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Thread: City ACD Experiences

  1. #1
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    Default City ACD Experiences

    Hi! I'm new here doing some research of this breed, might get a pup in 1, 2 years still not sure if I am going with this breed or another one.

    Does anyone here lives in a big city? I know a cattle dog is not..."meant" for the city but how sound sensitive they are? I live in Los Angeles, so if i get one is going to be HARD to do herding so i'm going more towards doing dock diving, barn hunt, flyball MAYBE agility (kinda boring for me).

    About temperament...I know that would depend so much on the dogs parents (of course I'm planning to get the dog from a good breeder). What's they general temperament? I have heard like 50% - 50% or they can be really stubborn or they are freaking awesome on sports (have seen this on internet or with dog trainers, I have actually interacted with a few of ACD and again...was 50% - 50% from really bad temperaments from freaking awesome stars). Asking this cause I have another dog (GSD) at home at this point cause his training is done actually I'm considering to have a second dog since the I have at home has no drive for sports.

    Another thing that I have seen a lot is they can be really...bad with other dogs (again not sure it's bc could be bad genetics/not socialized properly as pups/traumatic experiences).


    Can anyone guide me through this? TYIA

  2. #2
    AuCaDo Ambassador sharirus's Avatar
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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    Those are tough questions all around.


    For me, I researched ACD’s with diligence and talked to a few very experienced women on the phone about adopting an ACD and all of it pointed to a dog that wouldn’t be right for our family (both my husband and I had never ever had a dog before and were “dog haters”)
    I wanted a dog for my then 12 year old son to have as a buddy “like the stuffy he slept with all his life”. I got talked into the breed by my then 16 year old daughter as well as myself liking the size, easy coat maintenance, intelligence, availability and thought I would be able to “blend” our pup into our family. WRONG ! Everything has changed in the 4 years since we’ve had her since a pup.


    First off the puppy had teeth and used them all the time, chased every bike, skateboarder, jogger who zipped past and was way to much of a dog for my son (and daughter for that matter) and it took 2 years of hard work training her to become a valued part of our lives. Everyone in the family loves her and she loves them but it’s me who is #1 in her life and she doesn’t let anyone forget it (by guarding my things and growling like a grizzle bear ) which makes everyone resentful of me. She also is naturally very aloof and most friends and strangers do not like or trust her (which makes me uncomfortable making excuses for her all the time).


    I know now that she is a breed that was bred for work and is impatient with the “sedentary” life of the city and would be a much happier dog never on a leash nor ever being confined, just doing the job she was “programmed” do to with one master in charge.

  3. #3
    StinkwadMod littleroads's Avatar
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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    I think "in general" city life is hard on a cattle dog, unless the owner is very committed to providing steady training, and at least one or more of the activities you mention. They are "in general" super-smart, active, "need-a-job" type dogs, who if not kept busy, will find a job on their own, not always to the owner's liking.

    That said, IF you get from a breeder and can see the parents and see their temperaments, and the breeders can help you pick a pup with the temperament and drive you are looking for, and you put in said time and training, that dog can be the most loyal, awesome dog you've ever owned. Years ago, there was a person on this list who was a disabled lady in her 60's, wheelchair-bound, who lived in a high-rise in Chicago. She raised and trained two awesome cattledogs to be her service dogs, and they excelled at it. They were the highlight of her life. But she really educated herself on their training and was committed to it.

    "In general" ACDs tend to be one-person dogs. "In general" they are aloof with strangers, can be protective, can be stubborn...but each one is different, and your dog can also be a dog who thrives on attention, loves people and other dogs, and can be a couch potato who is not interested in sports and would rather chill with you on the couch. So it just depends. If you are looking for a good sports dog with drive, then you are doing well to get one through a reputable breeder.

