The Australian Shepherd is considered a high energy herding dog. They are also know as velcro dogs as they are your shadow following you around everywhere. They are definitely not an independent breed and are constantly seeking out attention and love. It is also this devotion that makes them easy to train especially using positive reinforcement methods. Aussies are very food and play motivated! Aussies do require a good amount of exercise to keep them stimulated and prevent them from becoming destructive. Playing 15-20 minute games of fetch or Frisbee are great for aussies and will settle them down a lot. They also love to swim, hike anything that you participate together in they will enjoy. A quick walk around the block WILL NOT be enough! Their coat does require a weekly brushing to keep it healthy and their nails should be trimmed every two weeks. This is a great article on nail trimming that has great pictures and details. I highly recommend group classes for all aussies for the 1st year of their life. Dogs go through many developmental phases and fear periods and a good trainer will be able to help you work through these phases and explain what is normal and what is not and how to prevent bad behaviors from occurring. I include free puppy classes and phone consults to all my puppy buyers! As for vaccinations I tell people that I recommend at 8 Weeks Old: Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Merck Nobivac [Intervet Progard] Puppy DPV) and then again at 12 weeks and a final booster at 16 weeks. I then booster a year later and then every 3 years. We also started doing Nomographs which we send to CAVIDS Titer Testing Laboratory University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine Madison WI USA This titer determines when the maternal antibodies will run out and when we should vaccinate. A copy of this report will go home with all puppies to show your vet.
Lepto is important if you have a pond or stream on property and of course there may be others depending on your area. Please consult with a veterinarian. Again every dog is different and this is just a recommendation and one I follow-the choice ultimately is yours and/or your veterinarians. Diet/ Supplements Just like vaccinations nutrition is very controversial. I do strongly believe that diet affects overall health and behavior. I truly feel that if you eat well you will feel well. I do spend a good amount of money on my dogs food as I think it will save me in their health. I feed the best that I can afford. This is a personal choice again and my recommendation is only a guide line. You need to do what is right for you and your lifestyle. I raise my puppies on raw food exclusively and then when they are a year they eat a combination of raw and high quality dry food. If you prefer not to feed raw I can have your puppy on dry food alone-you just need to let me know. I really like Answers Detailed Food for their quality ingredients and the fact that they don't use synthetic vitamins. I also rotate their goats milk and fish stock several times a week. I have been feeding raw and started in 2002 under the direction of our holistic veterinarian at the time. I have used many pre-made brands and even made it myself. I really like Answers as it is complete food and very easy for people to manage. I also like Steve's Real Food which is another complete raw food. I also highly recommend two supplements for any diet, but especially dry dog good-a good fish oil and probiotics (make sure they have at least 1 billion CFU) Purina Fortiflora has very good reviews. I also give a daily vitamin such as NuVet Plus as many of the vitamins and minerals are not present in enough quantities in some dog foods they can also be destroyed in the cooking process. All my dogs have only needed routine care and have the most amazing coats. I do CBC blood work every 3-4 years and all their levels are excellent. People often ask what dry food I recommend and honestly I change it all the time. My dogs do fine with that. If they didn't I would assume it was that food. Some of the dry foods I like and have used are: Venture (Pollock/Pumpkin), Nature's Logic, Orijen, Vital Essentials, Honest Kitchen, Acanna, Fromm, Annamaet (samples provided) The Whole Dog Journal is a great resource for dog owners that I highly recommend to everyone. I have been get their magazine for a decade now and every year they explain and rate dog food and teach you about reading labels. They also have a training article, product review and health article in every magazine.