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I have gone against my four dog limit and taken in a 10 month old female Aussie. :eek:

I would gladly post pics, if I could get her to sit still for the 5 seconds it would take me to get one. This is the only one I have been able to get.

Meet Mia!


She's a beautiful 28 lb girl, and a real sweetheart. I didn't go into this completely blind. I have always wanted an Aussie, so felt fairly knowledgeable about them when I was approached to take her on. (Her coat was trimmed last summer, and she was trimmed again the day she came to me. She is a blue merle and I wish I could get a pic of her other side. She will be stunning when her hair grows back in.)

She has never met a stranger, and her personality is HUGE. So is her energy level!

Anyway, I introduced her to my laid back gang 2 days ago. The big dogs are fine with her "in your face" antics. She doesn't try to herd them. She is herding me at times, and the little dogs. I am working with her on this but the little ones are NOT impressed.

We are trying to wear her out with exercise, and looking for some agility equipment to set up and start working with her in that respect. The herding is the main issue. My grouchy little terrier is horrified that someone would try to tell him which direction to go in, and my Chihuahua wants her dead.

She's too high energy to keep crated or tethered to me until the little ones adjust. They are older dogs and she's invading their space more than they would like, so I don't want to crate them. It would be like punishment to them, and they were here first.

I want this to work out, she's a lovely girl, fully house and crate trained. She is so intelligent, and she's quite the clown. We have a large fenced yard, and she plays well with the two big ones.

I have never seen a dog with this much energy, and I've been around the block a time or two. It's a kind of nervous energy, she is rarely still unless she is in her crate, but other than sleeping at night, I don't put her in it unless I have no other choice. And the thing is, I don't really feel like it's her age, I think she is just a busy, high energy dog who is not getting to do what she was bred to do (herd), and I have to find the perfect "job" for her. We're hoping agility training will do the trick.

Any suggestions other than what I am trying to do here? My main concern is stopping her from herding the two little ones, and other than correcting her when I catch her doing it, I don't know what else to do. They are getting a little more tolerant of her every day, but I feel like I am constantly correcting her and that worries me, too.

I'm open to any ideas!
 

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She's very cute. In addition to physical exercise, you need to spend as much or more wearing her out mentally. For in the house, I'd teach her "climb" onto a bed or "place" for her to go to a bed and she's not to move from it without being released. Could you babygate areas where the little ones have freedom of movement without being harassed by her? You might also want to look for an aussie or border collie forum for help as well.
 

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Noreaster
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She's a cutie, and petgates are definitely your friend to keep her away from the little guys...also you might try clicker training. My Aussie has all kinds of OCD tendencies and she needs a lot of exercise, but most of all, she needs to THINK. She loves getting it right more than anything. Giving her lots of mental stimulation will help as much as the physical exercise will.

My Aussie races to get her towel before every meal, takes it to her spot, puts it down and lies on it until her meal is served, then she picks it up and puts it away afterwards, all at top speed. I did not teach her any of this.

This may give you some idea of what you're up against! :)
 

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She is a doll so cute. You can always look up some YouTube videos and try out trebball. That way she still gets to herd and you can do inside or outdoors. May help work her mind and her instinct. Get a strong recall and figure out her signal she is about to herd that way you can have her come to you instead of the little dogs. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, everyone!

I have looked for a good Aussie forum, just haven't found one with that 'feel' to it. There seem to be several of them, but none have an abundance of information. I have been reading up on them for years, ever since I saw my first Aussie and had that "gotta have one" feeling in the pit of my stomach!

I think maybe from your advice, I'm focusing too much on the exercise / physical aspect of it, and need to focus more on working her brain. I think my Golden / lab experience has lulled me into thinking that a tired dog is a happy dog. (And a happy dog-Mom!)

Noreaster, I can easily see the potential for OCD tendencies. Her behavior can be quite repetitive and comical at times. I'm more than a little OCD myself, so at least I will be understanding!

Her previous owner was very upfront and told me that she was too hyper for their lifestyle. She had an older male who was a couch potato, and thought this little one would be the same way. Now my couch potatoes have had their little worlds turned upside down, but today has been much better than yesterday was, so I can see I'm making progress. I was actually very apprehensive about vacuuming today - my two little ones both go psycho when the vacuum starts, so I have to crate them before I even touch it. I just knew Mia would do the same thing, but she didn't. I did have some issues with the mop being mistaken for play time, but one stern "No, Mia" and she was over it.

My husband is picking up some training treats on the way home tonight. I will pick up a clicker this weekend. We are going to have to go beyond our sit, stay and come with this girl! She has excellent recall, even with a new owner, and is very well behaved in general.

She and I are both worn out right now! Cleaning and herding is hard work! She is lying down for the first time since 6 a.m.! But if I get up off the couch beside her, we'll be off and running again.

I have my 3 year old grandson tomorrow night, they will meet for the first time. I may have to nap all day Sunday between the two of them!

Thanks again for the advice and words of encouragement. I'll be the first to admit that she has left me breathless and somewhat overwhelmed once or twice.
 

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Noreaster
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I was thinking about the differences some more this afternoon: with my Goldens, relaxation was a wonderful thing to be wallowed in and enjoyed, possibly belly up. With my Aussie, relaxing is like what happens when you put a three-year-old child down for a nap...they hate it. They might sleep, but they'd rather be doing almost anything else.

