Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com Newsletter #003
Greetings Fellow Australian Shepherd Lovers,
We've been working hard on the site and have added more new information and
features for Australian Shepherd Lovers.
Keep Your Aussie Safe this Winter!
During the Winter and Holiday Season Please Keep these Dog Safety Tips in Mind
As the mercury starts to drop and the holiday season is just around the corner
we put together some safety reminders to help keep your Aussie safe. There are
many hazards unique to the winter and holiday season that we need to keep in
mind. Please take a moment and have a look at this information especially if
you have just gotten a puppy and are a new dog owner.
Dog Safety: Wintertime Reminders
Don't Forget About Our Daily Cartoon
We've added a great Cartoon of the Day featuring the work of a very talented
cartoonist, Mark Anderson. You can find the animal themed "Andertoons"
on our home page. Just click on the smaller preview image to see the larger
version of the cartoon. Bookmark this page and start every day with
Questions from Readers
After our last newsletter I received an email from one of our readers with
a great question about curbing the Aussie herding instinct that results in their
nipping at your legs.
"We have a 8 1/2 week old Aussie and things are
going great. She is pretty much housetrained, can sit, down, give a paw and
we are working on staying. She is also doing really well on the leash. The problem
we are having is with the herding and nipping. She will even nip my pant leg
when I'm walking from the living room to the kitchen. She also won't leave the
children's legs alone. Any advise on how to curb this instinct behaviour before
it's to late? Any advise would be greatly appreciated."
Thanks for your email and congratulations on the new addition to your family.
Yes, herding breeds like Australian Shepherds are notorious for nipping at
the legs. My dog Levi was no exception.
Puppies learn to control their biting or to develop "bite inhibition"
when they are still with their mother and littermates. If they are taken from
the mother much sooner than 8 weeks they may not have had the opportunity to
learn self control when it comes to biting. In this case it will be up to you.
Puppies learn from their mothers very quickly what is and what is not an acceptable
level of biting. If a puppy bites hard enough to hurt the mother she will usually
yelp loudly which often shocks the puppy. The puppy often pauses for a moment
and will then try to bite again. The mother will either yelp again or escalate
her response by growling and pinning the puppy in a submissive position. Puppies
that still don't get the message might get shaken by the scruff of the neck
and then left alone. The message being that if you can't play nice I'm not going
to play with you at all.
We need to communicate to puppies in a similar fashion. They don't understand
our language so we need to let them know in terms they understand from the point
of view of a dog.
As far as your puppy is concerned she is in a dog pack. You have to be the
leader of that pack or the alpha dog.
So you can try the mother dog approach. Some suggest firmly gripping the muzzle
and holding them down until they stop struggling or give her a firm shake by
the scruff of the neck. Not too hard though, you don't want to hurt her you
just want to get her attention the way her mother would. Once she has stopped
struggling and is submissive (her ears and tail may go down) you can release
her. Use firm low tones and really let her know you are not happy. Her mother
might growl and bare teeth.
You are not trying to hurt her. Don't use the force to inflict pain, that's
not what you are trying to accomplish. You are trying to communicate in the
same way that her mother or littermates would.
The other approach is to yelp. Do it loud enough to shock her. Use a higher
pitch and try to be convincing. If she does not stop then refuse to play with
her. Put her on the other side of a barricade like a baby gate as punishment.
Social isolation is very frustrating for a puppy. This is what her mother and
littermates would use.
With either technique once you have done them don't hold a grudge. 3 seconds
after it has happened your puppy will consider the matter settled. Go back to
playing nice if she is well behaved and has stopped biting.
After 5 minutes let her back in. When using the yelping method don't forget
to yelp even if she only bites your clothing. She needs to learn that biting
anywhere on you or your children is not acceptable.
Aussies have strong herding instincts and tend to nip especially when they
are chasing prey. In addition to the methods above to teach that biting is not
acceptable you should also let your children know that they should not encourage
the dog to chase them. Playing aggressive games where she uses her teeth such
as tug-of-war might not be a good idea. It can be confusing for a puppy to know
where to draw the line.
This kind of biting is not done out of viciousness. To the dog it is just play.
If you train her starting now that biting is not something that you approve
of she will probably learn fairly quickly. You have to be consistent. Aussies
are very smart and will push the limits and test you daily for what is acceptable.
Aussies are strong willed and you must be the alpha dog. There are many ways
to assert your authority over the pack. Food is the primary means. Have her
sit before you give her her food. Hand feed her treats often. Place treats in
her bowl when she is eating. Move food around in her bowl when she is eating.
Then, cautiously, remove her food when she is still eating. The alpha dog controls
the food and the treats. Period.
The same goes for things like going through doorways. Alpha dogs go first.
Don't let her push her way ahead of you when going through doorways. Same as
pulling on the leash.
She needs to recognize you as the alpha so that she doesn't feel the need to
assert her authority. If dogs are unsure about their position in the pack hierarchy
they will become stressed and will attempt to settle the matter by challenging
your authority. This could lead to aggressive behavior. But if you are recognized
by her as the absolute leader then you shouldn't have this problem and she will
be a happier dog as well.
That way she will look to you for guidance when, for example, strangers come
to your house. She will defer to your authority and will not decide on her own
that your guests need to leave or that the postman needs to be bitten.
Also be sure to have plenty of toys and things that she is allowed to chew
on. Puppies need to chew and can spend hours amused with a toy. That way she
will hopefully feel less of a need to chew on you. :-)
We'll be adding this info to the website soon. If you have any stories about
your Aussie and biting and how you got them to stop please email us and tell
us about it.
Send your stories, comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Don't forget to send us pics of your Aussie so we can add them to the site!)
Got Any Great Pics of Your Aussie? Jigsaw Puzzles Made from Your Photos
Turn your favorite photo into a Jigsaw Puzzle for a unique and fun gift. Many
sizes to choose from including large 1000+ piece puzzles. Uploading your photo
and ordering online is easy.
In our last newsletter we told you about Jigsaw2order
Personalized Puzzles. In case you missed it, Jigsaw2order lets you send
in photos of your Aussie (or kids/grandchildren, or vacation snapshots, or whatever)
and they will create a personalized jigsaw puzzle for you. Their jigsaw puzzles
are not pre-built or pre-packed but "Made to Order". Their unique
approach is to let you have complete control over specifying what type of Jigsaw
Picture Puzzle you would like.
They make it easy for you to send them your photo, making the process of ordering
your own custom Photo Puzzle a simple one. This is a great gift idea.
Order early to avoid the holiday rush...
Jigsaw2order Personalized Puzzles
If you have any really great photos that are in focus with good resolution
email them to us and I may add them to the website. If they are a good fit I
may even add them to our online jigsaw puzzles.
You can check those out here: >>>
Free Online Australian Shepherd Jigsaw Puzzles
Until Next Time...
Have a look at our website for other gift ideas including 2008 Australian Shepherd
Calendars, the iClick designed by the clicker trainers at Karen Pryor Clicker
Training or the classic Australian Shepherd Pin cast from pewter. I like these
pins not only because they look good but they also feature two push-on clasps
to prevent rotation. Purchasing these or other items through the links on our
site helps keep our website going and we appreciate your support.
Check back with us often as we are always adding more great information. Please
let us know if there is something you would like to see on Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com.
We love to hear from fellow Australian Shepherd Lovers like you. Send us your
ideas, your feedback and photos of your Aussie so we can include them on the
All the Best and Woof!
Scott and Levi
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