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  • I Can Just Train My Aussie Myself...

    When thinking about what to write for my Spring 2023 Gracerok blog, I kept coming back to something I see far too often in online pet dog groups and even in my own puppy applications. It seems like everyone these days thinks that dogs are so easy to raise that they practically train themselves. Or, they've seen a few of those dog trainer shows on television and think they've learned all they need to know about how to train their new Aussie. Or, all it takes is to post a question about their barking, digging, obnoxious dog to random new dog owners on the internet group and they'll find a magical solution. Besides, when they were 6 years old their family had a cute little Cock-a-Poo and he was so well behaved, how hard can it be? Piece of cake. Shhhhsssssttt! Unfortunately, kids just don't see all the work mom and dad did behind the scenes cleaning up pee on the kitchen floor, picking up chewed shoes, and figuring out how to walk family fido without losing an arm and molding their puppy into a manageable family member. With the popularity of Aussies soaring well into the Top 10 Canadian Kennel Club registered breeds in Canada, at Number 6 (!) in 2022, these beautiful and intelligent dogs can be seen everywhere and it seems everyone wants one. Yes, Aussies are beautiful. But they are a newer breed... did you know they were only recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1992? Aussies have only been moving towards being family companion dogs since their parent club, the Australian Shepherd Club of America was established in 1957, so until quite recently they were primarily working herding dogs and many still are today. Bred to work sheep or cattle all day in all types of terrain and weather conditions, how does such a breed suddenly adapt to living in an urban environment with cars quckly passing by, loud noises everywhere, and other dogs and people invading their space? What does it take to have a calm, confident Aussie instead of a neurotic, barking, digging, chewing lunging menace? These dogs will EASILY outsmart the average owner. There are many things that will help accomplish a favorable result. One of them is: Training. Training led by a professional with appropriate certifications who participates in continuing education to keep up with the ever evolving science of dog training. How does one access such training? Classes or private sessions. Do a Google search for dog training schools in your area. The internet is truly a miracle. These are the best of times! There is a proliferation of good dog training schools everywhere. The science of positive reinforcement or similar techniques is fast becoming mainstream and I couldn't be more giddy about that! So why are so many dog owners completely unaware that going to classes to learn how to train their dog is a thing? What's the deal with "I work with a private trainer"? Was it Covid that did that? Does going to a class for dog training have a bad reputation? I don't have the answer. But I'm telling you IS a thing. Even before the internet existed I was taking my dogs to training classes-- since the mid 1970s! The first thing I did when my parents gifted me with a poodle puppy for my 14th birthday was to enrol in classes. I ended up taking many classes and competing in dog shows in obedience and conformation and earned titles at both ends of her name. Despite decades of taking classes and knowing I can train on my own, I don't. Why? Because taking my dog to a class will help build their confidence in new environments. It exposes them to new people, places, and other dogs in a safe, controlled environment and teaches them to focus on their handler (me!) and learn that good things happen (treats!) when they go out in the world. The structure of a class, with daily homework in between each class, gives me the kick in the butt to practise at least 3 to 4 times during the week. I do 10 minute sessions with no more than 6 repetitions of each exercise. Aussies don't enjoy being drilled and will shut down or start offering other behaviors if you force them to keep doing the same thing over and over. Feedback from the trainer helps me to continue to improve and customise my technique and timing to the needs of each individual dog, thus getting even better results. And believe me, it's easy to get good results with an Aussie...they're usually the star of every class and make you look like a superstar trainer don't ya know?! Classes and the homework sessions in between help to strengthen the bond between me and my dog. Aussies love to work for their owners and each session improves our communication with each other and increases our mutual understanding of how we communicate. Regular practise with my dog in between classes makes me more in tune with my dog and I'm more likely to notice when something is 'off' that might need adjusting. Maybe my dog is going through a fear period and is suddenly nervous of cars going by or other dogs on walks. Having that closer connection forged through regular training means that I'll notice that sooner and will be able to make adjustments to our routine, our route, or my training technique to address the situation and help to make my dog more comfortable. A relationship with a good dog school gives me a connection to training resources when a need may arise. I'll have faster access to professional help and advice when I need it. Going to classes with my dog gives me a sense of what they enjoy. Each of my dogs is different. I currently have one dog who loves doing agility stuff. Another loves heelwork and Rally Obedience. Classes provide the inspiration to explore more of the activities that I enjoy and that my dog enjoys. And Aussies NEED activities to be calm, mentally satisfied and stable members of my household. Dogs don't come pre-programmed to be perfect family members...they are a different species, after all. Kids go to school for years to learn how to be good family members, why not dogs..they are like children, they are family members, and they need schooling to teach them how to be a good family member and canine good citizens.

