|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on December 26, 2015 at 7:35 PM|
It has been a long held belief that working breed dogs do not make suitable suburban pets due to the lack of exercise and their drive to work stock.
You do not need lots of acres for your dog to run. This is an important point because even if supplied with hundreds of acres, unless you go with them, they'll just lie near the back door doing exactly the same as they would do in a city environment. In fact as I write this I have three Koolies (5yrs, 4 yrs and 2 yrs) lying quietly next to my computer chair because that is where i am. Therefore a big backyard is not as important as you might think. Dogs rarely exercise themselves much in a backyard. Koolies want to be with you and will be bored if just left alone in the yard all of the time. Being part of your family is far more important to a Koolies well being. They love to be around people and don't like to be left out of things. Koolies are highly intelligent dogs that do need to be stimulated mentally as well as physically. This is why they do so well at obedience and agility. So how does the average family provide the required stimulation to keep a Koolie happy and establish the sort of bond that makes for a dog that can be a truly loved, valued member of the family?
Well as with any young dog some form of training is advisable. Even if you do not wish to undertake formal obedience competitions, a period of time undertaking obedience lessons at your local club with your young Koolie will make him/her a joy to be around and a family member that you can take pride in and really enjoy sharing time with. Obviously it is also a good idea to walk your dog on a regular basis and dogs are a great motivation for a daily walk – ideal for your own health and well-being. Take your dog out with you when you and your family go places. A great idea is to go for a run in the park or along a beach as a family outing on a weekend. If you drop into the Video store, you can usually clip your dog up somewhere outside. Every time out with you or a member of the family consider if it is suitable for your dog to go along.
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE DOG?
The Koolie has been bred to be very comfortable sleeping outdoors providing it has some shelter from sun, wind, rain or draughts. So your dog will be happy if taught that when bedtime comes its place is outside. However, if you want a dog as purely an outside dog (never allowed inside) please ask yourself why it is you want a dog and if your lifestyle one that would allow you to spend enough time with your dog every day if it is limited only to your backyard. If you are someone who spends a lot of time inside, like every weekday night in winter after you have been away at work all day, then the amount of time that you would be spending with an outdoor dog would be minimal. Teach your Koolie to lie on its own mat in the living room, whilst your family is watching TV, or sharing other family time together. Your dog will be much happier quietly lying in the same room as you than it would be left alone outside, no matter how big your backyard is.
Whilst usually giving the appearance of confidence, Koolies actually have sensitive natures and they will not stand for harsh treatment. Forceful treatment can make a Koolie shy and unresponsive and display avoidance behaviours when around people. Whilst firm training is required, this must be done with positive kind reinforcement.
The Koolie, is a loyal dog that loves to ‘work’ and therefore is a dog that loves to be fully involved in life and sharing experiences with its people.
This is an active breed and there are a wide variety of activities that you can share with your dog. Koolie’s excel at Herding, Obedience, Agility and Flyball.
SHARING YOUR LIFE WITH A KOOLIE – ISSUES/TIME AND COMMITMENTS
According to a variety of research into canine breeding and behaviour approximately 40 to 35% of a dogs ultimate behavioural makeup is genetic and the rest (60 to 65%) is attributed to its upbringing, training, socialisation, nutrition and health care.
Temperament should be extremely important to breeders, with only dogs with good sound temperaments bred from. Breeders should spend a lot of time with puppies in their earliest days giving them the best start in life that they can. Before being placed in new homes puppies should be well socialised with people and other animals in their early weeks of life. Ideally the will have been handled daily and have been gently introduced to a wide range of noises and experiences to help them become a happy, relaxed, outgoing and well adjusted dog throughout adult life.
It is important that socialising of each puppy continues, especially during the early but extremely critical period in its development, as this time will form the basis for all that each dog will become in the future.
The more chances a puppy has to be exposed to new things and experiences the less bothered it will be throughout its life when faced with new or stressful situations. Unsocialised dogs can become shy, fearful, and defensive and can even become aggressive (fear aggression).
As with many breeds it is important that Koolie owners do have an understanding and appreciation of the basic instincts that drive this breed along with other characteristics that might be seen as problematic by ill informed owners.
I’m sure you have all read and heard the golden rule that a pet is a commitment for the life of that pet. How true this is! But just is important is that you understand the specific commitment you need to make in the initial period, particularly in the first year or so of your pets life with you. Young dogs require a good deal of your time and energy to enable its role in your family to be one that you can all enjoy. A dog cannot know how to behave in the way you wish it to all by itself; it looks to you for guidance in its behaviour. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, as it is one that knows what is expected of it and who gains pleasure from pleasing you. I can assure you also that if you take the time to train your dog you will also be a much happier owner as well.
EXERCISE AND ATTENTION
The Koolie is an active dog and it does require some exercise to expend this energy, otherwise you risk your dog displaying destructive behaviours. Despite popular belief this need not be a huge amount of exercise, short periods of regular play is adequate. Running around its own yard (no matter how large this yard may be) day and night will not suffice for this is a breed which requires mental stimulation as much as physical exercise and what it really craves is that you spend time sharing your life with it.
Many behavioural problems such as barking, tearing washing from the line and digging stem from boredom.
The real issue for preventing boredom is how you provide opportunities for your dog that stimulate its mind. Some of this will be your spending quality time with your dog (a dog is not an accessory to leave in your backyard alone all day and night), some of it will be taking your dog for walks or on family trips (do try to ‘share’ your life and its adventures with your newest family member), and some of this will be the things you provide to occupy your dog when it must be without your company.
Many people go overboard and buy huge numbers of toys, which they scatter around their house and yard, and wonder why these lie abandoned after a few days while your dog looks for something else to take it interest.
We advocate the use of a ‘toy box’ for dog toys. Large numbers of toys are unnecessary but dogs do bore of toys easily after a few days. Give your dog a few toys and after a few days remove these and put them away in their toy box, giving your dog a new set of toys. A few days latter these toys are removed and the original toys returned. Your dog will treat these toys, which it has not seen for a few days as new and exciting again. You will still need to introduce new toys at times but they will last a lot longer using this technique.
The pet industry now has huge numbers of ‘toys’ designed to get your dog thinking while it plays, through being occupied with specific tasks such as home alone tug of war toys (which hang in trees), to the very successful Kong chew toys and treat balls. (Be careful with Kong toys that have a small round hole as this has been known to suction on to the dogs tongue and has caused a few deaths)
We have found treat balls particularly helpful for dogs that are by themselves as they make your dog ‘work’ for its food. With such devices remember to include any food placed in the treat ball within your calculations for the dog’s daily food allowance, otherwise you might find it rapidly putting on excess weight. ‘Aussie dog’ produces a range of toys especially good for stimulating the minds of working breeds left alone during the day whilst owners are at work. We have found these particular good for breeds such as Koolies.
The one thing that a Koolie does require above all else is large doses of companionship. If you do not feel able to devote a significant amount of time to your dog, and to share your life and activities with it the Koolie may not be the dog for you.
Although adapted for Australian conditions your dog should always have access to fresh water and shade. (No dog should ever be left out in the sun without access to adequate shade!) Most Koolies love water so paddling pools or similar which your dog can stand in or play in are fabulous. Koolies also usually love trips to the beach.