First, her Instagram handle is @ellie_theaussiepup. Ellie is a four month old Aussie pup.
Kenny (my boyfriend) and I adopted our dog, Ellie, this March 2020. She was born on January 10th, 2020. Ellie is a purebred with blue eyes and a red tri-color coat. She does have a bobbed tail as well in a typical Australian Shepherd style. Below is a semi-recent picture of her.
Some of Ellie’s Traits that Match Typical Aussie Traits
Yes, Ellie is high energy. She gets what most dog owners would (appropriately) call the “zoomies.” Not to be confused with the video conferencing Zoom. Ellie requires a lot of exercise and attention, especially as a puppy. This is not me complaining — it is just a characteristic of her!
My boyfriend is a gym fanatic and runner so after she hits the six-month mark he will begin to take her on some of his shorter, easier runs.
Why after six months? Because her joints should be able to handle it much better than if she were to run now. We do still play a lot of fetch, tug of war (a favorite), and keep away which requires her to run around. After a year they can run further distances together. We are also placing her on Cosequin very soon to help her joints remain healthy. Aussies are pre-disposed to hip dysplasia due to breeding.
Australian Shepherds are herding dogs. They were bred to herd sheep or cattle on farms in the southwest portion of the United States. Aussies are not Australian dogs which is a huge misnomer. They like to run and herding is literally in their blood.
. . . in the borderlands between France and Spain, [were] the indigenous people known as the Basques . . . Their herding dog of choice was called the Pyrenean Shepherd, progenitor of our modern Aussie . . . California ranchers admired the Basques’ herding dogs and assumed they were an Australian breed—thus the misleading name Australian Shepherd.https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/australian-shepherd/
Ellie does herd. She showed herding behavior the first day we met her. We try to nip it in the bud when we see it but it is an inherent trait for her meaning it will not go away. If you are thinking of adopting an Aussie please keep this in mind. They will herd toys, children, and even you. This means they will circle you while nipping your feet or ankles or they will try to move you to a certain area by circling and corraling you. They will do it sometimes without you even knowing if you are not a dominant owner.
If you are looking for a dog that will hang on your every word and do everything for you 100% of the time keep moving. Aussies aren’t for you.
Now, Ellie is pretty good at what we teach her and tell her. But she is defiant at times. Do not equate that to her not being obedient. She is about 80-90% of the time. Aussies are active and curious. Ellie will know what I am asking of her and throw a fit because she doesn’t feel like doing it.
I am going to say this once.
AUSSIES ARE VOCAL.
There, you have been warned. Ellie talks. Ellie barks. Ellie howls. Ellie screams like a human child. She does it all. It’s actually very impressive. Sometimes it’s cute when she’s playing with her toys or throwing a fit and it sounds like she’s trying to talk to me. Sometimes it makes my heart ache because she legitimately sounds like a baby cooing. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and count to ten when she won’t stop barking on car rides. We are trying to teach her “quiet.” She listens to it about 50% of the time. She also snores sometimes. It’s pretty funny.
This one goes along with high energy – kind of. Ellie is extremely agile. If you want a dog who can do literal somersaults and jump into your arms and then quickly weave through ten fence posts maintaining top speed then yes, my friend, an Aussie is your dog. Ellie being agile also makes her sneaky. She likes to fit into things that she shouldn’t fit into (like the small space underneath our dining table). She likes to weave through the fencing between our backyard and our neighbors. She likes a challenge. She likes to run, jump, and weave.
I’ve hinted at this in my intro but Ellie is very animated. I’ve compared her to a human baby or child and rightly so. When she throws a tantrum — she throws a tantrum. She bobs her head up and down and cries. She stomps her front paws and throws herself down. She has facial expressions. You can tell when she’s tired, happy, or frustrated.
Most of these traits may seem like a deterrent to Aussies. But they are not. They are a high-maintenance breed but they are loving, loyal, funny, protective, social, and energetic.
Did Ellie go through obedience school?
No. She has not yet. We do plan on having her go through obedience school. We are having trouble with call and response mostly. Where she will be off playing and we say “come here, Ellie” and she does not respond. She knows the basic skills and tricks like “sit,” “stay,” “lay down,” “leave it,” “rollover,” “play dead (or BANG),” “high five,” “shake, ” and a few others. We would really like her to be better at refocusing when she’s distracted. We are also trying to implement “heel” when she is going on walks with us.
How much was Ellie?
I try to evade this question. Not because I don’t want to be helpful but because I have an inherent dislike of people asking me how much I spend on things. However, Ellie was $600.00 and we paid around $300.00 to have her flown to us. She came with her papers, a microchip, and a plastic crate.
How did you prepare for your Aussie?
I very much hate to admit this but I don’t think we were prepared. Which is a big mistake with an Aussie. But we’ve learned a lot since March 6th when she arrived in our lives. She is defiant so we had to learn to be much more dominant with her. Since then, she’s been a dream of a puppy. Does she get into trouble? Yes. All puppies do. But she’s great. She sleeps through the night. Very few accidents. Loves learning tricks which is where a lot of her energy goes. Loves to play and go on walks.
Any puppy advice?
My main piece of advice is to not compare your puppy’s growth to others (whether it is physical or mental). It’s kind of like comparing your toddler’s achievements to others. It’s very hard to do but your puppy/toddler will catch up. Ellie is a smaller Aussie. She was only fifteen pounds at her twelve-week appointment. Dogs similar in age to her were weighing seventeen to twenty or up. I got very defensive about that.
She also knew fewer tricks than her counterparts on Instagram. Which sounds very stupid but definitely gets into your head. I felt a lot of pressure to teach Ellie numerous tricks. She was getting frustrated with me because I was pushing her to her mental limit and she would refuse to participate. After that, we found her favorite tricks and I learned a different style of training (with the clicker and with her food instead of treats). We also purchased puppy puzzle toys where Ellie has to work to get her food which she loves. It’s cliche but the important thing is that your dog is healthy, happy, and safe (and with an Aussie well-exercised).
If you want to know more about owning an Australian Shepherd please take a look at these articles below!
Check out Ellie’s page on this blog here!