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Thank you very much for the pictures of "Tucker's" Favorite place to sleep. It reminded me of our very first O.E.S. He later "moved up" to the bathtub,and scared the heck out of me one nite,when he stuck his big white head out from behind the shower curtain at 3 a.m. in the morning!Big grins here! Merry Christmas everyone.I just left my sheepdog's Mother,twin sister,aunt,half sister,and two other sheepdogs,for a two year reunion. I was looking for a cute sheepdog picture to e-mail her with thanks,and I found this website.Needless to say,I sent her your website! I will post "Scoobie Doo 2's" picture, as soon as possible. Jeannie Riecker
Thanks Marianne!

I haven't had the time recently to keep up with the forum postings, but frankly the number of postings on misbehaving puppies and teen sheepies is alarming. I am a volunteer with the New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue group, and the number of sheepies being surrendered to NEOESR rescue has risen probably close to 100% in the past year.

I don't necessarily think it's because there is a rash of bad disposition OES, but rather due to a number of other factors. Folks are still buying puppies from pet stores (therefore puppy mills), the Internet (primarily puppy mills), back yard breeders (folks who usually only have one litter). The price of a puppy does not guarantee it's quality of breeding or the care taken in the early socialization of the pup.

The early socialization (handling, manners training etc.) of puppies before they leave their mother, can have a significant effect on that dog's personality and behavior throughout its life. Puppies who are raised by novice breeders or puppy mills, who have not had initial handling and training, are likely to present an initial challenge. A compounding factor is that often they are sold and removed from the litter too early, and they miss even the discipline their mother would offer.

Sorry to go on at length, but through working with OES Rescue, as well as in serving as a trainer for puppy obedience, I see a number of dogs that have started life on the wrong foot. Having a 30 lb puppy with annoying, destructive or aggressive activities is not acceptable, particularly if that puppy becomes an 80 lb adult. Some owners don't realize that a dog society is not a democracy -- someone, preferably with 2 legs, not 4, needs to be the alpha pack leader, set the rules and boundaries and consistently manage the needs of pack members.

Clearly, I am a huge advocate of obedience training, preferably positive conditioning (often called clicker training) including establishing very clear "rules" from puppies' early life. I am also an advocate of anticipating situations that are likely to trigger negative behavior, and to have a remedy in mind. Further, it is very helpful to create situations where a dog can succeed rather than fail.

Even with "problem" dogs (of all breeds) I have had a lot of success using a system of heavy rewards (for ANYthing done well), requiring a dog to work for any reward (food, a favorite toy, a favorite place on the floor, a cuddle session), and to NEVER allow a dog to successfuly challenge my alpha status. With many OES, I have found that withdrawing my attention, i.e., ignoring them, is actually a punishment in their eyes -- a short "time out" in an adjacent room, has worked for some.

You'd think that my own dogs would be the best behaved creatures on earth -- HA! At least when they misbehave, I usually know what I have done that lets them think they can get away with it. It probably sounds like I run a boot camp, but my dogs are a pleasure to be with, behave well in most situations, and therefore are accepted in a wide range of activities. I see too many cases where dogs that have a history of bad behavior and are "banished" to a garage, tied outside, etc.

