Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Why Is My Aussie Constantly Attacked By Other Dogs?

My five year old male Aussie Tucker, has been attacked by other dogs on several occasions while we are on walks. Each time he was on a leash and we were walking on a neighborhood street and once it happened in my driveway when we were returning from a walk. All these dogs were pets, not strays and were either just running lose or would break from a fence to charge him.

Tucker is a very intense dog and because of this, we never let him run lose. There are a few dogs that he gets along with very well and these dogs are well trained and respectful to other dogs and people. He is great with people and is extremely intelligent (think this may be part of the problem)

I walk him everyday and now that the weather is warmer, it seems more dogs are lose and the attacks are happening more frequently. Obviously, there is something about Tucker that these dogs don't like but I am not sure what it is or how to fix it. Never had this issue with my other dogs.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jean

Comments for Why Is My Aussie Constantly Attacked By Other Dogs?

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steps needed to take
by: Anonymous

First of all your neighbors need to have their dogs on leashes or behind their fence homes, its not fair to you (Tucker) or any others walking their dogs on leash. I don't know about where you live, but it is the law here. Secondly, you say Tucker is very intense ,and doesn't like other dogs much, from what I have heard and read, other dogs do pick up on that "negative" and will come after, and or attack a dog like that. an easy going, mild, dog tends not to be a threat to other dogs, so they leave him/her alone. think the other dogs see Tucker as a threat, therefore, will attack him first. Not sure what you can do about this since he's already 5, but I would ask around and see if you can get some help for him in that area, and God willing, this problem will subside. but really, you need to go to your community enforcement, and see if they can at least put up a sign that all dogs must be leashed, or they will be fined, something, anything, to help you protect Tucker from being injured; Not to mention, that if anything happens, your neighbors will go against you and say that Tucker is the problem, so you need to take care of that asap. best yo you and Tucker. keep us posted. Will be praying for you and this situation

Dog Aggression
by: Kathy

My Aussie has had similar problems - one attack drew blood and I phoned Animal Control on the owner, who received a fine. Seems that our dogs are not the issue as much as other dogs that are permitted to run freely, attacking at will.

Our dogs are on leash - what are these owners thinking?

I now carry pepper spray and do not hesitate to use it if threatened. Until I find a better solution it's my only recourse.

Your situation, and mine, are classic cases of 'blame the victim'

Good luck!

Kathy

Same problem at dog parks
by: jcrply

I had the same problem on the four occasions that I took my Aussie (female, now 13 months old) to dog parks. There always was at least one dog that would jump her and throw her down or be otherwise dangerously aggresive, and I would have to rescue her. Some people have speculated that it is the lack of a tail, which they say provides necessary body-language to other dogs. Some say the Aussie "grin" may be perceived as threatening. I just don't know, but I understand your frustration. In my case, I am just afraid of dog parks now.

attacked
by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

I have had this happen with my Sera from the time she was a pup. My obedience/agility instructor once said that Sera must have a "bite me" sign around her neck. I know that Sera is a quiet, unassuming little girl who really doesn't mess with anyone. In my mind, it is a confidence issue with my dog and your dog. Other dogs-- even ones who don't usually tangle with other dogs-- go after them. At age 10, Sera warns every dog who comes close to her. After she assesses the situation, she is fine. She has even been attacked while on therapy dog visits. I have learned to avoid situations where I think there might be a problem, but it is difficult. Sera, too, is a thinker, probably one of the smartest dogs ever. One thing it is imperative that you do, though, is to keep your dog from staring at other dogs. A stare is an invitation to a fight. You can turn your dog away to avoid confrontations. Just face him the opposite direction of the dog in question. This does not always work. Sera has been attacked from behind, too.
You could get your boy into an agility or rally class to boost his confidence. It does wonders for Sera. She absolutely loves class even though she has been attacked at class several times. I know this just sounds awful, but just be aware of situations in which your dog can be attacked. His safety and yours is the utmost importance.

Tucker
by: Anonymous

Although I have no idea why this is happening to Tucker I'm very interested to hear what advice - information people will give you. I hope this problem gets resolved for you and for Tucker.

attacked
by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

The pepper spray idea is great! I used to carry it when doing my dog walking jobs. Dog parks can be bad. A friend's boxer was attacked by a pit bull and ended up in ICU for most of a week. The pit was not supposed to be at the dog park with no license, but was there anyway.
I totally agree with people not keeping their dogs leashed. In most communities there are leash laws and I would report those who do not comply. Why should you and your dog be abused by these uncontrolled PEOPLE!
One of my dogs was attacked in the forest preserve by an unleashed dog when she was in the very impressionable 8 month age. The dog came after Nellie and we left the trail. The dog, with hackles raised, was proclaimed by the owner as being "very friendly", "just wanting to play". Dogs don't look like that who are "very friendly". I was so angry that this horrible person had done this to my beautiful girl! But I did not report the incident to the park ranger, which I should have done. I probably left this dog to terrorize others in the park. Please report this clods to the authorities.
And I do really feel that many times this is a dominance issue with the other dog. Sera is not a dominant dog. Dogs have attacked her when she is sitting and minding her own business. She looks away from other dogs in order to calm them down. She has the correct body language. I don't feel that this is necessarily your dog as the other person commented.

attacked
by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

Tucker is probably very afraid now that he has been attacked several times. You might want to consult a positive reinforcement trainer to help boost his confidence. Dogs pick up fear and react to it. I know that is Sera's problem. She warns every dog who comes near her. After she figures out the dogs is OK, she is fine. She can be on sit and down-stays within inches of another dog and is fine.
It is so bad with her that she was stalked by a large GSD the minute we walked into an obedience trial. The dog continued to stalk her when the judge actually disqualified the dog for terrorizing poor little Sera. I love that judge!

