Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Reactive Dog

by Michele

My Aussie hates the vacuum, the hair dryer, the mixer, the door bell on TV and at the door. When new people come over she goes ballistic, barking and trying to get to them, she will not be quiet until they leave. No one came come over for the fear of being bitten and can't have a conversation over a barking dog. What to do?

When outside, if she can hear people talking, she starts barking. Help.

She is 17 months old, has had several obedience classes and one trainer at the home.

Comments for Reactive Dog

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Re: Reactive dog
by: Anonymous

Overload her. Keep the things that drive her nuts going on constantly. The barking may be bad for a few days but she should get fed up with it when she realizes these things aren't going away. The second she's quite reward her. You might also try clicker training her (if you haven't already). Use the clicker to get her attention away from whats causing the negative behavior and as soon as shes distracted reward her.

Reactive Dog
by: Anne

Sounds like she needs more exercise and she is frustrated, especially if she was bred with a lot of herding instinct. She may also be one of those types of dogs that is VERY territorial.
You can try a bark collar at home.
How was she at the obedience classes?
If you need more advice please feel free to e-mail me.

Anne Calmes
Gold Ring Aussies
Louisiana, USA

Re: barking
by: Anonymous

I had an aussie many years ago that reacted to things the same way, however, in her case, she had been a puppy mill dog, then to an abusive home,then to a foster home and then to me. Needless to say she was quite neurotic! (But I loved her dearly)
She needs to learn a command. Whether it be 'quiet', 'it's ok' etc. Something to let her know you have it under control, and start with a leash for control of course. And then praise with the correct response. If your dog does NOT respond to your command, give a squirt with a spray bottle (or squirt gun) filled with water (in the face or towards the dog (if the water is not helpful you can add lemon juice or vinegar. This will NOT harm your dog! Works great) When I had visitors, she was allowed to give an alert bark, I would give a 'quiet' command and when quiet, would praise and allow visitors in. I would then put her in a 'down-stay' next to me until she could relax. I would then allow her to calmly visit. Make sure your visitors do NOT reach for her, talk to her etc. and make SURE they (guests) remain SITTING! until she is quiet and calm. You may give your guests 'treats' to give her but only when she is relaxed and in a calm state of mind. NEVER let your guests stand up until she is in a 'down-stay' on a leash or kenneled. This is when she is more likely to bite. You may have to keep her on a leash until she is comfortable just to be safe. The more this is repeated the better she will become. This applies to other stimuli also. Give the command (a down-stay works well, it gives you more control and helps to relax your dog) when calm, give a 'release' command and proceed as normal. Don't forget to use your squirt bottle if needed! After awhile your dog will learn that YOU are the 'protector' and you have it all under control. You can also choose to kennel her during visits in the beginning but make sure you can access it with the water bottle if needed. She will eventually learn that people and noises are OK.

clicker training
by: Michele

I tried clicker training at PetSmart when she was about 5 months old. I didn't always have a clicker on me so quickly got out of the habit of using it. I appreciate your comment and thank you for taking the time to respond.

by: Michele

Anne, Thanks for responding to my post. I try and walk her everyday and have bought several mind games,(Nina Ottoson), Kongs, we play fetch.
Sometimes I can really tell she is frustrated because she will nip me and then run at me barreling into me, its almost as if she has lost her mind for a minute. She is VERY VERY territorial. Is there hope for that? She did very well at obedience class with the learning part, but she would bark at the other dogs as they would run by her and she would try and bite at my feet and the trainer told me to squirt her with a water sprayer and that really made her mad.
P.S. I also had her tested for MDR1, which is negative.

Anonymous 2
by: Michele

I know what you mean by loving your dog dearly.
I love my Dakota so much and that may be alot of her problem. I babied her alot when she was little and when she was nervous about something or someone she would run to me and sit in my lap.
I have tried the squirt bottle and that just infuriates her, do you just keep doing it till she stops doing whatever you want her to stop doing? When I have visitors, as soon as she can smell that someone different is in the house she starts raising cain and trying to get at them. I do have to keep her on a leash and she doesn't stop until they leave and even after they leave she still runs around the house barking and looking for them. She is such a great dog and I want everyone to be able to see that, but no one wants to stick around her because she gets so nutty. She tolerates some of my Aunts, but when they get up to leave she starts barking and acting like she will bite. I can't trust her in that sense. She is not real good at the down and stay, that is a work in progress. I will really work on that and maybe that will help. I don't think she thinks I can handle the situation and she always tries to step up to the plate, again my fault. Thanks for all your comments and I will try anything to help her.

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