FAQ

Pincie Creek Stock Dogs in Dothan, AL gets a lot of questions from present and prospective Aussie owners, and some of the same questions keep popping up over and over again. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions and answers. Remember that our answers reflect OUR opinions only. Other breeders may think differently.

Is a Male or Female Best? I Hear a Male is More Aggressive… Is Harder to Housetrain….Etc.

Whether you’re picking a companion, worker, or competition prospect, in our opinion the sex of the dog is not a determining factor in how good it works, whether it’s a good watchdog, or companion, etc. It all depends on the individual animal and how their genes happened to fall. We’ve known females that were very dominant, much more than our males, and we’ve had males that were sweetie pies, and vice versa.
A lot of people say that a male is harder to housetrain because of his tendency to “mark” his territory, but again, this depends to a large extent on the personality of the individual male. Some males never mark inside, on the other hand, there are females that are very hard to housetrain. Neutering does seem to help the marking problem, and the more submissive males do not seem as inclined to mark as the dominant ones. If there are no other males around, or no intact females, you may also find your male less likely to “mark.”  In short, analyze the individual puppy for the traits you are looking for, without regard to sex.

Is it True That Red Dogs are More Aggressive than Other Colors?

We’ve heard this for years, from people who have been in this breed a long time, and from people in other breeds who claim that red dogs are more aggressive. We have yet to establish the criteria by which they make this claim; the reasoning behind it, and the facts substantiating it. In our opinion, we find nothing to support this theory. We have known black and blue dogs that had very poor temperaments. Some of the best dispositions we’ve seen were those of red dogs. So again, we think it depends on the individual dog, how their genes happened to fall, and perhaps handling and upbringing, rather than color.

Can I Let my Dog Run Loose?
Yes, if you don’t care anything about your dog or your neighbors. Any dog that’s worth anything is going to be a little trouble, and Aussies are no exception. They are an intelligent, high energy breed, inquisitive and easily bored. Remember that they were bred to work livestock. If left unconfined and alone, they will quickly seek a way to amuse themselves. If they have any working instinct, they will look for stock to work — either yours or your neighbors. When they find it they will work it by their own method, and it most likely will not be a method you will approve of! They might bring a neighbor’s stock home to you, push stock through fences, become excited and chase young stock — all sorts of things. One of the quickest ways to teach young, good working dog bad habits is to allow it to run out and work the stock any time and any way he wants to.
Even if they don’t have any working instinct your dog will find something to get into…something that can be fatal. Things that we don’t even think of as being harmful can be deadly to a dog. We even know of a dog that swallowed a golf ball he found on the neighboring golf green and nearly died. And of course there are always the highways. “But my dog never goes anywhere” you say. Well, he may stay around for a while, even a long time, but one day he will decide to explore. Especially an intact male dog — the enticing aroma of a bitch in heat travels for miles and a male dog will forget all about his loving master and home and do whatever he has to do to find that bitch. And when he does, if she has a conscientious owner, you can bet your male won’t be welcome in her boudoir!
We love dogs and animals as much as anybody, more than most people. But we will also be the first to say that there’s nothing more irritating than a dog that comes around uninvited, be it a much loved neighbor’s pet or a rambling stray. We’ve had neighbors’ dogs carry off our shoes and cooking utensils that were left sitting by the grill, kill our chickens and sheep, pick a fight with our dogs through the kennel fence, bark at us in our own yard, and sit in our yard and howl at the moon at two o’clock in the morning. We are firm believers that no dog, including ours, should bother anyone. But everyone is not as patient and tolerant as we are. If you allow your dog to run loose and be a nuisance, it may very well turn up missing or injured, or even dead by very unpleasant means. Some people will do anything. So if you care about your dog, don’t let it get in a position where this could happen to it.
Contrary to some people’s misconception that confining a dog is cruel, it actually is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for your dog. But let’s be sure we define what we mean by “confined.” We don’t mean crated all or even most of the time, or confined in a small space with inadequate exercise. What we mean is having a good, secure fenced yard (be sure the fence is high enough and remember that Aussies are very athletic and can JUMP and CLIMB!) or a nice, shady or covered secure kennel that your Aussie can stay in when he’s not with you. All of us love our Aussies but remember they are animals, and since they don’t have our reasoning ability they don’t always perceive danger. It is up to us to protect them.

