Rocky (ADOPTION PENDING!) is a 4 year old, 45 lb., male Australian cattle dog. He is a classic cattle dog in just about every sense. He is a velcro dog who will bond closely with his people, and has his own unique personality traits that will make you laugh, touch your heart, and sometimes challenge your brain. We are seeking people who live in a quiet, non-urban setting, who are very familiar with this breed, and who can help our boy become more confident.
Once he is settled in a home, Rocky is just a love. He is sweet, tender boy who loves cuddles. He will sleep through the night on his dog bed in the bedroom. In the morning when he knows you are stirring, he likes to crawl into bed with you and put his face next to yours until you are ready to get up.
Rocky loves soft plush toys and tosses them up in the air for himself. He never chews anything in the house other than his dog toys. He is also very much a ball dog, who loves to play fetch. His favorite thing is a squeaky Kong tennis ball. To get your attention or to play with him, he will squeak it repeatedly. Rocky is also the social distancing police. If family members get too close for a hug or kiss, Rocky will run for his squeaky ball and squeak it incessantly until you stop and move apart.
Rocky is very motivated by food. One of his favorite things is his “snack time” when he gets some treats after returning from a walk. He also becomes super excited and gets the zoomies, dashing around with glee, when he smells barbecue on the grill. He goes wild for the smell (and samples please) of barbecued meat of any kind. Cooking any other food does not get the same reaction from him.
He is much more at ease when meeting women than men. His preferred person and strongest bond will be with a woman. At his foster home, Rocky is a mama’s boy through and through. He is fine with men once he knows them, and loves his foster Dad. However, if Rocky’s foster Mom is at home, and his foster Dad tries to take Rocky for a run with him, Rocky will whine and cry, and pull to return to the house. If his foster Mom is not home, Rocky is fine going out with his foster Dad. Once, when his foster Mom was away all day, Rocky laid by the front door the entire time waiting for her return.
He can be distrustful of strangers, especially men, and may take a few moments to warm up. If he is outside loose, he will bark at people who make him nervous and then run from them. On occasion, he has barked at male strangers who have reached down to pet him. When he is on leash and connected to his person, he is much more confident and comfortable meeting new people. If someone he knows wants to pet him, he has a silly move, and will quickly swing his butt around and sit on that person’s feet to be petted. If he thinks he might be able to get a belly rub, he will enthusiastically throw himself on the ground with a loud flop.
Taking long hikes with his people each day, similar to pack walks, has been a bonding experience for Rocky and his fosters. He routinely takes 10 mile hikes and it is his favorite activity. He would need to walk a minimum of three miles a day to stay calm and happy. He wears a harness on his walks or hikes, and is excellent on leash. When walking in silence for long periods, Rocky sometimes feels a little insecure and will fall behind. If you give him a little hug or cuddle to reassure him that all is fine, he will perk up again and trot on ahead. On hikes in open space, Rocky has had to walk past cows grazing or standing very nearby. He becomes very excited, wiggly, and bouncy at the smell and sight of cows. He’s a cattle dog, after all!
He is good when meeting other dogs on walks. Rocky enjoys meeting females, and is usually fine with males, but sometimes he can become tense with another male. Noisy small dogs annoy him, but he is otherwise fine with them. Rocky completely adores puppies! He will flop down on his side or on his back to lick and play with them. He is very soft and gentle with puppies and lets them sniff and climb on him. His fosters also saw his sweet, caring nature when he first arrived to be fostered. A day or two before Rocky arrived, masked intruders had invaded the property where the fosters lived, terrifying everyone. When Rocky arrived shortly thereafter, as a thin, malnourished, rescue with a broken jaw, he sensed that people were upset or sad, and tried to comfort them.
Currently, Rocky knows several commands: sit, stay, come, leave it. He is completely housebroken, and will let you know when he has to go out. He may stand in front of you and touch your leg with his nose, or come up to you and nudge you. Rocky is not crate trained and will cry if confined in a crate. He loves going for rides in the car. If you say “Want to go for a ride?” Rocky will run outside and wait by the car.
It almost goes without saying that Rocky is an incredibly smart dog. He is also a very sensitive soul, who will need reassurance and reinforcement from his people that he is a good dog and won’t be punished. Rocky is very polite in the house, and has moments when he is very happy and confident, but he is also conflicted. He gave in to the temptation of bread left near the edge of the counter. After jumping up to get it, he brought it to his foster Mom, with his head and tail down knowing he should not have taken it, and when she said “Rocky, no” he cowered under the table. She then tried to tell him he was ok, giving him a treat for bringing it to her, and to let him know he wouldn’t be punished.
Rocky is afraid of children, and especially groups of children. If he sees or hears them he will whimper and cry, and try to hide under something. When he is on leash and with his person, he will feel confident enough to meet an individual child. He is more confident if his person also touches his shoulder and/or talks to him in a reassuring way. Based on his reactions, his foster mom believes that Rocky may have been abused by children and men. We believe that in his previous life, people threw things at him. If you pick anything up from the ground, he will cower in fear. You must offer to let him smell everything you pick up to let him know it won’t be used to harm him.
Because he is a cattle dog, he is a thinking dog, who often has his own ideas and can be stubborn about what he wants. On hikes, he sometimes doesn’t want to take a path that his people want. Rocky will plant himself down and refuse to move in that direction, and will not be lured by treats. If you go the way he has decided against, he will try to herd you back. However, he can be tricked by throwing a ball or stick in that direction, which he will chase. Also, the only time he may not be eager for a walk is if he get a new toy to play with. He will not want to go very far, because he is eager to return home to play with his new toy.
Rocky does have the desire to chase things that move quickly. This includes squirrels, birds, deer, cats and cars. For this reason, we don’t recommend Rocky in a home with cats. He seemed to be fine on a sidewalk in a suburban neighborhood, when cars passed at a moderate speed, not immediately alongside him. But, if a vehicle is moving fast, and/or very close (just a few feet away), Rocky will be tempted to try and chase it. For this reason, he should be on leash when on walks, and we do NOT recommend him for homes in urban or busy suburban areas, and he would NOT do well in a apartment.