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excerpt from A Tale of Three Aussies

by Roger Stevens, Aussie Times, January/February 1994, pp. 75-80

My dogs were amazing because virtually everything they did was done instinctively.  I didn't have to encourage, coax, beg or train them
to work.  They wanted to work long before they were old enough.  They would hold the herd together for me while I looked them over or
opened a gate - just whatever was necessary.  If we gathered the cows to move them and a small calf or sick cow was left behind somewhere, Syd seemed to instinctively know, and after the herd was gathered and the other two dogs were holding them, he would start
back toward the cow or calf, turn and look at me, at times even come to me, then trot off, looking back at me and whining, and I knew to
follow him.  Many times I have found a cow, calf, or pair I might have missed if it hadn't been for Syd.

For all their working aggressiveness, all three were good-natured dogs.  This is not saying they weren't good watch dogs, they were.  But I didn't have to worry about them biting everyone who came into the yard.  Again, they seemed to instinctively know who to watch and who was okay.  The also had good conformation and stamina.  The had to have in order to work as hard as they did.

I did very little training because I didn't know how and really didn't know I was supposed to.  I thought all Aussies worked automatically.  My command vocabulary was very modest - find 'em, get 'em, left, right, no, easy, load 'em, quit.  I used a few simple hand signals when they were working out of voice range.  None of my dogs ever downed while working.  I didn't know they were supposed to, and I don't guess they did either.  They did their jobs exceptionally well, and without a lot of the fancy training, commands or whistles that we seem to think are essential today.


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