My Aussie is About Eight Months Old and All of a Sudden is Scared of Everything. What’s Going On?

It has been our experience that almost every Aussie goes through a “fear period,” which can occur when it is anywhere from a few weeks to several months old. Suddenly everything becomes a “booger”. You might walk out one morning and the dog barks at you like you’re a stranger. Things that it has seen every day since birth are new experiences. It acts scared of everybody and everything. This stage can last from one week to several weeks but with few exceptions, they all do recover. During this fear period, we continue to treat our dogs just as we always have. Don’t pamper them; just normal treatment like nothing is wrong. One day you’ll go outside and everything will be back to normal.

Do You Have any of Those “Rare” White Aussies for Sale?

Sadly, we get inquiries similar to this quite often. We also get inquiries from people who have bought a “rare” white Aussie and now notice or heard that there might be something wrong with it, and want to know to do. White Aussies (also called merle whites and lethal whites) sometimes result when two merle Aussies are bred to each other. (For more information on the merling gene, click here.) Whether caused by ignorance or greed of money, anyone who knowing sells these puppies should, in our opinion, be banned from the registries.

Do you Breed Merle to Merle?

We breed dogs, not colors, and our crosses are planned years in advance. We try to avoid merle to merle breeding if possible but sometimes it is not. For example, there may be a litter we want to keep a solid female from, to breed to a merle male, but there are only merle females in the litter. Then, we don’t have a choice and we do breed merle to merle.

My Aussie is Scared of Bad Weather and Loud Noises. Is There Anything I Can do to Help Him/Her?

This is a common problem in Aussies, and a tough one to solve. We’ve had Aussies like this and through various conditioning methods have seen some improvement in their behavior, but no cures. We’ve bought relaxation CD’s of thunderstorms and even cassettes especially designed with thunderstorms and gunfire. The dogs paid the tapes absolutely no attention because they knew they weren’t real. We’ve tried conditioning by getting out a favorite toy and playing with the dog while it’s thundering, to distract them from their fear. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Even if it helps in that particular storm, the next time one comes up, you will need to do the same thing all over again. We’ve tried herbal remedies with very little success. We think that it’s not only the sound of the thunder that makes dogs afraid of the storm; it also has something to do with the change in the barometric pressure. Our dogs that don’t like storms act peculiar and let us know several hours before the first cloud appears that a bad storm is on the way.

How do you pick the Best Working Pup from a Litter to Keep?

Well, it’s really hard, and no matter how much time and thought we put into the selection, sometimes we find out later we let the best one go!! In selecting a working pup, I look for the most “sensible” one. The one who thinks, who sits back and watches the others a lot of times before jumping into the fight. Not to be confused with shyness — just a “thinker”. I also like a puppy that would rather follow me around than play with its siblings. I do a little preliminary testing at about 5 or 6 weeks old, such as dragging a mop or old towel to see if they show any interest in trying to catch it. It’s difficult to describe, but actually I’m looking for that certain “something” in their eyes. I don’t really know how to explain it but I know it when I see it. And sometimes it’s just the one that I seem to get along with best.

I’ve got an Older Dog That Works Good. Why Can’t I Just Turn This Pup Out With it and Let the Old Dog Teach the Young Dog How to Work?

If you do this, your young dog will probably relate to the old dog as its pack leader and work for him instead of for you. In addition, it will easily pick up any bad habits that the old dog has. It’s best to start a young dog by itself and let him learn that he works for YOU. Use the old dog for back-up but don’t let him teach the young dog how to work. That’s your job as pack leader. Later when the young dog knows his commands and is accustomed to working for you alone, you can work the two dogs together.

Why Does My Dog Bark So Much When it Works?