Thanks
by: Jean

Thanks to everyone for your comments and tips. Obviously, Tucker is not the only one with this issue! When we first got him as a puppy, we did notice he was a bit of a handful and went to trainers, classes, agility etc. Nothing helped so I finally hired a behaviorist who came out to my house and assured me that Tucker was a good dog, not aggressive but he did say he was one of the most reactive and intelligent dogs he had dealt with.

People usually feel horrible when these attacks happen but I do get "it must be something about your dog" a lot. They don't say much when I tell them that he was on a leash, on a road and under my control when their dog attacked him. I walk in a few different neighborhoods with friends and if I was to call the dog warden on each attack, I would be an extremely hated women! In my own neighborhood, 2 owners were injured trying to get their dogs off of Tucker and since then, I don't see the dogs running free anymore.

Unfortunately, we cannot take Tucker to dog parks, friends houses with other dogs, public rail trails etc. He is such a fun dog and when he does get along with another dog, they have so much fun. Guess this is just something we are going to have to live with.

4 year old Ziva not the trouble maker
by: Rich

our 4 year old Ziva, has been the recipient of multiple attacks, on and off the leash, She is very sweet and loves people. I do believe the dogs are at times protecting their owners when she approaches and other times she will intently stare as she does with us for attention. She is very calm and rarely expresses calming signals Which could provoke more aggressive dogs.
I think Aussies are different and dogs sense the aussies control and intelligence which may challenge the social order dogs have. Three times in the last 2 weeks I have confronted owners, I feel inclined to carry two kinds of spray---one for dogs and one for their so called owners. If any one has any legal ways to avert these situations please share

attacked
by: jcrply

I carry pepper spray too. The best spray is "bear mace" which is supposed to stop a charging grizzly bear, but those cans are too big to carry in a pocket. So for carrying in my pocket, I order online the Fox Labs Defense Spray which is 5.3 million Scoville heat units pepper spray. (I once used one of those little keychain type containers of pepper spray on a big, charging one-eyed dog and it didn't even slow him down. The one I carry now is MUCH more intense - HOTTER.) Just try to stay downwind if you spray it :-)

Pepper Spray
by: Rich

Recently I began carrying "Halt" and am hoping I will not have to use it. Though I own much stronger sprays I am afraid to use them on dogs. It has been said they will blind canines.

An article I found on research about tail length
by: jcrply

Long Tails Versus Short Tails and Canine Communication

so sorry to hear this
by: Anonymous

i understand and agree that you don't want to be hated in your neighborhood by calling the control on everyone, but if you can get them to put up a sign in the neighborhood stating the law: dogs must be leashed, or fined, this may help. hopefuly. i carry with a whistle, it causes the dogs to stop... otherwise i guess your pepper spray is an idea, though i'd be afraid to get it on your dog, and then the neighbors will be really mad for spraying their dogs. some people carry a walking stick, not to hit the dog with, but to push them away, sort of threathen them with it, especially if they are off leash and alone.

Aussie Experience with Other Dogs
by: Jeanne

I recently got a mini-Aussie pup from a rescue, and we have experienced the same issue at the dog park. There often seems to be one dog who takes exception to her right from the outset and often another dog will follow suit in ganging up on her. I've observed her behavior when she meets dogs very carefully and she's totally submissive when greeting other dogs since she's a pup, and I don't see any staring.

I've heard a couple of possible explanations from people, including some dogs don't like puppies, and some dogs don't like Aussies. On almost all of these occasions the offenders were with a group of dogs all getting along together, so I don't see them as bad or aggressive dogs, and my Aussie is certainly not. She's well socialized and loves other dogs and has normal puppy behavior.

She also has a full-length, undocked tail, so I don't accept that as the reason for the aggression.

We met a black lab tonight who exhibited totally appropriate behavior toward my dog, but the owner told me her dog had been part of other dogs ganging up on an Aussie at a dog park. She said normally her dog is not aggressive and that was not typical behavior for him, and she was very embarrassed about it.

There may certainly be a canine reason out there, though I don't think it's that the other dogs are "bad" (that said, unless in a dog park, dogs should always be on leash or otherwise under control by their people), but I will definitely be gauging other dogs reactions to my pup before letting her off-leash, because I don't want her to be injured.

Twice for me now
by: Pam S

This has happened to me twice now, both times Pit mixes, once the dog broke through the fence in his yard as we passed by. We were already to the next house and he charged my dog, Drew. Luckily, he didn't bite and one of the owners came out and got him. Said he had never seen him do that before. Last night, we were walking in the little park in our town, which we frequently do, and a pit mix broke away from his owners (he WAS on a leash) and charged Drew. At first the other dog just kind of taunted him, and his owner was running to get him as they were quite a ways away when he charged, but when the owner got close, he attacked. I've never experienced anything like it except videos I've seen about dog fight training. I'm home with Drew today after he had to be stitched up with 4 large puncture wounds on his shoulder blades/upper back that needed drains because they were through all layers of tissue. We had a short haired Border/Aussie mix before Drew, never had this happen. I've done a little reading on how they breed and train pits and other dogs for fighting, and they use Aussies and Collies as training - yep, they steal them and put them in the ring with them to train them for fights. I read up on this because we had issues with dogs being stolen from people's yards or fields, as I live in Iowa where there are a lot of Aussies and Collies on farms. Some of the articles I've read thinks it's now inbred in them to attack this type of dog. I also usually carry pepper spray but of course, was in a hurry last night and forgot it. For a while, I didn't think the other dog would let go. We already can't let our dog be in our yard without supervision because we are afraid someone will steal him and God knows I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew someone had stolen him for dog fight training. Now it's hard to think about going for walks where there might be other people with dogs. This dog is the most submissive dogs we've EVER had. It's really a sad situation.

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