It starts by finding a dog from a good, responsible breeder, then making an initial investment in time and training. OES are a herding breed -- being bossy, nipping at sheep, guarding "resources" and acting somewhat independently are part of the breed make up. Modifying these natural tendencies into acceptable family behavior is the challenge we all face.
On the Texas Gulf Coast it only goes below freezing 2-3 days in the year. It is usually 80% humidity, which means you cannot cool off when you sweat. Sweat doesn't evaporate and neither does the water on a dog's tongue. But my dog needs to get out and run. She is a VERY unhappy dog if she is kept inside all day.
But I do not shave her all the way. I have decided that I want her to see, I do not want water all over the floor, and I want her to look and smell clean. So, I shave her face, her rear back and rear and every bit of hair is shaved off her stomach and feet. She has a four inch coat on her chest and sides and what I call her ruff. It is a modified lions cut for a poodle, which I used to own a while back.
I was living in a cooler part of Argentina when Abbi came to my home. We only shaved her once there --she had a skin problem.
I enjoy Abbi as a best friend and she doesn't mind not having the hair. We can keep fire ants and other pest off her much better without all of that hair. She can see if the girls are about to walk on her and we have more harmony in the house. And a lot less hair.
And any of my three daughters can groom her in 20 minutes or less. So she is groomed almost every day and loves it. Every 5 weeks I have to trim her again, but I am enjoy doing it.
We all love looking at CLASSIC sheep dogs. Our whole family has a deep admiration for anyone who can keep their dogs mat free and happy.
It just didn't work for us.
Abbi doesn't jump on us now. But she still tries with visitors, especially if they are friendly towards her.
I think all dogs like to greet each other by licking each others faces or grabbing at the sides of each others faces/necks.
Since we walk up higher than the dogs, they try to get up and personal to give us a good greeting. Of course, we would rather shake hands. So I have Abbi sit whenever anyone comes up to her so that she cannot jump. I already was very firm with her about not jumping up on me or family. But we go down to her level when we haven't seen her for a few hours or more and give her ear rubs and lots of hugs. Sometimes she just cannot help herself and tries to jump up when we rise, but I am pretty good at pushing her down before she actually goes all the way up.

Interestingly, at 4 year old, Abbi never knocks anyone down when she jumps anymore. She is actually holding herself up and lightly touching others. Most of my 13 year-old daughters friends have comment on this. They marvel at how light she is, but she is actually walking on her rear legs. She just wants to say hi. Since not everbody undrstands, we are constantly reminding her to stay down.
Stepping on the dog's back toes. keeping them off balance, a gentle knee in the chest, and other "corrections" will cure her from jumping on you. Since everyone doesn't do this, it will not prevent her from jumping up to greet them.
If you watch small dogs they do it too. They are just so small it doesn't bother people as much.
Whether it seems aggresive or not, your dog should never bruise you -- so do try to correct her or prevent her from jumping by getting her in sit position before you greet her. It is important that you are in control--not the dog. It makes for a happier dog too. They need to know who's boss at all times. And since you feed her, it is best if its you.
Didn't mean to go authoritative, enjoy your dog. Just add control to the equation too and you will enjoy her even more!
Hi Ruth,

I don't usually post - but all of the recent discussions I've seen about aggressive OES puppies is alarming to me. Aggressive behavior like you described can easily escalate into a serious problem.

I am NOT an expert but I would recommend a few things...

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING - I don't think that training which involves startling or scaring the dog to stop (or start) a behavior is wise - particularly with a dog that is already showing territorial aggression at such a young age. Maybe you could look for a group obedience class in your area - where George could not only learn some training - but he could also get some socialization. Be sure to look for a POSITIVE TRAINING CLASS.

I highly recommend a book, The Dog's Mind, by Dr. Bruce Fogle. It is very interesting and informational - particularly with aggressive behaviors. It will provide you with some guidance as to what to do and what not do to (the staring in the face issue).

If I'm not mistaken, you made a post on the OES List regarding adding another OES to the family. I would not recommend doing that until you have addressed these aggression concerns with George. They may get worse with the addition of another puppy. You were attempting to get in touch with NEOESR. You should discuss this behavior with Grannie Annie - if you haven't already. NEOESR has seen very young OES have to be euthanized due to aggression - which got out of control (and made worse with the wrong training!)

Nip this in the bud (no pun intended!).

Good Luck!
The book that Kristen mentioned is available through via this link:
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
Walter's Mom,

You should read the book, The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior, by Bruce Fogle, Anne B. Wilson. It's really interesting and will give you some insight into Walter's aggressive behavior.

I also recently read, and I think Kim (Merlin) mentioned it in a previous post - look into a lower protein diet. High protein diets have been linked to aggressive behaviors. Have you tried "hand feeding"?

I am sorry to hear that your breeder was no help (that's unfortunately part of the problem - these breeders aren't responsible and are breeding dogs with aggressive traits). You are NOT alone - I've read so many recent posts (on this List and OES-List) from people who have aggressive puppies - it's disturbing! It really sends a clear message to everyone - it is so important to go to a reputable breeder!