This is very common in young dogs. Most working dogs bark because they are frustrated about something. They may be trying to figure out exactly what to do, how to get the stock to move, when they don’t have the confidence to walk up into the stock to get it to move. Some dogs will also bark when the working situation gets tough and stressful, as in a competition situation where precision control is essential and the dog is feeling a lot of pressure.
Normally when a dog gets more confidence in himself and his handler and has more working experience, the barking will cease, or at least greatly decrease. If your dog is barking because of frustration, especially if it is young, you might try putting the dog in different working situations and helping the dog move the stock in different ways so that he sees he can be successful. Some dogs may never completely quit barking, as they may never gain the confidence they need in all situations. By barking, the dog feels that he will make the stock do what he wants them to do.
There is a lot of difference between a “frustration” or “stress” bark and a “control” bark. Some dogs will first warn the stock, in particular cattle, with just a bark or two (not a constant yipping). Even the tone of the bark is different from a “frustration” bark. This control bark tells the cattle, “Move on your own or I’m coming with teeth.” Even the stock can sense the difference between a control and a frustration bark. Some people think a working dog should be completely quiet while working.
During my thirty years of working dogs on livestock, primarily cattle, I’ve always found a control bark to be helpful. In a lot of cases than it is more effective than a bite, especially when working large groups. A control bark tells the whole group, “There’s a dog back here and I mean business.” If a dog grips, the only one who knows about it is the one who got nipped. Also, to me a control bark is easier on the stock than a grip, and the whole idea is to move the stock in the calmest and easiest manner possible.
I like to teach my working dogs to bark on command. This is very useful to me when having to move stock after dark in the winter time, or when we have escapees at night. I can’t always tell where my dog is, but I can give him the “Bark” command and know his exact position. I have also used this command in competition when the situation was especially touchy.

What About Using My Aussie to Work My Horses?

Although we know there are people who say they effectively use dogs to work their horses, we do not recommend it, especially with young dogs. An older dog with experience dodging hooves might do better but we know of several who were either killed or severely injured while trying to work horses. Horses aim their kicks better than cattle and some horses will even come after a dog and try to stomp it. If you intend to use your Aussie to work horses both you and the dog should have a good deal of experience. It can be done, but be careful.

I’ve heard the Working Lines Are Aggressive toward People. Is this true?

Generally speaking, more dogs from working lines have retained the “old time” Aussie temperament than those from non-working lines. The Aussie was bred to be a working dog and protector of family and home, and in those days there were no conformation shows for Aussies. Now there are, and the dogs that are shown need a happy, never-meet-a-stranger, “pet me, pet me” attitude in order to do well in the breed ring. In our opinion this is not in keeping with the ASCA breed standard regarding temperament. We are not condoning aggression; there is no excuse for a dog to be aggressive unless it is provoked. However, we believe some people are using the term “aggressive” loosely and confusing the term with the naturally protective, reserved temperament of a lot of the working dogs — which is how ALL Aussies used to be and in our opinion, should be.
True aggression can be caused by many factors – inheritance, lack of socialization, bad experiences at a young age, improper handling, and abuse, just to name a few. We feel there are just as many aggressive Aussies from non-working lines as there are from working lines.

Somebody Told Me That Any Australian Shepherd Would Work My Cows, because it’s a Herding Breed and All Herding Breed Dogs Work.Is this True?

Absolutely, positively NOT. Neither can just “any” thoroughbred race!! It is a sad but true fact that there arean awful lot of Aussies out there who don’t have any inclination at all to work; some are even afraid of the stock. Working instinct is an inherited trait and is easily lost if care is not taken in a breeding program to preserve and enhance it. Even if you breed two good working dogs, there is a chance there will be one or two puppies in the litter that, for unknown reasons, don’t want to work. So if you want to increase your chances of getting one that WILL work, you should be sure that at least both parents (and preferably all grandparents) actually worked stock.
It is also a little more difficult to select one to work cows. You should ask if both parents actually worked cows. Some dogs may work smaller stock but lack the power or constitution to tackle cattle. If the parents worked the type stock you have, your chances of getting a puppy that will are even better.

