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Old 09-13-2012, 01:21 AM   #6
Sugardog
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Yeah you'd probably be fine with either breed given the plans you have. Maybe see if you can get a hold of some breeders of both and just go spend time with them and their dogs. You could get a good sense of the behavior of each and the quirks of the breed, see how they interact with owner etc.

I believe that the ACD's can be a bit more on the drivey side, which can make them a bit harder to handle. A lot of work would need to be put into commands like stay and wait. But that kind of focus can really help in dog sports. Aussies can be the same way though, it just depends on the lines. You're more likely to get a really drivey dog if you purchase one from working or sport lines.

I got a border collie myself, which is right up there with Aussies and ACD's in terms of intelligence, energy and drive. It's a breed that is pretty dominant in sport competitions. I've always wanted one for pretty much exactly the same reasons you listed...A dog I could do a sport with, one I can train to do all sorts of fun tricks, and a good hiking companion. He is from working lines, which means his focus can be intense and he does try to herd my cats and birds and german shepherd and really anything else that moves. He's very attentive to me and watches everything I do. It was actually a little shocking at first to see how attentive he was to me. It's like he is constantly waiting for me to tell him to do something or to play with him. In general that's how herding breeds are. They tend to be one person dogs, which makes sense because they were bred to work with one person, the shepherd of the flock or herd.

On that note you do have to be really on top of the herding instinct. An issue that isn't uncommon at all in all three of the breeds (BC, ACD and Aussie) is nipping, especially when it comes to children. Fast movement like running, people on bikes, skates, skateboards etc, children playing, it can trigger the herding instinct and they may nip ankles. That's what they do to control sheep. So you do have to pay special attention to that and make sure it's not allowed. Like I said, they can have a lot of drive and focus and you have to be able to control it and direct it to positive activities like tricks or a sport.

I also clicker train my BC, he does wonderfully on it. The breeds you are looking at are extremely intelligent and they WANT to be able to understand you. Yes, you do have to be careful you don't get outsmarted sometimes. They are intuitive and will find shortcuts if shortcuts are available, so that means training needs to be very clear. The clicker really helps in this because as you know, it marks very clearly the behavior they are getting rewarded for. You just have to be super consistent and have clear distinctions between different commands and behaviors.
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Last edited by Sugardog; 09-13-2012 at 01:24 AM..

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