Good Luck with the Vet appointment - I hope you get some resolution!

Hope you don't mind me adding this but please don't feed grapes or raisins to your dog's as they can cause kidney failure.

Just over a year ago our Labrador pinched a few raisins off the side in the kitchen so we rung the vet and asked if she would be ok,they said raisin's were ok and she would probably just have the run's for a while.Well she started being sick and not being able to stand properly so we phone the vet again and they said the raisins had probably just swollen in her stomach making it uncomfortable for her to stand.Thing's got worse so we made the vet do bloodtest which showed she had kidney failure and she died 5 day's later.
It would of been her 3rd birthday yesterday and we miss her like crazy.
Please be careful what you feed to your dog's.
There's a great book, The Dog's Mind, by Dr. Bruce Fogle that discusses aggression issues! I recommend it to everyone - regardless of whether you have problems with your dog or not!

Aggression can often be inherited - and some aggressions develop during the socialization period (if I remember from the book that is 7-12 weeks old). Aggression is also more common with intact males. It has been recommended to feed a low-protein high quality diet as well!

Positive Reinforcement Training is suggested (for all dogs)- negative (punishment) training can lead to aggressive behavior.

Be careful, I think someone had mentioned in a previous post about aggression that it wasn't recommended to "stare them down" - it means that you are challenging them (I think!).

Just my opinion!
I've had several groomers in the last 13 years of my OES's life and I've only found 2 that I absolutely loved. My dog actually resisted going to all of these other groomers for a second time except for the 2 people that I adored. I would agree with BritPresSyd that most groomers do not like to groom OES's. I was fortunate that even up to the end of my dog's life, that this one particular groomer didn't mind grooming my dog at all and was incredibly kind to him. I always make sure that I tipped well too which I think always goes a long way.

I also did try to brush out my dog the night before we went to the groomer so his coat was easier to handle.

I would say if you're happy with Petco stick with them, if not please keep searching for a perfect grooming match for your pup.
I suggest bringing her to a training class - train her, socialize her and give her some confidence at the same time! Positive Reinforcement training only!!!

Although it hasn't gotten to the point of aggression - it could be headed in that direction and you definately want to resolve it asap.

When you are walking her - bring some treats along and when she is approaching a stranger - tell her to sit & stay and to be quiet - reward her for her good behavior.

Lastly, your behavior may trigger her reaction - if you are worried about how she is going to react - she may sense that and become fearful or terroritorial. Try and relax and assure her that it's okay!

Two great books I've read about dog behavior are:
The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation, by Jan Fennell
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior, by Bruce Fogle, Anne B. Wilson
I highly recommend them!

Best of Luck!
Wow! I think since i didn't have a dog as a kid, i missed out on a lot. Its all new to me and they amaze me everyday. Just animals in general. People really take them for granted sometimes, and don't understand. I have bought the book "The dog's mind" as so many on the forum recommended it. Its wonderful and eyeopening. I am a big fan of the show "stargate" which is on Scifi, and there was this one episode when the so called higher beings (the guauld, spl ?) said that they take humans as hosts because they are lower beings, and that they treat us as we treat our animals. And one of the humans answered that its not the same thing, that we are self aware and animals are not. That is, unfortunatly, common belief. And I couldn't disagree more!!!
You'll find that the book
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior, by Bruce Fogle, Anne B. Wilson
will help tremendously when you get your puppy! You should also read
The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation, by Jan Fennell
another great one!
Ok, I'll put up links....

The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior

The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation

Are these the ones, Kristen?
I have another suggestion (if you don't mind!) - alot of times other dogs will feel "threatened" or "intimidated" when they can't see the eyes of the other dog. Do you keep your dog's hair short and out of his eyes at class? If not, try putting it up during class and see if that helps his interaction with other dogs. He may be reacting to their intimidation. Just a thought!

I have similar problems with my Presley - she gets along great with her sisters - but every now and again she'll start with another dog. Alot of the dogs from her breeder are the same way - I don't know if it's a socialization issue (socialization begins before they are removed from the litter/mom) or if it's a temperment issue in their lines. Presley isn't from a good breeder.

