The Aussie is a herding breed, which means they have prey drive to a varying degree. Many may want to herd your children, your neighbor’s children, bicycles, the ducks, squirrels or dogs at the dog park, cars or passing joggers. This can include nipping at heels, hands or faces and in some cases could evolve into biting if not corrected through training. Even adults sometimes need to be herded in an Aussie’s mind. This herding instinct can also mean chasing cats, or other animals and subsequently harm them. Cars and bicycles are also ‘fair game’ for the chase, which can lead to dogs on the road and being hit. Because this instinct can sometimes overwhelm them, a fenced yard and obedience training can go a long way toward keeping them safe.
The Aussie is often a highly energetic dog. They require regular exercise, which usually isn’t satisfied with walks on a leash. Aussies usually need off-leash running exercise, including Frisbee or ball playing on a regular basis. Agility is another outlet. Some Aussies have a more laid back temperament and become couch potatoes and would be fine with just frequent walks on leash around the neighborhood. For this reason it is important to select a dog with the temperament and energy level that will fit your lifestyle.
The Aussie is an extremely intelligent dog and you must put the time and effort into training your dog or they may train themselves and more than likely you will not like what they learn. Things such as teaching themselves to raid the trash, tear up personal property, or if all else fails, they will check out the neighborhood. Sometimes it can result in running after wild life or livestock, which can result in a death sentence at the shelter. On the positive side they usually train quickly and want to please.
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