  • NEW!!! Gracerok Aussieblog: Musings of a Preservation Breeder

    I recently received a short email inquiry for a stud dog and immediately found myself writing a long, rambling response, including a checklist, outlining costs, and sharing the challenges, hardships and joys of being a responsible, ethical, preservation breeder. I pressed 'send' and never heard from the person again. I'm sure they didn't know what hit them and I'm certain my long response was not what they expected. All I can do is hope that they took it to heart and that they will pause before rushing into breeding their pet Aussie. I have opinions. Lots of them. Strong ones. Most, I hope, are well-informed and reasonable. I enjoy researching and diving deep into topics that I'm passionate about and the sport of showing and breeding purebred dogs is no exception. Continuous learning about my favorite subjects is my MO. I do extensive reading of books, online forums and web sites and blogs, take seminars, and attend workshops in order to stay current. I'm not infallible and can be wrong and I'm sure I have been many times and will be again...I will readily admit when I am. Teachable. That is my goal. And while I'm on this learning journey, I want to share what I've learned with others who are also wanting to remain teachable. What is the point of having knowledge if its not shared to help others along in their journeys? So to that end, I've started this blog. Blogs, I've been told, are one reads blogs's all about podcasts and videos now. Well, I don't enjoy the sound of my voice and prefer writing so this written blog will have to do for those who still read! I plan to explore a wide range of topics and to include some rants as well! After all it's my blog and I can include what I want! I'll be seeking ideas for topics too so I can do research and report back on things that I may not have thought about. Topics may range from: - Stud Dog searches, - Breeding for Responsible Breeders, - showing dogs, - performance dogs, - raw feeding, - positive reinforcement/marker-based training, - responsible vs backyard breeders, - breeder restricting legislation in Canada and international, - Aussie-related health topics, - reviews of dog supplies (e.g., whelping boxes), and - the breed standard and more! I hope you will tune in to see what's on my mind and share what's on your mind too!!

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  • Puppies/Available | gracerok-aussies

