Our aussies are our outdoor family pets. They keep the kids from going out towards the road. They keep the deer out of the garden. They keep coyotes away from the chicken coop. They bark at strangers sometimes, but not usually, and lick the UPS man who brings them treats.
Our farm-aussies-in-training are out with the cattle in the pasture daily. They help move the cattle between pastures. Therefore, in theory, they are trained to help retrieve the cattle when they get out, but our cattle are rarely out. When the aussies are in the pasture, they spend most of their time flushing up small game. They seem to believe they should be full-time bird hunters. They are by no means “working aussies”. We train them up to be “mans’ best friend”.
Sometimes they are quiet most of the night. Sometimes they bark all night long, but that’s because they are working to keep our river bottom property clear of coyotes, raccoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats, opossums, rodents, moles, and every other thing that moves at night. If the chickens get out of the chicken yard, they bring them up to the house and wait, guarding their find, until we get home.
Our first aussie is now 12 years old. In due time, we will replace her with a young breeding age female. For the present, we start aussie females as pups and train them up as farm dogs. Pups are sent to their permanent homes before they are 8 months old. We keep just one puppy at a time, letting our grand dame show her the ropes.