Acquired: Pet store
Posted September 14, 2013
“Aussies were not designed or bred to be pets and as pets, with no job to do, they get into trouble. An Aussie with no sheep to herd, ducks to drive or cattle to round up will herd the kids instead. All Aussies need a job to do; maybe three or four jobs!” - Liz Palika, “Is an Australian Shepherd Right for You?”
Australian Shepherds are loyal. Beyond loyal. They are your shadow. Again, there are many Aussies that are not quite one-person dogs, and there are many Aussies that would go home with a stranger, but the dogs will always prefer you to others they encounter.
Being bred to work all day, as Aussies once were, means that they are not happy sitting around the house all day waiting for you to return. They need a purpose in their life, if they have none, they can become a real problem. Chewing, digging, and other destructive behaviors can develop if they are not exercised daily. Running, jumping, and playing with high energy at 100 percent full force is all a normal part of being an Aussie.
Aussies have a superior intelligence, which is needed when they were once bred for the sole purpose of outthinking and controlling livestock. They are extremely fast learners, and benefit from the training an obedience class would offer if you do not have the time. It is mandatory that the Aussie’s owner occupies them with walks, play, and training to occupy their mind and bodies. They are wonderfully trainable dogs. They are super- smart, clever, and can work/play “till the cows come home.”
Their charming nature, drive, and whimsical attitudes, and of course, their loyalty puts them in a category by themselves. If one has the time to spend with this cherished breed and the commitment for an Aussie, then one will not be disappointed.
Ownership is a long commitment since Aussies generally live up to 12 years or more, mine live till she was 17. I think because Nala was well exercised, we lived in the country on my grandparents’ ranch near the river, and we maintained her high energy levels she lived a long time. Also, Nala got to use her mind all day, solving problems, manipulating herself all around tractors and the necessities of life on the farm. She has even saved a life. Once there was a boy who came for a picnic down by the river bottom, and he went for a swim with his mother. Well, the current somehow snatched him from his mother’s arms and he began to swiftly drift away. Well Nala, who happened to be swimming with me nearby, sensed my fear and the boys’ mother’s fear too. Because she swam after the boy immediately swam after the boy, by this time other adults were also jumping in the water, and positioned herself in front of him so he could hang on to her, and she swam to shore. That is why everyone began calling her “Super-Dog.”