    As an aside, earlier last week someone posted about an ACD/BC mix who was a rescue dog (in the Catltedog Sightings thread) who is probably the smartest dog ever, and has been in many, many commercials. Do a YouTube search for "Jumpy" if you want to see intelligence in action!
    Eileen
    Rody Jane, the Bionic Flying Stinkwad (Cattledog/Stinkwad mix)
    Allentine Valentine Porky-pine Hooverstein (Sir Barks-a-Lot) (ACD) (at the Bridge♥)
    TwoLane "Tappy-Tail" Truckpuppy (Golden Retriever - ACD Wannabe)
    Miss Dixie Two-Minute Moonpie - Official Foster Failure (Polka-Dot Dog) (Australian-American Rattledog)
    ***********
    Carpe Ossium - "Seize the Bone"

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    ACDs can live in a big city, so long as ample outlets for their energies are provided and they've been well-trained and given lots of planned positive exposure while young to all the basic types of environments you want your dog comfortable in (high-traffic streets, construction areas, the beach, dog-friendly public spaces etc.). As it sounds like you already more or less know, they are by and large considerably warier and sharper dogs than a GSD, and a correct ACD can typically be expected to show overt suspicion with human strangers where a correct GSD will display neutral detachment. Not that they can't pass CGC or whatever when trained for that, but it would be the rare ACD who could do stuff like therapy work, or chill contentedly through a tumultuous children's birthday party. Sociability with other dogs is somewhat more of a toss-up; a significant minority at least are good with other dogs, but still, in general they're not a breed you should count on doing well at the dog park. With housemate dogs they've been raised with, usually not a problem, though it might be smart to choose a female to minimize your chances of tension at maturity. They are very rugged, athletic and high in stamina, great candidates for many sports if the nerves are sound (which just as with GSDs, is first and foremost and matter of breeding; most any working herding breed can easily become a fear-aggressive, reactive mess if the nerves aren't sound, given their protectiveness and keen responsiveness to stimuli). They're also every bit as quick-learning as the other high-octane herding breeds, but as with other breeds bred to work cattle rather than sheep, they will be somewhat more stubborn and independent-minded, so there'd probably be a bit of learning curve there, training-wise. In terms of their traditional work skills, they're specialists in working large herds of skittish, ornery feral cattle on vast, rugged rangeland that men on horseback couldn't always follow them into (mountain scrub etc.), so a lot of the temperament follows from that--methodical, alert and smart, but also very decisive, forceful, and disinclined to back down once engaged in addressing a challenge. The heeling instinct can be intense, and will often require a good deal of oversight and management in puppyhood. And they are true velcro dogs, even more fanatically devoted to their handler than the typical GSD (with the caveat that they see themselves as your indispensable right-hand man, rather than your servant...). While they do have a good "off switch" by maturity if adequately exercised, don't be misled by their smaller size into thinking their baseline activity needs should be lower than a GSD's; generally they're not.

    If I were in your situation, I'd definitely go with an AKC breeder whose dogs are being titled in some of the types of activities you're interested in. While there is somewhat of a showline/working line split that's developed in the ACD, and you might notice grumbling from some quarters about how the show dogs nowadays are getting too compact and blocky to do their traditional work etc., it's nothing like the split you see in, say, Border Collies, where the best working dogs really are almost always the non-AKC (ABCA) lines. The first several decades' worth of ACD importing and breeding in the US was heavily impacted by the McNiven dogs, a line developed by a crackpot Sydney breeder who freely mixed in more dingo as well as lurchers, Kelpie and even GSD, often resulting in too-aggressive, too-bitey dogs who lacked the full correct skillset for the breed. (He'd long since been kicked out of the Australian breed club and kennel club for this, but the Yanks didn't know that.) The AKC lines descend mostly from post-1970 imports from registered Australian breeders (with a few non-McNiven earlier imports mixed in), which while obviously not guaranteeing quality down to a one, still makes that credential an important starting point for your purposes, IMO.

