her company during the day while we are gone. I love the fact that she won’t be lonely, but worried that it will break her heart because I feel like we are her world. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    1. Hi Kelly. You will always be the center of her world AND she will have a buddy to play with. AND you will have double the laughter and fun watching their shenanigans!

      If you have the time and space, I say go for it (preferably with a male to avoid potential same-sex/same-breed dominance aggression developing).

  26. Hello!
    I’ve stumbled across your page for the first time, wishing I had seen it several years back when we were considering our Mini Aussie ;) We have a 5.5 year old Aussie Name Sydney. She is everything that you described when it comes to loyalty & energy levels, and so very smart. We have three kids ages 8, 4, and 3. She is good with them but doesn’t really seem to love them like we hoped and vice versa. And here’s why: Since we brought home my now 4 year old from the hospital, she would hunt down his pacifiers, small toys, socks, even small blankets and chew/destroy. We have ended up training the kids to not leave the items where she can reach, so we are clearly part of the problem, but we haven’t had any luck with getting these items from her (she growls/won’t drop them) and we’d rather her not destroy them so we’ve admittedly just tried to keep things off the floor. If the kids dump out a box of toys, like clockwork she runs to the pile and takes one to chew on (mostly plastic ones). I give her two to three tennis ball sessions a day, long walk about 3 days a week, and general play outside while the kids are outside. We have large yard, etc. I’m afraid we didn’t address it in a proper way early on, but I’m wondering if you have any advice on steps to take to improve this chewing/destructive behavior? We love and enjoy her so much!

    1. Hi Logan–ah, this brings back memories. : ) We had an English Shepherd that had a taste for Cait’s barbie dolls, back in the day. You can train away from this but it would require tremendous time and commitment on the entire family’s part, since this has already become a firmly entrenched behavior.

      Here are some articles that may help you to get your Aussie girl moving in the right direction.

      Good luck!

  27. This is such good advice! We have an Australian Shepard puppy who is 10 months old. She is a dream to train, so smart, so willing to please all the things you mentioned. She is funny and sweet. We started her in puppy classes, obedience classes, and she is working on canine good citizen right now. Socializing her is so important! She is doing very well with this, and she loves the classes. We have had quite a few rescues; a beagle, a corgi/heeler mix, a border collie mix, and a golden retriever. She is the fastest learner! She makes me laugh every day and reminds me to live in the moment. We are getting her a companion in the spring, so we will have two. Best decision I ever made!!

  28. THANK YOU! Hubby & I are getting a 12 week old Aussie in a couple of days. It’s a rescue situation but I did have a choice between male or female. Female is beautiful (same markings as your fur baby). We have a 10yr old black lab mix female… after reading this post I dang near had a break down… I instantly got on the phone & called owners… explained I couldn’t have 2 dominant females… long story short… I’m getting the male. Sadly I have no idea about this puppies parents. I got 7 out of 10 on your list from another post. We will be getting a invisible fence put in. My husband & I are both retired. I am looking forward to getting active with this puppy. Our lab gets jealous easy but we know how to handle her on that front. Off to read more of your great posts!

    1. I hope you have many wonderful years of enjoyment with your new Aussie. They are truly amazing dogs. But remember–socialize, socialize, socialize, and then some more. And train, train, train, and don’t stop. : )

  29. We will be getting our Aussie puppy on November 16th. We had a 14 1/2 year old Samoyed who we had to put down several weeks ago.

    Our Bengal cat and our dog were the best of friends. I know that this breed is high energy and needs a lot of exercise. That is why we chose her. My husband is a young retiree who needs companionship as well, while I work full-time.

    Our cat has never been aggressive. He has no aversion to dogs in general. He gets much more upset if another cat invades his space.

    Can you give us any advise to help the introduction of our 6 year old cat to our new pup?

    Thank you,

    1. Ruth, this post may help. Even though it’s from the point of a new kitten to an older dog, this should give you the gist of steps for introduction.

      Main thing is to keep initial introductions brief. And to keep the puppy on a leash with plenty of escape routes for your cat.

      Good news is that you have a cat that has felt positive about dogs, and your puppy is young enough to learn to like cats.

      We have 2 dogs and a cat and all three are inseparable. I’m sure you can make the magic work again for your guys too. It’s not that unusual.

    2. Hi Karen,
      I recently got a now 4 month old Aussie x cavalier mix, on an impulse buy. I thought I was ready for a dog. I was ready to put in the time and work with a puppy since I had spare time at this point of my ljfe. I signed him up for puppy training courses, puppy play dates, and a hired a dog walker, yet he still has so much energy at 4 months old that often leaves me exhausted. We’ve come a long way with training inside my apartment and sort of have our style communicating. But I find myself getting frustrated over the little things like chewing chords, nipping at my legs, taking my clothes from the ground, etc. I thought I had patience, resilience but I’m not sure how long I can keep up with this. He’s a sweet puppy, VERY playful and I’m not sure what to feel as I keep having ups and downs about him.

      1. Hi Michelle, All puppies are energetic, but any Aussie mix will be even more so. Add in typical puppy behaviors with typical Aussie puppy behaviors and you have your hands full. For at least 1 1/2 years. That’s roughly how long the puppy stage lasts. And Aussie mixes stay very active for several years, needing consistent exercise to keep them out of trouble. As the saying goes, a good dog is a tired dog.

        When indoors, the key with any puppy is to have enough highly valued play toys (stuffed kongs are always great) and the patience to train away from behaviors you don’t want to replace them with behaviors you do want.

        A good book to help with this is “The Puppy Primer”

        Also Suzanne Clothier’s website is a fountain of fantastic information:

        As you’ve been very honest in sharing about the impulse buy and your mixed feelings, you deserve straight honesty back.

        The most important question to ask yourself is are you truly in love with your puppy and even though it’s really difficult right now, you can’t imagine life without him, or are you just enduring every day?

        If I am reading between the lines, it sounds as though you may be thinking about rehoming your puppy.

        If that’s the case, I think if you are able to do your due diligence and really take the time to find your puppy a great home with people who are ready, willing, and able to provide him with the consistency and permanency he’ll need to be a great dog, then that may be a good choice for both of you.

        If this is the route you decide to take, I can’t stress how important it is to find a home that can make the commitment to keep this dog forever because Aussie mixes (and really no dogs) do well getting bounced around to multiple homes. That’s a recipe for winding up in a shelter and most likely incredibly neurotic and eventually dead.

        What your puppy needs is a home with a fenced yard, a family (without small children) who is familiar with Aussie traits, and possibly already as a small to medium-sized dog, and ideally someone who is home most or all of the day.

        Wishing you great good luck.

  30. Hi

    We got a beautiful Aussie about 3 weeks ago. He is very smart and overall a great dog. He is pretty good with our 4 year old, has really reduced the jumping and nipping with him and he is totally submissive to my husband, plays with him without biting, gives him love and will lay there while he lets him. With me, it’s a bit of a different story. I am the primary person to feed him, take him out to go to the bathroom (including middle of the night) etc, but he is showing dominant behaviors towards me. Jumping, biting, herding me. If I try and be dominant like my husband he becomes more aggressive with me. Obviously I need to figure out our relationship and how to get him to see me as the leader as well as my husband but looking for ideas, not sure what I am doing is working?? Or maybe it will take a bit more time with us?

    1. Jaimie, kudos to you for wanting to get any issues that pop up straightened out. I recommend you ask a good positive trainer to come to your home to watch your interactions with your Aussie. You may be giving mixed signals in voice tone and body language, which may be contributing to your Aussie’s response. A trainer can very quickly get you on the right track.

      Good luck! And I always love hearing from such dedicated, thoughtful Aussie owners.

    2. Jumping and biting are not dominant behaviours in a puppy. It just means he hasn’t been trained not to jump, and even possibly been encouraged to do so by your body language or otherwise, while biting is typical for a puppy, specially if he’s teething. Just train and redirect to a toy or remove yourself from the situation for him to get that biting equals to the fun stopping (ie. you leaving). Perhaps your husband is firmer in his training, but the point is not to intimidate your puppy, that doesn’t really help long term training, it just teaches your puppy to fear you or not be confortable around you. It doesn’t mean he won’t misbehave when you’re not there.

      Contact a positive trainer for proper guidance.

  31. Hi, I have acquired a 3 year old female Aussie. I got her from a lady that had gotten her for her elderly mother (i have no idea why ahe thought that was a good idea) but needless to say she didnt have much training or socialization when we got her.I have worked with her a lot and ahe has become a great family sog. She gets along with or 3.5 poind yorkiepoo and our cat even if she gets jealous of someone getting pet other than her. The one thing that I was hoping was to play frisbee with her. She wants absolutely nothing to do with frisbee or fetch in general. Ive tried for months and ahe having none of it. Any other suggestions on activities we can do together that can work her out physically and mentally than just taking her on my runs with me?

    1. Hey Matt, Yeah my Aussie also had zero interest in retrieving games. Because Aussies like using their brains, try teaching her tricks. Even better, if you have the time you can try her at agility or herding. Aussies tend to excel at both.

  32. we are currently re homing our Border/Aussie, we have had her since 8 weeks. She is from strong working lines, we have taken her to puppy class and have her working with a trainer 2 days a week. She has also spent several weekends and one week with our trainer over the summer. We have brought in a behaviorist she has been resource guarding her food and bed. We have a 3 year old and 10 year old, she has bitten my 3 year old a few times.She is high anxiety and we have been working on letting her chill in the house.

