Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jayke asked about Huckleberry. He's great. He is a purebred Aussie, but I think he may not be your usual Aussie. I'm not sure. I've never known any others. His mom was agility bred but she and his dad, who is working bred, both work on a ranch south of here.

Huckleberry is pretty lazy at times, but when he needs to get out, he NEEDS to get out. He runs full out several times a day, and gets cagey and whiny if I try to keep him in when he's bored. He could never be happy as a city dog, but he's perfect for us. Not too crazy hyper at all. I met a border collie last weekend who was NUTS. Totally and completely focused on running back and forth between us and the cows, us and the cows, the hay and the cows, the hay and the cows, then to the llama, who kicked her. I couldn't own a dog like that. But my sister has a lazy border collie. So I guess there are all types.

I used to say I'd never, ever, ever own a herding dog. Now I don't know why it took me so long! I love this dog. He's been very easy to raise and train. Which isn't to say he's totally well behaved. He has a tendency to grab people's hands and sleeves with his mouth. He has a tremendous wiggle-butt (really it's a full body wiggle) when he likes someone, and he loves to poke people in the butt or run between their legs to get attention. But sometimes he really doesn't like people and will give his big bark while backing away from them. I can't figure out why he reacts this way to some people and not others. It has to do with their posture, I think. I know if people ignore him at first he likes them better. Some people who baby-talk him and are too intent on him, he really doesn't want anything to do with. Anyone out there know about dog psychology?

So anyway... If you're looking for a good farm dog an Aussie might be good for you. But I'd definitely make sure you have lots of time for them. For the first several months that I had him, I took him everywhere with me. It's just been this past month or two that I've started leaving him home. They need their people more so than other breeds, from what I've read. I've heard they can have separation anxiety. Huck doesn't have that problem, but he has our other dogs for company and he sure is glad to see us when we get back.

If you live in the city or are gone most of the day, I would definitely not recommend an Aussie. It wouldn't be fair to the dog at all. And if you don't have time for basic training, or to supervise them when they're outside around livestock, it would be a bad idea. A bad herding dog is really hard to find a home for.

So there's my rambling expert opinion - me being an expert owner of one (possibly abnormal) Australian Shepherd. Aren't I a help?


Linda said...

I would say dogs are like people--some don't like to be approached right away. My little niece doesn't like it. I always ignore her and let her come around me. I love aussies--I don't think there's a smarter breed. I've never owned one, but have lots of friends who do and so I've been around them a lot. SMART! But I agree, not a city dog!

Paint Girl said...

Your Aussie sounds exactly like my Bailey! He is 3/4 Aussie 1/4 Border Collie. He also has to have a human hand in his mouth, poke us in the legs and butt with his nose, run circles around us and he absolutely adores everyone! Sadie is my insecure Aussie, she has some insecurity, dominance, anxious issues that I have been dealing with for a couple years, it has taken a lot of work on my part, but she has made great strides in the last year. She is definitely the wiggle worm, protective one.
I absolutely love the breed, and I think this is the breed we will stick with for a long time. Aussie's definitely need room to run, and you are right on about people not getting this breed if they live in an apartment/city, unless they are very active.
They totally keep us on our toes!!
All breeds of dogs (although some more so then others) can sense when someone isn't a real animal lover or sense when someone might be fearful of dogs. That could be why your Aussie is a little indifferent towards some people.
Great Aussie post!

Tracey said...

I sold my aussie back to her breeder. Once we started her on sheep, she was unstoppable. Literally. So very talented...but I'm a hobbyist at best, so while I wanted to compete at some level, I couldn't even bring her outside to do chores with me because she was 'on' all the time.

We do live in the country, but we've got enough bikers on our road (thanks to the college who sponsors a race through our valley each spring) to create far too much temptation for any dog with some herding drive. Since we couldn't afford to fence off the entire front with dog safe fencing...well, away she went before either she hurt someone, or someone hurt her.

Definitely a dog you need to be aware of potential problems with; especially for some poorly bred (re: backyard, inexpensive) 'look at the bargain I got' dogs.

Thanks for the Soxy update, too!

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Linda, I think you're right - he feels less threatened if people ignore him. But some people are okay to approach him right away.

Paint Girl, Your Aussies are adorable! Glad to hear my Huckleberry is like yours and not abnormal. I will want another one like him someday and I was afraid they'd all be hyper or weird. :)

Tracey, I don't know how Huckleberry would do with that kind of temptation. Well, maybe I do. He's been run over by my son on the bike, so I think he learned his lesson there. I'm so glad we don't live near the road though. That might be way too much temptation. So far he hasn't left the property on his own, but every now and then he will range farther out in our hayground than I like.