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Considering an Australian Shepherd
I'm the previous owner of an Australian Kelpie. We loved her to pieces, and she loved us to pieces, too. Sadly, we lost her to lymphoma over four years ago, and the heartbreak was immense. So, we're experienced owners of a working dog that are only now thinking about getting back into the game. I'm just wondering what experienced Australian Shepherd owners might have to share about their experiences. Keep in mind I'm not trying to replace our last dog, it's just where my experience lies. I'm wanting a smart, trainable and loyal dog. I really don't like dogs that don't really interact with their people. I want another member of the family.
I'm looking for a dog that will be a watch dog, but trainable to stand-down when we say it's ok. I want to be able to still have company without having to stay on-top of a dog. Our last dog made it hard to do this. Being high-energy, she just would not leave people alone without constant nagging and reminding.
I'm ok with some shedding, but not into floating fur becoming a standard in my house. How are they with shedding? I haven't had to deal with shedding much, ever, and while I'm ok with a little, I don't want to be wearing it.
Are they prone to wandering if they get outside of a fenced yard? We could leave our Kelpie on the front porch and she would dutifully wait for us, no fence needed.
Are they mouthy? Are they good with children they don't know well? I don't want to wind up in the situation where we can't have friends over with young children.
Our last dog would flip out whenever we got a blender out (but strangely was ok with vacuums). It wasn't a deal breaker, but got tiresome. Are Aussies prone to this sort of behavior too, the flipping out over stressful things?
While we have a large yard, and our dog had the run of our house and yard, we do still have work and school and are gone 7am-5pm 4 days per week. Our Kelpie did fine with this and did fine mentally during the boring hours. How is an Aussie going to adapt to this schedule with his/her people gone that much?
So, to summarize.
How much of a watch-dog will an Aussie be? Overly so, or just enough.
Do they shed a ton?
Do they like to escape and run?
Do they bite or otherwise not get along with kids?
How much do household appliances stress them out?
Will they do ok being alone during the day?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and responding if you can!