    We love her and I do everything to try and stimulate her, but just don’t have the time as I have small children. She bit me recently in the truck while we were driving, it wasn’t resource guarding as she tried to warn me 2 more time that same day.

    We are giving her to our trainer who works at an amazing facility for agility, disc, sent training,basic obediance etc…we know she will find her a great new owner who can train her and keep her stimulated in the way she

    Your write up is very accurate and I hope more people who read it really consider the dedication it takes for such a smart dog!

    1. Sue, I’m sorry to hear of your circumstances. And bravo to you for trying to do what you could to make it work. I couldn’t agree more that she is not the right dog for your family circumstances.

  33. Loved reading your responses and having had 2 aussies, 1 male 1/2 aussie /1/2 border collie (long passed) and a female ‘purebred'(passed of lymphoma 6 years ago), their personalities were THE best…but not for everyone! I’m dying to get my third one but until my older chow/rottie mixes cross over the rainbow bridge it wouldn’t be fair to anyone. The female mix and my aussie were complete opposite very primitive wanting to chase and kill while the other wanted to herd and protect…the ‘spats’ were damaging and a nightmare to live with. The aussie loved our cats and they played nonstop some days. I’ve always had at least two dogs but this round have to wait. That said, I’ve been talking to a couple breeders and am concerned they’re just glorified puppy mills since they get rid of the dams after a few litters and have continuous marketing. The other places on line look like ‘amish’ puppy mills with loads of very cute photos. Do you have a suggestion for a current reputable network that is breed not greed driven?

    1. I can totally relate to the 2 female alpha spats. So difficult… And I applaud your decision to wait for the sake of your older chow/rottie.

      I don’t know where you’re from, or how far you’re willing to travel, but I can highly recommend the breeder I got Kiera from. Georjean Hertzwig and Gefion Hall Aussies. This is a breeder who thinks generations ahead to make sure the mental and physical health of her dogs remain solid. Here’s her website:

      If she doesn’t have any puppies when you’re ready to look, I would trust her recommendation for other breeders who might.

      Best of luck to you!

  34. omment: I am currently looking to get a third dog. I have read your article and I would like your opinion. I currently have two Brittanys. My female is 2 1/2 and the male is 1 year old. They are great together they can get a little much with each other but they settle down when I tell them enough. My male is odd around other dogs at times. He does like other dogs running up to me all crazy but does well with puppies when they run next to him. He isn’t into playing much except for his sister and my brothers dog. He backs down from other dogs that challenge him and is passive. He doesn’t like violence neither does my female. My female is highly submissive and has never had a problem with other dogs. I have considered the financial addition and I am ok with that. We have a house with a backyard. I work three days a week at night and have a dog walker while I am sleeping during the day. Both of my dogs are highly trained I just can’t let my male off lead in the woods due to his strong hunting instinct, but Molly is great and stays right with us. I am the alpha in the house hold, while my husband isn’t as strong with training. We are currently looking to add an Australian Shepherd to switch it up. I love Brittany but I always wanted a Aussie. I have researched them for a long time and I feel a female would fix into our active lifestyle. I look forward to hearing from you .

    1. The main thing with Aussies, that is always worth repeating, is that they need intensive socialization. Sounds like you already understand the value of a well-trained dog.

      And making the switch from a hunting dog to a herding dog is like night and day. Their drives and instincts are very different.

      But I believe that you have done your due diligence with your homework and if you still want an Aussie, I would actually recommend that you go with a male. Less likely to have any issues with dominance. If you absolutely only want a female, make sure you speak with the breeder to avoid alpha females.

      Good luck!

  35. >While exercise is important for a healthy Aussie, a job is mandatory for a happy Aussie. These dogs live to work.

    That just shows how smart these dogs are. It takes a certain level of intelligence to not be content with simply lounging around doing nothing all day.

  36. Hi Karen, I adopted a 13 year old mini Aussie about three months ago. I know the breed fairly well as i owned two some 30 years ago. That is why I chose to adopt an older Aussie. Kaya is a smart little cookie and seems to have been well taken care of. She is ball obsessed and I’ve had to slow down her fetching given her age and wear and tear on her legs and joints. I’m trying to work with her and hide the ball and have her find it as opposed to running after it, and that’s working well. I still play fetch with her but shorter times, as it seems to be what she so enjoys. Of course when you’re obsessed it’s probably not really a joy, it’s an obsession! The biggest problem I have is that she won’t let me touch her paws or feet. She also won’t let me look at her teeth. She goes to nip when I do try. I’ve been working with massaging her and slowly working my way to her feet, and it’s a very slow process and I’m not getting to far along. And she had a sore on one leg and there was NO way I could even look to see how bad it was or to clean it. She’s getting better at letting me get closer to her mouth and I’m hoping on her six month vet visit she will let the vet take a peek at her teeth. Any suggestions to help me along with this or is it possible I might need to look into using a muzzle? Right now if something happened to her, she wouldn’t let me get close to her. She had a vestibular episode a few weeks ago and would not let me come close to her, it was so scary. It all worked out ok, but I was concerned about if something else happens and she wouldn’t let me even pick her up to take to the vets, what do I do? This worries me. Other than those two issues (teeth and paws) she’s a gem. We walk daily and I’m home full time, so we are outside quite often keeping each other busy. She knows basic commands and I have no other worries. We are both establishing trust and I just wonder if over time she will let me touch her feet/paws and trust me. Is it just too soon or will this be a forever problem? Thanks for any insights.

    1. Teresa, kudos to you for taking in an old dog. And I have to laugh because people who’ve never owned Aussies wouldn’t get that a 13-yo still wants to run like a 3 yo! They never slow down completely.

      Three months is not a long time for Kaya to be with you. So, yes, it’s too soon. And some dogs just hate having their feet touched. I have 2 at the moment with that issue. What’s worked for me is to use a distraction. If I coat a spoon with peanut butter and let them lick that, I can clip their nails. Otherwise, forget it.

      I would start slowly and let her lick a spoon with whatever treat she prizes and then gently pet her leg down to her foot. Just once for the first time, and let her finish licking. Do that for a few days in a row. Then if she seems ok, move to stroking twice, and so on and so on.

      So you’re essentially looking at building trust and desensitizing both at the same time. Once paws are okay, move on to teeth. At her age, anything more could overwhelm her.

      Good luck!

      1. Thank you Karen for your response. And yes, it seems most folks don’t realize the intricacies of the Aussie breed. The NW Mini Aussie Rescue is where I adopted Kaya and she told me that most folks want an Aussie because they are so beautiful and they disregard the work it takes to truly be true to the Aussie’s nature. It’s sad. She was saying the Toy and Teacup (which I didn’t even know were being bred now) Aussies are showing up in rescues sites, etc. because folks think it’s a lap dog not realizing there are still herding instincts in these little creatures. Anyway, I will try the peanut butter piece to see if that might help me along too. She’s come a long way even in the three months, it’s wonderful to see her build more trust in me. This is my first dog that I’ve had that I am home with 24/7 and I was wondering do most Aussies constantly watch your every move and follow your every move? Or is this just her getting acquainted still. She truly “watches”, not just follows. She is just an inquisitive little beast. Which makes her SO aware of everything. She is fearful of loud noises too, July 4th was a nightmare for both of us, so glad that’s over. And yes, you are so correct about staying young forever, she is still quite active physically and mentally and I keep trying to come up with new games we can engage in. Again, thank you for your response, it’s nice to hear from someone so familiar with the breed.

        1. Yes, it is normal for Aussies to constantly watch your every move. And to want to be where you are. They aren’t called “velcro dogs” for nuthin! :)
          Hope you get to enjoy your girl for a few more years. She’s lucky to have you.

  37. Thank you for your articles. I am enjoying reading more about the breed and hearing all of the personal stories. My husband and I researched the breeds we were interested in, and felt that the Mini Australian Shepherd would be a good fit with our active family. We have chosen two sister Mini Australian Shepherds that will be 8 weeks old when we bring them home. We plan to have our two boys each be the primary person to each dog. My husband and I plan to also split up and each work with a dog and boy to make sure that the dogs are properly socialized and trained from the beginning. We have found a breeder that has socialized this litter with 3 toddlers, and the parents are the most calm, mellow and sweet Mini Aussies that I have ever met. Not an anxious or overly protective bone in their bodies – even the nursing mother.

    We have a large, fenced yard and a park around the corner. In addition to obedience training, in order to help satisfy their need to work, we would like to find a ‘job’ for each pup. It sounds like being a frisbee dog or going through agility training could be enough. I work entirely from home, and with a few exceptions can be at home all day until my kids get home from school.

    My question to you really has more to do with the two puppies at once and our plan to train them. Does the way that I’ve (tried!) to explain seem like a good plan? Meaning, my husband and oldest son take one pup as their primary responsibility and my younger son and I take the other? Since I am home with them during the day, will that time with them override our desire to have each boy be their ‘primary’ human? Many sites give advice to keep the siblings separated in enough activities. They will be going on separate walks and training, but would you also recommend separate crates as pups? Or one to share to start then move into separate ones as they get bigger? We also have a 3 1/2 year old toddler, and I would like to try to do what I can to help her from being dominated by the dogs. Any advice there?

    Thank you!

    1. Karla, I’m going to throw a wedge in your plans, so get ready. Having lived through starting out with 2 sister Aussies before I knew better and being devastated by their sibling rivalry, I can’t believe this breeder is letting you get 2 female siblings the same age. This is a recipe for disaster.

