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Anyone have an Aussie or Aussie mix?

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Old 04-24-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
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Default Anyone have an Aussie or Aussie mix?

We are rescuing an Aussie mix in a couple of weeks. I think she's mixed with American Eskimo, or some kind of spitz. She's a year old, and she seems very calm. Two dogs near by got in a little scuffle, and she didn't cower or fight, just ignored.

Anyway, I know they need a lot of exercise, and I'm wondering how much exercise you have to do to keep your Aussie happy. What kind of exercise do they like? We do have a dog park near by so if she likes to play fetch we can do that. I plan on walking her for about an hour in the morning and 30 min. in the evening. Will that be enough? I don't want to create behavior problems because of lack of exercise.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to world of working dogs!

We have an Australian Cattle Dog (blue heeler) and he's 3. While he's mellowed out in the past year, he very much requires exercise. He tends to be a bum during the day and is happiest with a 20-30 minute run in the morning and either a walk to the dog park or a looooooooong walk/run in the evenings. When we have busy weeks and he's couped up, you can definitely see it on his face.

Working/herding dogs tend to do very well with a "job". Some like to herd things (balls, toys, cats, children), some like Kongs (where you have a toy with a piece of food inside that you maneuver out). Dax prefers his Buster Cube. It's a big plastic cube that when pushed around the room dispenses kibble.

The thing to keep in mind is that they need to work their minds as much as their bodies.

I think 2 walks a day is adequate with maybe hikes and trips to the park thrown in for good measure. Also, since it's coming up on summer and Aussies tend to have thick coats, I would bet that your dog is going to be like mine in the sense that he/she wants to "work" in the mornings or when it cools off at night

Congrats, though!

ETA: One more thing. If they really aren't getting enough exercise, you'll know. We were curious about the same thing, but we quickly learned that not exercising him enough resulted in some pretty clear signals- a destroyed house, anxious-ness, or even just the look on their face
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Old 04-24-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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Working/herding dogs tend to do very well with a "job". Some like to herd things (balls, toys, cats, children), some like Kongs (where you have a toy with a piece of food inside that you maneuver out). Dax prefers his Buster Cube. It's a big plastic cube that when pushed around the room dispenses kibble.

The thing to keep in mind is that they need to work their minds as much as their bodies.

So what kind of job do you give them? I don't think I want her herding my kids I plan on training her in obedience commands, and I'll use those through out the day. She'll be somewhat trained already when we get her, because we're adopting her through a program where prisoners are assigned to train a dog.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #4
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Good question

Dax mostly sticks to his Buster Cube or the cat

We are always trying to figure it out. We like to gather is toys in a bucket and he likes to arrange them around the room in no particular order... it's kind of the opposite of herding, actually. We are trying to teach him how to put his toys back in his bucket.

I think it's just trial and error. We have a doggy backpack that we'll put on him for walks. He LOVES that and he gets to haul around all his stuff at the same time (bags, treats, balls, etc...)
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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My family used to have a Border Collie (not the breed you are adopting but a breed that has the same hyperactivity needs). We end up giving him away to a HUGE cattle farm because our yard just wasn't cutting it for him. He would jump the fence and go through the alley, digging in garbage cans. We tried having a long leash on him to deter away from jumping the fence, but he STILL jumped the fence and slipped out of the collar. We went on plenty of on leash exercise but it still wasn't enough for him. So at the farm, he has the land he needed and he got to work with the cattle.

Although this was my experience, it may not be everyones. There's a neighbor who has a Border Collie and he constantly walks him on leash with no problem. I think it's just based on the dog's personality. I also have seen Australian Shepards walking on leash with no problem.

I would personally try to take the dog to an off-leash dog park or hill so it can get the exercise it needs. Just be prepared for the possibility of a very hyperactive dog.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:41 PM   #6
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We have an aussie/border collie mix (near as anyone can guess ;-) and she is about 3 and 1/2 to 4 now. Her speckled feet, ears and habit of jumping and nipping to herd show the aussie part most. Otherwise her coloring is border collie with less hair. We've had her two years - she was a shelter dog and looking back was pretty much a wild thing when we got her. But she has a heart of gold and the early trauma was worth every minute!

We had to do the kennel, the haltie, muzzle while getting her and the cat learning to live together safely (which she has all graduated from) ...and my latest efforts are implementing tips from the Dog Whisperer and It's Me Or The Dog. Learning to be a pack leader ;-)

Now she's pretty mellow and very good - still having trouble on our walks meeting other dogs because she gets so excited and we're still working on pulling now again (on leash) but I do see a few behavior traits that tell me we're not doing enough - obsessive foot licking. I guess she's made that her job. But otherwise not showing much distress. I'll know we have the right levels when that disappates (she is doing that less as we work more with the walks and constant leadership behaviors).

I agree with junebug - just makes sure she gets the mental stimulation in addition to the exercise you're giving her. We're trying to get Freyja to put her toys back in her basket too! So far it's a lost cause, though. She loves to play tug of war, chase the ball...and catch her with the ball. And take her balls OUT of the basket!