I probably shouldn't tell you this just yet, but I haven't slept in past 7 a.m. or taken a nap for the nearly 9 years that I've had my Aussie. I think the boys might be a little more relaxed (my BC/Aussie cross is a terrific sleeper) but the girls...there's a reason bossy rhythms with Aussie!
 

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Those are beautiful Aussies. So much intelligence in their faces.
 

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Sleep in??? What's that???

Actually, once Mia is in the crate for the night, she's quiet as a mouse until I go to get her in the morning. It's as if she thought I'd been on a cruise for weeks. Full on butt wiggle and that playful come hither crouch...I will not keep her in the crate for long, just until she (hopefully) outgrows the chewing stage. (When I was a kid, my dachshund chewed into the wires to the Christmas lights on the inside tree - I was the one who found him electrocuted, so I have a huge phobia of chewing / electricity!)

GoldenLover117 and Noreaster, I can only hope that Mia is half as beautiful as your two are. I cannot imagine what they were thinking when they trimmed her...TWICE??? Although in all fairness, we do have very hot summers here, and I think she was outside a lot.

Noreaster, I must have been a Golden in my past life, because I can see it in her eyes that she thinks I'm insane when I try to calm her. I am often successful, though, much to her dismay. She's got a sweet spot behind both ears, and will do just about anything if you rub her there and talk quietly to her. And I do feel as if I'm dealing with an out of control 3 year old that someone has dropped on my doorstep at times!!!
 

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Noreaster
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Your girl sounds like a real extrovert...which is so great. Shyness does run in this breed and I speak from long experience...Annie came from a good breeder gone bad and she has some reactivity and shyness issues that we've worked on since she was 9 weeks old. We adore her and she's wonderful with us, but everyone else is clearly up to no good! But your girl sounds like the best of the breed.

They are pretty dogs....here's a glamour shot of Ms. Annie by herself, if I can get this to work!

Still trying...Eureka!!!

 

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Discussion Starter #14
She is gorgeous! My daughter is a photographer, and she is supposed to do some Christmas pics of my crew soon. Can't wait to see her deal with Mia!

Noreaster, what are the dogs in your signature pic below the pic with Annie and the gang? They are stunning!
 

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Aren't you sweet! The bottom photo is Alex, my rescue Border-Collie-in-an-Aussie-Suit (he's probably a 50/50 mix, but he's all Border Collie in everything but coat). Boomer, our Golden boy, is behind him...they were always good about sharing a couch. Sigh.

You can see him a little better in this photo...if I can get it work twice in two days, it'll be a Thanksgiving miracle..

 

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Discussion Starter #16
She is settling in more and more by the hour.

Here is another pic of Mia.



We've made huge strides today with the little ones, and the cats!!! I have really devoted the majority of the last 24 hours into focusing on the dogs, and nothing else. The only way I can stop her from herding the little ones is to watch every move she makes - she's very quick, and you can't take your eyes off of her. She is now to the point that I only have to say her name to distract her from herding, and the little ones have actually been willing to play with her and lie on the couch with her today.

Now, my only problem is her food aggression, and just keeping up with her energy level in general. I told my husband that I can't tell if we are wearing her out or she is wearing us out! Regardless, we all sleep great at night!

Alex is gorgeous! I love his coat, and look at that expressive face! I thought he was an Aussie! I bet he is high energy, but then, I think Border Collies and Aussies are very similar in personality, aren't they?
 

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Riley
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Ohhh, I love Australian Shepherds. We had one growing up and she was my favorite. So smart, quick, and receptive! My roommate has a mini one, and sadly, I feel she's missing a few of the characteristics that make Aussies, well, Aussies. I don't have any tips, I just wanted to say I'm so jealous right now. ;)
 

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Noreaster
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Mia is a gem! She's going to be so gorgeous when that coat comes in.

I forgot the single most important difference with Aussies (or any of the herders, really)...they're incredibly focused visually, as opposed to sounds. So hand signals work great with these guys and once you've trained them to watch you, even a facial expression can direct them. I've shown off for my family more than once with my silent direction of the A-team (Alex and Annie).

Mia may calm down on the food aggression as she figures out meals will be coming regularlyl--Alex came to us 30% underweight and he was a maniac for food as a result. Now he's pretty mellow about it.

That being said...resource guarding of one degree or another in female herders is really common, particularly dog/dog. It's common enough that they actually have a name for it--they call it "snarkolepsy"! Annie used to try to resource guard the trainers...from the other dogs in the class. Made us very popular, as you can imagine!

Enjoy her...she'll keep you on your toes, that's for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mia weighs 28 lbs at 10 months. She seems the perfect size for her age, and has been very well cared for. She did have to contend with 6 other dogs at her former home, most much larger than her, so this may add to the food aggression problem.

And yes, "snarkolepsy" fits very well! She worries about food a LOT. She does not show food aggression to humans, just the dogs.

She's actually very coordinated for her age - I'm used to larger dogs and their clutz stage at this age. She's very sure of herself and that makes things a little easier, since she is all over the place most of the time.

Rkaymay, she has worn me out this weekend! I will have to go back to work tomorrow just to get some rest!

Noreaster, I can see how you could easily train them with facial expressions or hand signals. She watches me so closely, constantly making eye contact. I will give it a try!
 
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