Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

How To Curb Our Dog's Aggressive Behavior

by Judy
(California)

We have a 14 month old male Australian Shepherd. We have had him for 12 months. He has gone through two complete series of manners' classes. He sleeps in a crate at night. He is outside most of the day. We bring him inside to be with us in the evening 'til we put him in the crate for bed. He learns quickly and for the most part is a good dog. He hardly ever barks, is friendly, and is completely in love with us. However, if he is not being petted almost constantly when we're with him, he becomes very demanding of attention. At that time he becomes aggressively playful and jumps on everyone and nips at their clothing all the while his butt is wagging and twisting.

We have tried to train him to act differently and have used Bitter Apple, etc. without success. However, he is strong and hard to discourage. He weighs around 55 lbs. The trainers have told us that he'll get better, but he seems to be getting worse. It was suggested by some of the trainers to enroll him in agility classes, but we had to drop out. He was so active that we couldn't get him settled down. We also take him to the dog park where he is very well-behaved once we get inside the park and he's free to run wild.

We would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

Comments for How To Curb Our Dog's Aggressive Behavior

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Your Dog's Rough Housing
by: Anne Calmes

I breed, show and rescue Aussies. I aso teach Obedience Classes.

1st the words "aggressive play" is incorrect. He is bored and when you get home that is your dog's energy release when he comes inside. At his age in our years makes him about a 9 or 10 year old in human years. He is an active boy and you need to give him more activities to do. What he is doing is "rough playing". Try taking him for a walk when you get home and before you bring him inside.

Our Aussies don't do well by being left in the backyard. If your dog is not fixed, please get
your Aussie fixed and that will help.

You really need to try and do an activity. I know you tried Agility, but try to find herding lessons close to you. Herding is not quite as structured in the beginning for herding, and you don't need so many commands in the beginning.

I understand you have used bitter apple, etc., but do you correct calmly and assertively and are you consistent with your corrections. Do you watch the "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Milan? You can learn a lot from him.

I hope this helps.

Anne Calmes
Gold Ring Aussies
Louisiana

behavior
by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

Your boy is trying to run your life. When they say that Aussies need lots of exercise, they mean it. He needs to run everyday. He needs to take a walk with you to stimulate his mind. When he is behaving that way, it is a good time to practice his obedience skills. Many times we use "puppy push-ups"-- sit, down, stand, etc.-- until the puppy settles down. It is a good time to incorporate games and tricks in your training. Check out www.shirleychong.com. "101 things to do with a box" is just amazing. He will be thinking and tiring himself out.

Response to our dog's "aggressive" behavior
by: Judy

Thank you for your comments, Anne and Gayle. We sincerely want this dog's behavior to change, so we're open to your suggestions. A little more information...we are retired and do spend lots of time with our dog (Buddy). We take him on long daily walks. He is neutered. He knows lots of commands as he is smart and we use them on him. We have bought him some of the strongest/sturdiest toys on the market. He usually has them torn up within an hour or so. We've given him the balls, etc. where you put treats so he can roll it around and be entertained. He has chewed up all of the drip system and many plants in our backyard. He has pulled up all of the cloth under a huge area of tan bark as well. Now he is beginning to carry and move chairs around. Most of the time when I go outside he starts mouthing my hands and arms, jumping on me, growling and barking as well as chasing me. He will not respond to my commands. He wants to be petted constantly.

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