Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Aussie Reacts Spastic If Held

by Ann

My 1 year old Australian Shepherd reacts violently if we have to hold her to remove a tick or look in her ear when she's been scratching. The breeder told us she was very sensitive based on how she reacted when one liter mate urinated in the food dish. She wouldn't eat out of it for a week. When she was 10 weeks she got a tick (her one and only) and it took four of us to hold her down to remove it. After the ordeal it took us weeks to gain back her trust to come to us and let us pet her. She ducks away. We went months with great behavior and fun times.

Last week she was scratching at her ear and shaking her head. I tried looking in her ear (I've handled her ears and paws with no issues) well she went crazy pulling away and just now is starting to calm back down.

She has been such a joy this past year and behavior is excellent except when these types of issues arise. We bonded with this pup from the time she was a week old visiting every week until she could come home.

She has been to the groomers several times and they say she is no trouble. She is shy initially when meeting strangers but warms up quickly. Great with other dogs. Any ideas what causes this behavior? Anyone have similar issues? Do they out grow it and learn to trust more?

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Lots of love, and treats!
by: Molly and Dave

Our 1.5 yo rescue Aussie is sensitive to certain things as well, not so much with the same issues you are having but certain things such as he hates and freaks out if anyone tries to grab him by his collar. He totally relaxes however if the leash is put on so there is our workaround. Sometimes I have found that lots of patience, love, and good treats will go along way to getting a sensitive dog start to trust better. Also maybe practice fussing with her ears, paws, or any other sensitive parts when there isn't anything such as mites or ticks going on with her at the time. Doing a daily check over with a treat afterwards may get her used to it so when the next tic does burrow in it wont be quite so traumatic.

by: Ann

Thanks. I'm hoping a lot of this one off behavior will decrease with age. When I read back some of the comments from folks with younger pups I recognize some behavior and can relate. All those pup issues disappeared with time and patience. We have taken her to positive training classes as she does not respond to loud voices or negative training. Once I found positive training for her she responded so much better. Since this was our first pup we were getting a lot of conflicting advice so finding the right training for her saved our sanity. She is such a loving girl and this odd behavior just is out of character.

I can empathize
by: Lisa NC

My 6 month old girl goes schizo when I try to trim a burr from her hair with my safety scissors. I've done it a few times before w/no problem. Now I may as well be pulling teeth aaugh! Two weeks ago the Vet gave me medicine ( Liquid & pill) to administer for 7 days. After the first 3 doses, I had to practically lay on her to give it. She retreated to her crate & had nothing to do with me aside from going to the park. She'd just lay in her crate and look at me like I had betrayed her. It took a couple of days for her to "get over it." She's going to be spayed in 2 weeks & I'm a nervous wreck, Angry Birds Stella - Wall of Pigs Level 4 - Episode 2 - Walkthrough (3 Stars)
because I don't know how I'll give her pain med. or antibiotics if called for. I don't have anyone to help out, so I'm praying that all goes well! I did talk with a woman from the doggy park who has an Aussie & her pup had severe conniptions. She decided to get her pup a buddy & her Aussie has been transformed into a complete angel. Since I have a large fenced in yard, I'm seriously considering getting my pup a rescue brother.

Spastic Aussie
by: Ann FL

I am seeing a pattern here. When I look at pup stories I see behavior I encountered when my Aussie was that age and has outgrown. I am hoping based on older Aussies I see that this behavior will pass too. I did follow some advice about time and patience. I did some grooming just a little at a time with some ice cream treats(homemade peanut butter in yogurt frozen) and it seems to be working. I hate that she doesn't trust me yet but it is getting better.
Good luck with the spay. We had no issues.

Burry those pills in something yummy!
by: Molly and Dave

I'd stuff the pills into some cheese myself or anything that they just swallow without much fuss. You shouldn't have a problem unless extremely picky.
Think like a dog, and the best way to a dogs heart is thru his stomach! :)

Taking pills
by: Ann Fl

Oh how I tried that. Got the pill in cheese once and worked. Next time no, ate cheese spit out pill. Switched to turkey. Nope. So now I mix in the kibble but mix in homemade turkey giblet gravy. The issue is she can SMELL it. So disguised the smell. And with this spastic behavior there is no way you can force down the throat
Just have to find what works for each dog.
I find this forum a life saver just in finding dogs with same behavior and ideas on how others handle it.
Thanks to all.

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