      Maybe you’ll get lucky and things will go fine. But it’s way more likely that things won’t go fine, and you won’t believe the nightmare world you will enter. If you have not heard of this very well-documented problem, please google “female dog siblings fighting”. Even if they seem fine together now, at about 3 to 4 months, one or both will try to start asserting dominance over the other. Please don’t be naive and think this is something you would be able to fix. If they don’t wind up literally tearing each other to bits first, you’ll wind up having to rehome one of them.

      If there is any way that you can switch one of the females for a male, I strongly urge you to try to do that. Especially with a 3 1/2 yr old toddler in the house (which is a little too young to be able to handle having herding dogs around–aren’t you glad you asked? :) But I would be doing you a gross disservice if I didn’t warn you ahead of time. The best thing I can recommend is that you employ the services of a positive dog trainer familiar with Aussies to work with your family on how to help your dogs and your toddler be safe together.

      If you do go ahead with your plans for getting 2 from the same litter, hoping that one is a male, I agree that having each boy train their own dog separately is a good idea. I would also recommend you get separate crates for each from the start.

      Wishing you great good luck!

      1. Thanks for the advice! I will make sure we have a good trainer on hand from the start. I will talk to the breeder about a male. Thank you!

      2. Hi I’m trying to decide if i should get an australian shepherd or not because my whole family won’t be home for 8 hours for 5 days a week but when we are home we can definitely provide the llove exercise and mental simulation an aussie needs.

        1. Hi Renee– 8 hours/5 days a week is a long time for any dog breed to be alone, but especially so for an Aussie. There are a couple of factors to consider. I always ask people to try not going to the bathroom for an 8-hour stretch during the day, and almost everyone then understands how difficult and painful this becomes. Then think about that being just part of your life–everyday living in uncomfortable bladder pain. Secondly, that length of time for any dog to be alone leads to boredom, and for an Aussie boredom leads to trouble because they’ll find ways to entertain themselves that you may not be happy with. So the short answer is that this setup would not work well for an Aussie.

          Hopefully, you can find a more mellow breed and find a doggie daycare situation or get a dog walker to come at least once during the day.

          Best of luck!

    2. Hi Karen how you going I’m deciding if I should get an Australian Shepard puppy or not I’m very excited to get this puppy and want to be the best owner I can be the thing is I have a small yard and I work 8 hours 5 days a week I was wondering if you think it’d be a good idea to bring her to work with me I would also walk the dog twice a day and throw a frisbe or something for her thanks

      1. Bringing her to work would be a help. If you find that you can’t bring her to work, pass on Aussies. That’s too much alone-time for them.

        The most important thing you can do is to make sure you put in the time to really socialize her and to train her well. The payoff in benefits to you and your Aussie are huge.

        You also don’t mention whether you are a first-time dog owner or not. If you are, this isn’t the best breed to start with because of a learning curve with the intensity of the breed.

        I applaud your desire to be the best owner you can be. That’s exactly the attitude you need to build the bond that makes having a dog such a joy.
        Best of luck to you.

        1. thanks for your response another question I don’t kind of understand what you mean by giving him a job What can she do?

          1. Essentially anything the two of you actively do together qualifies as a job. One of Kiera’s favorite jobs was “taking me for a walk” every day. Literally, she would grab her leash and bring it to me at the usual time we walked every day. Because Aussies also need to be mentally stimulated, anything that requires thinking is good for them — Agility, herding, therapy dog, obedience training, etc. Teaching your Aussie tricks will even make them happy. They need a chance to work their minds as well as their bodies.

            I should add that just watching you constitutes a job for an Aussie. As herding dogs, they need to keep an eye on you to make sure you’re safe in their orbit. But long-term, this isn’t enough activity for them if their owner is a couch potato.

  38. Hi Karen! Thanks for the great post! I have been reading all about the puppy we are about to get and goodness there is tons of information!
    On June 9th we are picking up our Australian Shepherd/catahoula mix puppy, who will be 9 weeks old by then. I’ve read everything I could think of from training to types of food, etc. Originally my husband and I were looking for a labradoodle but came across this adorable little puppy and we decided to put a deposit on him.
    Now that I’m finding your site and it’s getting close to pick up, I am getting a little anxious/concerned that we’ve made the right choice (mostly because I think now I’ve read too much!)
    Most of what concerns me is the overprotective nature, and getting attached to one person as I want our dog to get along well with others, and other dogs as well and not freak out when people or other dogs come over.
    Another concern is that we are newly married, and don’t have kids yet, but plan to have them within the next 2 years or so, would this Aussie mix handle that well?
    We have a huge yard and a pool and we would be able to take him on walks and give him the exercise he needs, however what do you recommend for when he is home alone when we are at work? (Im usually gone mon-fri for about 6 hours, my husband’s schedule constantly changes)
    Because I would be the one probably spending more time with him, would that create attachment issues, where maybe he won’t listen to my husband or be too protective of me?
    We have 2 weeks before we pick him up, but since we only put a deposit on him, I want to make sure he is the right choice for a long-time family dog to grow with us before we actually pick him up and pay the rest.

    Truly appreciate any advice!!!

    1. Hi Nataly, I agree, this sounds like a very adorable puppy. But “adorable” is what lands many a dog in Rescue because “adorable” in this case doesn’t come close to trumping all the reasons why this breed combination is not a good fit for you.

      From the concerns you’ve expressed and for what you are hoping for in a family dog, this puppy is not it–not by a long shot. Both the Aussie and Catahoula are herding dogs (not good for small children at all without serious training and constant monitoring) and protective of their people. While they can be family dogs, both are inclined to get attached to one person. Neither would do particularly well with long stretches of time left alone.

      I’m going to strongly urge you to go back to your original plan and wait for a Labradoodle. You will be glad you did.

      1. Karen, thank you so much for your time and feedback. Thanks to your blog and response we decided to get more feedback and keep researching. I’m so glad I came across this blog! After you replied we randomly found out a friend has a catahoula who he described as the most wired and crazy dog he has ever had. Obviously that’s intimidating as first time dog owners. We decided to pass on the Aussie mix we had a deposit on, and keep searching for a dog that fits us and our lifestyle better. Thank you so much.

  39. Your blog is informative, interesting and appreciated. What I appreciate as well is I see you have been responding and helping folks for 11 years. Well done!

    I have owned English bulldogs for the last 25 years. I lost one of my best ones on his 7th birthday in February. The breed is a great loving breed but is riddled with health issues and for this reason my wife and I have decided to seek out a new breed.

    We are wanting a healthy, energetic, weather tolerant, smart, companion, fisherman, swimmer, and devoted dog that will be by our side and ready to go. The Aussie breed appears to be able to fulfill all these things and more. In addition my wife is retired and I have just retired as well. Our home is in desperate need of a dog as our hearts are still broken from the loss of our last one.

    We have found a very responsible breeder with great health records and proven pedigree and have selected our dog. Now we just have to just make the transition from a bull dog bus to an Aussie Porsche. We have the skill let’s just hope we have the matching stamina!

    1. Todd, thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated!

      Sorry for the recent loss of your wonderful companion. Going from a bus to a Porche will require a bit of a shift in your driving style, but I have no doubt that you’ll successfully make the adjustment.

      May you enjoy many fulfilling years with your new Aussie!

  40. Hi Karen! I found your blog while looking for something to help me re-train our three year old male Aussie. We have had him since he was 8 weeks old, and I think he was the runt of the litter. I do not have concerns about the breeders, they were very open and honest and asked all questions and still keep in touch and want updates.

    Our first Aussie was a rescue female. Bayley was 2 or 3 years old and pretty mellow and withdrawn at first. She blossomed into a great family pet and was not a barker nor did she have any anxiety issues. She lived with us for 15 years after we adopted her. My children (adults that they are) still lived at home due to college and were devastated and wanted another Aussie. So we now have Harley, our male.

    Harley is smart, very energetic and has anxiety issues. I am sure it is because we all loved and spoiled him during his formative years. He gets super excited when I come home. He is attached TO ME!! He gets wound up and anxious when other people come over, We did not leash train him as a puppy because we were so busy with life and school, but played with him all the time. When he gets loose, he runs. I believe he is from a working line, as Bayley was from a show line, as their coats and temperaments were so much different. wind this up….is there any way I can reverse this behavior in Harley? Get him to not bark at me when I do not play long enough with him, whine when he is done with his treat because he wants another one (and usually gets it) Get him to leash train easy, not get anxious around others and when he gets into the car. And is there a way to stop his barking at everything outside? HELP! We adore him and he adores us. He is super smart, attentive and alert. Mostly in the house with us instead of wanting to be out in our nice sized back yard. We have totally spoiled him and is our fault he is this way…so I need to fix it!!

    Thank you.

    Any suggestions you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Beth, yes there’s a lot you can do to help Harley but it requires time and consistency. Finding a good positive trainer to work with you is the first best step. Also you might find these books very helpful. When Pigs Fly and How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves

      I’m sure with a little effort you’ll have Harley moving in the right direction so you can enjoy him for 15 years too!

