New(ish) ACD Puppy and New to the Forums!

This is a forum for bonding with your fellow Dogsters about the traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies of your favorite breed. Please remember that there are absolutely no animal sales or requests for studding or breeding allowed on our sites. All posts and interactions should be in the spirit of Dogster's Community Guidelines and should be fun, friendly and informational. Enjoy!


Barked: Tue Aug 14, '12 4:31pm PST 
Hi all,

I have an absolutely wonderful, adorable, sweet-natured 4 1/2 m.o. ACD named Ruby. She is my first dog as an independent dog owner (we had corgis as a family growing up, but Ruby is the first dog I've had that's just mine.) I know this breed is a handful, especially for a first-timer, but I did a TON of research before I got her and knew what I was getting into (at least as much as one can just by reading!) and I do love a challenge!

A bit of background on our lifestyle: I hit the jackpot with jobs and work for a company that's legendarily dog-friendly (LOTS of dogs in the office every day, fenced-in dog play area on the roof, "barking lot" with beds and astroturf to leash your baby while you grab lunch, company pet insurance...it's pretty amazing.) She gets about an hour of playtime with other dogs every day, is lavished with attention by coworkers of all shapes and sizes, and spends most of her time happily gnawing on a chew or napping in her crate at my feet. As a result of all this (I think?) she's showing signs of being a very "un-Cattle Dog" ACD. She mostly loves strangers when we're not on "her" turf (at the house or in the car) and is super gregarious when meeting new people. She especially likes men--I live with 5 male roommates and they spoil her rotten.

So here are my questions: 1. What are the chances that she'll stay like this? I've read a lot about these dogs being a challenge in situations with new people and dogs, and so far we've had very few problems because she was socialized early and often. We'll obviously keep doing what we're doing, but is there anything else to be on the lookout for?

And 2. I always tell people she'd be a terrible guard dog because she thinks all strangers are just there to rub her belly, but she does like to bark at anyone who has the audacity to walk past our gate at the house. How can I teach her not to do this (or, more preferably, get her to channel this into appropriate guarding behavior for nights when I'm home alone?) A firm "NO!" doesn't seem to register. Any tips? Or is this one of those that I'm okay letting go, since her protective behavior seems to stop at that?

Wow, sorry that was a novel. Thanks for any info!

Barked: Tue Aug 21, '12 9:03am PST 
If that white spot on her head wasn't there I would have thought that was my Teeka as a pup. Very nice.

Shell and all her furkids

Who's that dog??- It's JED!
Barked: Fri Dec 21, '12 9:39pm PST 
Our ACD is also very stranger friendly! We did puppy classes, doggie daycare, and general socialization and at almost a year old, he is still very friendly with new people. He barks at people coming into our house, but that's pretty much it.

As far as the barking--positive reinforcement training! I would recommend training a behavior like sitting or going to a spot when a person goes by. I personally would start with teaching a command like "watch me", "go to spot", or something similar first. When she gets that command down, when she starts barking at a passerby give the command.

We trained our reactive dog to sit and look at the handler every time he sees another dog. It works great!