Acquired: Breeder (hobby breeder)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted March 20, 2015
Tessa first came into my life when she was two months old. She was an absolutely beautiful, sandy-red Australian terrier whose father was even awarded the title of "champion" for his breed. What appealed to me most, however, was how adorable and lively Tessa was. She had a great deal of courage and self-confidence, even as a tiny puppy. Adding to her cuteness was one pointy ear and one droopy ear which corrected itself as she grew older.
We quickly realised that she was extremely intelligent. We also owned a Jack Russell terrier, and while he was very smart, Tessa seemed even more aware and observant. However, this also translated itself into immediate, incessant barking whenever she noticed something infringing on her "territory" (lizards, possums, the neighbour watering his garden over the fence ...)
At first we attributed this to a lack of stimulation, so we upped the amount of time we would walk her each day by another hour. The barking improved somewhat, but was still an issue until she was properly trained to follow commands. She remained somewhat territorial over food and toys, unlike our gentle and laid-back Jack Russell terrier. (Yes, I am actually calling our JRT "laid-back" in comparison to her).
Training Tessa was a CHALLENGE. Being extremely smart, she knew exactly what we wanted her to do ... having her actually do it was another matter entirely. I discovered that she was intentionally disobeying me after observing her perfectly follow the commands of a stricter family member, while mostly ignoring or even nipping me. I realised I needed to change my "softie" approach and be more strict and consistent.
She also had a very strong instinct to chase small, moving objects. This comes as no surprise since Australian terriers were originally bred to hunt rodents, and it certainly made for fun playtimes. But I guess I wasn't expecting it to happen so literally. You can imagine my horrified expression when she once trotted past me proudly carrying a huge rat in her mouth! I didn't even know we had rats?!
This breed needs a firm and fair hand, lots and lots of exercise, and a great deal of training in order to thrive and be happy. Although it might not appear like it at first, they crave a disciplined and structured environment and will be the most obedient and loyal dogs if their owner exerts the necessary effort. However, this is a lot of work, and I would definitely recommend that prospective owners consider their time and energy levels for this task!
*Extremely smart and quick to learn new things
*Very lively and playful
*Healthy and easy to groom
*Prone to misbehave if the owner does not put a lot of effort into training
*Without adequate stimulation and boundaries, they can be very barky and nippy
*Require a lot of work and dedication at first