Aussies, Border Collies, and GSDs have similar basic grooming needs. The shampoos that we use are listed below as well as the basic brushes that we use. This should cover 90% of your non-show grooming needs if you regularly groom your pup. We recommend weekly brushing/nails and monthly baths unless they get muddy/stinky before then. HERE are some excellent videos for grooming your Aussie that also work well for Border Collies and GSDs.
We recommend a 36" crate for our Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and female German Shepherds. If you get a male GSD, then you might want to consider a 42" crate for full grown but you can also hold off and use a 36" just fine for the better part of a year and probably beyond. There are many crates out there, but we use the following crates for housing in the house, in our dog building, as well as transportation in our vehicles. You want to utilize a divider to make the puppy's space the same size as they currently are. This may seem small, but remember dogs enjoy being in dens and like the closeness of the crate. For bedding within the crate, we use inexpensive towels that can easily be washed if a puppy has an accident. Once they start to nibble on the towels, we remove them for safety. Our adult dogs prefer to have no bedding to stay cooler, but we also use crate mats during travel or when it is cooler.
For our puppies, we recommend martingale collars. These are limited slip leashes that do not provide a direct correction while simultaneously preventing the puppy from slipping it's collar should it balk during walking. Your puppy will go home with an age appropriate martingale collar in their puppy pack. Once they are older, martingale collars are still suitable but you may wish to swap to a buckle/flat collar or training specific collar. Feel free to ask us or your trainer what we recommend in those instances. Cirrus Sky does not recommend harnesses for puppies and uses them in specific instances as an adult (tracking, nosework, health related reasons). Leashes of 4 to 6ft are ideal for puppies and we recommend starting with something thin (around 1/2" or less) and lighter (nylon or paracord) for the puppy to drag around while they learn how to accept a collar and leash effectively.
During training you will want to use treats that are of a soft, quickly consumed nature. Be sure to vary the types to match the response you want. Kibble is a great place to start with treating and then you can have treats that are of medium and then high value to help communicate to your pup/dog how close they are to the desire response. Here are the treats that we use most frequently at CSF. You can also consider lunch meat, cheese, and so on but we recommend waiting for really important times to get your pup really excited! You don't want to start with the biggest paycheck first and try to convince them to work for less ;) Additionally we do not use treats much with young puppies, preferring to praise with our voice, toys, and hands to develop a relationship with the pup before adding in the precision we can get with food rewards. Amazon, Chewy, and Kings have many of these items and more.
Chews and toys need to be selected for safety. Something that is safe for your puppy at 8 weeks of age will probably not be suitable at 12 weeks and so on. Below is a listing of what we start our puppies with, but be sure to supervise all play at all ages to prevent accidental ingestion. Chews that we recommend are of a natural nature and made in the USA to help avoid issues. We use Texas Wild Chews exclusively for our chews due to quality and price. Clean Run has many exciting and different toys that are suitable for all sorts of play and training needs. Amazon, Chewy, and Kings have many of these items and more. We do not recommend rope toys, or toys that use rope in them, for any age of our dogs.
Our favorite "you just got a puppy and now what?" books are below. These are in line with what we teach in our DogJoy training classes and it gives you a chance to develop a relationship with your puppy at the house before trying to take "the show on the road." We find with our dogs this approach works best. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask us for advice on your particular puppy.
Recommended Training Classes
We realize the way we train is interactive, fun, and rewarding. Additionally, we realize that you may not be local and as such have had trouble finding a trainer that trains either our way or a way that makes sense to you and your pup. We are happy to provide recommendations for your area, but honestly, I'm finding more and more that I'm recommending online training classes to our clients. These classes are taught by some of the country's top trainers and are where I go to learn more about current training styles for my continuing education as well.
What your dog eats is important to its health, energy, and longevity. We personally feed Victor Dog Food to our crew but also utilize other brands at times for certain dogs that require something a little different. One size does not always fit all so we encourage you to check out www.dogfoodadvisor.com and educate yourself on the different brands, different types of feed, and what works best for you and your pup. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if your dog experiences any issues or you want a personalized suggestion.