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Noonbarra Kelpies are very intelligent dogs and like to have an outlet to use those brains. We always breed towards having clever, smart dogs. That is why they do so well in Obedience and Agility. They also make good tracking dogs. Many of our customers do things like Flyball or Frisbee competitions or teach tricks or even have a go at film and TV work. Others go to nursing homes with their dogs or try herding. All these things are fun for the dog and fun for the owner. They also stimulate the dog's mind and make for a well mannered, relaxed, happy dog.
You do not need lots of acres for your dog to run. This is an important point because even if supplied with hundreds of acres, our Noonbarra Kelpies want to be with you. So unless you go with them, they'll just lie near the back door doing exactly the same as they would do in a city environment.
A big backyard is not as important as you might think. Dogs rarely exercise themselves much in a backyard. Much more important it that your dog gets a good daily walk on a lead. This should be more than half an hour and if at all possible preferably around an hour. It should be a controlled walk on a normal length lead without your dog pulling ahead. You decide where you want to go, not the dog. This is a leader - follower situation and is an important foundation for all your dog training. If you can manage this, then you are well on the way to having a fantastic dog! [See more details in our book - Kelpie Basics]
Obviously it is a good idea to walk your dog on a regular basis and a great idea to go for a run in the park or along a beach but Kelpies are very intelligent and need to be stimulated mentally as well as physically. Being part of your family is important. Usually just a ride in the car can be stimulation. But even better would be to teach your dog tricks or learn tracking, agility, Flyball etc. Take your dog out with you. If you drop into the Video store, clip your dog up outside. The same at the newsagent. Every time out with you or a member of the family helps.
Find out about your local obedience club. These usually charge just a few dollars a week and it is a great day out for and the dog. The added advantage is your dog learns to fit in with the community. We often take our young dogs to obedience for a month or two just to help them to be well socialised. We have found it has made a huge difference.
Our Noonbarra Kelpies are very intelligent and need to at least have some sort of mental stimulation. They love to be around people and don't like to be left out of things. In fact as I write this, it is raining outside and I have two Kelpies lying on the floor. One is less than 6 months old and not a problem at all in the house. The dogs on the Noonbarra lines are bred to be easy to train and quite willing and capable of learning tricks and complex commands. That is why they are so good at film and TV work. But owners must be able to be consistent and fair in all their dealings with a Kelpie. Kelpies do not respect an owner who does not seem capable of being in the leadership (alpha dog) position.
Because they are bred to withstand harsh conditions in the Australian bush and hot outback they rarely get too many health problems and the short coat means not too much dog hair or grooming. They are not prone to many of the common genetic diseases that seem to plague other breeds of dogs.
In the past we have taught our Noonbarra Kelpies to be handy helpers in the home. They can be trained to get things from your room such as shoes. We had one trained to know the difference between running shoes, slippers and work boots. Ask your dog to get the tea towel from the kitchen or find the TV guide. All this can be done and much more. You should start by teaching some basic obedience and then pick up a book on dog tricks.
Of course each Noonbarra puppy has his own personality and some are better suited to a city environment than others. We will certainly do our best to supply you with the Kelpie that is the most likely to fit into your situation. Another thing we like about our dogs is the fact that they rarely upset other animals. Some well bred Kelpies can upset horses, cattle, and even run sheep off and into fences etc. The Noonbarra lines of recent years are much better in this regard and tend to be calmer around animals. However, it should be noted that small fast animals such as cats, birds and rodents will often excite young Kelpies and must be introduced carefully to the new puppy. Older, mature Kelpies are usually fine with any animal.
If you are prepared to put just a little bit of time into making your dog part of the family it will pay off better than you ever thought possible. They are wonderful dogs to own.
Please note that cross-bred Kelpies, Show Kelpies, dogs from Pounds, and even good Kelpies from other breeders may not behave in the same way as our Noonbarra Kelpies. We have spent many years and an awful lot of money to get our Stud to the level it is today. Even though we are a small Stud compared to many, our Noonbarra Kelpies are known all over the world.
We have had a number of people recently that have liked what they read about Noonbarra Kelpies but mistakenly thought everything still applied to the entire Kelpie breed and even to cross-bred dogs. Many have bought dogs elsewhere that did not behave the way they expected and they then got no support from their breeder. As in most fields, there are plenty of very good breeders but also a lot of very poor breeders. We can only talk about how our Noonbarra Kelpies behave in these situations but we are happy to try and help people who are having problems with dogs that they have bought somewhere else. We of course give full on-going support to all Noonbarra customers.
SHOULD YOU OWN A WORKING KELPIE AS A PET?
We would like to point out that although one of our Noonbarra Working Kelpies can make an ideal pet for most families and we have sold many to city and suburban families, they are a very intelligent dog and so need an owner they can respect. These things need to be considered. You must be like a mixture of parent, teacher and leader. You should be very affectionate and loving but you also need to be firm and consistent when you give your dog a command. This is especially important when dealing with puppies. In fact, if the owner allows a Kelpie to do whatever the dog likes there will quickly be a change in the dog's attitude and obedience. The dog will assume he is boss and leader and the owner will be (in the dog's mind) pushed into second place. This will actually stress the dog and he will become anxious and also likely to be more nervous and excitable. It really comes down to, that if you can't find time to involve your dog in your life and can't find the time to walk your Kelpie it might be best to wait until you are really ready.