    Puppies/Available. Thank you so much for considering a GraceRok puppy! We are planning to breed our beautiful girl Lyric for a late Summer/early Fall 2023 litter!! Stay tuned for more exciting updates. We have a f ew spaces available on our waiting list, please complete the Puppy Application to be considered for a spot on our list. ​ ​ Older, Trained Puppy Available Ruckus was recently returned to us as his family was too busy to give him the attention and training that he needs. He is 1.5 years old, neutered and up to date on all his vaccinations. He has been given a clean bill of health by my vet, his behavior has been assessed, and he is ready for adoption by the perfect home. This boy would do well in an active home with children old enough to play tug, fetch, go for hikes, and do some trick training with him (suggested age over 12) and dogs that are active and able to keep up with him (suggested age under 6). He's a very fast learner and he has already fully integrated into my crew of both male and female intact Aussies. He loves to play with his sister Sienna and distant cousin Cinder and they love to play with him too! He gets along with both the boys and the girls and will follow their lead on play style. He settles well in his crate and is fully house trained, vetted, fully vaccinated, neutered, and obedience trained. He's good with car rides, trips to the vet, nail trims, grooming, and baths. He'll stand patiently while I wipe off his feet when he comes in fro m outside playing and getting muddy feet. Ruckus is both food and toy-driven, he has his Novice Trick Dog title and knows many obedience commands and would do very well in Rally-Obedience or Agility or more Trick Dog training! He loves to work for food, play fetch and snuggle on the couch. ​ So, if you're looking for your next performance pa rtner or best friend forever, Ruckus might be the right dog for you!! ​ Ruckus needs a home experienced with Aussies or similar higher drive breeds who will continue his formal dog training classes . ​ If you're interested in Ruckus, please fill out our application or send us an email and we'll be happy to chat with you. ​ ​ N EW!!!! Occasionally we may have a puppy/young adult available to a Guardian Home. A Guardian Home must reside within a 2 hour drive, be willing to keep the dog intact, take obedience/handling classes, maintain the coat and healthy weight as well as allow me to show in dog shows and return to Gracerok for breeding (males just for collection/breeding; females here 8 weeks to whelp and raise a litter). Gracerok covers showing and breeding-related expenses. Perk!!: The price for dogs going to Guardian Homes is generally lower than the typical puppy price. Contact us for more information and to see if your home would be a good fit. Our puppies are: home raised, trained and socialized with Puppy Culture methods, will be CKC registered and eligible for registration in ASCA. They will be: vaccinated (first set), fully dewormed, microchipped, from proven Champion pedigrees and health-tested parents, given a puppy packet that includes the contract, vaccination and health record, CAER eye exam clearance, photos of parents and copies of parents' title certificates, and all health clearances, pedigree, a few day's worth of food the puppy was eating, a new toy or two, a blanket/towel with their siblings' scent on it, a collar, leash and access to the Gracerok family facebook group, and All families receive a demo of grooming tools and techniques, a demo on how to glue ears (if needed), trim nails, and basic training techniques. Both parents chosen for breeding would be titled and have stable friendly temperaments, their hips and elbows x-rayed and cleared of dysplasia by OFA, eyes certified by a CAER board-certified ophthalmologist and DNA-tested for common Aussie genetic diseases like Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), MDR1, PRA, HSF4, PHA, DM, and puppies are health guaranteed against these breed specific issues. ​ We strive to produce beautiful, healthy puppies with stable temperaments and sound structure that live long healthy lives free of the common diseases that can plague our breed. Our puppies can excel as loving companions, agility/obedience performance partners or conformation show dogs. ​ You can expect a questionnaire, video phone interview, puppy visit at 6+ weeks. We match puppies based on your preferences and goals combined with the personalities and structure of each puppy so be aware that not everyone is guaranteed their color and/or gender preference as the best fit is the most important criteria. Final selections will be made after the litter is evaluated at the age of 8 weeks. ​ Australian Shepherds are NOT the breed for everyone, so we will be asking you many questions in order to accurately assess your ability to take on this breed. Aussies are beautiful and popular so everyone wants one but they are a high drive working breed and require skill to manage, FORMAL obedience or performance training and lots of exercise. If you want a dog for a walk around the block, to lie under your desk while you work all day, and to sit on the couch, this is definitely not the breed for you. Please research this breed before considering an Aussie as a dog is a lifetime commitment. ​ ALL family members will be required to come and meet the puppies and are required to be present at puppy pickup. Puppy pickup is where I walk everyone in great detail through each clause of the contract including formal training requirements, a grooming demo, the required minimal vaccination protocol, Aussie drug and vax sensitivies and and the reasons for late spay/neuter. ​ All GraceRok puppies go with our support for the life of your puppy! GraceRok puppy owners become part of our extended dog family. We're here to provide advice on training, behavior, grooming, feeding, exercise, health or just to be your puppy's cheerleader! Our goal is to set you and your puppy up for success. We love getting updates on our puppies so much! We take the puppy back if for some reason it doesn't work out. ​ A $500 deposit is required to hold a puppy for you on the wait list. Deposits are not taken until a breeding is confirmed. Puppies from the next litter will be available for $2,900. Show/Guardian home puppies will be priced by private contract. ​ Puppies are sold on a later spay/neuter contract (24+ mos) with a minimal vaccination protocol per Dr. Jean Dodds. ​ We do not sell breeding prospects and we do not ship puppies. You must be able to visit our home and pick up the puppy in person. ​ You can reach us with questions about our 2023/24 litter at Puppy Application Past Litters : 2020 Jackson x Addy 2021 Rhett x Addy Puppy Application