Do You Train Working Dogs for Other People?

Unfortunately our time is very limited so right now we do not take any outside dogs for training unless they were purchased from us. If you have a working Aussie and need help with training or problem solving, you should contact the breeder. Any person who sells their Aussies as working dogs should be able to provide you with the help you need. If they can’t then they shouldn’t be selling working dogs. We do try to have some clinics during the year that are open to all working breeds. For more information, contact us.

Do You Ever Have Started Dogs for Sale?

We get lots of requests for started dogs but unfortunately rarely have one for sale to the public. We have a long waiting list for started dogs and are able to produce only one or two per year. Normally the puppy (or adult) is purchased from us with the understanding that it will be started later on. Prices begin at $750.00, depending on the amount of training the owner wants the dog to have, and whether they wish it trialed and started titles completed.
A word of caution if you’re planning on buying a started dog: Be SURE that you and the seller have the same thoughts about what “started” means. To some people, if a dog has been exposed to stock at all, even on a lead, it is “started”. Others don’t consider it started unless it has a good, controllable “down” and is reliable on its flanking commands, walk-ups, etc. Just be certain that if you’re buying a started dog it has had the training you expect.
Ideally, you should visit the dog and owner and have him/her work the dog for you, then let you work it to see if you and the dog are going to get along. The owner should also be willing to give you some tips on how to work the dog. If that’s not possible, at the very least you should see a good video of the dog working so there will be no misunderstanding about what it can/can’t do. Also, be sure that it’s been started on the type stock you will use it on. A dog started on sheep may not be ready to work cattle yet.

Do you Ship?

Yes, shipping is available in the U.S. and Canada via Delta Dash. Our European agents handle European inquiries.

What are your Prices?

We’ve had people inquire about our dogs almost apologetically, saying they’d like to have one but know they can’t afford one. Wrong!! We have purposefully kept our prices reasonable because we feel that money should not stand in the way of someone owning a quality Aussie. Puppies are priced depending on the puppy sold and on on the type of registration as well as age and amount of training and/or titles they have. Please contact us with serious inquiries!
What’s the Difference between Limited and Full Registration?
Limited registration papers will be marked “Not For Breeding” and no offspring of this dog can be registered. Registration applications for dogs sold on limited registration will be until proof of spay/neuter is furnished to us. As far as quality — sometimes the “limited registration” puppy has a fault which renders it unsuitable for breeding. (We would never sell someone a puppy with a fault which we feel will interfere with the purpose for which they are purchasing it.) In many cases, it will be a first quality puppy – the same one that would sell for more if someone wanted it for breeding. But using limited registration whenever possible is our way of helping control the pet population, and it is not our goal to see how many intact Pincie Creek Aussies we can put out in the world. We’d rather take less money and know this puppy won’t contribute to more unwanted animals.

What about Started Dogs?.

We get lots of requests for started dogs but unfortunately rarely have one for sale to the public. We have a long waiting list for started dogs and are able to produce only one or two per year. Normally the puppy (or adult) is purchased from us with the understanding that it will be started later on. Prices depend on the amount of training the owner wants the dog to have, and whether they wish it trialed and started titles completed.

What Can I Expect When I Contact You for the First Time?

