Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com Newsletter #003
Greetings Fellow Australian Shepherd Lovers,
We've been working hard on the site and have added more new information and features for Australian Shepherd Lovers.
Keep Your Aussie Safe this Winter!
During the Winter and Holiday Season Please Keep these Dog Safety Tips in Mind
As the mercury starts to drop and the holiday season is just around the corner we put together some safety reminders to help keep your Aussie safe. There are many hazards unique to the winter and holiday season that we need to keep in mind. Please take a moment and have a look at this information especially if you have just gotten a puppy and are a new dog owner.
>>> Dog Safety: Wintertime Reminders
Don't Forget About Our Daily Cartoon
We've added a great Cartoon of the Day featuring the work of a very talented cartoonist, Mark Anderson. You can find the animal themed "Andertoons" on our home page. Just click on the smaller preview image to see the larger version of the cartoon. Bookmark this page and start every day with a chuckle.
>>> Daily Cartoon
Questions from Readers
After our last newsletter I received an email from one of our readers with a great question about curbing the Aussie herding instinct that results in their nipping at your legs.
"We have a 8 1/2 week old Aussie and things are going great. She is pretty much housetrained, can sit, down, give a paw and we are working on staying. She is also doing really well on the leash. The problem we are having is with the herding and nipping. She will even nip my pant leg when I'm walking from the living room to the kitchen. She also won't leave the children's legs alone. Any advise on how to curb this instinct behaviour before it's to late? Any advise would be greatly appreciated."
Thanks for your email and congratulations on the new addition to your family.
Yes, herding breeds like Australian Shepherds are notorious for nipping at the legs. My dog Levi was no exception.
Puppies learn to control their biting or to develop "bite inhibition" when they are still with their mother and littermates. If they are taken from the mother much sooner than 8 weeks they may not have had the opportunity to learn self control when it comes to biting. In this case it will be up to you.
Puppies learn from their mothers very quickly what is and what is not an acceptable level of biting. If a puppy bites hard enough to hurt the mother she will usually yelp loudly which often shocks the puppy. The puppy often pauses for a moment and will then try to bite again. The mother will either yelp again or escalate her response by growling and pinning the puppy in a submissive position. Puppies that still don't get the message might get shaken by the scruff of the neck and then left alone. The message being that if you can't play nice I'm not going to play with you at all.
We need to communicate to puppies in a similar fashion. They don't understand our language so we need to let them know in terms they understand from the point of view of a dog.
As far as your puppy is concerned she is in a dog pack. You have to be the leader of that pack or the alpha dog.
So you can try the mother dog approach. Some suggest firmly gripping the muzzle and holding them down until they stop struggling or give her a firm shake by the scruff of the neck. Not too hard though, you don't want to hurt her you just want to get her attention the way her mother would. Once she has stopped struggling and is submissive (her ears and tail may go down) you can release her. Use firm low tones and really let her know you are not happy. Her mother might growl and bare teeth.
You are not trying to hurt her. Don't use the force to inflict pain, that's not what you are trying to accomplish. You are trying to communicate in the same way that her mother or littermates would.
The other approach is to yelp. Do it loud enough to shock her. Use a higher pitch and try to be convincing. If she does not stop then refuse to play with her. Put her on the other side of a barricade like a baby gate as punishment. Social isolation is very frustrating for a puppy. This is what her mother and littermates would use.
With either technique once you have done them don't hold a grudge. 3 seconds after it has happened your puppy will consider the matter settled. Go back to playing nice if she is well behaved and has stopped biting.
After 5 minutes let her back in. When using the yelping method don't forget to yelp even if she only bites your clothing. She needs to learn that biting anywhere on you or your children is not acceptable.
Aussies have strong herding instincts and tend to nip especially when they are chasing prey. In addition to the methods above to teach that biting is not acceptable you should also let your children know that they should not encourage the dog to chase them. Playing aggressive games where she uses her teeth such as tug-of-war might not be a good idea. It can be confusing for a puppy to know where to draw the line.