  41. Hi
    Ill bet my pup will be handful once i get him in June 2018.
    question, Can I make my aussie into service dog? He will be 4 months old by then.
    I love energetic dogs. They tend to be good helping me to exercise like jogging and fast pace walk and hiking.
    I am deaf , thats why i ask if i can make my aussie a service dog.i heard aussie can be helpful around house or maybe listening to doorbell if anyone rings it.
    sorry if my question sound stupid

    1. Hi Kathryn–Absolutely, Aussies can make wonderful service dogs. You would need to go through the training and get him certified, so that he can go everywhere with you. Best of luck!

  42. Steven van der Vegt

    Hi Karen,

    Your article and all the comments here are very helpfull to get a better perspective of what it’s like to have an Aussie as your dog companion. My girlfriend and I live in an appartment at the moment, but we’re planning on looking for our own house in the suburbs this year. And along with the house, we’d love to expand our family with a dog. And after a lot of reading into it, we’d love it to be an Aussie.

    I’d like to know if it would be good fit for the dog though, so I hope you can give me some advice. So let me tell you a little about ourselves and our situation. We’re both currently in our twenties, both animal lovers and we both like to be outdoors and active. Even more so, we think it would be great to have a dog that gives us a reason to be more outdoors and active. We’d prefer a dog that challenges us, not a dog that’s a couch potato. At the moment we have a cat, who is very social with people but doesn’t get along with other cats because he’s very dominant. He got along well with dogs so far, he mostly met huskies and a sarloos wolfdog. Ofcourse we hope these animals could become buddies. We have no kids yet nor or we planning them at the moment, but within a few years we do want to have kids. Next to that, we’re both active with making music and we both enjoy driving our motorbikes. I don’t know if that would be a problem with Aussies in some way.

    The biggest problems I see for us so far, are mainly two thing: 1. None of us previously owned our own dog (though we had ones in our families) which means no real previous experience, and 2. we both work fulltime.

    The first point is something I hope we can handle purely by putting our time into preparing for a dog like this. My girlfriend is the kind of person that would be happiest on a ranch, because she really loves all sorts of animals and spending time with them, and she’s really good with all of them so far. She also likes to help out at our local animal shelter. My main experience is managing four rather difficult shelter cats (including the one living with us now) into sweet buddies. I love animals as well and I’m quite determined when I put my mind to something.

    And regarding our working hours, I hope there’s a way we can find to manage this. If we find a house close enough to our work, one of us can go home for lunch and spend time with the dog. We also both have one work week consisting of 5 days, and the next consisting of 4. Now we spent one friday every two weeks off together, but we could change that so that one of us is always one day more at home every week, or I could work lesser hours each day and give up the bi-weekly off-day. Also, we’re looking for a home with enough backyard space and we’re willing to fence it, so the dog can spend time outside as well when we’re not home.

    The reason an Aussie interests us so much, is their personality, not just their looks. To us they seem like smart dogs, with their own personality, who are protective but also loyal and sweet. Dogs that like to go hiking or playing outside with us. A labrador or retriever might seem too laid back and lacking of own will for us, where a border collie or ACD might be a bit too challenging. I’m sorry for the long story, but I’d like to be informed well. Do you think an Aussie might be a good fit for us in the future, or maybe a mix-breed of an Aussie? I’d like to hear your what you think :)

    1. Hi Steven, I appreciate your thoughtfulness in making this decision. I wish everyone did as much thinking before they got a dog! I do have a couple of thoughts for you.

      There are a few points you outline that make me think you would do better cutting your teeth with a step down from an Aussie for your first dog. Then think about an Aussie as the next dog you take into your family, after you have a little more dog experience and you have your work lives more defined.

      I am always nervous when someone mentions that they are hoping their dog will give them a reason to get out more or be more active. The reality is that seldom works. Get more active first and sustain it for several months until it becomes a way of life, and then you are ready for a dog who is very active.

      Also that both you and your wife work full time is a concern. Aussies are called velcro dogs for a reason. They get very attached to their humans and unless they have another dog or people around, they will get bored and/or develop separation anxiety. Thinking that you can work out between you and your wife getting home at lunch is a testiment to your good intentions and concern for your dog. Again, you have to be careful of that life thing getting in the way of best intentions.

      What I ask anyone to do who works fulltime before they get a dog is to go 10 hours without going to the bathroom. And do that for several days in a row. Then you will know what you are unwittingly putting your dog through. A possible solution, if you were to put in a really secure fence in your backyard (Aussies are both climbers and diggers–a regular fence will not keep a determined Aussie contained), would be to put a dog door in your house so your dog can get out to relieve itself as needed. The possible downside of that is that Aussies can be barkers, and a bored dog can be a very barky dog. If you had neighbors, they wouldn’t appreciate that.

      And lastly, Aussies are very sound sensitive, so playing or working with loud music would be something you would have to introduce to your dog gradually to aclimate her. But it may always remain a problem for her.
      If you’re thinking of mixed, maybe an Aussie/Lab mix might be a good combo for you.

      Good luck with whatever you decide.

  43. Hi Karen,
    We are a family of six but our kids are starting to leave home. Our 17 year old plans to stay home another year for upgrading, our 15 year old has already left to play hockey, our 12 year old has Down syndrome, is non-verbal, and LOVES animals but is loud and sometimes unpredictable, and our 10 year old daughter would luv to do obedience classes with a dog but really just wants a snuggle buddy. We have been searching for a dog for sometime since our little “mutt” dog dived into traffic last fall. My husband works long hours and I work part time. I first became interested in an Aussie mix when my coworker raved about hers. Then I saw an ad about Aussiedoodles and their adeptness at being a great thereapy dog for people with special needs. That hooked me. We were on the wait list for one but it didn’t get a clean bill of health so we declined that pup. Now I’m not sure if that was a blessing or if we should still pursue the breed. I found a 3/4 Aussie/Poodle pup who is 6 months old and needs a new home on the same day that we got our deposit back. We have a 1/4 acre fenced yard with a lovely insulated dog house (from our old lab) but could I leave an Aussie in our house while I’m at work? I work 2-3 days a week and come home at lunch. My husband, reluctantly agrees to help me exercise the dog. I walk and jog but not on a regular basis so that is why I had to get him to agree to help with exercise. Although, I’ve tried to ignore my boys’ suggestions of “sick,”high, energy dogs because they’re leaving home, I still end up coming back to this one. What do you think?

    1. Hi Leila, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness as you go through the process of trying to find the best fit for your family. Good for you! And good for whatever dog joins your family. There are a couple of points you mention that may not work well with any kind of Aussie mix. That your 12 yr old sometimes can be unpredictable could be an issue for hyperalert and hyper-responsive Aussies. And your daughter is young enough that she and her friends still probably like to run around. Again, herding dog and running or any quick movements usually not a good combo. 1/4 acre yard is small for these high energy dogs if there is not some other guaranteed method of exercising. Aussies are also known for being velcro dogs–as in they really do best when they can be with their person a majority of the time. All of these could be overcome with expert and persistent training, and an exercise plan.

      From what you’ve told me, I would recommend that you look for a more low-key, low energy dog. Perhaps a labradoodle or a King Charles Cavalier Spanial? Though depending on your weather, these are not dogs that could live outdoors.

      Good luck with finding the perfect dog for your family!

  44. Hi Karen,
    Any advice for a Australian Shepard mini , 2 months old, breeder litter box trained her, never been outside. We are trying to crate train her, but she whines and barks, so we are puzzled on how to train. Seems like we can’t leave in crate. We take her out and spend 45 min waiting for her to do the deed , but comes inside and poops on the floor. We tried giving her praise and a treat when she pees outside, but still poos inside. How long does it take to crate train an Aussie shepherd mini, should we give in when she cries and whines, and should we be training her a different way? Help!

    1. Hi Tejal,
      Because she has essentially been trained to go in the house “litter box trained,” your challenge is to get her to learn to go outside. I would start by getting a litter box and moving it outside to see if you can get her to start going in that outside, to help her start transferring “inside” to “outside”. Once she gets that concept, then you can start putting the litter on the ground without the box. Then remove the litter.

      The other option is to create a chart with times of when she poops. Dogs are usually fairly regular. And then keep her out 15 min before her usual times, until she goes.

      Also, while you are training her, when you think she is close to going, keep her in a smaller area of a room (not the crate), like a sectioned off area of the kitchen, where you can watch her. As soon as she starts to squat, say a loud “Ut” for no, to interrupt her, quickly pick her up and get her outside, and then massively praise her for going outside.

      She should start getting it pretty quickly.

      Good luck!

  45. Hey there! I got a rescue Aussie Shep from a shelter. He is currently 4 months almost 5 months old but I am afraid of taking him to dog parks or other areas since he is not fully immunized with PARVO yet since he was a rescue, and has yet to get his RABIES until after he gets fixed by the end of the week. He is currently just at home for now, but I want to start socializing him, but until we get all his shots it is extremely hard to take him out places. We also don’t get a lot of visitors over to our home as we are still new to the area. Any suggestions on helping to socialize our pup?

    1. Pearl, even driving your pup to where he can see people bustling around is a start. You can have him on a leash with the door open and people will probably come over.

      Whatever friends you do have, get them over and have them move about so your pup can get used to quick movements without going into herding or nipping mode.

