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Australian Cattle Dog > Is ACD right for me

Cooper

The most- fabulous Bug-Bug
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 1:05pm PST 
Hi! It sounds like you lead a very active life style and if you plan on including your dog in the hiking, biking, running, etc.., then and ACD would be very happy! ACDs are not a starter dog and require a dog savvy person so if you aren't familiar with dogs, it may not be a good choice for your fist dog. They can be prone to nipping (nipping small children and people is not an uncommon behavior), have a high prey drive (killing small animals such as ducks, chickens, small pets is not unusual) and they can be destructive if not mentally and physically stimulated. I am by no means saying that you shouldn't get one and I have had ACDs for over 22 yrs. I think they're the most wonderful breed but I also admit that they can be a lot of work. Many people with small children find that their ACDs nip them and knock them down and then the dog ends up in the shelter. So if you are prepared to train the dog and spend significant time exercising him/her daily, then absolutely, an ACD will bring you so much joy! We have a yard and a nice romp playing frisbee and herding a basketball is excellent exercise for our ACDs as long as we do it for a prolonged period of time. They definitely are not couch potatoes but after being exercised, they curl up next to you and relax.
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Australian Cattle Dog > Inherited Blue Healer
Cooper

The most- fabulous Bug-Bug
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 12:49pm PST 
Hi! Bless your heart for taking the dog in. Australian Cattle dogs (ACDs) are very intelligent and they learn new things relatively easily. Age isn't really a barrier to her learning new tricks. I have had ACDs for 22 years and you don't need to live on a farm or actually "herd" with them for them to have a job. Mostly, making a cattle dog happy entails exercise and mental stimulation. They get bored easily and they are a high energy dog since they original use was to be out working with their people all day. Your dog is on the older side (life span of ACDs is between 12-14yrs) so she most likely doesn't have as much energy as a younger dog would and she'll probably be a bit more mellow than a younger ACD. If you don't have a back yard, no worries. I lived in an apartment with my first ACD when I was in college and a nice brisk walk for several blocks or a few blocks down to the local doggy park for a good game of fetch worked fine for her. I did that once a day with another shorter but brisk walk and she was perfectly happy and healthy. As far as jobs, our ACD, Rosie, likes to play fetch, frisbee and pretty much anything that we can throw and she can return to us. Our ACD Cooper, doesn't think he should have to fetch but he LOVES to herd so we bought him a large ball like a basketball and we roll it around and he herds it. We pretty much play until they're tired and then we go inside. A good way to mentally stimulate her is to teach her things. Simple things like putting food on the floor and teaching her to "leave it" will come in handy to prevent her from eating something you don't want her to. Also "heel" is a good way to get her to walk with you. "Wait" is a good one too to get her to stop and wait for you if she gets ahead of you. Teach her anything you want her to know and anything you think is fun. If you're having fun teaching her, she'll have fun with you too. Keep the training sessions brief and always end on a high note and you'll be amazed what she can do and how proud you'll be of her! Feel free to contact me in the future, I'd be more than happy to talk about ACDs and help if you need it. Good luck!
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Australian Cattle Dog > Fighting

Cooper

The most- fabulous Bug-Bug
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 12:33pm PST 
Have you spoken with a behaviorist? That would be my first suggestion, especially since there seems to be no overt reason for their fighting. If you've noticed that they only fight at home, then perhaps having the behaviorist observe them at home may be a better idea than going elsewhere. I wish I could offer more advice. I hope it works out.
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