Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

4 Month Old Australian Shepherd Bites And Whines Constantly!

by Alyssa
(Wichita, KS)

I have a 4 month old Australian Shepherd mix. I know he is a very smart boy because he has already caught on to many things! However; he is constantly trying to bite my hands when I pet him or when I put on his leash.

When he bites I will say "OW' and then take my hand away and tell him "No bite" then after a few seconds return to petting him, but he just keeps biting.

Other times he will randomly come and bite my leg or arm, either while I am walking or just sitting, for no reason! I'll tell him no multiple times and then if a say "No" a little louder, he'll bark at me repeatedly.

Then he will constantly whine, whether he is playing with a toy or just pacing the living room. He will even come sit at my feet and just whine.

He'll have food and water out and I know he doesn't need to go outside. I'll even try to pet him or sit with him if he begins to whine but he will either start to bite me or not want to be pet and walk away. He just whines to whine.

He is crate trained and does not cry while he is in his kennel, but while he is out it's almost never ending! I take him on two 20 minute walks a day and when I am not home I make sure to give him a few toys to play with so he is not bored.

How can I get him to stop biting me and barking back when I try to correct him and why does he constantly whine?

Please help me, I feel like I am going insane!

Comments for 4 Month Old Australian Shepherd Bites And Whines Constantly!

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mouthy puppy
by: Anonymous

As for the being mouthy, when he bites you then pinch his neck with a loud no bite! If the pinch stings you are going it right, pinch his neck. Or take his lip and press it against his own teeth until that stings with a no bite. Then replace your hand with a toy to show what's ok to chew on.

Give him time
by: Anonymous

He's only 4 months old give him time.
And lots of toys...

You are not going insane
by: Connie

This is your first Aussie isn't it? All the behaviors that you described are exactly what Australian Shepherds do. He just wants to play with you hence the whining. And the nipping behavior is because he is a herding dog. That is what they do. These dogs need to be kept occupied to be happy. I don't think two 20 minute walks a day are enough activity for most dogs let alone Australian shepherds. Get a Frisbee and tennis ball and throw those for him to catch and fetch. Socialize him with kids and other dogs. Puzzle toys are good... they need to be kept busy... Keep telling him no bite when he nips you. If he is nipping at your ankles when walking or playing in the yard just stop playing... ignore him. He will catch on. They want to please you. It takes about a year,but it will get better... I promise.

Biting and Whining Aussie
by: Kat

I have an Aussie that I adopted at age 2. He came with some serious anxiety issues. Eight years later, I think I finally straightened him out. This is what worked for my dog. The biting and whining: If you've ruled out injury with your vet, which I'm sure you have, try these. When he nips a firm, low "No" works. I would lightly put my finger on his nose while doing this to get his attention. Your dog is intelligent so keep your commands simple and he will pick this gesture up in no time. When correcting verbally, make sure to never yell, scream, or use a high pitched voice. Only use his name when he's good, or you want him to come to you (always sound welcoming so he doesn't run from you). Also, keep in mind, that he is a puppy and he may grow out of some of the nippy, chewy behavior. Aussies are also emotional sponges. If you're nervous, he's nervous and will whine. Also note that Aussies can be pretty talkative anyway. Your dog will hang on your every command or gesture because they like to be led and reassured. Don't leave him idle for too long. They love to have something to do. Even if we're stuck inside the house, we practice tricks. They love to please you and it builds their confidence. It also bonds the two of you. It will take patience and time but they are so worth it! Good luck!

Bites pacing and whining
by: Anonymous

Sounds like he needs some mental stimulation. I have a three month old that I broke some is these habits in by just consistency and giving him "ok" things for him to bite and chew on and lots of mental stimulation. The pacing and whining is because he's bored. If I don't give mine enough mental stimulation in a day he will be like that and I know I need to occupy his brain. These things are totally normal for the breed but do need to be addressed.

Normal 4 month old behavior
by: Anonymous

This is normal behavior for an Aussie puppy. He is in the midst of teething, providing safe chew toys should help. If you haven't already make sure to enroll him in some obedience classes. The instructor will have suggestions for dealing with behavior issues as they occur. You may also want to consider foundation agility classes when you are done with obedience. It sounds like he needs more stimulation in terms of the whining. Playing tug (gently) with appropriate tug toys can help, as well as previous suggestions of playing ball. Dog Jolly balls are great for this. They are intelligent dogs and aren't happy with being couch potatoes as some other breeds may be.

speak their language
by: Anonymous

Dont let aussie evangelists have you write this off as normal behavior. yes the urges are dna related, but some of the volume of actions can be managed. a mouthy dog in any breed leads to lessons being missed while whelping. mommy or siblings didnt teach your dog that biting hurts. Just like children, every situation is different. I can only tell you what i did with mine. When you get nipped, simply say ouch like you did and then lean over and nip the dog on the ear until you know he felt it. My aussie nipped me 2-3 times at first, hasnt nipped anyone in over 4 years. That might sound brutal, but thats how mommy teaches them.

I agree with Connie!
by: Anonymous

Please reassure yourself that you're not going insane and this will get better... so much better! I remember crying (literally crying) to my husband that our girl didn't like me and that we were going to have to get rid of her. Luckily for us, my husband was the voice of reason and kept reminding me that she was a puppy and it would get better. I can't believe how great a dog our girl is (she's almost 2 now). Consistency and keeping them busy is the name of the game with Aussies. Our arms and legs were shredded from the puppy attacks that we received. :-) But after repeatedly telling her "no" in a low, stern voice and turning our backs on her when she attacked, she got the message that it wasn't a fun game.