  46. Laurel Toukan

    Thanks so much for your informative blog and website about Aussie’s! I have a training question about something that I haven’t had to deal with before. I just got a 2-yr-old (or so) Aussie that was picked up as a stray. She’s a sweetheart but virtually untrained. I crate-trained our other Aussie for house-training (he just died last month at 14 1/2) but I had him from the start. I’ve tried my usual steps with Callie, i.e., taking her out 1st thing in the morning, a short time after she eats, and frequently during the day and have gotten to know my yard extremely well! The problem is, she doesn’t like to go potty while on the leash. She’s not had any peeing accidents inside, even though I leave her out of the crate most of the time when I’m home. At 1st I followed her pretty closely and now she follows me. :) Eventually she does pee on the leash outside and I’ve realized she can hold it a long time, so I’m taking her out a little less often for my own sanity. But she has had 2 incidents of pooping inside when she got upstairs past the barrier I had up. I’ve limited her to the main area of the house for now. I think the leash is the main issue because this morning I let her off the lease and she pretty quickly ran into the tall grass (we live in the country) and peed and pooped. However, I’m afraid to have her off-leash much outside because she isn’t well-trained yet and I’m not sure she wouldn’t run. And she’ll not come immediately when I call her so I don’t want to reinforce that behavior. Any suggestions??

    1. Laurel, your new girl sounds like a sweetheart.
      2 quick thoughts. Try to make sure she doesn’t have to hold it for “too” long before breaks–that sets her up for incontinence as she gets older. Think 4-5 hrs max.
      And 2nd, try a really long lead, like 20ft or so. Long enough for her to “sneak” off into the tall grass without feeling that she’s “pulling” on the leash, but still connected to you so she can’t run off.
      Good luck!

      1. Laurel Toukan

        Thanks so much for the suggestions! Is the 4 to 5 hours max for getting her out to potty including during the night?? She’s about 2 1/2.

        1. She should be able to make it through the night. But each dog is different. My BC can only make it about 6-7 hrs through the night. Our Cavelier could make it 8-9 hrs. My Aussie could make it 7-8 hrs. Keeping an eye on noticing if/when she gets restless at night should give you a clue as to what her max is for night time. : )

    2. Mario Williams

      Hi, I found your articles super informative and wanted to ask a couple questions.

      I am getting a Australian shepherd puppy at 8 weeks and I was wondering about if it would be ok to take him for walks after he has had his 8 week shots or should I stick with playing in the yard till he’s older. I know they have a lot of energy and I wanna make sure I keep him active and not bored. Also I planned on doing doggy daycare while I’m at work so that he’s not at home by himself all day.

      Any advice you have us much appreciated. Please and Thank you

      1. Hi Mario–to be safe wait until all puppy shots finished. Even more than exercise, they need and want your attention. Teaching tricks is a good way to train and keep your puppy interested and busy.

        If you’re working all day, then it’s great that you’re thinking you want your boy able to relieve himself during the day. No human can hold their pee for 8-10 hrs a day, and neither should dogs be asked to.

        Doggie Daycare can be great or not so great depending on the daycare setup. I’m sure you’re already checking reviews and investigating going to places. Make sure there aren’t too many dogs–that just creates an overwhelming situation for all the dogs. Dogs are social but as territorial pack animals, not as throw ’em all together and they’ll just sort it out and have a grand ol time. So fewer dogs are better. Check out if you haven’t already. There are people who just take a few dogs during the day–that may be better. Talk to trainers and vets to get recommendations.

        Wishing you good luck and many happy years together.

  47. Laurie Knowlton

    I own or should I say my Aussie owns me lol. Best decision I ever made was getting Kashmir he is a blue merle standard. He will be a year old the 7th of July. We play Frisbee, ball, tag, keep away. His job is on the semi truck, he’s herding cattle when we are at work calves to be exact little go go girls. The home time is very active, keeping him busy is the key to a happy healthy relationship with your Aussie. I feel like the luckiest Aussie owner ever, I’d never had one and he has done many things to help my health. At 54 I was suffering with high blood pressure but now it’s normal without medicine. When my companion Chihuahua passed away he sat with me giving me snuggles while I cried. The Aussie is very happy to conform to any situation but are not the type of dog to be tied up day after day. For walking I use a gentle leader and positive reinforcement for walking correctly. They are vocal dogs too, on Facebook there is a video of Kash saying hello. Yes I found my soulmate in Kash. He doesn’t know that hands can hurt him he only knows hands are full of love. I went to a dog park and watched Aussies in action and talked to their humans. Good luck if you decide on an Aussie.

      1. He is very much loved, my soul dog I’ll never get another breed im hooked. And trained, we both trained one another, he taught me patience and understanding and to be more active the rest was easy. I am in love with my boy. Silly maybe but I don’t owe anything to anyone so I give my all to Kashmir. Hope you can find a place in your heart for another buddy.

  48. Christy Berry

    Great read! We got our first Aussie 33 yrs ago before they were a papered breed. She was a blue Merle and of course at that time they were all working dogs. She was such a part of our family that when she left us after 17 yrs we couldn’t bear to get another.
    We tried a couple of blue heelers , also not dogs for everyone, charming dogs and smart but the dog human connection is not the same. When they passed my son bought a papered Aussie for us . A red tri- he’s what I call a mega Aussie he’s 80lbs and huge not fat. We have had him now for 6yrs. Just last yr we rescued a small Aussie pup that was begging on a movie set in downtown Atlanta . He went through 3 family’s who tried to keep him in crates like a city dog . We finally broke down and took him. He has been a challenge because they bond so completely to their families. He’s finally after a year connected with me and won’t leave my side. We named him Oliver Twist.

    Great dogs! Not for the timid owner or people who work all the time. Great with kids if raised around them.

    1. I feel the same way about my Kiera. She’s been gone 4 1/2 years, and I can’t bring myself to get another Aussi. I still miss her too much.
      Oliver Twist sounds like a perfect name for your new addition. How lucky for him that you finally broke down and took him! : )

  49. Hey, I truly love the Aussie breed and my family and I ( 4 of us ) ( 6 and 9 year olds) would love a companion to last us years to come. However I have one concern. My husband and I both work and we are gone from any where from 6-9 hours a day is there anyway we could make it work ? The dog would have to be left alone on our property witch is pretty big but there is a chance she could wonder off ( like our previous dog did ) should we consider a different breed if so what are your suggestions? As far as excersise she would get plenty after school and work.

    1. Hi Ariadna– Aussies are notorious escape artists. Unless your entire property has at least a six-foot fence with 2 feet buried in the ground, any Aussie would eventually find a way out. And if you don’t have a fence, absolutely any dog will wander off. Also given the fact that you and your husband are gone for much of the day, and your children are still on the younger side, you’d be better off staying away from Aussies. Any other more mellow breed could work for you. Labs are always a good option for a great family dog. But please consider fencing your yard, as there are just too many temptations that could lure your dog off your property.

  50. Hello,

    Thanks for the article! I have a quick-ish question-
    We (my husband and I) “adopted” our Aussie when she was 3yrs old (so now about 3 yrs ago). I say “adopted” because we got her from a known family who was moving into an apartment that didn’t allow dogs. Then, I couldn’t even get her to walk with me, she was VERY scared of pretty much everything-ears pinned back, eyes dilated, cowering body posture, the whole works. Since then, she’s come a very long way, but as you can imagine has a long ways to go still. She now wants to be with us, play with her toys, and has become best friends with our other dog who is just a couple years younger than her (we had our other one first and he has actually helped her out a lot, which is pretty cool).
    Now that she has come so far she’s starting to show her typical Aussie self. Super energetic (but will also conk out at the end of the day) eager to learn and explore the yard, wants to be with us, all of that fun stuff. However, she is having a really hard time with the socializing. I understand that their breed isn’t meant to be all lovey dovey with everyone they meet but if she’s in the house and it’s someone she doesn’t know (be it them visiting or people walking) she BARKS. Like not a woof here or a woof there, but more like crazy barking. Please keep in mind that she’s not an aggressive dog at all, in fact she’s the exact opposite. She wasn’t socialized really at all with her former family so we’ve been trying to work on that as well as really trying to build her confidence. We’ve gone through 3 levels of obedience with her (which has been great but she gets bored with the repetition obedience stuff). I think agility would be a little too stimulating for her at least for now because of the other students and such. As for herding, she was under the impression that it was okay to try and herd the kids in her previous family, which is not something that I am okay with.
    So-finally to my question-in your opinion and experience, do you think it would be okay to someday try out herding with her? Or do you think we should look for something different because she had 3 yrs of thinking it was acceptable to herd people? We’re so wanting to provide a good, stimulating outlet for her to really build up her confidence but don’t want to “feed the dragon” if you know what I mean.
    Thank you so much! I apologize for such a long post!!

    1. Hi Sam– it always thrills me to come across thoughtful, devoted dog people like you.

      My first thought is to find a positive trainer who has experience with clicker training to come and help you work with her with strange/new people entering the house.

      A quick tip that can help in the meantime. When someone comes in, make sure they have treats that they can throw for your girl when they come in. And as soon as they enter, they should stand sideways to your Aussie (not straight on) looking down (not at your dog). They should stand MOTIONLESS and not try to pet or move until your Aussie can sniff them if she needs to. Then, as soon as she takes a breathe and is not barking (even for a second) they should gently throw a treat for her. As soon as she stops barking again, they should throw another treat. They should not try to lure her to feed her, but throw food away where she can “safely” get it.

      Then they should take a couple of more steps further into the house. Rinse repeat.

      The idea is to move as slowly as she needs in order to feel okay.

      As for herding, I think it’s a blast. And no harm in trying her out on it to see if she might enjoy it. You can teach the difference between “okay to herd sheep” and “not okay to herd people”.