    I do live in a midsize Rust Belt city, but my current dog is a rescue mutt, ACD x Boxer/Aussie, so she's not all that predictive of anything. She is, though, perhaps a minor cautionary tale in that her mom (the ACD), an abandoned stray and therefore almost certainly of less-than-stellar breeding, was a highly fear-aggressive dog, the kind who'd proactively lunge and bite if she couldn't bolt. Thankfully, my girl inherited a fair amount of her dad's pleasant, non-confrontational temperament, but she's still socially insecure, sweet but often very shy with new people, and her noise sensitivity can be pretty terrible; she is amenable to counter-conditioning, but it's a lot of work, and in retrospect I wish I'd worked a lot more on exposure to noisy things with her when she was young (got her at 4 months). She's on the whole very good with other dogs, plays enthusiastically with most she meets; not so tolerant of rude greetings, but she will stop at air-snapping, so it's easy for me to step in to prevent escalation. I don't specifically know whether her noise sensitivity comes from her mom, but just based on past fostering experience, I'd bet it's from the (poorly bred) working herders in her one way or the other.

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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    zelig you are so spot on with your post it is wonderful you are here on this forum taking your time to share your wisdom.


    Without any ACD’s around where I live I am so unsure of myself and the training of my dog. It was a very hard thing for me to have to do assuming the role of being a heavy handed stern leader of a intelligent, independent, stubborn dog. I scared myself sometimes at how “cruel” I had to be to get my dog to respect me. When you spoke of an ACD being “ methodical, alert and smart, but also very decisive, forceful, and disinclined to back down once engaged in addressing a challenge” I looked at the scar I have on my wrist from trying to take something from River at about 5 months. She would not back down ... (now I know when River has something I get her to “come” and she instantly drops what she has in her mouth and comes over to me).
    The few commands I have for her ( come, wait, all done, nap nap, and her own whistle tone I use to get her from afar) are ones where she still thinks she’s “in charge” but still listens to what I (and my family) ask her to do.
    From all the dogs I have met none have been like my independent ACD

    Now I couldn’t imagine life without her.
    Where I am, she is too. Always within eye contact, always keeping me protected. (even to the extent of mosquitos and insects coming near me). It is a nice feeling having someone care so much about me (and I about her), I wish though I had gotten a different breed for my son when we were choosing. A sweet loveable “dumb” dog would have suited our family better.


    When you said “with the caveat that they see themselves as your indispensable right-hand man, rather than your servant”
    I right away just thought of a few days ago when I told someone that I wasn’t the owner of River, my dog was the owner of me !

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    You've gotten a lot of good input so far. Just a couple of things crossed my mind when reading through the posts. A number of people I know have ACDs in Los Angeles, and I know of one person who has had at least two Cattle Dogs in NYC.

    I would also suggest you check out some of the rescue organizations. At least two people I'm familiar with compete in some of the activities you mention with rescue Cattle Dogs. Look up Tracy Custer. A good rescue specializing in herding dogs or ACDs would be able to match you with an appropriate dog (my ACD Ginny is from a rescue in Cherry Valley, CA).