YOU MUST WALK YOUR DOG
We prefer new Kelpie owners that have owned a dog before, so they at least have some idea of the responsibilities of owning a dog. If you are the type of person that when you walk into a room and find your Kelpie sitting up in your favourite chair, you decide to sit somewhere else, then I would not recommend a Kelpie. Kelpies are too smart and soon your dog will be doing whatever he likes and certainly not listening to you.
You don't have to be tough or hard, or even experienced, to own a good Kelpie but you should be firm and fair (and consistent) in your demands. Kelpies need leadership and guidance from their owners and will not respect a owner that gives into their every whim.
NOONBARRA WENDY AT NOONBARRA
Don't ever buy a Kelpie (or any dog) on a whim. Owning a dog is a big commitment. Go and see breeders, research the breed and take your time to make an informed decision. Don't buy a dog just because you think one would look good around your home or might be good for the kids. A Noonbarra Kelpie should never be bought just as an ornament and kept bored in a backyard, day after day. Our Kelpies deserves more than that. They can be a fabulous dog and a good friend an devoted mate if you are willing to share your life with one.
Every dog owner has a responsibility to their dog. They should provide a good life for their dog and they should make every effort to teach and help their dog to learn. They should provide companionship and fun for their dog. Please don't buy a dog unless you are sure you can do the right thing by the dog!
We recommend that anyone buying a Noonbarra Kelpie as a pet takes the dog to 'Puppy Kindergarten' and after 4 months of age to 'Obedience School'. Obedience schools are often held on weekends and/or at nights at local parks and usually go for an hour or so. The cost is often only a couple of dollars each week. Your dog learns to socialise with strangers, children and other breeds of dogs. Apart from that, your dog learns to obey you even when there are distractions around. It is a great learning experience and a whole lot of fun for the dog as well as the handler.
We recommend that beginner dog owners organise for a professional dog trainer (someone experienced in dog behaviour - not just competition type obedience training) to give a short lesson once a week for the first few weeks or so. Many of our beginner customers do this and it makes owning a puppy so much easier. Expert Dog Trainers can be found in your phone book. You really only need someone to give you a few tips each week and make sure you are getting the foundation training done correctly. These trainers are usually not too expensive and may be well worthwhile. They will know immediately if your young dog is getting out of control or you are doing something wrong and having a puppy will be very easy and enjoyable for you.
Our Noonbarra Stud Kelpies have a reputation for being very calm and gentle. They are especially calm inside but can be very active when needed outside. This is a good balance. Over many years, we have purposely bred towards having dogs like this. Terrific dogs like Noonbarra Jessie, Noonbarra Jackaroo, Noonbarra Sophie, Noonbarra Amy, Noonbarra Sarah etc.
A little puppy will usually not be super calm. Puppies are puppies. You have to expect a degree of excitability, very little attention span, a few toilet accidents and maybe something chewed up. This is just being a puppy. But your puppy should not be out of control. The puppy should be compliant and sit for his dinner and obey your commands without question. As your Kelpie begins to mature you will see more and more of their calmness coming through. They tend to be most excitable around 9-14 weeks of age and then very gradually get a bit better. The more time you spend with them and the more you train them the easier it is.
Please note that pups that are over-excitable are usually puppies that are getting out of control. They don't see you as the alpha leader and don't think of themselves as followers. Unless you step in and fix things they will get progressively worse. It's very rare these types of problems fix themselves.
We do have a number of training packages including some for puppies before they even go to their new homes. unless you re an experienced dog owner/ trainer we'd recommend at the least that you get the crate training package ($50) and save yourself a lot of hassle of trying to do the training yourself. This package is optional for most customers but is automatically added on to any pup being flown as we will not let a pup onto a plane that may get stressed in any way.
We also have a $100 puppy package that is very popular where a lot more foundation training is done including sitting, walking on a lead, socialising, travel experience, people experience and down - stay training. Each dog is trained a little differently but basically it gets your pup a great head start in learning good manners, responding to commands and being adaptable in different situations.
As breeders, we of course want every one of our dogs to get the best possible start to life and with that in mind we try hard to make sure the new owner puts at least a bit of effort into the early behaviour training of their puppy. We often keep in touch and are always available if you need experienced advice.
NOONBARRA MAX AND HIS LITTER OF PUPS 2002
New edition of this very popular manual designed for all Kelpie owners of every level from raw beginners through to experienced trainers. This practical manual deals with everything involved in owning and training a Kelpie to ensure he grows up to be a well mannered, obedient dog.
The book is not about training on livestock! It deals with general obedience training, socialising your Kelpie, feeding, crating, toilet training, preventing problem behaviour, dominance issues, car travel, bathing, digging holes, stealing food, walking on a lead, coming when called... and much more.
Over 100 pages.
Click here for more details