In addition to rolling a large ball (basketball, soccer ball etc) for her to chase (I wouldn't advocate any kind of jumping activities for her until she's at least 12-18 months old for joint reasons) you might try a Flirt Pole. It's similar to a cat toy; you'll need a long piece of rope, a long piece of PVC pipe and a toy. Thread the rope through the center of the PVC and tie a knot in both ends of the rope so it won't slide back out of the PVC. Leave about 4-6 additional feet of rope at one end of the PVC. At the end of that additional length of rope securely tie a toy. That probably sounded much more complicated than it is (do an internet search for "Dog Flirt Pole" if you'd like to see it). You hold the end of the stick without the toy and let them chase the toy while you drag it across the yard. You might like to have an additional toy on hand so that when they catch the one on the end of the stick you can use the other one to get their attention and then start the game over.

Keep reminding your self that this will pass and one day you'll wonder how you ever lived without your Aussie.

by: Alyssa

Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I have been trying to take him on longer walks but after about 20-30 minutes of walking he goes crazy! He bites his leash, attacks everything we walk past (rocks, leaves, dirt and even me) he just can't keep focused on the walk! I'm starting him in an obedience class next week and hopefully that will help him. I greatly appreciate everyone helping me, he is obviously my first Aussie! Lol

by: Anonymous

First, this is a puppy! 2 ,20 min. Walks a day are a joke! They need a lot of physical stimulation, as well as mental. The mouthing thing is normal, he is teething. Freeze a wet wash cloth for soothes his gums. But, play, play, play. Aussies are highly intelligent herding dogs. If you don't give him a job, he will give one to himself, one, you will not like. He wants something to do, to learn. Now is the time for teaching. I like a large ball, one that can't get stuck in his mouth. A soccer ball you can kick and he will chase. Tire him out. It's good for him and good for you. His behavior is normal for an Aussie puppy without enough stimulation.

Difficult breed but most rewarding
by: Anonymous

My Aussie puppy was a rotten, stinky, bitey, whiny, pesky thing when she was that age, she eventually grew out of it with the help of training & finding other outlets for her extra energy. From 13-16 weeks they start teething, so they start chewing n biting everything. Around 4 mths they should have most, if not all, of their vaccinations so you should look into enrolling him into puppy classes. As for the whining & attention seeking biting, he just wants your attention & for you to play with him. My girl is about 1 & 1/2 now & she still comes up to me & whines to get my attention because she's bored, she no longer nips but she does paw at me if I try to ignore her. The best way to handle it is with mental & physical stimulation. When she got pesky, I would get out the clicker & get some treats (she's highly treat motivated) & we would practice tricks, she knew sit, down, shake, high five, roll over, leave it, take it, drop it, etc. a 10-20 min training lesson would help her calm down & helped with bonding & trust for both of us. Some of them have more energy than others but they are usually smarter & more eager to please. Find some training videos on YouTube & watch how fast he learns. They are difficult & demand more attention than normal dogs but they will love you more than you can imagine!!

Teething and Boredom
by: Anonymous

Provide a chewing substitute. I provided ice cubes in a big round metal roasting pan. It became a game. Mental stimulation is critical. I would ssshhh my dog when he whined and redirect him to a training task. Be calm and consistent and praise good behaviors. Talk to him. It gets better!

try more short walks
by: Marla

I replied above but didn't change my name from Anonymous, sorry about that. I believe our girl can get over tired (like a toddler). If after 20-30 minutes of walking he starts to act up and you believe it's because of a lack of focus, maybe try walking more often and not try walking longer right now. I remember the days of chasing leaves, biting at the leash etc. I promise you with consistent training it will get SO much better.
I have heard that mental training wears them out faster than physical training. So enjoy the obedience training.

4 m.o. Aussie Shep.
by: Anonymous

They are intelligent and need stimulation. However, there is one more thing you can check. When we got our Aussie, he was displaying the same behavior but quite aggressive. It was a while before I realized his tail had not been cropped properly. (I didn't want a cropped tail and the breeder told us their tails weren't cropped but grew in short. We believed him, hence, never checked.) He was so fluffy, we didn't notice right away. Basically, every time we picked up the poor guy, his tail was getting hurt. I can't imagine how sore he was all the time, never mind when we were handling him.

bone cancer
by: Anonymous

A friend of mines Aussie had bone cancer and he exhibited the same behaviors. Please get him to the vets to make sure your puppy is ok.

Aussie help
by: Anonymous

I think you may have an issue with teething. My Aussie did this exactly at the same age as yours. He also whinned more.. I think he was in a ton of pain.

My Aussie pup use to nip the back of my ankles when he was young. This was different than the teething. I had my dog professionally train and my train told me than when he did this, flip him on his back, hold him there and in a very stern voice say "NO!"... This is a natural way a alpha dog would deal with his pack... Since we're suppose to be alpha, it was our job to put him is place. He soon learned HUMANS weren't to heard.

Establishing dominance is very important with an animal this intelligent. Aussies and border collies aren't for the " submissive type" because they will take over.

As for the whinning.. That's my aussie's way of.joining the conversation.. You'd have to explain your dogs border collie barks at everything, my Aussie whines, groans, and moans...its hilarious

getting better
by: Anonymous

Our Aussie (mix) is 20 weeks old. We've had him since he was 9 weeks and have had the same issues. Always whining, barking, biting, wanting constant attention. However, I have to tell you, he has settled down a bit in the last couple of weeks. He still barks but the whining has stopped and he bites less. When I take him outside to play I always have to carry a large stick with me to keep him from biting and nipping at my legs. All I have to do is keep the stick between me and him and it deters him. When we are inside I make sure he has a toy to chew on so he is not always chewing on me. I was at my wits end about a month ago but with patience and a firm hand from time to time he has improved. Hang in there!

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