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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Abused Mini Aussie

by Ja
(Gun Barrel City, Texas)

I got my little Misty two weeks ago from a dog trainer. She is a purebred. I have never seen a dog this afraid. She is starting to come around a little and is very attached to me. However, I still can not get her to come out of her cage without literally reaching in and pulling her out.

Once she's out she's ok. Very skittish though. My brother lives with me and it's obvious she is terrified of him. He has tried to talk in a low soft voice and she cowers and runs from him. I believe she has been abused by a man.

The dog trainer, who happens to be my sister-in-law, said it's just their nature which I do not believe is the reason.

She has made her a cage dog, which I do not like, and has 3 different leashes for her. One for in the cage, one for outside and one for walking. HELP!

Comments for Abused Mini Aussie

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by: Holly

I have a Border Collie rescue and I've had her for 5 years now. She was abused by a man.

She is finally going near my husband. It takes time. My husband has been able to feed her lately.

I have 6 Aussies. It's not the breed. It's past abuse. Don't force her. Let her come to you. It's frustrating but once they are abused it takes a lot for them to trust.

Animal abuse
by: Anonymous

I think you need to keep your sister in law away from her! She evidently abused or beat your poor baby!

Wary breed
by: Liza

We have a full-bred Aussie who is nine. We got her at 8 weeks of age and I promise you she has NEVER been abused. She is very wary and skittish. She loves my husband but doesn't warm up well to any other people, so I do tend to agree with your sister that some Aussies are just naturally like that. I'm not saying yours wasn't abused, but it is possible that some of those traits are natural for that breed! Having said that, Aussies are also VERY smart and loving and can overcome those negative traits with lots of patience and understanding. Good luck!

Treats and Tricks
by: Anonymous

Aussies are working dogs.

Give her a job. In the beginning, it can be a little job. Just fetching or doing a trick. Make sure you have delicious treats for her and give her immediate praise when she completes a task.

Aussies are not naturally skittish, but they are extremely bright and get bored easily. So the other tip is to make sure she gets loads of quality exercise. Ideally, you would have her on an obstacle course or doing some kind of "shepherd work" so she can exercise her mind and body at the same time. If she gets too bored, her anxiety will increase.

The kennel should not be a place for punishment, ever. Keep her door open and make sure it's her safe place.

Have your male relatives give her treats from a low position, such as kneeling or sitting near her. They can help with rewarding her, or they can just build trust by sitting nearby with a good snack. No loud or aggressive movements, no towering over her. Just sitting near her and inviting her for a treat. She will learn that they are not a threat after awhile.

As an aussie owner I can tell you that the work/exercise piece is going to be the biggest piece for you. If you are gone for more than 8 hours a day, you might consider rehoming the pup and opting for a less active breed.

Good luck and sorry for your puppos history.

My Rocket
by: Peggy

I have been told that as a breed they are shy. I have one that was 3 years old before he came home with us. He was a mini that had never been out of his pen and yard. He saw no one but the breeder (a woman). He was not sellable (even though his parents were both minis he was a full size). Talk about overload. He is now 13 and behaves normally most of the time. Yet, his favorite place is behind a chair, he still will cower if you move too fast and although he loves my husband he is more fearful if he does it. Yet, he is as sweet as can be. Don't give up on your little one.

by: Anonymous

I've had three Aussies; 2 females and a male, the male I got when he was 3 years old, and none of them were afraid of anything. I was able to crate train, potty train, socialize, and good citizen train each of them. They are naturally good natured, cautious with strangers but curious, and energetic but not hyper. Super smart. I've never had to yell at mine. They understand what you want.
It's going to take a lot of patience on your end to help her. If your sister in law had her first, try to get a pedigree from her so you can see if she comes from a sound background. I'd also enlist the help of a really good trainer who has dealt with abused dogs.

A forever home?
by: Anonymous

I’ll take her. I have one mini and a pet care business. I’d love to love her up forever. No men in my home either.

by: Anonymous

It’ll take time depending on how old she is. Maybe try locking her out of her cage for brief periods, then try to extend that time. She’ll come around.

Same EXACT Dog
by: Dan

Hi from Ohio! We adopted a 6-month old purebred mini Aussie about a year and a half ago. She looked exactly like the one pictured in the article. She was terrified of us at first, but after some time she warmed up enough to me that I was able to get her in the cage to take home. She had clearly been abuse, and that was why I couldn't her behind. It took months for her to become comfortable in the house, and even longer for her to get house broken. But, I will say that now, after all this time I wouldn't change a thing. She is still skittish around new people and strangers, she barks and stay on high alert when she's in the back yard, and she barely lets familiar faces pet her. However, she's adorable and very loyal to the family. She loves us, and out two young kids. She's very affectionate, probably a byproduct of early abuse, like she is trying to love and lick her way into your good graces. But, she is very smart, has learned tricks, and walks on a leash really well. She sleeps in a dog bed in our room at night, and alerts us when she need to go out to potty. I think what helped her the most was our other mini Aussie who we already had, but was the same age as he when she arrived. They've been together since they were both 6 months old. They are attached at the hip, and she follows him everywhere. Also, we have a couple cats, and I think seeing the cats has helped her to open up and feel comfortable as well. Between the other pets and our kids, she had no choice but to come out of her shell and start living. If you don't have another pet, I would suggest getting her a companion of some sort.

abused Aussie
by: Nancy B

I have fostered over 100 Aussies, standard size and mini. There might be some inherent shyness in the mini depending on what breeds were used to create them. But Aussies as a breed are NOT shy or afraid. They are brave, resourceful and confident unless circumstances have made them otherwise. Your dog's fear comes from her experiences, not her genes. You can do a lot to raise her confidence by teaching her helpful words, like "sit" or "come" using only positive methods. Don't baby her or give her the idea that there is anything to fear, just teach her what the words mean and then ask her to do the behavior. Give her time to process the request and reward her when she gives you the behavior. If she doesn't, show her what you wanted her to do. Use these exercises often during the day without any fanfare. Good luck. It will take time.

Abused Mini Aussie
by: Anonymous

I have 7 Mini Aussies, and have raised many others. I’m not saying your girl wasn’t abused, because she might have been, but there absolutely are some shy Mini Aussies. I see it more in my females than males. I have one male who is very shy, but most of the time my females will be very uncertain of new people until they get to know them, but they do not cower down to other dogs. None of my dogs have ever been abused. However, my daughter has a female Mini that I think was physically punished by my other daughter’s husband when they all lived in the same house. I think he popped her when she peed or pooped in the house and maybe rubbed her nose in it, even though I had told him never to do this, because these dogs are brilliant, very sensitive, and they never forget. That female wants nothing to do with him to this day, but she will go right to my husband and me. We raised her as a newborn pup, so maybe she remembers us, but she doesn’t make friends with strange dogs or people, and she is very protective of my daughter when they go for daily walks. Once she gets to know another dog or person, she will play with play with them, but in just passing, she doesn’t want to be nice at all. So, in conclusion, I would say that if they repeatedly hit the dog while in training, then yes you are going to have to earn her trust. Leave her crate door open in the day when you’re with her. It is her safe place to go when she’s afraid, but try to get her to come out to play, get petted, eat, etc., and when she does, love on her and reward her a lot. You’re going to have to earn her trust, because she has been taken away from everything she’s ever known, and now just the new home may frighten her. Spend time, spend time, and spend more time with her, and exercise her daily. In time, she will learn that you are good and mean her no harm, and she will open up to loving and trusting you. God Bless!

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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