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Bella just snapped at a childs face.... comments appreciated

Chris B

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Thanks for the info. I have never heard them called that here, only Blue Heeler or Red Heeler, and of course lots of Kelpies and Cattle Dogs.

I had never heard of an Australian Shepherd either until I came here. Not a common dog in Australia, although I have seen a couple since being aware of them.

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what is the go with the Aussie shep's the ones we see here occasionally in obedience and agility you could stand them next to a large but fluffy BC (ok Sparty) and hardly see a diff except for the docked tail (supposedly as they are too bushy for working dogs im told??)Ironic you dont see a lot of them in australia!!

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The Australian Shepherd is an American breed, according to the (ugh) club propaganda:


"Would it surprise you to learn that the Australian Shepherd is the only livestock working breed developed in America? Contrary to his name, the Australian Shepherd is not an Australian breed at all. We can trace his early ancestors to sheep herds, many of which were brought from Australia. Basque shepherds on the west coast were known to have "little blue dogs with bob tails" in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Sheep were imported from France, Spain, England, New Zealand, and Australia along with shepherds with dogs. In the western United States the Basque shepherd and his little blue dogs came to represent shepherding as much as the Scotsman and his Collie in Britain. In Australia there are dogs similar to Aussies called German Coolies. Other breeds have been observed in the above countries exhibiting some of our Aussie's characteristics. Although their exact origin is unknown, there is no doubt that the breed was developed in the western United States by livestock producers who used the dogs for working. The fact that the dogs also excelled as a cattle dog made them ideal for our many diverse farm and ranch operations. The breed evolved to the demands of their farm and ranch owners."

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Quote from Bob Aaron/BCbob, reponding to RDM/Mr. Snappy,


^^Oh, is that so? Border Collie expert. I wasn't replying to the original poster, son, I was responding to MELANIE'S post. DUH!
Surprised know one caught onto this one. Um...Mr. Snappy isn't "a son" .... and I do credit her as a BC expert, if I had a question I would probably ask her not you....



ChrisB-I applaud your efforts in asking for advice. Good luck. Bella is lucky to have you.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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If your dog reacted out of fear and uncertainty, this may help. If it is flat out aggression, then this isn't relavent.


Riley is 10 months old now, and he is a fairly timid dog, although he ADORES people, he is at the same time, a tad fearful of certain personalities. He'd seen a number of childen when he was quite young, but we had moved and he saw none for about 4 months. The first couple he encountered were 3 yrs and 5 years old respectively and he was clueless. He cowered and rushed behind me and crouched, not knowing what to do with this approaching, waving, yelping thing. He was scared when I held him so that the older of the two boys could touch him gently. He finally got the gist that he wasn't going to be hurt, and then the best part, these little things threw balls, too! At the end of that visit, he'd still cower when the kids approached him, but when they stood quietly he'd go to them, and if they ignored him, he'd sneak up to sniff them and investigate. As a side note, he keeps clear of adults (particularly men) who approach him too quickly, too.


Riley doesn't see kids as 'little people' which is what we sometimes assume. They smell differently, move differently, sound different, like nothing they encounter in their day to day lives. A kid lurching towards a lying dog with all the best intentions can look very much like an attack if the dog hasn't had the chance to learn children's body language. Ten years old is still on that verge when kids haven't switched to adult motions and voices.


If in that first encounter, Riley hadn't had space to run away, or if he'd had the personality to stand his ground, or thought he had to protect me, it could have been a dangerous situation. But now that he knows that kids can be a source of endless attention and play time, he's quite fond of them. If you have 'access' to a dog-savvy kid, perhaps you can teach your dog that kids are ok by letting them play a game of fetch? And then when the comfort level ups, let them get aquainted with pats and the usual kid-greeting-dog routine.


I've only had personal experience with my own Border Collie, but from what I've heard and read it seems to be very important to socialize them with strangers early in life. Unlike certain breeds such as Labradors (I've had 2) that inherantly love everyone they meet regardless of their puppy history.


Bella is not a lost cause. She did let the mother touch her, correct? Perhaps she just needs the chance to figure out that children are OK. The more positive experiences she has with strangers, the less stressful the encounters will become.


I would expect similar behavior given my dog's natural temperment had he not lived in a small college apartment with me and a roommate from 10-18 weeks of age and encountered a steady stream of people passing and greeting him on the sidewalk. And even going to class on occasion. He then spent 3 months accompanying me to work at a small municipal airport and greeting the 10 or so strangers who came by the shop everyday.


I'd just hate to see you avoid contact with people and kids before really making it a point to teach her to be OK with it.

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Chris B,

I hope that you will continue to work with Bella as it sounds like you want to. As you can tell folks get a little passionate about their dogs and :rolleyes: . Bella is important, yet you do need to consider all the immigration issues you mentioned earlier. Sadly I don't think any country is as "friendly" as they used to be and that has to be as you well know an important consideration. Good luck, with Bella.



I always appreciate what you write and the passion and unrestrained commitment you have to your dogs. I think what ever nerve was touched is evidence of this passion.



Baptism by fire :D is sometimes the flip side of posting here. You sound pretty laid back, so listion to the ranting and glean out the good parts. None of us can tell about the tone in which we "really" meant in our posts. Not all of us know much about each other. Only what we want them to know, in the small spaces of our posts. We all have passions and ways to express our selves when something touches us.

Andrea D.

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