Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

12 Week Old Viciously Biting PLEASE HELP

by Karina
(Georgia)


This is my baby boy Cooper. He's an angel most of the time. He's extremely smart and has mastered all of the basic commands. I take him to the dog park every day and lately his nipping has become violent and scary while we're there. He does great once we get there, and he plays with all of the other dogs. I stick close to him, and whenever I walk away he follows me though.

Eventually he starts to untie my shoes, and bite at my ankles. I can calm him down for a bit, but then when he continues later and I try to calm him down again by squatting down and offering him a treat to sit and be calm he begins to attack my hand and sometimes makes me bleed.

I feel like Cooper's problem is that he can't control himself well and doesn't have an off switch. It's like he gets extremely hyped up and can't calm down and just goes crazy. I usually try to wear him out by removing him from the fenced dog enclosure and putting his leash on him, then taking him over to an area with tall grassy bushes because his favorite thing to do is charge through it and roll around.

However, walking there and back he charges at me on the leash biting, growling, and barking. This is so strange because he extremely rarely shows any behavior like this at all, besides when he's off his leash at the dog park following me around after playing.

It is so different from his typical behavior that it almost feels like he becomes possessed for a short period of time. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this before? I've tried every method to stop it, and those methods work for regular nipping at home, but nothing will calm him down once he begins acting like this.

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Awesome looking
by: Richard Bryant

Find toy to keep him occupied, ball, frisbee, anything. Our Finley is sort of the same way. Sometimes he just goes crazy nipping at his brother and sister. We think it is a frustration and herding thing. He want's to play and want's all the attention and wants it now.
Wish I could give you more guidance. Just stick with it and keep him busy all the time. We are lucky in a sense that Finley has brother and sister to play with and play they do. We try and walk 3 miles several times a week and several time at the dog park which has pool and trails in the woods. We walk and swim the entire time never have a chance to stand around and chat with the other parents. If I stand too long in one spot our girl, my personal trainor, starts with the let's get going bark. Aussie's require lots of exercise.

Take Charge
by: Maddie

We went through something similar with our Ruby. Ruby is 10 weeks now and doesn't nip and is still figuring out the barking deal.
So when your puppy nips, you need to establish that this is NOT an acceptable behavior. Our breeder told us the only way she can ever get it controlled is to tug on the puppy's ear quick and sharp to elicit a yelp and then in a low monotone and growly voice (yelling will only hype him up more) say "NO BITE". I guess in the litter when puppies misbehave, mom nips their ear to bring them back under control and doesn't hurt the dog and helps establish dominance. This has worked really well with Ruby, now if she even thinks about play biting or nipping we just say no bite and she switches to licking instead.
As for the barking and growling while walking we have discovered that when Ruby starts, we COMPLETELY ignore her. Stop walking, look the other direction, and completely disregard her presence. Then when she is quiet, we reward her with petting or treats and tell her she is a good girl. It takes some patience as it can be very annoying. If the barking doesn't stop within 3-5 minutes, look at your puppy, and in a loud monotone low voice slowly say "NOO" and when the puppy is quiet reward him with a treat or love and tell him he is a good boy!

Hope this helps! The first few weeks are the toughest!

Bitey puppy
by: Anonymous

Our mini Aussie was exactly like that as a very young puppy. Sometimes I would dread putting him on the leash to go potty because of all the jumping, biting, and getting tangled in my legs. Several pair of pants were ruined because of his sharp teeth. I took our vet's advice and it worked.
I kept a long stick right outside the door. I would drag the stick a few feet away and he would go after the stick. After a week or two, I didn't need the stick anymore.
As to the biting of our hands, we tried a few things like always having a toy nearby for him to chew on. What really worked was putting him in his crate for approx. 45 seconds, every time he bit us. I would let him out of the crate and pet him, if he bit, back into the crate for another 45 seconds. This really worked after a week or so.
Happy to say, that at 5 months, no biting at all for a long time now! It is very exasperating when you want to love on your pup, and all he wants to do is bite!

Biting
by: Ann

All these comments remind me of my early days with Ayla. She tore so many pants and shirts. She hated being restrained on a leash. But I hung tough. This is pretty common Aussie behavior. Takes a ton of patience they are so smart I just used "no bite" and then when she would lick I would go over board with praise. Momma loves kisses. Etc. within a few days she got it. The leash and trying to herd me was tougher. But calm continual positive has now paid off in spades. She is 3 now and an absolute joy. Still full of energy but we bought her a "herding" ball aka horse ball and it wears her out easily. She still has some noise fear that we haven't been able to calm but it comes and goes. But with Aussies never use force only positive. I had lost my temper early on and it hurts the trust you work so hard to build. Stay positive they are worth it.

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