Description

Australian Kelpies are a short-haired, medium-sized dog breed. They are highly intelligent, loyal and endlessly energetic work dogs who thrive on working to please their master. Their heritage as sheep herding dogs means they require lots of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy, but they can still relax and be docile family-friendly dogs when instructed.

Neonatal

During the first 4 weeks of your Kelpie's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and littermates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.

Nutrition During the neonatal stage, your Kelpie puppy will get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage.
Health During this time it is important to monitor your Kelpie for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance.

Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
Behaviour During most of this time your Kelpie puppy will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.

Weaning

When you take your Kelpie home (usually at around 8 weeks) you should provide them with lots of stimulation and attention. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. As instinctive herders and people-focused dogs, they will be extremely aware of their surroundings and will be a sponge for words and knowledge. Use this time to set boundaries and establish routines.

 

Nutrition During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Kelpie's moderate size and young age. You should feed your puppy small meals to avoid discomfort after meals. You should also familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid — a bored Kelpie will be destructive and may eat things which are not food.
Health During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. Make sure that your Kelpie puppy becomes accustomed to brushing as this will become a weekly activity and failing to do this will end with lots of hair being shed around your home. Kelpies are generally healthy dogs but require extensive exercise so playing from a young age will strengthen their muscles and senses, preparing them for years to come.
Behaviour Due to the changes in their environment, your Kelpie will be under a significant amount of stress. It's important that you provide lots of attention and affection, as well as socialise your Kelpie puppy with many new people and animals to avoid them barking later in life. Familiarise your Kelpie puppy with their name early to make sure they come to you when called — their herding instinct may one day drive them to herd people, animals and cars so the ability to stop them on command is vital.

Puppy

By the time your Kelpie reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed, so you will have an energetic and loyal companion who watches your every move. Your Kelpie puppy will be desperate to spend time with you and become bored if unoccupied, so they are ideal companions for an active person who can bring their dog to work with them and won't sit at a desk all day.

 

Nutrition Your Kelpie puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. It is particularly important that you monitor your puppy's activity levels and adjust how much you feed them in accordance with the advice of a vet.
Health Kelpie puppies are generally low maintenance, requiring brushing every week days and infrequent bathing — however, you should familiarise them with regular nail clipping as their nails grow exceptionally fast. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.
Behaviour Kelpies are very intelligent, obedient and highly trainable — however, they perform jobs (like herding your other pets, friends and children) out of instinct and not for their owners which makes this behaviour hard to stop. It is important to teach your Kelpie puppy not to bite or nip from a young age or they might bite a stranger's dog or child at the park while rounding them up. Your Kelpie puppy will be almost impossible to exhaust so they may become destructive if they do not have adequate exercise during the day — for example, a 5km run or longer.

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