      Good luck. : )

  51. Sorry for the missing info!

    These two dogs are her first dogs she’s never had any dog experience before. She lives in a suburban home (detached house) but not a huge backyard and neighbours all around. The Maltese is a female the Golden a male. The new mini Aussie will be a male. She’s had zero experience with working breeds before and is convinced that they aren’t as hard as people say. She does take the other two dogs to obedience and social classes. She also is not fit and the Golden has taken a toll on her physically but she doesn’t think that the Aussie needs more than a couple walks a day! She also own 2 cats which she bought at the same time as well as has a husband who is against an Aussie and 3 kids who are in and out of the house at school who also don’t want one. She believes that when she’s too busy she can just take all the dogs to daycare and that’ll be good enough. I tried explaining that everyone needs to be on board with the training otherwise the dog will run the show.

    She wants the Aussie to be here therapy dog and is convinced that bringing it to work and leashing it away from customers will be good enough! Ummmmm….?!?!

    I know with my little man introducing strangers to him carefully and not making him feel overwhelmed was important! They need a ton of socialization but it’s also good to make it always a positive experience. My Aussie doesn’t love everyone but I know the cues well before and I always ensure no one just walks up to him and grabs him or touches him. I also live in the city and I’m aware of his needs.

    1. YIKES!!!! None of this bodes well… :(

      I suspect your friend is about to learn a very hard lesson that ignorance is not bliss, and hubris often has a way of biting you in the butt.

      1. ?? haha! I hope it works out but it’s so difficult raising one and my boyfriend has had experience with Aussies! I can’t imagine raising one along with two other younger dogs (no matter how mellow the other two are!)

        The “breeder” who breeds horses and isn’t a true miniature American sheperherd breeder “guaranteed” her that the Aussie she will get will be extremely calm and will definitely get along with other dogs and is absolutely ok for invididuals with ailments because her Aussies aren’t from any working lineage so they don’t get crazy or wild!!! I don’t know much about the lineage differences, I am doing a lot of research on it, but I can’t see the differences being that dramatic! Especially to guarantee it as a breeder seems extremely irresponsible!

  52. I have a question! Love the article! As I proud Aussie mom I know the effort it takes raising a well rounded well mannered Aussie.

    I have a friend who has a nine month old Golden and a 6 Month old Maltese. This person fell in love with my Aussie is just purchased a mini Aussie. I tried explaining the effort it takes in raising one and it isn’t an easy task and they are convinced I am over reacting and it’ll be a breeze like their other two dogs. They want an Aussie for the bond it creates and because they are cute….argggggg. I was just wondering if anyone has any experience in how the Aussie will do with the other two young dogs? Will it create a stronger bond to them since they are all very young? I can’t give advice to someone when it’s not wanted but I would love to know what others think! Am I just being a crazy Aussie mom??? They did say the breeder said it’s been bred with no herding lineage but that doesn’t mean they require less effort or a strong positive leader to guide them! Thoughts?!?

    1. Anne, you don’t mention your friend’s level of dog experience or whether (s)he’s had herding breeds before. Especially since Goldens and Malteses couldn’t be more at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of temperament. You also don’t mention what sexes any of the 3 dogs are, or what kind of outdoor space they have available to them.

      This would all be helpful to know in order to provide possibly helpful information. Without that info in hand, and looking at throwing 3 puppies together–this person might get lucky and they all could do great together, or this person could have a mess on their hands. Time will tell…

  53. Hello!

    Thanks for posting this wonderful information! So, here is the story of my furry companion Clover. Clover is a purebreed Aussie, but most definately comes from a working line (in other words, one someone else bought from someone who “had puppies). I consider her a rescue even though I had her since a puppy. It’s a long story but not an ideal situation regardless. She is smart and for the most part, the friendliest dog ever. But she has an incredibly high arousal point. We have done 2 basic obidence classes and i tried to do agility with her. The problem, she can’t sit, stay or focus and so we were limited on how far we can go in agility because she couldn’t follow basic commands when around other dogs. I want to keep her active, we do a lot of walks, frisbee and hikes as well as having lots of interactive toys. My struggle, I can’t get consistant training! We keep going forward and then backward when stimulation happens. I am concerned we won’t be able to do agility due to not being able to focus on the task at hand. I know Aussies need a job but I am struggling to find a good job for her. Any suggestions would be helpful! I am a pretty small person with a 55 lbs of crazy, hyperactive energy and when she goes into one of her “fits” I am afraid she is going to hurt me (she has body slammed me a few times, I am not sure if this is a play behavior or herding behavior).

    1. Liz, I think your best bet is to try to find a positive trainer who is intimately familiar with Aussies. Suzanne Clothier’s website and blog also has a lot of helpful information.

      You may be better off trying something like a sheepherding class, if there is one available around you. Usually those classes are one-on-one and you’d be dealing with less arousal from other dogs and people. That’s what I would up doing with my Kiera and we loved it. I had the same problem with agility being a little too stimulating.

      Good Luck!

  54. Hi, great and very informative article. I’ve been doing a lot of research and strongly considering an Aussie. I have an active lifestyle but also like to kick back and relax at times so Im wondering if they can just relax as well or if they are always amped up rearing to go?

    I plan to start looking into breeders and want to ask them questions to help me determine the best choice between those I speak with. What questions would you make sure to ask in order to learn the temperment/health of their litters is top notch?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Chris, yes, most Aussies (from non-working lines–and you should only get a puppy from non-working lines) can relax. They don’t need to be non-stop on the go. But they do definitely need a few times every day where they get to exercise their bodies and their minds. They would not do well days on end with little or no activity. The way I got around those times when I wasn’t able to get my aussie out every day for a good stretch was to have 2 dogs together so they could play and help exercise each other.
      As for questions:
      1. Any know health issues with the sire or dam.
      2. Any know issues with skin problems, hips or eye problems in their lines.
      3. Average lifespan of their dogs.
      3. Average energy level of their dogs.

      Good luck. Your thoughtfulness bodes well for you making a good choice, and if that choice does turn out to be an Aussie, plan on getting to experience the love of a lifetime. : )

  55. Fun article, thanks for posting. We’ve had our Aussie for 2 years now. He is totally and completely a part of our family. We always had Shelties before, but with 2 boys about to become teenagers we wanted a breed that was a little more robust and able to keep up on outdoor adventures. Boy did we get that!

    Scout’s job is frisbee. I live in Florida, so it’s usually too hot except for early morning and late in the evening. I usually take him to the park every evening right as the sun starts to go down. He can also tell time, and starting at about 6pm he is crawling in my lap or staring a hole in my head. It only takes about 15 minutes of frisbee to wear him down, but that is misleading, because that is 15 minutes of dead flat-out sprinting without pause. I throw it as far as I can, which is about 50 yards, and give him zero rest in between throws. He catches about 4 out of 5 throws in the air, usually with spectacular leaps. I stop when his tongue is hanging 6 inches out of his mouth. The look of bliss on that dog’s face on the truck ride back from the park is a sight to behold, and he is perfectly content for the rest of the night. My wife supplements with ball playing and a quick swim every morning.

    Overall this advice is excellent. Aussies are a wonderful breed, but their good looks are a side effect, not the reason to get one. You must understand you are getting an olympic athlete. They will thrive in rural areas, but you don’t need a farm. They will do perfectly fine in a suburban environment as long as they have a park where they can run off leash. IMO walks on leash are not enough. That is like test driving a Porsche in your driveway. You could even do well with an Aussie in an urban environment as long as you had access to a dedicated environment for frequent (daily) dog sports like frisbee, flyball, agility, etc.

    I cannot imagine crating one all day. They are so disciplined, focused, and willing to please that they will do it for you without complaint, but don’t fool yourself into thinking the dog is happy or content. They are cowboy dogs. We put up a few child gates to confine ours to the kitchen when we are gone, and that has been fine. Now that he is past 2 years old and done with the puppy gnawing phase we’ll probably give him free run of the house.

    One comment on the working vs show lines. Among the show lines there is a group who continue to breed for working attributes. Our breeder, for example, is clearly a show breeder, but lives on a farm, owns a flock of sheep, and puts her dogs through herding trials. I am not an expert but I will say that in our case, the result was nearly the perfect dog. He has the athleticism, work ethic, and enthusiasm of a working dog, but the demeanor of a show dog. Friendly to all animals and people, calm, and rarely barks unless something is seriously alarming to him. He will woof 2 or 3 times to get our attention, and then he’ll watch us and take his cues from our behavior.

    1. Ed, my first jump to Aussies was from a Sheltie too–and what a big jump that was, as you say. There are so many great lines in your post:

      “You must understand you are getting an Olympic athlete.”

      “IMO walks on lease are not enough. That is like test driving a Porsche in your driveway.”

      And very good point on working vs show, and the group with show lines that continue to breed for working attributes. That was Kiera, too. And I completely agree that for people like you and me, “the result was nearly the perfect dog.”

  56. Do you find a big difference in the temperment btw males and females? Do you find that they are incessant barkers? Is it possible to keep the shedding under control with something reasonable brushing like once a week?

    Thanks for the help. Great advice and helpful comments from all.

    1. Rich, it depends more on good breeding and where each dog falls in the pack hierarchy, more than on male/female. Though some people will tell you that neutered males are a little more laid back –that being a relative term with Aussies. Kiera was our alpha dog and she was an absolute sweetheart. One of the best dispositions of any dog I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with. But she was a herding dog through and through. She was always working to keep sudden movements under her control.

