Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

My Aussie Is Driving Me Nuts

by Jane Doe
(California)


My boyfriend had a 4 year old 77 lb Aussie before we started dating, and it's been a little over a year and this dog at first seemed well trained, but then we moved in together.

He had horrible separation anxiety and expects to sleep on the bed in the room every night, to be let inside and if he isn't he body slams the door/licks it and clanks his teeth on it.

He knows lots of tricks but when I try to make him listen to basic commands (come, stay, no) he ignores me. If I try to drag him to go where I want him to go he bites me and claws me. (He has a ton of loose skin and I know it doesn't hurt him.)

He respects his dad way more but still ignores him sometimes. My biggest issue is the freaking out he does. He eats door frames/doors, barks and whines nonstop, and is super aggressive toward other dogs and men that visit. That's why he is occasionally put up. He's good in a kennel but I can't leave him there forever.

I'm learning to hate this dog, and honestly think he is a huge part of arguments that happen between my boyfriend and I. I need serious help.

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Need a connection
by: Claire

Sorry to hear about the issues that you are having with the dog. My initial reaction is that he should be crate trained to address the immediate issue of destroying the doors/frames. Don't just shove him in a crate and call it "crate trained" either--play crate games and get him to enjoy his crate. Never use the crate for punishment and keep a selection of special treats/toys for when he is in the crate.

One thing that you will need to come to terms with regarding this breed is that they were developed to work with people, and will not do well being left outside or otherwise excluded. That's not to say that he NEEDS to sleep on the bed (lol) but he should be made to feel included in the family dynamics, and not in a way that just involves him being dragged around, shut outside, scolded, and left alone in the house. You will need to develop a better bond with this dog and then he will be more likely to listen to you. Brute force is not going to build a connection. Enroll in a training or agility class with him. He can tell that you are becoming frustrated and dislike him, and that is only going to make things worse. Anytime you're getting frustrated take a deep breath and decide if what you are asking is fair to him. Consider reading "The Other End of the Leash", "Don't Shoot the Dog", and "Culture Clash" to help you better understand canine behavior and develop healthy expectations.

Not all dogs, and especially not all Aussies, enjoy the company of other dogs. This is just part of his personality and something that you will have to learn to accept about him.

Best of luck

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care