We even tried sheep herding but the minute she found out it was work she completely disengaged and started trying to herd the ducks in a nearby corral. She seems to be more interested in playing. Maybe we didn't stick with it long enough.

But she has a definite focus - on what SHE wants to focus on. Makes for some challenges!

Great dog though - wouldn't trade her for a hill of gold beans. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:07 AM   #7
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I used to have a BEAUTIFUL aussy/german shepherd mix and it's easily the most AMAZING dog I've EVER known!!! If you said "Abby! Where is so-and-so??" she would hunt around the house playing hide and seek for HOURS (part of that "herding" thing I think!!) and always find the exact person!!!! They are SOOO smart!!!! I hope you looooove this new addition to your family!


ETA - That's a whole lot of exclamation points, batman!.... Just super excited about the dog breed and really happy for you Abby was a real joy to have in my life, and if I get a dog in the future I don't think I'd settle for anything less than an aussy mix now
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:30 AM   #8
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You know what's really funny? My dad used to breed these as sheepdogs here in Australia, and we call them German coolies! As far as I know they don't have any "Aussie" (i.e. Blue Heeler) in them, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, they're gorgeous dogs. But they are working animals, and get bored really really easily if you don't provide them with something to do. Like work, which is why they were bred in the first place.

I don't know that an hour and a half a day will be enough if you have a smallish yard (less than about an acre). Our dogs work (constantly running after sheep) for 7-10 hours a day and cope with that with no problems.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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I used to have a BEAUTIFUL aussy/german shepherd mix and it's easily the most AMAZING dog I've EVER known!!! If you said "Abby! Where is so-and-so??" she would hunt around the house playing hide and seek for HOURS (part of that "herding" thing I think!!) and always find the exact person!!!! They are SOOO smart!!!! I hope you looooove this new addition to your family!
Yes, I had already thought of teaching her to play hide and seek. Glad to know she liked it.

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my latest efforts are implementing tips from the Dog Whisperer and It's Me Or The Dog. Learning to be a pack leader ;-)
Yeah, I'm constantly watching Cesar and Victoria, to try and pick up techniques.

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You know what's really funny? My dad used to breed these as sheepdogs here in Australia, and we call them German coolies! As far as I know they don't have any "Aussie" (i.e. Blue Heeler) in them, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, they're gorgeous dogs. But they are working animals, and get bored really really easily if you don't provide them with something to do. Like work, which is why they were bred in the first place.

I don't know that an hour and a half a day will be enough if you have a smallish yard (less than about an acre). Our dogs work (constantly running after sheep) for 7-10 hours a day and cope with that with no problems.
Yes, actually Australian Shepherds were developed in the US and aren't Australian at all. I hope I can keep up with her exercise needs, you guys are scaring me, lol. Frankly if she were a pure bred, I wouldn't even think of getting her, but she's mixed with American Eskimo, so I'm hoping that will keep her a bit more mellow.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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You'll figure it out, yeah. Speaking of herding, I have a border collie and it's hilarious, my mom and I can got to the park and one of us will wander off and the dog will attempt to herd us back together, zigzagging back and forth, it gets her a lot more exercise. ^_^ The two walks should be fine though.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:07 PM   #11
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We have a Queensland healer that is the best dog ever! My boyfriend spent about a year in training her different commands to where she could walk off leash on a heal command, she speaks on command (both vocal and sign), shakes left or right, and much more. She is older now (around 9) and doesn't get a whole lot of exercise other than running around the back yard with the other dogs, but is very mellow to begin with.

I think it really does depend on the different personality of the dog. All I can suggest to you is give your dog a good foundation of basic commands, take her for walks a couple times a week, make sure she stays socialized with other dogs and she'll be fine. Dogs like to have rules and boundaries, just like kids, so as a parent you should be fine. Here's my 3 happy dogs from December. The puppy is much bigger now and quite the handful.
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:04 AM   #12
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^^ Cute!

Our cattle dog:
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:32 PM   #13
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OMG those pics are so cute!
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:55 PM   #14
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Hi,

I have an 8 year old aussie that is wonderful and loving and brilliant (I'm such a dog mom!), but she literally has more energy than ANY dog I have ever met (or any vet or anyone that comes over, etc.) It's a little insane actually. She is nuts. For that reason, she gets to be outside in a fenced in yard during the day and sleeps inside at night. We also play A LOT. Have you tried a frisbee? Or (my personal favorite) the chuck-it? She also loves to tug on a rope with us. Finally, have you considered purchasing the at-home doggie agility kits and teaching it to use them?

Hope that helps at least a little!
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:08 PM   #15
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You should try dog agility! These herding breeds love to be mentally stimulated and agility is great for that. I have a BC cross and an older Siberian cross, we've been active in agility for about 13 years now. The BC cross is totally a different dog on the agility course. Off course he's happy and goofy, just a big puppy. On course he's focused and driven, just like a working Border Collie.

Check with trainers and doggy daycares to see if there are any clubs or classes available in your area!
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