      She was not an incessant barker at all. But she would always let me know when anything entered the perimeter of our property that she thought deserved my attention. I usually agreed with her assessments. But I also put in a tremendous amount of time both socializing and training her. She thoroughly understood what I expected of her.

      If you brush once a week, you should be able to pretty much stay on top of the shedding. When they’re blowing coat (in active summer shedding mode), may need to brush more often.

  57. Hi. I recently (two weeks ago) adopted an Aussie mix and we have a pyrador mix too(he’s older). I was wondering if I should keep them away from each other since when they play, she (my Aussie- claire) sounds like she’s fighting with him. He doesn’t hurt her but she bites everyone now. I know she’s just teeething but it’s a bad habit. I also think he’s teaching her his bad habits. But that’s just me. No one else sees it. What should I do?

    1. Brittany, let me be very specific. GET HELP NOW! :)

      It doesn’t matter whether any one else sees a potential problem or not — you do! So get a good positive trainer who’s familiar with herding dogs (or someone who is very familiar and knowledgeable about Aussies) involved to help you evaluate and train ASAP.

      You will be very glad you did.

      Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

  58. Hi. My son just got a Rottweiler Australian Shepherd mix. The puppy is 3 months old. He is active and totally loves my son. After reading the posts I see how already he is Trevor’s dog. Guinness is smart, and eager to please. I have a larger dog who plays with him. Is it okay that they wrestle and roll and play? They run and chase one another and then when both are tired they have their nap. How can I be sure that playing with my dog will not cause Guinness to be aggressive. My dog is a beagle retriever mix and a gentle giant. He is also eager to please and very obedient. I have worked hard to train him and he responds amazingly. Boba is almost three years. He loves the little guy but I need to remind Boba to play gentle. Please let me know what I should be doing so that both dogs remain smart and not become aggressive. Guinness comes to my place during the day while me son is at work (better than being crated all day).

    1. Hi Peggy. If their play is mostly playing tag, involves no growling or snarling, and no one is yelping or getting hurt, and body posture is staying in play mode and not switching to “Ok now I’m ticked off and you’re going to get nailed mode” then I’d say they’re doing fine. But I would still monitor their play because of the size, age, and strength difference. A little bit of this will go a long way for Guinness.

      How lucky for Guinness that he has you for a babysitter. So much nicer than a crate! : )

  59. I have been researching Aussies for over a year now. I have found a breeder I feel comfortable with who luckily only lives 45 mins away. I will be doing competitive sports with my Aussie plus lots of long walks, hiking, lots of outings together and an occasional horseback riding adventure. I work 7 mins from my home. I would come home for lunch everyday. My hours are varied with 2 days off a week sometimes in a row. I have a pretty big yard with 6ft privacy and chain link plus a pool. My friend also owns her own dog training facility where I sometimes work. He will have lots and lots of socialization. We have 3 great fenced dog parks in my area too. My worry is my time at work. He will bed to be crated in his own room until trusted loose. Will this be enough exercise and mental stimulation for him?



    1. Angie, in many ways you sound like the perfect Aussie person. But you’re right to be concerned about the long hours at work where you’ll need to crate your pup. Maybe you’ll get a low key Aussie that can handle that amount of crating. But if you get a typical Aussie, that could lead to some neurotic behaviors. Do you have any friends who could pop in to take your Aussie for walks while you’re at work?

      Good luck!

  60. Mia Caspersonn

    My mum says I can hve a dog. My favourite one by far is an Australian shepherd and I have read all the interesting information you have given me. I think I need a dog from a non-working line and possibly an aussie or a boarder collie cross. I don’t want a small yappy dog or a labrodor but I want a faithful and moderate dog, that is always happy to be with me. Can you think of any others?

    1. Mia, you sound like a very smart, balanced girl! I can see why your mother would trust you with the huge responsibility of dog rearing.

      You don’t mention how much indoor or outdoor space you have, or how many other people are in your family, or how many hours a day your dog will be spending alone because family members are at school or work. All of that should also be factored in selecting a dog.

      Yes, an Aussie mix can be very nice, if you can find one. This is one of those instances though, where I would not recommend getting a dog from a shelter or rescue (unless someone really knowledgable and skilled is available to help you evaluate temperament), because the first several months of life really set up the quality of life you’re going to have with your dog–so you really don’t want to miss out on that.

      I personally also really like Goldendoodles. The mix often gives a gentle, smart disposition, and moderate need for exercise and grooming.

      Good luck, and let me know what you finally get!

  61. I loved your post and all the comments. We’ve had an Aussie lab cross now for about 3 months. We rescued him from an animal sanctuary (although his previous owner was really loving – he had to go back to Australia and couldn’t afford to take his dogs, so sad). He’s about 6 and is the most beautiful character. We have three small children, noisy boys at that, and the first time he met us he sat with us, enjoying our cuddles and comPletely ignoring the children who were running round him noisily!
    I’d reccommend Aussie lab crosses!


  62. We got an Australian Shepherd/Lab mix puppy 2 days ago. We adopted her from a lady that was giving them away at the gas station because she “couldn’t take care of them.” We took her to the veterinarian the very next day and she has sarcoptic mange and worms. The vet said that during the next few weeks she can play with our two other dogs, but that they can not lay down together or have prolonged physical contact because this type of mange is contagious. So for now she is having to spend some time alone, but is able to socialize with our other 2 dogs frequently throughout the day. Is this going to be adequate for the next few weeks until she is no longer contagious? We love our little Lola!!! Neither of us have had an Australian Shepherd before, but she is so sweet and loving! Our yorkie loves her and Lola is smitten with our chihuahua (who acts totally annoyed with all of us). Her personality is so sweet! I know all the dogs want to be together more right now, but the vet stressed the importance of not letting them have prolonged physical contact to keep them all healthy for now. Do you think this will be okay for Lola, socialization wise? Is there anything supplemental we can do in the meantime? Also, where she we begin in terms of training?

    1. Courtney, I hate hearing stories like this– irresponsible people breeding or allowing their dogs to breed, and then looking for somewhere to dump them. How great for your new puppy that you were driving by that day!

      Yes, the sarcoptic mange trumps worrying about perfectly socializing your puppy with your dogs. I’d go with whatever time frame your vet was comfortable with.

      You don’t mention how old your Lola is, so I don’t have a reference to be able to suggest other age-appropriate activities or training you can do with her, except to say that Aussies are so darn smart, that you can start training her at home immediately to build obedience. To great books to start with are Click for Success and Positive Training.

      As soon as Lola is healthy, puppy obedience class and walks around town to introduce her to new sights and sounds would be great.

      Good Luck!

  63. Thank you for this informative post.

    Aussie’s are great dogs. Our boy Gibson is the best dog in the world and would love to meet and play with your sweet girl Kiera.

    He likes to take care of us and his brother Victor the cat. He’s always ready to play and run, but most of all, he’s always ready to please. His intellect is very high and when you speak to him, he listens intently and you can see him thinking about what you’re saying. He’ll always let me know when he needs something and wants to go outside etc.

    He has trained me just as much as I’ve trained him, but there is no doubt in either of our minds who the leader is. He has never had any formal training but he instinctively picks up commands and is always eager to obey.

    To put it simply…. he is the light of out life and we love him very much.


    1. Mark, you sound like you’ve been totally smitten by the Aussie bug! They truly are incredible dogs and I’m happy that your guy has a person who is so able to appreciate and love him!

  64. My daughter brought home a 2 month old aussie pup. I had never had one or didn’t know anything about the breed. I have 2 dogs that got along great and just need affection and some backyard time and they are fine. I have some major medical challenges and am trying to make this work with the new pup. He ,as everyone says is super smart but I’m just not sure I can provide what he needs in energy. We are working with a trainer and he knows tons of stuff. But his energy is killing me! I can only walk him every other day for about 20 mins. I try to play with him in the back yard but he will only chase a ball a couple times or I play soccer and he will only do that for a bit too. I know he is young and we already love each other but my question is will his energy likely be controllable? Can I make it work with backyard time and games or will he and I be unhappy? He is in a pen most of the day per the trainer because he is so out of control if he’s out. He has toys all over the floor but only chews on furniture, me, and rugs. He bites my legs constantly even though I doing everything the trainer says! It would kill me to give him up, is this just a typical puppy stage for the aussie.I have had other puppies and they were not like him. I don’t want him to be unhappy if I can’t give him what he needs:( What do you think??? Thanks very much!!!! Stacie

    1. Stacie, first, let me say that all of the behavior you are describing is pretty normal for an understimulated Aussie pup. I’m not sure keeping him penned is going to help anything and not sure why the trainer recommended this for most of the day. Aussies need exercise, they need to use their minds, and they need to be with their people in order not to become neurotic and/or destructive.

      Do you know if your daughter get your Aussie from a breeder? If so, that breeder will be a great resource for you. First question I would ask (if there is a breeder to ask) is how their dogs age — do they mellow, do they stay really active? Most dogs do calm down as they grow into themselves but that can take a couple of years. If you don’t know where your puppy came from, then I wouldn’t assume that he’s going to mellow all that much. A little bit, for sure. But Aussies are typically high energy dogs.

      With your medical issues, you may be facing a tough decision in figuring out what’s best for both of you. It sounds as though you are trying to do the best you can, given your circumstances. And if that isn’t working, as hard as it may be, it may be that the best thing you can do is to try to find the right home to help this puppy achieve his full potential.

