Mail from readers

I Thought I Was Ready for an Aussie-Cavalier Puppy but…

I recently got a note from a reader who was very honest in sharing her predicament:

Aussie-cavalier mix on couch Photo from

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 […]

2019-09-29T09:04:00-04:00October 3rd, 2019|Dog Training, Just Dogs, The Mail Bag|2 Comments

Is It Fear or Aggression or Both or Neither?

I have an adolescent male Aussie who, when on the leash, gets extremely worked up when he senses (hears, sees) another dog. All his attention goes straight to “I gotta get to that dog! I gotta get to that dog!”.

There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood and thankfully most of them are leashed when their moms and dads walk them. However, Remy (my aussie) has a meltdown even if the dog is several blocks away.

We’ve tried treats (the good, better, best theory), his favorite toys, asking him to work (sit, down, heel, etc.), going the other direction (avoidance), but nothing seems to calm him down or works to redirect […]

2016-10-24T09:56:16-04:00February 24th, 2016|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|0 Comments

What I Really Think About Having 2 Dogs vs 3 Dogs

3-aussies-playing Q: From the Mailbag: Natasha asks, I currently have two male dogs (a Labrador 5 yrs and a Yorkshire Terrier 2 yrs) and they both get along great. I’ve always wanted a Rottweiler. Do you think it would be a bad idea getting a 3rd dog? What sex would you say would be better? Thanks.

A: Natasha, having had one dog, two dogs, three dogs, and four dogs at various times, my favorite number is two. Adding a third dog is a big jump up in time, energy, and expense. I don’t know enough about your circumstances to really advise you (yard space, dog experience, time for training and exercising, etc.) other than […]

2021-05-05T09:54:24-04:00May 20th, 2012|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|124 Comments

Bringing Home an Australian Shepherd Puppy: What You Need to Know

From the Mailbag: Hi, I’m Jared. I just visited your site,and I want to know more about the basic things I have to get them and stuff to look out for. I’m getting a Red Tri Aussie next week and I want to be a good owner.

Jared, you don’t mention whether your new Red Tri Australian Shepherd is a puppy or an adult, so I’ll assume you’re getting a puppy.

Let me say that, in general, Australian Shepherds are not for everyone; they are herding dogs with high intelligence, agility, a strong prey drive and deep loyalty to their owner. You have to learn how to demonstrate good leadership ability in order to build a relationship both you and your dog […]

2019-01-17T20:59:12-05:00March 3rd, 2012|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|46 Comments

Is My Australian Shepherd Puppy’s Energy Level Normal?

running aussie with grass in mouth From the Mailbag: Stacie writes: 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 […]

2021-09-17T09:48:32-04:00January 8th, 2012|Dog Training, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|6 Comments

Ticks, Ticks, and More Ticks

Tick sizes The life cycle of ticks. Source: CDC

From the mail bag:  Deb asks, do you have any advice as to whether or not one should treat their dog with antibiotics if they find a tick on them?  I found a tick on my GSD. He was treated with, I believe, doxycycline last year after I found six deer ticks on him. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Deb, the down and dirty answer is: While it’s not uncommon for a physician to prescribe a dose of doxycycline for a […]

2016-10-24T09:56:33-04:00November 13th, 2011|.My Dogs and Me, Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|1 Comment

Part 2: What You Can Do to Avoid Getting Bitten By a Dog — Learn How to Read a Dog’s Body Language

Continuing with Andrew’s question for The Mail Bag: In my last post, I talked about some of the different factors that could trigger a dog to bite when on its own property. It boiled down to roughly three categories: a dog protecting its turf (including people, objects, and food); a dog undersocialized and/or uncertain or afraid of novelty (whether processed through smell, sight, or hearing); a dog in pain.

More than 4.5 million people get bitten every year, in part, because they don’t know how to read a dog’s body language. That’s a scary statistic. But let me put this into some context. There are approximately 73 million dogs in the […]

2016-10-24T09:56:35-04:00February 13th, 2011|Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|12 Comments

Part 1: What You Can Do to Avoid Getting Bitten By a Dog –10 Common Mistakes People Make Greeting Dogs

From the mailbag: Andrew writes: “In just the last couple of months I’ve had two scary run-ins with dogs and wish I knew what the reason was. The first incident happened when I was visiting a client for the first time and the dog came out and bit me hard on the leg. This was chalked up to the family’s new baby as it must have been protecting the family. But then today – visiting another new client and an extremely tame Labrador retriever with no aggressive history came after me and snarled like a big pit bull. All I had done was properly held out the back of my […]

2016-10-24T09:56:35-04:00February 6th, 2011|Dogs in General, The Mail Bag|21 Comments
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