Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Aussie Barks And Lunges At People And Dogs

by Heather
(NY)

Riley

Riley

Our 11 month male Aussie, Riley, just seems to extremely dislike other people and dogs. If we take him anywhere, he barks his head off and will lunge (on leash) at people occasionally.

He's super good here at home. There are 6 of us, and everyone except my younger brother can do things with him such as open his mouth, take food away, etc. (My brother just doesn't seem to have "dog sense" in general though.) We love him and he's very loyal and probably would give his life to protect us. He's usually very obedient here. It's only when we take him places he's got issues.

He wears a muzzle when we go out so he really is probably the safest dog in the park, but people avoid us at all costs because of it.

He has completed obedience class (he's used to those dogs but doesn't like them very much, and the people aren't a big deal because the dogs are more distracting) and he's been socialized as much as possible. It just didn't work. We do clicker training and it works great unless there's a big distraction. We have tried many different training methods but none have been successful.

What should we do? Should we accept him as he is and just not take him places? Would he be happy just living here on our "farm" and not going out? When company comes over should we just put him in a separate room? Is there anything else we should do?

Comments for Aussie Barks And Lunges At People And Dogs

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Lunges
by: Anonymous

My 3 yr old female is quite similar to your dog. We live out in the country and she was not properly socialized. She does not like other dogs and strangers. When she does get to know you and remember you she is fine. I took her to agility class and had to keep her on a leash because she lunged at the other dogs faces.

Lunging
by: Anonymous

You don't state whether or not your dog is neutered, if you got him as a pup, any tramatic occurances? etc.
My first aussie was similar to this. I was young,he was an abuse case, and we were inseparable. I took him to doggie class, he excelled but was NEVER trustworthy!
Starting at home with people he is somewhat familiar with, put on the leash before answering the door, and ask for a 'down,stay' at your side,when calm, open the door.. Allow your guests to enter and sit.Do not allow them to get up.This will set him off.Then allow him to enter the room (on a leash) put him in a down, stay next to you. If he remains calm, you may offer to give him a treat,toy etc. Something rewarding.After awhile, you should be able to allow your guests to give a treat as a friendly gesture.(dont let them stand up!) As he gets HIS confidence up, you will start to notice a difference. It will take time.
You also dont state how old he is. Anyway, the muzzle is a good idea regardless of how people may avoid him. Sometimes a leash will also make the situation worse. If your muzzle is 100% safe,I would recomend you recruit some 'friends' with safe non-reacting dogs and using the muzzle to protect them, take them to a safe place but NOT familiar territory(your house)! You say he is obedience trained,so do some obedience exercises.. down,stay and have others walk around you and your dog within safe distance of course.(if any aggression,barking,etc. spray with a squirt bottle filled with water (add lemon juice or vinegar if nessesary tell him a command 'quiet',shush etc)praise when you get a good response. If he is food motivated or toy motivated, you can use these,telling him to 'watch you'. YOu are just trying to keep his attention on you.When he looks at you give treat or toss the toy to him. Gradually, he wont be as reactive, but I dont think he will ever be a 'social butterfly'. GOOD LUCK!

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