Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Posted August 16, 2015
Nikki came into my life by pure chance. I was visiting family for the weekend, and while at a gas station I noticed a puppy in the next car over. I commented how pretty the puppy was and the lady made the comment that it was on the way to the pound because nobody wanted her.
That was over 7 years ago and Nikki has been with me ever since. I would not have changed a thing about her.
Nikki is not a purebred, but most of her traits and characteristics seem to come from the Australian Shepherd family. As with anything, there are both positive traits and traits that may need to be taken into consideration.
Nikki is very intelligent. A few treats and helpful gestures are all it takes to show her a new trick or new command. I went through a training program at Petsmart with her when she was about 18 months, and that helped refine her commands, but she learned the basic commands and proper leash etiquette through normal life well before a formal training program.
The loyalty and protectiveness of this breed is also amazing. I always walk Nikki with a leash to ensure her safety when we are out, but the leash may as well not even be there as she is always at my side. When it comes to our household, she is the first to check the windows when she hears a noise or a knock at the door.
I don't believe dogs can have negative traits. Maybe just traits that do not work well with you or your family.
Nikki has a long coat. This requires regular maintenance. You will have to ensure that you are aware of what grooming you can manage and what may need to be handled by a professional groomer. Even when attended to regularly, you are bound to find some puppy hairs on the couch.
The energy level of this breed is through the roof. When Nikki was a puppy, a daily trip to the park was required to keep her energy levels at bay. If you don't exercise dogs of this breed regularly, they may become restless and destructive in the house. If you find your dog chewing furniture or other household objects, try to increase the frequency/duration of exercise.
I do not know if the following trait is specific to my Nikki or the breed as a whole. Nikki wants to be with me or my wife. When she goes into the backyard, she does her business, but then is right back at the door. When we visit the dog park, she is stays by our side. This means that my participation is required in all of her activities.
Australian shepherds, whether purebred or mixed breed, are amazing dogs. They will love you and your family with all that they have. The deserve the same from you. Be mindful that they require attention and exercise on a regular basis. If you take care of their needs, in return they will be a wonderful companion.