  • GraceRok Aussies | Australian Shepherd Puppies | Ontario

    1/24 Welcome!! WE are starting to plan for our 2023 litter! ! We have a few spots available on our waiting list. Please apply using our EASY new form! Puppy Application Young Adult Dog Available ​ Ruckus is available to the perfect home!!!!! In his own words: ​ "Hi!! I'm 1.5 years old and I'm close to the end of adolescence...that means I'm still a bit of a teenager. I have so much energy and I want to run and play with other dogs that are close to my age. I'm a smart Aussie but being a teen I can also be a bit scatterbrained because my attention is on so many things at once...but I think I'm pretty cool. I want to learn new things and show off to everyone how many tricks I can do and how smart I am!! ​ I love kids but I like the ones who are old enough to play with me, know, like games like tug and fetch and kids who can t ake me on long hikes in the woods and teach me new tricks! ​ You can apply for me her e: Puppy Application We are a small Preservation Breeder of Australian Shepherds located in the Northumberland Hills just one hour East of Toronto, Ontario. Our litters are infrequent, about one per year, and are the result of careful planning and review of compatibility of pedigrees, & complementary traits where we believe the breeding can make a positive contribution to the breed. We only breed when we hope to keep a puppy to add to our program. We strive to produce beautiful breed type, correct structure, and healthy, sound body and mind aligned with the Australian Shepherd Breed Standard of the CKC and ASCA. Our Aussies are from proven Champion pedigrees and parents are health tested including OFA Hips and Elbows, eyes CERF cleared, and DNA tested for the full Aussie panel of inheritable genetic diseases (CEA, DM, HC (HSF4), PRA-PRCD, MDR1, PHA). Please have a look around our site and meet us and our Aussies!! Testimonials Josh and Barbara We were so nervous to get a new furry buddy. Suzanne was so thorough and amazing to work with. She did such amazing work with Lex before we were lucky enough to adopt him. People compliment how great he is everywhere we go. We take the credit of course lol. We will certainly be interested in a puppy when the time comes. The focus on food, training and health knowledge is second to none. Josh & Barbara Lex & Ty Olivia and Janina Suzanne is a terrific breeder and did an excellent job in preparing the puppies for their new homes. She is completely devoted and passionate towards breeding and raising her pups, and always puts them and their requirements first. We absolutely love our Ringo, he has the best temperament and never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face. We are truly so thankful for everything Suzanne did to raise him, and cannot wait to get another furbaby from her in the future! Puppy Owner I came across GraceRok Aussies by chance. A life long Lab owner, we were uncertain about a new breed. Suzanne took the time to explain the breed and ensure an Aussie was right for our family. His demeanor is calm, attentive and loving and was so well trained from day one. He loves walking his kids to school and playing with his fur brother. Suzanne is so passionate and knowledgeable about breeding and raising happy, healthy dogs. He has fit in with our active lifestyle perfectly, we could not be happier with our Aussie addition to our family! Kate R. I cannot say enough amazing things about Suzanne and Gracerok. She puts so much care and love into raising every single one of her puppies. When our Evie came to us at 9 weeks old, she already had amazing default behaviours like 'sit for attention' and 'focus on me'. We constantly got (and STILL get) so many compliments on her demeanour. It made Evie easy to train (well, as easy as it gets for a wild little aussie) and she has grown into such a sweet, confident, healthy and loving puppy. Even after we picked up Evie, I stayed in contact with Suzanne and she has been an incredible resource with navigating puppyhood - AND she is the only other person who might get as excited as me about pictures of Evie. A gracerok puppy (which will be healthy with great temperament) is worth waiting for.

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