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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by zelig View Post
    ACDs can live in a big city, so long as ample outlets for their energies are provided and they've been well-trained and given lots of planned positive exposure while young to all the basic types of environments you want your dog comfortable in (high-traffic streets, construction areas, the beach, dog-friendly public spaces etc.). As it sounds like you already more or less know, they are by and large considerably warier and sharper dogs than a GSD, and a correct ACD can typically be expected to show overt suspicion with human strangers where a correct GSD will display neutral detachment. Not that they can't pass CGC or whatever when trained for that, but it would be the rare ACD who could do stuff like therapy work, or chill contentedly through a tumultuous children's birthday party. Sociability with other dogs is somewhat more of a toss-up; a significant minority at least are good with other dogs, but still, in general they're not a breed you should count on doing well at the dog park. With housemate dogs they've been raised with, usually not a problem, though it might be smart to choose a female to minimize your chances of tension at maturity. They are very rugged, athletic and high in stamina, great candidates for many sports if the nerves are sound (which just as with GSDs, is first and foremost and matter of breeding; most any working herding breed can easily become a fear-aggressive, reactive mess if the nerves aren't sound, given their protectiveness and keen responsiveness to stimuli). They're also every bit as quick-learning as the other high-octane herding breeds, but as with other breeds bred to work cattle rather than sheep, they will be somewhat more stubborn and independent-minded, so there'd probably be a bit of learning curve there, training-wise. In terms of their traditional work skills, they're specialists in working large herds of skittish, ornery feral cattle on vast, rugged rangeland that men on horseback couldn't always follow them into (mountain scrub etc.), so a lot of the temperament follows from that--methodical, alert and smart, but also very decisive, forceful, and disinclined to back down once engaged in addressing a challenge. The heeling instinct can be intense, and will often require a good deal of oversight and management in puppyhood. And they are true velcro dogs, even more fanatically devoted to their handler than the typical GSD (with the caveat that they see themselves as your indispensable right-hand man, rather than your servant...). While they do have a good "off switch" by maturity if adequately exercised, don't be misled by their smaller size into thinking their baseline activity needs should be lower than a GSD's; generally they're not.

    If I were in your situation, I'd definitely go with an AKC breeder whose dogs are being titled in some of the types of activities you're interested in. While there is somewhat of a showline/working line split that's developed in the ACD, and you might notice grumbling from some quarters about how the show dogs nowadays are getting too compact and blocky to do their traditional work etc., it's nothing like the split you see in, say, Border Collies, where the best working dogs really are almost always the non-AKC (ABCA) lines. The first several decades' worth of ACD importing and breeding in the US was heavily impacted by the McNiven dogs, a line developed by a crackpot Sydney breeder who freely mixed in more dingo as well as lurchers, Kelpie and even GSD, often resulting in too-aggressive, too-bitey dogs who lacked the full correct skillset for the breed. (He'd long since been kicked out of the Australian breed club and kennel club for this, but the Yanks didn't know that.) The AKC lines descend mostly from post-1970 imports from registered Australian breeders (with a few non-McNiven earlier imports mixed in), which while obviously not guaranteeing quality down to a one, still makes that credential an important starting point for your purposes, IMO.

    I do live in a midsize Rust Belt city, but my current dog is a rescue mutt, ACD x Boxer/Aussie, so she's not all that predictive of anything. She is, though, perhaps a minor cautionary tale in that her mom (the ACD), an abandoned stray and therefore almost certainly of less-than-stellar breeding, was a highly fear-aggressive dog, the kind who'd proactively lunge and bite if she couldn't bolt. Thankfully, my girl inherited a fair amount of her dad's pleasant, non-confrontational temperament, but she's still socially insecure, sweet but often very shy with new people, and her noise sensitivity can be pretty terrible; she is amenable to counter-conditioning, but it's a lot of work, and in retrospect I wish I'd worked a lot more on exposure to noisy things with her when she was young (got her at 4 months). She's on the whole very good with other dogs, plays enthusiastically with most she meets; not so tolerant of rude greetings, but she will stop at air-snapping, so it's easy for me to step in to prevent escalation. I don't specifically know whether her noise sensitivity comes from her mom, but just based on past fostering experience, I'd bet it's from the (poorly bred) working herders in her one way or the other.

    Awesome input AKC VS Working lines hahaha AKC sounds waaay more suitable for the sports I would plan to do with the dog! I will do more research though I really want to visit some breeders. I'm in between a Dutch Shepherd, GSD Working line or AUC, I need to get more deep into IPO and french ring before I do my decision, so far on the description you gave me sounds pretty much like the GSD I have home just the correction part you got it on point my dog will recover really fast for big corrections drama for 1 sec then be like alright so what's next lol. Dog parks not even worried about that part I hate them with passion, we are the typical guys at a random park/beach training/playing being goofy around sometimes i get playdates but MEH.
    We are super active too so not worried about that part either, DEFINITELY going for a female lol no matter what breed i choose will be def a female...based on the dog I already have home, he's a rescue too I even think he has somehow...some Malinois content somewhere (he...is....NUTS and the way he looks).

