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Old 09-12-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
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Default Is my home good for an Aussie or ACD?

Hi, I will be looking for a new dog next year or the year after that since I'm graduating from college soon. I definitely have enough time and support and everything to take care of a new dog by then and if not, then I will postpone such things! I've narrowed my dogs to either the Aussie or the ACD.

My current dog is a chow/dalmatian mix. He is very well trained and behaves beautifully in all environments. He is farm-raised and works very hard by chasing vermin away and guarding the property. He also walks in parades and attends picnics and plays outdoors a lot. I notice his personality type and play style meshes the best with herding breeds that he has met, which is why I'm considering these types of dogs over any others.

I narrowed down to Aussie or ACD because I'm looking for a medium sized dog to do all sorts of dog sports with and really like doing them with me. There is a wonderful Australian Shepherd breeder nearby and Australian Cattle Dogs and their mixes are available in the shelters around the area too. I spend a lot of time outside and love to go, go, go! We have a small herd of around thirty beef cows that get moved from pasture to pasture when we want the grass in one to have a break, so this dog will probably be active in herding as well. However, I am also mostly using a positive reinforcement/negative punishment (clicker training) to teach. And I was told that these breeds would walk all over me due to my method of teaching and that my home doesn't sound optimal. I want to know from the Aussie and/or ACD owners here if my home sounds like a good home for these breeds.

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Old 09-12-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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Why doesn't your home sound optimal?
I have an Aussie that would love to live on a place like yours.
I'm not as familiar with australian cattle dog but my aussie is very smart and most are. She picks up routines quickly,(I rescued here when she was 4) and loves to be active physically and mentally.
I haven't used clicker training but don't know why either of these breeds would not respond. And if they don't, just use another method...praise and/or treats or just GOOOOD GIRL works great on Sadie.
I may be wrong but I think aussies are a bit more adaptable to sports but might be wrong on that.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:10 PM   #3
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I have an ACD x, as well as another herding dog, and both are trained primarily through +R, absolutely thrive on clicker training, and really appreciate taking part in and training for dog sports to keep them mentally stimulated. You sound like an ideal home to me.

I suspect whoever advised you was a 'traditional trainer' who was not well informed about +R training. Positive is NOT permissive.

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Old 09-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #4
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Kaos, great post as usual!
Lucky, your home sounds like the perfect place for an Aussie or ACD. Both have the energy and drive. Imagine that, a working dog on a working farm. Go for it!

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Old 09-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your responses. I know that positive is not permissive with O, but they were making me to believe that these dogs would take advantage of me since Otis is my first dog and that he was completely different from the breeds that I am interested in (I'm still inexperienced at training dogs). They recommended I get a show-bred Cocker spaniel or English Spaniel, but I knew that that wouldn't match me because I imagined trying to pluck out all the burrs and foxtails from those ears! And I know Oats barely keeps up with me some days!!!

I am happy to know that your dogs, Kaos, thrive on clicker training! It gives me more confidence that I will be a good home for my future dog. I think if I go the breeder route (Aussie), I will ask for a dog that is good for a novice! The breeder nearby has her dogs compete in a lot of venues, including herding. If I go the rescue route (ACD), I will keep my eyes peeled for dogs that just seem wonderfully right to me. It's still a hard decision between Aussie and ACD though! I am most interested in Agility, Disc, and Rally-O, and canine freestyle, and of course hiking and playing on the farm and learning new tricks all the time! I think either will be fine from you guy's replies, but do you think one is more matching to me than the other?

I have met Aussies in person, which is what attracted me to them in the first place. The dog I met was a lovely, lovely black tri girl who had eyes only for her owner and was gentle and well-trained. He warned me that she had a lot of energy and is calm because she does a lot of agility and flyball! I like the look, size, and description of temperament of the ACD. Kaos (and any other ACD owner), can you go more in depth about the ACD?

Last edited by Lucky Nucky Pie; 09-12-2012 at 08:11 PM.. Reason: correct spelling

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:21 AM   #6
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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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Old 09-13-2012, 01:26 AM   #7
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Not a deciding factor I'm sure but I'm glad my aussie doesn't have a tail because I'm sure I would have stepped on it more than once if she did.
And their butts vibrate a zillion miles an hour when their happy
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:32 AM   #8
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I am with Sugardog and Kaos.. as long as you lead as active life as you describe and work with the dog there should not be an issue.
About the dog not working with positive training etc.. That is just stupid..

I agree with Kaos on that note.. A lot of people thing that the stronger willed dogs needs a "firmer" hand.. I ran into such a man today.. I have got him almost converted, ran into a trainer last week who trained a dog I was looking at.. Choke chain.. and he was sort of laughing at my toys and treats.. Funny was... the 110 lbs dog did everyhting I asked meanwhile he could barely get the dog to sit DESPITE 5 consecutive chain corrections..

A lot of old school teachers are stuck in ONE way to train a dog. Dont worry about that.. Yes you will have to be firm, set the dog up for success etc and think ahead.. But all and all it will not be an issue as long as you are consistent with him/her.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:13 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your responses!!! I am so happy you are taking time to help me and explain to me!!!

I know that if I do get a herding breed, since he or she will be my first one, I'll try to find one that is good for me as a novice in training. A dog that is a little more amenable and forgiving in training than the super high-drive and super high-energy dog that needs experience to focus it. If I want more drive and energy, I can always wait til I have more experience. I think my dog will do good with herding instinct bc he can herd the cows! I think I can ask the breeder for a dog that is good for beginner like me, but also who can do what I want to do with the dog. I can also find one in the shelter if I see ACDs or mixes of ACD around! But the more I think, the more the breeder sounds like a better choice since she has lots of connections and can answer all the questions I have and everything. Though, I really wanted to rescue, too.

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Old 09-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Nucky Pie View Post
Thank you all for your responses!!! I am so happy you are taking time to help me and explain to me!!!

I know that if I do get a herding breed, since he or she will be my first one, I'll try to find one that is good for me as a novice in training. A dog that is a little more amenable and forgiving in training than the super high-drive and super high-energy dog that needs experience to focus it. If I want more drive and energy, I can always wait til I have more experience. I think my dog will do good with herding instinct bc he can herd the cows! I think I can ask the breeder for a dog that is good for beginner like me, but also who can do what I want to do with the dog. I can also find one in the shelter if I see ACDs or mixes of ACD around! But the more I think, the more the breeder sounds like a better choice since she has lots of connections and can answer all the questions I have and everything. Though, I really wanted to rescue, too.
For me, I'd go with a young rescue. There are so many dogs in need of a forever home. Of course the choice is yours, but do think about rescue. If you do find one in rescue, spend some time with the dog to make sure it's the right fit for you. A rescue will work with you just as much, if not more, than any breeder will.

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