I would also recommend discussing this issue with your breeder - they may offer some suggestions.

Good Luck!
If I remember correctly from reading "The Dog's Mind" - 7 weeks is the beginning of the socialization period - so it may play a big role in their behaviors.

They learn so quickly - that one week may mean all the difference in the world. I know alot of breeders prefer 10 weeks - but this can also vary depending on the puppy themselves - and a good breeder can judge when a puppy is ready! One pup may be ready at 8 weeks - and another a little behind and be ready at 10 weeks.

Of course, with poor breeding practices, regardless of the age of the puppy - there could be problems! Presley was 12 weeks (maybe that was too old) when we got her and she's as neurotic as they come - because of how she was raised until that point!

Wonderful advice from everyone so far.

My first Sheepie was rescued from the pound when my son was just over two. I didn't know better at the time. This was 15 years ago. Although I told him repeatedly to leave her alone he bugged her a lot. One day she nipped him on the foot..he cried, no skin was broken, and he did learn his lesson. Still training a child is tougher than a dog, they don't have the understanding under the age of 5 to know when enough is enough. I'm glad in my experience her bite was controlled and she had put up with a lot until that point.

On the other side of the spectrum this same dog laid faithfully by his side when he had surgery and didn't budge from her place for 3 wks. She became a therapy dog and worked with kids with disabilities. Sheepies in my opinion are the best dogs for kids. Eventually, Shaggy and I were under contract to go into schools to educate children about dogs and how to prevent being bit by one and taking care of their pets.

With a rescue you don't know their history 100% and a child under 5 may trigger something in them - you just don't want to take the chance. A pup will have razer sharp teeth the first couple months and you want your child to know when to hand over a toy for them to chew on instead of a hand. A young child may still not understand that small toys are dangerous to a pup and may leave things lying around. I'm not necessarily writing in sequence here just whatever comes to mind. The most important thing with kids and dogs that honestly scares me the most is this: Children whom often come up to eye level with a dog will often grasp the dogs head on each side and want to give it a kiss. EEKS!!! My heart always does flip flops as in the child's eyes this is're so cute I want to kiss you...In the dog's eyes this is a direct challenge and means I want to fight you. The consequences are serious as the child's face is right in front of the dog. Never let a child look directly in a dogs face while holding it's head. Ahhh enough of my ramblings.

If you feel confident that you can control all of the above then I say go for it and if something is telling you ...mmm not sure ...then wait another year or two.

Good luck with whatever choice you make!
PS I would definately recommend a sheepie for a child. They are considered the nannies and clowns of the dog world.
She's showing signs of possessive aggression. You should read the book, The Dog's Mind by Dr. Bruce Fogle. There's alot of information on this type of aggression and some suggestions of overcoming it. In the mean time, No more bones for Bella!
The book that Kristen mentioned is available through via this link:
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior

( will receive a small commission if you use this link to make your purchase(s) at
I would recommend crate training your pup - you will have an easier time housetraining - and you can be assured that he's safe & sound when you can't be watching him. Especially since you have 3 other dogs - because it may take some time for them all to get along. Puppies (of any breed) are a lot of work - but OES are in particular - due to their size, their grooming requirements and the herding instincts (especially with children). They are big dogs - and are very energetic and puppy-like for quite some time. They require Positive Reinforcement training! I would look for a training class to start ASAP.

The issue with the breeder selection is critical! Many health problems are rampant in the OES - due to poor breeding practices! Breeders should be breeding dogs that have been thoroughly tested prior to breeding and they should be bred with consideration to Health & Temperment! Deafness, hip dysplasia, Retinal Atrophy, aggressive behaviors all are problems that are becoming more common with the breed. You want to do everything in your power to decrease the chances of these problems. A responsible/ethical breeder should be providing you with all of the information you need to know about your puppy! They should be there to help you throughout the dog's life!

Educate yourself about the breed and the breeder - the good, the bad and the ugly! Make sure you are prepared for everything! I doubt very much that you will change your mind - regardless of what you may find out about your breeder - but at least become knowledgeable as to what to expect. The OES are NOTHING like a Lhasa Apso - the grooming requirements and personality are very different.

Best of Luck!

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