This kind of biting is not done out of viciousness. To the dog it is just play. If you train her starting now that biting is not something that you approve of she will probably learn fairly quickly. You have to be consistent. Aussies are very smart and will push the limits and test you daily for what is acceptable.
Aussies are strong willed and you must be the alpha dog. There are many ways to assert your authority over the pack. Food is the primary means. Have her sit before you give her her food. Hand feed her treats often. Place treats in her bowl when she is eating. Move food around in her bowl when she is eating. Then, cautiously, remove her food when she is still eating. The alpha dog controls the food and the treats. Period.
The same goes for things like going through doorways. Alpha dogs go first. Don't let her push her way ahead of you when going through doorways. Same as pulling on the leash.
She needs to recognize you as the alpha so that she doesn't feel the need to assert her authority. If dogs are unsure about their position in the pack hierarchy they will become stressed and will attempt to settle the matter by challenging your authority. This could lead to aggressive behavior. But if you are recognized by her as the absolute leader then you shouldn't have this problem and she will be a happier dog as well.
That way she will look to you for guidance when, for example, strangers come to your house. She will defer to your authority and will not decide on her own that your guests need to leave or that the postman needs to be bitten.
Also be sure to have plenty of toys and things that she is allowed to chew on. Puppies need to chew and can spend hours amused with a toy. That way she will hopefully feel less of a need to chew on you. :-)
We'll be adding this info to the website soon. If you have any stories about your Aussie and biting and how you got them to stop please email us and tell us about it.
Send your stories, comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (Don't forget to send us pics of your Aussie so we can add them to the site!)
Got Any Great Pics of Your Aussie? Jigsaw Puzzles Made from Your Photos
Turn your favorite photo into a Jigsaw Puzzle for a unique and fun gift. Many sizes to choose from including large 1000+ piece puzzles. Uploading your photo and ordering online is easy.
In our last newsletter we told you about Jigsaw2order Personalized Puzzles. In case you missed it, Jigsaw2order lets you send in photos of your Aussie (or kids/grandchildren, or vacation snapshots, or whatever) and they will create a personalized jigsaw puzzle for you. Their jigsaw puzzles are not pre-built or pre-packed but "Made to Order". Their unique approach is to let you have complete control over specifying what type of Jigsaw Picture Puzzle you would like.
They make it easy for you to send them your photo, making the process of ordering your own custom Photo Puzzle a simple one. This is a great gift idea. Order early to avoid the holiday rush...
>>> Jigsaw2order Personalized Puzzles
If you have any really great photos that are in focus with good resolution email them to us and I may add them to the website. If they are a good fit I may even add them to our online jigsaw puzzles.
You can check those out here: >>> Free Online Australian Shepherd Jigsaw Puzzles
Until Next Time...
Have a look at our website for other gift ideas including 2008 Australian Shepherd Calendars, the iClick designed by the clicker trainers at Karen Pryor Clicker Training or the classic Australian Shepherd Pin cast from pewter. I like these pins not only because they look good but they also feature two push-on clasps to prevent rotation. Purchasing these or other items through the links on our site helps keep our website going and we appreciate your support.
Check back with us often as we are always adding more great information. Please let us know if there is something you would like to see on Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com.
We love to hear from fellow Australian Shepherd Lovers like you. Send us your ideas, your feedback and photos of your Aussie so we can include them on the site.
All the Best and Woof!
Scott and Levi
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Australian Shepherd Lovers Blog and RSS/XML Feed
We've added a site blog to let you know about new additions and updates to our site. Of course this newsletter is a great way to stay informed but now you don't have to wait for our next edition to come out. You can check our blog page anytime: We didn't stop there. We also added an RSS/XML feed of our site blog. Now you can easily subscribe to our feed and get our updates delivered to your RSS reader, My Yahoo!, My MSN or your Google Personalized Home Page.
>>> Australian Shepherd Lovers Blog and RSS/XML Feed
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>>> Link to Us
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