I'm not a bad person and I do like dogs, I'm just the type that likes to know what I'm getting myself into so I can prepare. I'm trying not to make an emotional decision about the "cute little puppy" and think instead of the life long commitment to the member of the family we're getting. Any book recommendations? Thanks so much for any positive words.
|It sounds like you are being very responsible about making your decision.
Any dog may or may not turn out as we hope, however, I do believe the OES is a fairly easy to train breed compared to many. They can be stubborn, yes they are intelligent, and usually pick up on training quickly. They love their families, so the best way to train is to make sure you establish a close bond, so that it will WANT to please you. Positive reinforcement training is a must with this breed. They are sensitive to your emotions, and a simple kind word with a dog who has bonded to you is often enough to get the dog to learn.
They are a herding breed, so there are many behaviors inate to this group of dogs, like following you everywhere, wanting your family to be all in one room, as puppies they often nip as it is instinct to herd which often means a nip at the heel, or pantleg, or trying to mouth hands in order to get you to go where you want them to.
As for brown beards, some have been more succesful than others about keeping beards clean, but they almost always have at least some staining. If the dog is kept clipped down this will reduce the staining. As for shedding, they are not really shedders. They have a downy undercoat, and an outer coat that is more like hair than fur. They don't shed as such, but just like people, sometimes hairs fall out, or are pulled out, or break. Nothing like a lab though!
If your husband wants to be in charge of grooming and decides to keep the dog in full coat, I would highly recommend he browse this forum as well, there is a lot to learn, and keeping an OES in full coat is a lot of work. Once a routine is established though it doesn't seem like as much time is taken up. I groom one side of one dog every night, about 30 minutes a night. Most pet owners can keep their oes in good shape by grooming the dog once every 3-5 days. There is more to grooming than just what you see, there is nail trimming, ear cleaning, plucking ear hair, trimming hair between the paw pads as that can become painfully matted and cause the dog to become lame, or infections in the skin. An oes in any length of coat will need these things attended to, as well as trimming the hair around the bum for cleanliness.
They are not a low maintenance breed for sure.... however, most people fall in love with the breed, and it is all worth it, because there is no other breed like an OES that can steal your heart so fast, and forever.
|I, too, was asking for encouragement from the forum just last week. Our first Puppy Head Start class was a nightmare.
I never even considered and OES, and lo and behold, my daughter gave us an 8 week old pup just before Christmas. In early November, our beloved Dal died very suddenly, and my husband was inconsolable. My daughter chose an OES for the size and reputation for being loyal and kind and thought her dad would cheer up if he had a new dog to love. We have always taken in rescues, and even though we have had as many as four dogs at a time, we have never had a puppy.
Even though Ben may be goofy, he is the light of our lives. He is now five months old, still has accidents and eats Swiffers everytime he gets a chance. He is also has a kind heart, a love for every dog, cat and person he meets, and is happy just to be alive.
Okay, he takes more grooming than some other dogs. I think you will find that it is very soothing to brush a laid-back dog while you are watching tv. I know it really lowers my blood pressure after a hard day. I don't know if the reputation of being hard to train is really true. It hasn't been my experience. I taught Ben to sit in five minutes when he was 10 weeks old. Down took about 10 minutes. He is in puppy class now, and I will say that it is easier to train him at home because he is easily distracted (that love of dogs and people kicking in)
I have two other dogs, a Brittany and a Sheltie, and he shows more evidence of being even tempered than either of those two. Yesterday, we had 20 people over for Easter dinner. I thought it might be a fiasco, but Ben greeted everyone calmly, behaved beautifully and didn't even have any accidents. Okay, he did steal 2 jelly beans out of the bowl, but that was the extent of his mishehavior.
I am so taken with him that I am considering adopting an older OES rescue so that he has a friend to play with (my other two dogs are grouches).
Even with my limited experience, I can say I love Old English Sheepdogs.
|I have owned 2 OES one deceased some time ago. They both listen as good as any dog, my neighbors are constantly amazed that Roger stops, turns around and comes back when I call him. He will sit or lay down using the gentlist voice. He does love to bark at the birds though, I haven't figured that one out yet. Shedding good news here, they don't shed, you will break hair off though during grooming, so if you groom inside you will have a little hair floating around, I just consider it a reminder that I live in the real world and nothing is perfect. They are not hyper if they are exercised properly you need to walk them a mile or so twice per day. You may think this is going to be a chore and it might be without a dog, but with one it is just fun. So in my opinion they are easy to train, they listen like no other dog, they don't shed, they are great around children (they can knock down a 2 year old so keep an eye out) but any big dog under 4 is the same way. They aren't aggressive, no normal dog is, unless you inadvertently allow them to be. The hair is no problem, although it does take 4 hours to give them a puppy cut, and you do have to spend 2 to 3 hours per week brushing them. In short they are the perfect dog, fuzzy and loveable, loyal and obedient, athletic but willing to lay around, intelligent, what more could you ask for.
