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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

USA, Melba, Idaho, 13 Months Old, Chip

by Marayla Hannu
(Melba, Idaho)

Looking to rehome on farm or ranch. Here’s the story, we love our Chip, this is so hard.

My mom's dog (German Short Hair/Lab Mix) got pregnant without our knowledge from my aunt's purebred Australian Shepard.

We knew nothing about Australian Shepards and did no research unfortunately, but fell in love with Chip at birth, we were able to watch him and his siblings be born. It was incredible! He’s bonded with me and my oldest son since birth and we’ve never been separated😔

At the time, I was pregnant with my third and knew getting our first dog at that time was probably not the best idea as we were soon to be welcoming our third baby, and I homeschooled my others. However we fell in love and couldn’t part with our sweet Chip.

He locked onto me as his person early on, and hates to be separated from me. He grew up all he’s known on 20 acres far from any people and cars, his favorite things to do are go on walks down the gravel driveway and wheat fields chasing birds out and just leaping and bounding all over while I walk behind him. He never stays out of my sight for long. He won’t fetch like his sister to get his energy out, and absolutely goes nuts to play tug of war! My son won’t play it with him anymore since he’s so big and gets so excited he just knocks him over to get to his toy, he’s knocked me flat on my back before too.

While we were on 20 acres he got used to being with his mom and sister and they started developing a pack mentality together and barking and scaring people who came over. Just playing off each other and freak out barking constantly when people came over. Pretty much had to kennel them if company came over.
Separating them has definitely helped calm that down. While we lived there he got into a porcupine twice, skunk and rattlesnake. Taking him to the vet was not fun as he was very skittish of everyone. I wonder if he’s more anxious because of that. We can’t take him camping or anywhere around people he’s too nervous, he doesn’t do well on leash since he’s so used to running the surrounding fields with no one for miles.

We’ve since moved after building our house to .3 of an acre and he’s on a perimeter collar to keep him from wandering. He’s learned his perimeter and will not leave it. I try make time to let him off his perimeter daily and he loves running through the field by our house with my kids and me, he listens immediately when I click my tongue if he’s gone a little too far and comes bounding back to me every time. No one is ever around when we do this as I’m not sure how he would be since he barks every time he sees anyone from our back yard (we don’t have a fence yet.) He’s outdoor exclusive.

A few dogs have wandered into our yard and he’s barked but shown friendly excited behavior towards them.

My biggest concern is he barks at guys and when our in-laws/family come over they can’t come outside because he gets so scared and barks at them. My gal friend wanted to pet him and he lunged and scary barked at her while I held him back. He’s jumped up and nipped at my uncle another time. Barked a friends daughter into a corner. All the incidents we’ve connected to him possibly smelling other dogs on these individuals.? I’m just terrified he will actually freak out and bite someone. I’m so scared about having any neighbors take care of him during vacations since he freaks around anyone new. I’m so torn because he’s my snuggle buddy and so sweet with me and just a big fluff ball when you pet him and scratch his belly, it’s what he lives for! He’s only ok with my husband and I and my kids. It’s just hard anytime anyone comes over! He did fine with some of my nieces over Christmas and we hooked him up to the sled and he had a blast following me around pulling the kids! But I don’t want to chance anything happening when people come around.

He’s now 1 year old and soon to be neutered. Hoping that helps calm him. He’s big and strong now and I have have a hard time keeping him from jumping and bulldozing my 6 and 4 year old (unintentionally) over. Does a little better listening to not jumping with a beep/vibrate collar on. I know he needs much more rigorous training and I don’t have the energy and money to do it. He’s very protective.

I’ve since done more research and read countless other owners stories of their Aussies turning aggressive even after years of training. I would never have kept him bad I done more research. I’m just at my wit's end and stressing so much lately. I feel so bad we don’t have the time and energy for his high strung needs. His pure bread father lunged at my uncle and would have bit him they are sure of it. I don’t want Chip to go berserk one day and need to be put down.😢

I keep thinking he’d do so good on a ranch with a job to do. I could see him learning to heard Sheep or working on a farm. He’s so smart and has so much potential, I feel like we are just ruining him not having the space he needs.

I could also see him trained for obstacle courses, he can jump so high with the right training he might love that.

Please help if you know of anyone who could fill his needs, I’d love to meet with them and talk further. I’m afraid he will have such separation anxiety being away from but I need to do something. My children take up all my energy and the fun family backyard dog we needed just isn’t turning out to be him.

Thank you for reading.

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