We use the same criteria for both prospective puppy buyers and for those who are interested in older dogs. We question people quite extensively (some get aggravated with us). The format we use goes something like this:
1. Have you ever owned an Australian Shepherd before?
If No:
a. Have you ever owned a dog before? If so, what breed? What did you like and dislike about it?
b. Why do you think the Australian Shepherd is the breed for you?
If Yes,
a. Where did you get it? (Or, what were its bloodlines?) (This sometimes gives us an idea of what “type” Aussie they owned, and also may provide us with the name of someone we know that we can contact for a reference.)
b. What did you like and dislike about the Aussie? (This helps us determine if we think they are suited to an Aussie and if they are, which one of our dogs is best suited to them.)
2. Do you live in town or the country?
a. If in town, do you have a fenced yard or other area where the dog can exercise daily? We do not sell to anyone living in town with no fenced yard.
b. NOTE: We very, very rarely sell an Aussie to someone who lives in an apartment, condo, or townhouse. We do not think it’s fair to the dog.
c. If in the country, what type facility do you have for your dog? Will it be kept inside and crated when you’re not home, in a kennel, fenced yard, etc.? We do not sell to anyone who insists that their dog should run loose. Our experience has shown that, as close a people live to one another these days, an intelligent, active dog like the Aussie cannot be left unconfined for long periods. An especially undesirable prospect is the one who wants a very intense working dog, keeps the stock close to where the dog will be kept, and then wants to allow the dog to run loose. This will not work. The dog will definitely find something to amuse himself and most likely it will not be something you approve of. Also, for the dog’s welfare, he needs to be kept in a safe place, away from cars, other animals, poison, etc.
3. What do you plan to do with the dog? (Companion, competition, working).
If companion, we give a considerable discount and sell all our companion Aussies on a limited registration with a spay/ neuter Contract.
If a working dog, what type set-up do you have (small hobby farm, large ranch) and what type stock do you have? Exactly what do you expect this dog to be able to do?
If competition prospect, what areas? Have you ever competed in these areas before? What level do you expect this dog to attain?

Deposits

If we feel we have an Aussie that would be suitable for you, and if after hearing what we have available youare still interested, we require a deposit to guarantee your place on our waiting list. When you submit the deposit, you tell us your sex and color preference (first and second choices), and the purpose for which you’re purchasing the dog. If the sex or color you requested is not available, we will give you the choice of another puppy if there are extras in the litter not reserved. If you do not accept the second choice, your deposit will be refunded. If we have the sex and color that you requested but you have already purchased a dog elsewhere, or you change your mind and request a different color or sex that is not available, the refund is ours. We also evaluate the puppies extensively from birth to weaning age, and even if we have the sex and color you request but we do not feel it is suitable for your purpose, we reserve the right to not sell the puppy and refund your deposit.
Guarantees (Contracts)
Our biggest concern is the welfare and happiness of our dogs. We try really hard to match the “right” puppy or adult up with the “right” owner so that everyone is happy. If you get a dog from us and you’re not satisfied, you won’t be happy, the dog won’t be happy, and ultimately we won’t be happy. So we try to avoid all this unhappiness by getting it “right” the first time. Rest assured that any dog you buy from Pincie Creek will be carefully selected and screened and that we will do everything we can to be certain it is what you told us you wanted. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we will tell you. Please don’t be offended if this happens.
When we began looking for breeding stock to replace our old dogs, we unfortunately had some unpleasant experiences with breeders. A guarantee, even if written and signed by everyone involved, is only as good as the integrity of the breeder who signs it. And we quickly found that some breeders did not honor their contracts. So we vowed that if we were ever in the position to be selling dogs to people, that we would (1) Represent them honestly; (2) Stand behind them 100%; and (3) Assure prospective customers that they will never be “stuck” with one of our dogs. You will find our Guarantees to be some of the most lenient around. Basically we will take a dog back and replace it for virtually any reason; even if you just don’t get along. If you find you can no longer care for the dog, you can always return it to us and we will either keep it or rehome it. We will replace any dog that you are unhappy with, subject to availability, with the following exception:
You tell us you want the dog for one purpose, and then decide you want to do something else with it, and it doesn’t measure up to your new expectations. Example: You purchase a companion, and then decide you want to compete in obedience or herding, and are not happy with the dog’s performance. In this case you may still return the dog to us, but we will ask you to pay for a replacement.
In the unlikely event that we find the dog has been abused or neglected, we will not replace it.
WE DO NOT GIVE REFUNDS.
Click on the links below to view samples of our standard contracts, which will be customized for your unique situation:

If we haven’t scared you away with all our criteria and you’re STILL interested in a Pincie Creek Aussies, please visit our Available Now page.

If you still have questions, feel free to call us now.
Pincie Creek Stock Dogs
Dothan, AL 36305
Phone: 334-692-3883

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