    I just would have one final question about the corrections part...do they shut down after one and they are un-able to work after one? I didn't understand the over suspicion part or is more like the trust goes down?

    I'll drop a pic Duke AKA "my Coyote"

    Attachment 7876
    Attachment 7877

  11. #8
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    Regarding corrections, I guess in general I would again compare a correct ACD to a correct GSD--both are quite "hard" dogs that, however, also have a strong sense of "fairness" and expect respect from the handler. So, depending on what training needs arise, there could definitely be a place for, e.g., leash pops and prong collars, in cases where the dog clearly knows from prior reward-based training what the command means, and has clearly previously shown ability to generalize that command to varied situations--yet is now choosing to ignore it, and verbal corrections alone have failed. So yes, they can take a strong correction, but it's crucial to be scrupulously fair about it and to have a good working bond already established with the dog, otherwise you could wind up with resentful shutting down or worse, handler aggression. It's not so much a "trust" issue (unless you're really overdoing the corrections) as a "Well all right then, screw you." I found a prong very helpful for getting my ACD mix from 75% to 100% on loose-leash walking, but unnecessary and inadvisable for the other training issues I've encountered (strong corrections would be completely inappropriate for her noise sensitivity freakouts, for example).

    I only mentioned "suspicion" with regards to their typical response to strangers, although it could perhaps also be extended to things like the importance of early conditioning to noisy urban environments--ACDs are wary by nature (not fearful, just wary) and therefore early, planned, positive exposure to novel types of environments and people is important, so that they develop a good wide-ranging sense of what's normal, safe and not worthy of concern. You know how one thing that makes Malinois a bit hairier to deal with at times compared to GSDs is that they're just that extra bit more geared towards lightning-fast reaction, a little bit less towards "thinking dog" wait-and-see? Well, ACDs are kinda like that too. Again this basically follows from what they were bred to do--cattle are more dangerous than sheep, and the dog that blinks and hesitates when the stock get riled will get its skull crushed. And while GSDs traditionally lived in the village with their handler for much of the year and therefore needed to be chill and unimpressed with strangers, ACDs have spent most of their history out on the open range, where an overt show of suspicion towards strangers (who might be cattle rustlers) was not only acceptable but in fact desirable. Doesn't mean a well-bred, well-trained one can't be counted on to stay quiet and still with strangers, just that there's often a bit of an edge to their watchfulness, a characteristic hard gleam in the eye.

    FTR, I have a couple times (online) stumbled across US ACD breeders who are titling some of their dogs in IPO (not sure about in your region, though). It's more common in Europe, where there's more of a tradition of using IPO as a kind of breed test for breeds other than GSDs (here's a video of the current top-ranking French show ACD earning his IPO3). Obviously, ACDs are a bit too small to be practical as actual working protection dogs, and I'm not qualified to judge whether they might perhaps be one of those breeds that can really only do IPO if essentially paddled through with prey-based training that doesn't actually test fight drive...but given their typical temperaments, it doesn't seem that hard to believe that some of them might actually be well-suited to it.

    For some reason your attachments won't open for me?

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    Default Re: City ACD Experiences

    Gotcha, just didn't wanted people to just straight jump to my throat (regarding corrections), so far i like the description ACD but the wary part eh... turn me off a little bit lol. If I do IPO def going with a GSD but it's so....funny that there's cattle dogs around i mean....bad ass hahaha once i saw a schnauzer (the small ones not giant schnauzer) and he totally rocked it. I will try to visit different breeders but I think ACD might not be suited for me...not sure lol I have been surrounded by GSD and Mals that i want to change it a lil bit.

    Well thank you for your time!

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