Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Why Do Aussies Nip?

by Melissa
(Canada)

Okay I know why Aussie's nip, I own two Aussies... but I have been defending the Aussie from some people who say Aussies nip out of aggression, which to me, upsets me...

So please Aussie people give me your insight to as why Aussies nip… I guess you can say these people are getting to me with saying its an act of aggression, when I know its an act of nature in the breed of dog.

Comments for Why Do Aussies Nip?

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Nips
by: Camila

I don't own an Aussie, neither English is my first language. I own a Border Collie who nips, but into play mode.

Dogs usually nip in aggression when they think something isn't how they want (a dominant dog usually present this types of nips in order to set up an order in their environment. A dog will nip other if they feel the other is invading it's personal space for example, knowing that the other dog is weaker or they have already accepted subordination).

If they nip to you because you have touched their stuff (example), it might be because 1) the dog doesn't accept you as the owner of the house. 2) there is a lack of education in the dog.

Some dogs, specially shepherds are used to nip naturaly, as it's a way of pushing the target to do something. For example if you are standing, the dog is right next to you and the dog wants to do something, they might nip your toe in order to move or do something.

Since I don't own an Aussie, I can't expand in the subject, but it's said that these are dominant dogs, so hierarchy patterns should be stablished in early puphood. With this, and placing the dog "at the end" of the family pack, nips should appear, as the dog wouldn't have the right or authority of pushing someone in the house (or try to command any family member).

Placing hierarchy patterns is much easier when the dog is a pup. We tend to commit the same mistakes that thousands of people does; the cute little puppy gets all the attention in the house, and they automatically place on top of the family.

A concret example; when they pup (lets name this puppy Mawy) arrives to her new home, all the family is anxious, happy and charmed with the new fluffy thing. We do high pitched nice voices, pat the pup, encourage her to move her tail, gain confidence... at the end she turns into the center of the universe; that's is putting the dog in top of the family pack. Mawy will think "Oh well since they treat me like that, I rule here, this is MY home".

A correct Mawy introduction to her brand new home and family is introducing the pup to all family members (better if they are gathered up in the same room), don't move to Mawy's direction or pay much attention to her. She should move around and sniff new family members. When we go to the dog, is a fast way of accepting the dog into the family pack, but when they go to us; to strangers at that young point of Mawy's life, is going into a submisive behavior; she is paying attention to us, and is easier to recognize she is a stranger in our home and not what happened in the other case mentioned above.

There are a lot of small details we don't take care of that affect hierarchy at home. It's not necesary to be a strong leader in order to Mawy not to challenge you as dominant, but it is truely necessary trace the patterns and ask the dog respect from the very first day she comes at home.

Hope this helped, and my English is understandable.

Old Aussie nips kids
by: Anonymous

We have an older Aussie (12) that we inherited from family. She is a great "grandma" keeping a watchful eye on the kids and always sweet and gentle. She has nipped at the neighbor kids, randomly, after she has already met them, smelled them, and watched them play kindly.

I believe she nipped for the following reasons:

1. she gently nips cloths of the kids she likes and is keeping near the family, herding and moving them closer or further from our kids.

2. She nips when surprised - most often is a neighbor is petting her when she is sleeping and she wakes "to a smell not of her family". Keep in mind she has cataracts and less hearing so I attribute it more to smell.

3. When she does NOT like another person. She does not see rough play between kids as friendly and made up her mind she does NOT like that child, no matter what. She will now charge at that child if they are present or she hears their voice.

4. She has rarely nipped at our own children, only after they accidently tripped over her or layed on her sore hip.

I found the best thing is to gauge how your Aussie feels. If your Aussie is tired, has pain, or is walking slowly we keep her in a different room when children visit. Make sure to give her the Chondroitin and Glucosamine, no flour treat for her joints daily. Switched hr food for a no flour salmon food and feed her eggs and she is walking better, in less pain and not as irritable. The child she wants to charge is not allowed over but our children may visit their home. List to you "Grandma" Aussie and be kind to her and if she says you can't hang out with that kid it is probably best.

nipping doggie
by: Aussie Owner of Two!

I have two Aussies and we love them both!! But I have noticed on two occasions my older Aussie has nipped twice... He nipped me once on my arm and then another random teenager.

Now I will say both times there was loud commotion. The one time when he nipped me I was running in the house trying to get away from a cicada that had gotten into the house.. Yes it was stupid but I couldn't help it. When I kind of screamed and ran that's when he barked and nipped my arm.. The other time the teenage girl was also moving quickly to get away from a bug and probably slightly screaming...

I was wondering if this is his way of trying to keep order from the loud commotion. I have also noticed when the kids kind of wrestle he barks and kind of gets in between them.

Can anyone shed some light for his behavior. I don't think he's being aggressive but most likely trying to keep order.. My younger Aussie doesn't do it though.. But he'll dig you out from under a blanket like nobodys business..

Thanks!!!




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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care