      If you absolutely feel you can’t part with him, then I would suggest that you try to find a jogger willing to run with your puppy to help him get energy ( not more than a mile at this age) or find a 4-H kid who would be interested in training your dog for agility. Essentially, there are lots of people who love dogs who can’t have one, who would be delighted to help you out. Ask trainers, vets, 4-H groups, girlscouts, boyscouts, etc. if they know anyone. You’ll find someone who will be able to pitch in.

      Good luck and keep me posted.

  65. Hello! I found this very informative!! But I am left with a few questions.. you see I read this article a little late & already have a 3 month of tri colored Aussie named Larkin. She is incredibly smart & learns so incredibly fast! My concern is that I think she may be from the working lines as you mentioned above.. she has very strong herding instincts (she herds my mom’s huskies around as well as some of her playmates that is once she gets to know them) Also she is VERY strong minded!! VERY!! When she is trying to herd my mom’s dogs & they don’t listen or try to fight back she let’s them have it! & she is only 3 months!! Also her fur isnt as fluffy as some of the other aussie’s & I have been told that she has a “working coat”. So adding all this up I now believe that she must be from a working line.. so here’s my question.. NOW WHAT?? how do i work with my working line Aussie? Do you know where I can find some good info or do you have any tips for me? If so i would very much be in debt to you because this little girl is definitely a handful!

    1. Hi Laura,

      My sympathies :) Having a working dog is like having Ferarri. Sounds like fun in theory, but hard to handle in reality. So, yes, you’ve got a really high performance machine that’s easy to spin out of control if you’re not super vigilant in handling.

      I would recommend you get in touch with your local chapter of the Australian Shepherd Club of America and find out who they recommend for training. You really need to be working with a trainer who specializes in herding dogs. Better yet, consider finding someone who can help you train your dog on sheep, and get into sheep herding. It’s really fun, and Larkin will love you for it.

      The main thing, which it sounds as though you’ve already figured out, is that you need to find the right trainer to help you work with your girl ASAP. If you learn how to handle her strong-mindedness now, you’ll get to enjoy one of the most incredible dogs you’ll ever own.

  66. Hi and I hope someone can help me with Ellie. My son picked her up off the road about 3 weeks ago. As my sister had australian sheps, I believe that is what Ellie is. When I ran the found ad I listed her as such. Now I wonder if she is a Border Collie. I’m struggling with the difference in physical characteristics. She is Blue Merle, her tail is not docked, love her one ear cocked -up, long coat. As for social, well she was lethargic initially, but with alot of love and food and 5 other rescues, she has come around to being very lovable.. My son said it appeared she walked into the middle of a highway and laid down to die. sigh…. We resuce the worst of the abused and neglected and permanently injured, so she fights in just fine here.

    The first week she didn’t bark at all. We removed numberous burrs and about 50 ticks from her. I could use some insight on getting the badly matted undercoat under control. We used tail and mane conditioner on her and trim as close to the skin as we can on the worst of the knots. Along way to go….
    She protects the food bowl, hunches down and herds the Plott hound (who suffers from attention deficit disorder and is very vocal). I love the way she is perking up. She has a vet appt. next week for shots and a physical.

    Any insights, comments would help.

    1. Hi Laurel,
      It can be tricky to pick out the differences between Border Collies and Aussies. Especially when there is a tail. But I would have to say that I would look at the bone structure. Aussies tend to be a bit heavier boned than Border Collies. They also have what I would consider to be a heavier undercoat. Since you describe the matted undercoat, I would be inclined to go with an Aussie. But then you say she hunches down when she herds your Plott hound which is more Border Collie herding style… I’d be interested in hearing what your vet thinks.

      It also sounds like she has a little bit of resource guarding going on with her food bowl — to be expected if she was abandoned — and usually easy to fix with some good training. How lucky for her that you found her! Here’s hoping she gets to have a long and happy life with you.

  67. Hello my name is shannon! i have been wanting oe of these dogs forever! i have a couple of questions!
    -Are these outside or inside dogs?
    -Do you get there tail clipped?
    -Are they usally a pet you want to take every where with you!
    THANKS- shannon

    1. Hi Shannon,
      Great questions! These are dogs who want to be wherever you are. Think of them as your partner, who has no interest in working or living without you. So I guess the answer is that they are both outside and inside dogs. That being said, they would not do well as solely inside dogs because they need a lot of daily exercise. Their tails are clipped by the breeders a few days after they’re born. I wish this wasn’t done because it’s not necessary, and I consider it cruel and unnecessary deformation. But if you talk to a breeder, they’ll say that’s the breed standard. YES! With good training and socialization, they are definitely a dog you’ll want to take with you everywhere!
      Thanks for visiting and let me know if you find a Aussie with whom to share your life.

  68. well… my wife got a pup, the owner said it was lab husky mix. ha, i knew he was an aussie/? mix. he is super smart and energetic. luckily i just got out of the army and i can train him, but he is HARD to socialize. he is just 3 months, and he is house broken, can sit, stay, lay down, leads ok, and shake. this is after having him for 3 weeks! he is a handful, and we live in d.c. in an apt., but i still think he’ll be the best dog i’ve ever owned.(but i think our well herded cat thinks otherwise.)

    Cliff, I can relate. LOL. Best of luck! And I’m betting that he will wind up to be one of the best dogs you’ve ever owned. Eventually, even your cat will agree.  :)

  69. This was so informative for me.
    My husband and I have “adopted” an aussie from my son, who is in college. He didn’t do any research before getting the dog and he lives in a one-bedroom apt. About 9 mos into the dogs’ life, my son couldn’t handle him. AND~ he was not socialized. I don’t know why he took up with my husband and me, but he did.
    Fortunately, we live in the country with lots of land, and he’s thriving. He looks more like a border collie, tho, except for the bobbed tail.
    Thanks for an informative site~


  70. We’re on our 3rd Aussie…they’re so fun. But you’re absolutely right, they can be a handful. In the future, if I get another dog (always a temptation) I would get a mixed breed. We used to have an Aussie/yellow lab mix, and she was wonderful. Smart, easy to train, mellow and cooperative.

    We ended up with purebred Aussie’s after that because we saw an ad for a litter and couldn’t resist. They are challenging though. They can be so rascally and I swear they’re laughing half time when you try and train them. Luckily I enjoy a good sense of humor.

    We live in a rural environment, and I think having one in the city would be really hard. Right now we go for long hikes and throw a frisbee for her about 1000 times a day, and that’s barely enough exercise to satisfy her. But what a personality! Mooka, our current Aussie, was the mellowest one of her litter, and that has been a godsend. I’ll look for that quality in puppies in the future. Thanks for the great post!

  71. Blaine Moore (First Time Home Owner)

    I love Aussies as a breed; my uncle had one. However, I know that I don’t have the time to devote to properly train a puppy right now, so I am waiting for a few years before we get one. Once my wife is out of law school and I have (hopefully) begun working from home, we are planning on getting one.

    Thanks for the great tips; I had gleaned a lot of this out of my uncle (hence waiting and not having a dog yet) but its nice to see more specifics.

  72. Ha ha I was just about to say that you could switch BooBoo for Aussie Shepherd in this post :) but I see the other border collie people felt the same way.

  73. LOL! Yeah, I didn’t even bother getting into the “minor details” like being part goat and eating anything and everything under the sun.

    And, I have to agree with you, a good rottie has a wonderful disposition. I know some really great ones.

  74. Jessica The Rock Chick

    I rescued my dog, Book ‘Em (all my animals get police related names) from a shelter and they thought he was a rottweiler mix. I love rottweilers (when they’re trained and taken care of correctly) and this one had the sweetest face and disposition so I took him home. He didn’t look real “rottie” to me. When I took him to the vet, he said that the dog, in his opinion, is an Australian Shepard mix.

    He is so smart. I just love him…..the only problem I have despite all my training is he will eat anything. Bees, flowers, plastic wrappers…if it’s there, he will eat it. I told the vet I think he’s part goat!

    Thanks for stopping by my site :)
    Jessica The Rock Chick

  75. Theda, you’re right, Border Collies aren’t a great match with small kids in the house –though they’re also a favorite of mine.

    Helene, you could switch “Border Collie” for “Australian Shepherd” in this post. Pretty much the same difference.

    Yes, the adventures… anyone with Aussies or BCs can fully read between these lines. LOL!

  76. I wish I had your knowledge before adopting my second and third border collies last year. Yes, I have 3 border collies and like Aussies, they are far toooooo intelligent.

    Unfortunately, the two younguns are rescues and didn’t get the socialization they should have. So, to say the least, I’ve got my hands full with remedial training.

    My 3 year old collie is a force to be reckoned with. I am his work and he follows me EVERYWHERE! He also tries to train me – barking at me when he wants food, water or anything else he fancies!!! Some days he’s in charge, most others, I am.

    Oh the adventures…but how dear they are!!!

  77. Hi! I’m eventually planning to get a dog, so I’m glad to know that this isn’t a breed I could handle with my toddler. Also, as a former pet-sitter, I enjoy reading about dogs. Wish I had gotten more advice about certain breeds before sitting for them.

    I’m also a writer mom, and I used to have a possible Maine Coon. Nice to meet you, and I’ll be coming back to read about Border Collies (one of my favorite breeds, but maybe not great for a toddler too since it’s a herder, right?)

    (found you on ProBlogger)

  78. She is indeed beautiful. I can only hope people research carefully before they acquire a dog that is smarter than most of the population.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top