Is My Aussie Normal?

by Nancy
(Federal Way, WA)

My Auss is now almost 9 months. She acts more like a lazy old dog than a puppy since I got her at 4 months. She's not at all excited about fetching whether its balls or frizbees. She does it 2 or 3 times and then doesn't come back with the ball or gets the frizbee and wanders off chewing on it. She likes tug of war with a rope. She just seems less than thrilled to play.

The vet has checked her out and there is nothing wrong that we know of health wise with her. She is very lovey. She loves to lay on the couch, chew a bone, belly rubs, or play with her sister a almost 9 month old Border Collie. They rough house outside pretty good. She runs around with her, chewing on her and chasing her. It seems like she hates anything with structure.

She is obsessed with the hose and will drink and drink from it. She LOVES the sprinklers and can't get enough. But she hates the water at the beach. She hates to be told to come. She hates to come in the house when she doesn't want to—she just won't listen and literally walks away from me. She is very stubborn but the slightest bit of scolding really upsets her. And if I over do it (which isn't much) she will pee submissively which she has done since I received her at 4 months.

She growls and barks at dogs or other things on tv. She seems almost ADD. She will be running and not pay attention and sometimes run in to walls or fall off the couch. People say Aussie's are really smart and such great dogs. She growls and barks at people or other dogs when I walk her around the neighborhood too. She just seems like a odd dog with many issues. Just wondering if any other Aussie owners have experienced a dog like this one?

Comments for Is My Aussie Normal?

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by: suzan

I have 4 aussies. With our Luna, it took some time and trials and errors to find the right activities that would get her motivated when she was a puppy. She wouldn't play fetch but would chase her sister. She loved playing with the sprinklers rather than fetch(she is five now and still prefers to play in the sprinklers than fetch).When we started taking her to training classes, she started to blossom and try new things. This opened new doors for all of us. We are stepping up her training by getting her in rally now and scent classes. We were able to slowly introduced swimming to her and now with the right toy, she will go swimming. When we play fetch, she only plays this game with her plushy toy. All my dogs are five years old now and they love to learn new things all the time. I would really recommend to find a trainer that you can work with and does positive reinforcement training. Training classes has helped our dogs become more social and we are able to find the right activities for each of our girls and boy.

by: gayle--big run aussies

It might seem like a good thing to get 2 puppies at the same time to keep each other company, but many times it doesn't work out as planned. It is usually better to wait until one pup is completely trained to get the 2nd one. Now you have 2 puppies who love each other, play with each other wonderfully, but could care less for you as their "dog mom". It's great that they exercise and play together and wear each other out, but it is time that you take control to train them totally separately. The pups are bonded to each other and they need to realize that you are the "dog mom". Yes, they need time with you one on one, not together. Nancy, it would be best if you could enroll them in basic puppy obedience classes, but not together. They need time apart with you alone so they learn to listen to YOU.
They are both teenagers and like human teenagers, they tend to blow off their parents, testing their boundaries. Aussies and BC usually do not do well with harsh training methods like yelling. They will totally shut down and it seems like that is what she is doing when she ignores you. You need to be more clear and show her what you want from her. She just doesn't understand. If she is like my Aussies, she hates to be wrong and she would rather do nothing than be wrong. Remember: treats, praise and more treats for rewards for anything good. For example: You call her name, she just LOOKS at you---praise, praise, treats when she comes and more praise.
It seems a lot of the behaviors are just puppy things that will pass with time. Aussies go through a forever fear period sometimes until they are over 2. They are very slow maturing. Lots of praise will get her through these things. One of my dogs barked at animals on TV for all of his 14 1/2 years. He thought the TV was a window and there were herds of wild buffalo outside our house all the time. He would bark at the TV and run to the window. Aussies are often water fanatics. I have had several that bit at the hose. The beach is another thing. Waves can be very scary to a pup. And some pups really don't like to play ball or Frisbee. They would just rather hang with you and in my book there is nothing wrong with that. I don't know if you know her background, but some people who raise pups-- I am not even calling them breeders--do not provide toys or any type of interactive things for pups to experience, so they never learn to play. So, its up to you NOW to provide those experiences for both your pups so that they can grow up to be well rounded and friendly dogs who enjoy being with you.
You are welcome to email me privately at
I have been training Aussies for 25 years.

by: tony

I am a first time dog owner as well as a aussie owner. I feel your frustration but don't give up on the breed. I think a lot of us feel just because they have been labeled a smart energetic breed everyone should end up with a perfect dog from the start. This is far from the truth. The ones you see and hear about, have had a lot of work from their owners and trainers. Patience is the key that I've learned from mine. I don't know your situation as far as how much time you spend with your dog but, the more you put in the more you'll get out. I couldn't imagine any other dog.

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