Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Young Puppy Will Not Stop Leading Another Puppy By The Neck

by Kevin
(Mountains NC, USA)

This is a new on on me. We have had Aussies since 1981. This is a long read but all information is below.

At this time we have 3 Aussies (full size) one is 12 years old named Willie Lee. We wanted to get another puppy while Willie was still around to show him the ropes. Enters Augustus Odell at 19 weeks old. Life is going good and working out OK for 2+ months until last week. We received a call from one of breeders we had talked to to say a couple needed to find a home for their female puppy that is 4 days older than "Gus". We took in the puppy and named her Beckie Lou. At this time "Gus is leading "Beckie" around by the scruff of her neck. Beckie is much smaller than Gus and he has a good 8-10 Lbs on her. I noticed our older dog did this with Gus in playing but never caused pain and was doing it in play. Gus will charge over to Beckie just to do it. Augustus and Beckie are from two separate breeders. I have at this time put a mesh muzzle on Gus when they go outside to take care of business. Last night it happened once during inside play time. We live in a forest environment which allows them to have free run.

This is not what I feel is a boredom issue as they exercise hard 1.5 hours a day. Swim 20 minutes every other day, and have over 30 toys to play with. We spend another 30 minutes a night throwing toys and playing inside. All this time working on behavior. At the dog park this does not happen only when we are at home. Beckie is not avoiding Gus at this point and we want to keep it that way.

My question is three part:

May I assume this is learned behavior from our older dog?

Second how can I stop this behavior short of a muzzle as his puppy teeth are still very sharp?

Let them work out by letting her let him know enough is enough?

We seek useful advice to solve this issue short of pulling his teeth.

Comments for Young Puppy Will Not Stop Leading Another Puppy By The Neck

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Same thing ours does :)
by: Kristila76

Our Aussie does this to one of our Jack Russell's. We've never tried stopping him thinking it was just part of his herding instincts coming out. It does always seem to just be a playful thing. He will actually try to pull her off the couch. He will also spin her around in circles. She doesn't seem to mind at all and when she does she let's him know and he stops. Hopefully they will learn from each other what is acceptable since they are both puppies especially.

Need more input
by: Kevin

Thank you for your comment normally I would not worry about this. However with his sharp teeth he is causing her pain. If anyone else has an idea of how to stop this please feel free to advise us.

thank you,

kevin

Same thing ours does :)
by: Kristi

I understand. It's different if he's actually hurting her. Does she do anything to let him know it hurts? Sounds like you have an ideal living situation for them with lots to do. Maybe he just needs some sort of outlet to use his herding abilities? I hate to think of him hurting her but also hate to think of him not being able to do what he was bred to do. I think some are just more driven than others. My first Aussie never really showed much of his herding side but he was the only dog. Our guy now is 100% what you read in books about them. We already had the two Jack Russell's when he came to us so he's been able to "herd" them since he was a puppy. Aussies are GREAT. So smart and a TON of energy. My guy now just turned 5 in April. People always see my Jack Russell's and think how do we handle 2 of them but my Aussie has double their energy and they're only 6 mos older. Sorry I'm no help :( Good luck. I'm sure they will work it out.

Herding
by: Leslie Stewart

My first Aussie used to use that technique in herding our goats. When a goat would break from the pack , I'd tell Jude to "go get that goat". He would herd the goat to the gate and then lead it in by the neck. It was a regular part of his herding ritual.

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