Okay, so I never thought I’d get another puppy, especially from a breeder, but here I am, taking care of my new Australian Shepherd puppy.
Firstly, I must state that she is such a joy to be around. She’s so full of life (and tons and tons of energy), and she never fails to make me smile. I have so much love for her already and I can’t wait to spend the next decade or so with her. Meet Lyanna! (yes we did name her after a Game of Thrones character don’t judge us lol)
First of all, I’d like to explain why I got her and why I got her from a breeder especially. If you’ve read my previous posts that I made a year or so ago, something like this seems so out of character. I was so passionate about veganism and so sure that I would only rescue an animal from a shelter, but hear me out. I (well my family) only got her because one of my family members struggles with some medical issues and mental health issues, so we needed a puppy to train her to be a service animal. I know that you can rescue a dog and train that dog to be a service animal, but for this specific purpose, it’s highly unlikely. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still plan to rescue dogs in the future, but for this specific dog, we ended up going the breeder route. We were also set on this breed because we love them SO much, and it was hard to find a younger one to train in the shelter. We made sure she had a pedigree, and that she was perfectly healthy before picking her up.
Secondly, I’d like to explain why I chose this specific breed. A lot of people don’t actually know about Australian Shepherds, besides the fact that they have beautiful markings, they were breed to herd sheep, and that they are from Australia. Except the fact that they aren’t from Australia at all. These dogs are actually American dogs, bred for herding cattle, not sheep. These dogs are INCREDIBLY smart, and they will do anything to please you. They are also very attached to their owners, and will love you until their very last day. But while these all sound like very positive attributes, there are some negatives as well. You probably already know this, but these dogs are extremely high-energy. I do NOT recommend this breed to novice owners. I would highly recommend you get this breed if you have already had experience with a high energy dog in the herding group. You need to be very motivated, and determined to care for this dog a lot. I’m talking half of your day dedicated to this pupper. It saddens me to see so many of these beautiful, sweet dogs in the shelter because the owners only liked their looks, and weren’t ready for the commitment. It also saddens me to meet people on the street who want to pet Lyanna, and then they say they want this dog “because she’s so cute.” And when I tell them “thank you, but they are a lot of work,” they just brush it aside as if to say, “This girl is so dramatic. How much work can they ACTUALLY be?”
I could honestly talk about this breed all day and how amazing they are, but I can save that for another day. What I will say is that she definitely changed my schedule. Completely. I used to get up at 10:30-11am every morning and go to sleep at 12-1am. Now I get up at 7am and go to sleep at 9:30pm. What a change! I have to say, because of this new schedule, I always wake up well rested, and I feel like I have the whole day ahead of me in the morning! Not once do I feel cranky in the morning, and it’s like a whole new world honestly!
I spend SO much time with her, and I know this may seem dramatic but, I honestly have a newfound respect for mothers because having a puppy is like having a newborn baby. (well this breed specifically because they need SO much exercise and care). She needs my attention constantly and she’ll bark and whine if I’m not in the room with her for 5 seconds. What a baby.
I also love going out with her. She’s so confident and sweet to strangers, and I’m super proud of her. She also loves dogs now, because we took her to puppy socialization classes! Sadly she can’t say hi to the dogs on the street because she’s not fully vaccinated yet, but that won’t stop her from trying to pull on the leash to say hello! What does annoy me about going out with her, is that every person, EVERY person, has to ask if she’s a “mini” Australian Shepherd. You might have heard of the mini, and I’m not bashing ANYBODY who owns one, but “mini” Aussies are not Australian Shepherds. In fact, they are now recognized as their own separate breed, called the “North American Shepherd,” or “Miniature American Shepherd.” These dogs were bred to look smaller by mixing Australian Shepherds with other smaller dogs, like Shetland Sheepdogs, Chihuahuas, and Corgis. It saddens me to see that Aussies are turning into accessories, because there are now “Australian Shepherds” of the “mini” and “toy” variety. Australian Shepherds were dogs of the WORKING breed, bred to herd cattle, not be a little purse accessory. I do not support the breeding of minis and it annoys me when people call my PUPPY a mini aussie. Of course she looks small, she’s a puppy! That doesn’t make her a mini! I’m even contemplating putting a vest on her that says, “NO, I am not a mini.” *sigh*
Aside from that rant, I love seeing Lyanna change and grow. From the time we first got her to now, she has grown SO much! Her attitude also changes every week. She was very shy and timid at first, because she was in her first fearful stage (8-11 weeks old) but now she has blossomed into a very confident and independent dog! (Although at the same time, she still requires me to be by her side lol) I can’t wait to see how she turns out as an adult.
We have been using clicker training and positive reinforcement methods, and we will continue to do so for the rest of her life. I don’t agree with “negative reinforcement” or punishment methods, because studies show it damages the relationship with your dog, and they view you as more of a controller than a friend or a parent. Especially this breed, because they are known for being very sensitive. One NO! and they will be cowering in the corner, saddened that you have hurt their feelings. I totally recommend “KikoPup” on YouTube, because she has amazing trick and obedience videos without punishment or psychological intimidation methods! I have been using all of her tips and tricks and they work AMAZINGLY!
Lyanna already knows:
- sit (does this reliably and in any situation)
- stay (does this in the home and out in our backyard, but we are working on multiple destractions)
- come (does this reliably, except when she finds something interesting in the backyard)
- twirl to the left (sometimes gets confused because I taught her “twirl to the right” first, but still knows this!)
- twirl to the right (she’ll do this at random moments too for a treat, what a sneaky one)
- weave through my legs (only does this when she’s hyper, she’ll never do it when she’s super tired)
- shake hands (one of her favourite tricks)
- high five (sometimes places two paws, which I find adorable)
- place paw on foot (does this super well)
- cross paws (still not completely reliable with this one, because she’ll place the wrong paw and not cross it over sometimes)
- rollover (does this super well!)
- cop cop (your feet on mine) (just started this one today and she almost knows it fully!)
- back up (does this with a lure, working on no lure)
These tricks are ALL thanks to Kikopup! Her methods work incredibly and are so effective.
Lyanna is only 11 weeks old and already knows all of these tricks! God, she’s gonna keep me busy when she’s older.
If you made it to the end of this very long post, congratulations and THANK YOU! I hope you look forward to future posts about Lyanna, because I will look forward to making them.