4 Paws - My GOAL
To have a breeding program that produces mini Americans that are true in temperament, workability and structure. I have had the pleasure to own and understand the standard Aussie over 30 years which gave me an understanding of the breed. As our breeding has moved forward, our mini Americans represent the breed as evidenced by my show record. My foundation dogs which are all now retired, came from a three generation breeder. While our dogs are truly mini Americans, I still strive to have a personality of the aussie that represents their ancestry. I take care in breeding to continually improve the breed. Dogs that you see on my site that are kept for breeding, I consider the whole package and are a good representation of the Miniature American Shepherd. I rate my adult dogs, "Aussie" personalities on a scale of A, B & C. The scale and meanings are listed below. I developed this scale from my many years experience with Australian Shepherds. I do not rate 8 week old puppies for customers since these baby personalities are just developing and changing as they grow . Environmental factors can change a puppies personality direction. I rate puppy personalities differently. You can contact me when looking at a puppy to see what my opinion of the puppies personality is, at that time.
A take anywhere dog. Nothing rattles their nature. Thinks every ride in the car is an adventure and has the tongue out the window happy face for every ride. They are your shadow and tripping stone. You trip on them because they are so underfoot. They are also independent. The shadowing is not needy, they are attentive to what you are doing and want to be there. They are attentive to your emotions. Are obedient with or without training. Easy to have off leash because their desire is to be with you. No socialization is needed, they already have that trait and it flows freely. Easily trains and enjoys it. (+) adds to the nature defined as A. For example A+ would be a dog with the the nature described as A with added ball drive or herding drive. )
B, + or -
Still one that you can take anywhere, but might get stressed by new surroundings. They may show signs of some nervousness or hesitation, but easily shakes it off and settles down. Socialization may be needed to get past the hesitation of new surroundings. Very happy to be obedient. Another off leash personality but may need training to ground them. Likes to go for car rides even though they are unsure of the destination. Easily trains. May not be underfoot, but doesn't let you get to far away without coming to look for you. (+) adds to the nature defined as B. For example B+ would be a dog with the nature described as B with added ball drive or herding drive. (-) would take away from the nature described as B if they can not shake off a nervousness/hesitation from a new surrounding. )
One with moderate shy tendencies in new surroundings. Doesn't like to go with you in a vehicle. Would rather stay home. But and there is a big but - once they get out, seem to fair well. They let people come up and pet them and actually shows a willingness to seek petting. They seem to shake off most of the anxiety of the ride. They may also have shy tendencies at home. They are mindful but are worried by any pressure you put on them. They are still obedient but have a more subdued tendency. I consider this trait on the boarder line of Aussie personality. I don't want many of these personalities in my program and will not breed two C personalities together. I find there is no + or - to this personality.
A protective nature which is found in alot of Aussie personalities and should not be determined a bad trait, unless it is vicious. Aussies can be protective of their owner in many ways and levels. But acting like a german shepherd is not one of those.
Some Aussies have a greater herding tendency which may involve healing people, including kids or other dogs. Some like to herd kids if they are running around. Some aussies only have this trait when a stranger approaches the owner in a sudden way. The aussie instinctively is trying to stop the stranger advancing on the owner, so they could heal the person, or if the dog is front of the stranger, they may nip toes...again, to keep space between the owner and stranger. It is instinctive for these dogs. In no way should these dogs be considered mean or vicious.
Sometimes an Aussie will be one personality type as a young dog and mature into another. It will not be a drastic change but they may go from a C to a B- or a B+ could mature to an A personality. Or it could be a B personality and the environment or life changing situations change them to a C. Usually what you see as a young dog is what you get. Maturing and training sometimes helps develop the ability to shake off things but it will not be far from the initial personality trait seen.
I use the term "Shake off" which means when a dog comes into a situation that scares them or makes them nervous or unsure, they have the personality and thought pattern to see and figure out that they are ok and get past the nervousness and settle down in the situation.
All of our puppies are raised in our home and handled from birth. The following information describes how our puppies are started.
HANDLED: The puppies are handled daily, so they are used to being picked up, carried, moved around and inspected. They are walked around daily so they are used to the overhead presence. As they get older, they learn to walk around with us. They learn to take food from our hand. I think this is an important exchange with a dog that builds trust so we start it from a very young age. The puppies are also handled by the other dogs daily. This helps them adapt to a variety of dog personalities.
LIVING AREA: We help maintain the natural instincts taught by the mother to keep living areas clean. When it comes to a dogs living area, they are clean by nature; from the teachings of their mother. Our puppies begin learning housebreaking at an early age and will learn to use a doggie door before they leave. This way they start learning to keep their area clean and are easier to house break for the new owners.
