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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

11 Week Old Very Rambunctious Aussie

by Felicia K
(Kansas City)

We got our male red tri mini Aussie at 8 weeks. Initially he was very well behaved. Now that he's come out of this shell I'm getting a little worried. He's 11 weeks old now and anytime I tell him no he barks at me and yesterday even nipped me while I was getting onto him. He hates being told no and has an attitude when I won't let him do what he wants.

We have been working on him nipping heels with my two daughters and last week he nipped my 5 year daughter so hard she had bruises on her leg. Sometimes he just gets too rough with them and I'm not sure how to go about correcting. I feel like if I don't get control soon I won't ever. He's kind of being a bully honestly. Everyday we go for at least a 2 mile walk and he plays outside with the kids and kitten we have for the majority of the day so I can't believe it would be related to exercise.

I also spend about 30 mins a day doing basic training with him. He is very loved and we just want him to be the best dog he can be. But I'm at a loss of how to continue.


Comments for 11 Week Old Very Rambunctious Aussie

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by: Tom

He is a spoiled child and you have to treat him as such, be stern and firm with your commands and don't give in to his cute face or those loving eyes otherwise he will sense your weakness and use it against you. He will come around to your way of thinking when he doesn't get his way. It takes time and 11 weeks isn't long enough.

by: jcrply

It's hard to tell from just a description, but what I imagine is you yelling (barking) "NO!" and the pup barking back. It's possible he thinks it's a game and he really likes it... the rougher the better. He's still very young and very impressionable. I'm not a trainer and hopefully some who are will respond to your question. With my own dogs I've found that taking away what they like about their unacceptable behavior works best. If he's playing too rough, he gets separated from his playmates (sort of a "time out"). Yelling doesn't do much. Puppy classes are good.

Aussie will take the lead if the owner is deemed incompitent.
by: Aussie Mom

Sounds like you are not prepared to own this breed and you may want to return to the breeder. When someone uses the word bully about a dog it tells me they know nothing about dogs and herding breeds are not for beginners.

Rambunctious puppy
by: Anonymous

I have a 5 1/2 month old Aussie. She has done the same things your are mentioning. One thing that helped was sleep! Think of the puppy as an over tired, cranky toddler. Don't over exercise thinking that an exhausted puppy is a good puppy. They need lots of sleep and downtime. If they won't settle down, have regular crate time for naps and quiet time.

Notice when the nippy, over the top behavior is happening. Is it during a long walk, is it after running in the yard, high excitement times. I know our puppy gets nippy and crabby when she is tired and hungry. If you are not already in a puppy class, enroll in one and get started with the training. Keep puppy and kids separated unless you are physically present and able to keep everyone safe. Puppies are very much like toddlers and have tantrums and melt downs, notice patterns and you can prevent them. Good luck!

Herding Aussie
by: Jen

My 1st question to is "Did you do your research before bringing this breed home ? Or brought home on a whim? This is a herding breed and sounds like the natural instinct for the job in which it's bred is there. Think about it... kids being kids screaming and running around looks like a herd of sheep/cows running a muck. Herding dogs nip heels to help gain ground. You need to take a real hard look at what it will take for this pup and your family to be happy and how much are you willing to put in. Rules should be made and followed so make the info for kids and dog clear(black and white). Ex. Dog is either allowed on bed or not. If it's o.k. sometimes and not always that can cause confusion. If you decide to keep the pup maybe start looking into some Aussie events to see how great these guys are when you can work together. You can probably get some general advice on ways to work w/ him. If you are looking only to have as a family pet check out some of the things that people do sports wise that you can do in your own backyard too. Treiball is a pretty new sport that is practically herding balls into a goal area. These are great dogs when people take the time to learn and work with them. Hope that this gives you a place to start thinking about what you really want in a dog.

Time out
by: Anonymous

I agree with the time out. I cleaned out a small closet in my house, and when my aussie started to nip - or do anything unacceptable - I put him directly in the closet for 10 minutes. I did not let him out until he was quiet. After the 3rd time in the closet for the same infraction, he stopped doing it.

Not a beginner
by: Felicia K

I am actually not new to herding breeds I owned a sheltie who I raised from birth and rescued an Australian shepherd. I have had herding dogs all my life. I have never had one that has been this intense. Yes I know what they require. I would never bring a dog home on a whim. I know what it takes to raise a puppy. I'm simply asking for specific advice on things I've never had to correct so intensely.

He is kennel trained already, and he does sleep with us sometimes. I have noticed the pattern that he gets in his very excited overly aggressive moods with the kids when they play in the yard. I don't just yell at him and say no. I talk to him and get his attention. I will make him sit and wait until he is calm. But it only lasts a few minutes and he is off again.

11 week old puppy
by: Anonymous

Nipping is completely normal & expected from an 11 week old puppy (especially a herding breed). Enrolling in a puppy school is a great idea. Try to have toys handy when you're with her & if she nips then replace your hand with the toy. This worked well with my Aussie puppy. You can also try a stop chew product on your hands, however I'd try the toy trick 1st. I wouldn't exercise her anymore than what you are now as she's a baby.
All that you're experiencing is normal puppy behaviour. Attending training after puppy school sooner rather than later will also help you set boundaries. My Aussie LOVES training and it's a great way to understand your dog better & strengthen your bond. They are a fantastic breed and worth persisting with. Good luck!

I've been there
by: Anonymous

Mine was the same but with consistent correction, positive reinforcement and plenty of exercise he grew out of all of his bad habits I now have a very well behaved, gentle and well rounded 2 year old dog be patient and persistent and you will reap the rewards.

Consider a Trainer
by: Kmickeyd

My suggestion is to look for a dog trainer who is experienced in behavior training. Now is the time to do it... when the dog is still young. Yes, some of these behaviors are normal for a "teenage" Aussie puppy but chasing and nipping at the kids needs to be addressed by a qualified trainer. This behavior won't go away and is ingrained in the breed. As the puppy grows older, bigger and gets his adult teeth, the nipping gets more dangerous. Having a professional involved will give you tools to make a change and provide confidence and relief. Good luck with your pup!

My two cents...
by: Anonymous

I have a very energetic Aussie. Found that a combination of things worked. First of all, he needs to know you are the alpha and the pack leader. When she got into a tantrum out of control, I used to grab my pup by the neck and hold her to the ground until she calmed down. Just like dog moms do to correct their puppies. Another thing that works is a water squirt bottle, not a spray, but real water jet on the face right at the moment they are misbehaving. That gets their attention. They use that to stop fights or bad behavior on some dog day care places. What worked best though was positive reinforcement. Praise and treat the dog as soon as he stops the unwanted behavior. When he is having a bad behavior, get him to do anything you command him to do like sit, wait, shake, whatever so he feels you are in charge and then you change the misbehaving moment to a good behaving moment with positive reinforcement. For my Aussie, positive reinforcement works better than punishment. Above all, keep calm at all times, they feed on your energy! Hope this helps!

more sleep
by: Anonymous

We have an 11-week-old Aussie puppy. I would suggest more sleep. A 2 mile hike a day for that age seems like a lot unless it is coupled with lots of rest. Sounds like the pup is then being put with the kids in the backyard and thats a recipe for nipping and overexcited/stimulated pup.

Try mental exercises to tire him out instead. Play hide and seek with food, hide treats in the backyard and have them use their nose to find it.

Getting the nose of the pup to lead will actually tire them out and calm them down.

Good luck!

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