From your biased scribe
|Willowsprite said everything you need to hear. OES are not for everyone, but if you decide to adopt one and can keep up with the training and grooming, you will never love another breed like you will love this one. And the sheepie will love you like no other dog ever has. Their antics are hysterical (and most traits are very common for most sheepies), and their eyes could just melt your heart.
Good luck with the puppy! You have found the best place for advice and just sharing stories. Come back often, keep learning, and when you get your baby - pics, pics and more pics, please!!
|I can understand your concern about temperment....particularly if you've been reading the posts here. However, remember that many people post here because they are looking for help. You are NOT going to get a lot of people looking for help because their Old Engish Sheepdog is behaving well.
You sound as though you will be a great person to get an Old English Sheepdog. Doing the research ahead of time is a good start.
Jennifer, Cassiopia, Baxter and Sharkey
|Excellent point jennifert.... most people who find this forum and read about all the problems probably just about have a heart attack... however, people do tend to seek out this kind of thing for a question, problem, or advice, at least in the beginning. Many who have joined have learned so much in their time here, and we all are amazed at all the new things we learn everyday.
The best way to prevent problems is to research, research, research. Learn all you can about dogs, training, feeding, and the breed as well as dogs in general. Please make sure you choose a reputable breeder who does health testing, offers guarantees and sells pups on a non breeding contract with the offer of help any time you may need it. That is your best prevention. If after researching you decide the breeder you left a deposit with is not up to par, then let the money go and start over. It is a hopefully ten to 15 years or more commitment, losing a couple hundred deposit is nothing compared to the years of heartache and vet bills if it is an unhealthy puppy.
|Yeah for you to think and plan ahead. Start trying to find other OES in your city, or visit the breeders and learn more about the breed. Just reading about them isn't enough, as each dog is different. We could all tell you horror or happy stories, and your new dog will do her own unique thing.
The most important part to me about having a puppy is socialiazation. A well socialized dog is a joy to be around. You will be able to take her everywhere and know she will behave nicely with other dogs and people and kids too. Then comes training, start ASAP, with a puppy class.
Start buying your grooming supplies, and you will want to gently start right after you bring her home. They really don't shed alot, at least mine doesn't. I find it comes off only when I'm grooming her.
If you're worried about temp, and if you trust the breeder ask for her help in picking the dog out. Find one in the middle of the pack order...don't chose the one that is first to come running over...stay and watch and ask questions. Learn about dog and pack order behaviours...this will carry on once they leave the litter. Don't take a pup under 8 weeks.
And stick around, the forum is a great place to learn about the daily lives of our wonderful sheepies. Good luck to you, you've chosen a wonderful breed.
my wife was also very hesitant about getting a sheepie. I had had one previously, and having experienced many other breeds as well I was confident that a sheepie was the way to go. My wife, however, had only ever had bichon fris, and expressed a lot of the same concerns you have.
However, now after two years my wife can't stop talking about how much she loves our girl. She spoils her more than I do! You have some concerns, and I will not lie, depending on the individual dog some of the problems you are worrying about may actually occur. However, you need to understand that I am not being biased when I say that the sheepdog has a special quality about it that will slowly but surely change your feelings about such things, so that your love for the dog will be such that any of those problems will strangely no longer mean anything to you.
For example, my wife's biggest concern was that the sheepie would be too big of a dog. I stretched the truth a bit, constantly assuring her that the female was only a "medium" dog. When Burcwen arrived my wife had a bird, exclaiming that she was a HUGE dog!! (only 90 lb!) Now, two years later however, my wife still exclaims that Burcwen is a HUGE dog, but now can't imagine why she would ever want a dog that was not that huge! See what I mean?
Give a sheepie a chance, and they will cast their spell on you, I guarentee it!
Danita was afraid of dogs before we got our Lennon. She was decided to keep him when we bought him, so she made a lot of research and stumped into this forum. The help we got here was so great that he turned out to be a fine dog (He's still got his flaws, but we love him anyway).
This breed is extremely loyal, and they will form a bond with their masters like I've never seen before, I relly envy the bond between Lennon and Danita. They are very smart and like to please you, so they learn quickly. They can be very stubborn and mischeivous because they have a very strong personality and a mind of their own, but that's a sheepie trade and I would not change it for anything. I'll agree with previous posts that an OES is not a breed for everyone, because they require lots of work and attention. If you commit yourself to the needs of a sheepie, you will gain a friend for life, and probably will not want another breed any more.
I'm glad to see that you are one responsible owner, researching the breed before getting it. I've seen many OES neglected because people could not commit to the needs of them, and then they end up in shelters. Give the sheepies a chance. Being a responsible owner like you, I'm sure you'll do just fine.
|I read on here at one point that you can't have just one......As long as you know that these dogs are a lot of work, but truely a great reward, you'r egood to go! Just make sure you have patience. Don't get anygry when training or when puppy makes a mistake. We never scolded Pooh for his mistakes as an infant and now that he's in Puberty (well, without the proper equipment anyway) no mistakes and he's very loving! Good luck!|
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