The puppies are moved from a whelping box around 3 wks old to our facility that has a small outside yard and an inside heated/air conditioned living area. This is the time that their mom begins to teach them to go the bathroom away from where they sleep and eat. The inside room consists of their water, food and toys. Once the puppies are not making mistakes inside, I will put a bed down, other wise we use newspaper for the first couple of days. I don't like using shavings or any other material in the room that will easily hold any mistakes. That increases the temptation for mistakes within their sleeping area. The floor of the inside room has a rubber matting, so that mistakes can be easily cleaned and smells removed or newspaper picked up. A doggie door separates the inside from the outside. When the puppies are young, the doggie door is propped open. As they grow bigger, the door is lowered so that by the time they are weaned and leave here, they understand how the doggie door works and are going outside to go the bathroom. We free feed the puppies until they go home.
FOOD: I start introducing water and my food mash at the age of 3-4 weeks. Each week as the puppies learn to chew their food, I make the mash dryer till they get to dry kibble. I free feed the puppies till they leave for their new home. I feed ProPlan puppy. My mash is made from proplan puppy food along with other ingredients.
Vaccinations & Worming's
All 4 Paws puppies will be vaccinated starting at 5 weeks of age. New owners will need to get puppy boosters recommended by your veterinarian.
All 4 Paws puppies will be dewormed every 2 weeks starting near 6 weeks of age. New owners should follow a routine deworming schedule as recommended by your veterinarian.
All puppies being shipped to new owners will come with a health certificate from a veterinarian.
4 Paws guarantees all puppies to be free of contagious diseases when the buyer takes ownership of the puppy.
SOCIALIZATION: I socialize them with adults & kids as much as I can, and with all ages of dogs. I try to have them travel in the vehicle several times before they leave here. They will see a vet several times. My vet, his technicians and office staff always make sure it is a good visit to the vet office.
TEMPERAMENT Evaluation: I temperament test my pups at 8 weeks. This enables me to help define the puppy's personality so that he/she is fitted to the right home. It also gets added into my structural evaluation to determine if the puppy will be breed quality.
STRUCTURAL Evaluation: I do a structural evaluation called a puppy puzzle at 8 weeks. Evaluating the Structural Quality of Puppies helps me determine if the puppies will be breed, show or pet quality. This also helps provide me with accurate information to place the puppy in the proper home. The puppy puzzle looks at 6 parts of the body for structure that is in the Aussie standard.
OVERALL: I determine the puppies' overall quality by using the results from the puppy puzzle and the temperament evaluation. I evaluate whether I want these qualities in my breeding program. Not all puppies evaluated as breed quality will be sold as breed puppies. I may choose to sell a breed quality puppy as a pet based on temperament, or structure.
Please Note: We DO NOT guarantee the matured height of the purchased puppy. We breed as close as we can to the standard Aussie to preserve those genetics. Our adult mini's range from 15 inches tall to 17 inches, and most of the puppies will be within that range.
Our Breeding adult dogs are not kennel dogs but our companion dogs that come into our home and travel with us. Prior to breeding: I evaluate our breeding adults for true breed temperament. If they do not have an Aussie temperament, then I do not use them as breeding dogs.
All our breeding dogs are shown in a variety of shows to achieve championships to the extent that time allows. We may start showing them as puppies or young adults through their adult hood. Showing provides an experts opinion of our dogs compared to the standard. On occasion, If a breeding dog is purchased as an adult, and it has not been shown, I probably will not show it.
We like our breeding females to stop breeding around the age of 6. This way we can spay her early in her years to avoid the possibility of cervical cancer. We sometimes place the retired female for a nominal adoption fee.
All of our breeding males and females have an OFA rating of fair, good or excellent. Their CERF (eye exam) rating is clear/normal. We have done a variety of genetic health testing on all of our dogs. Results are posted for each dog. Please see our Health page for more information on Health testing .
Breeding our Males to outside females:
Currently we do not have any males available to outside females.
All females will be approved prior to breeding. They must have a compatible pedigree and have all health testing. (see the list below). We do not stud our dogs out to females that are not registered or health tested. Please be prepared to provide the following:
1.pedigree with at least 3 generations
2. All health testing results listed below
3. Registration papers
Due to the safety of our males and our facility, breeding to outside females may be done using Artificial Insemination (AI) methods.
Approved females will have to have the following completed tests and results prior to breeding, to a 4Paws male:
CERF - Current year