Find What You Are Looking For Here
FYI: If you make a purchase via a link on this site, I may receive a commission from various affiliate programs, and as an Amazon Associate and Chewy affiliate I also earn commissions from qualifying purchases—at NO extra cost to you. See the Disclosure page for more information. Thank you!
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Adopted Aussie Help

by Sara



My boyfriend and I just adopted a unspayed 3 year old female blue merle Aussie. She was un-socialized and under exercised - spending 12 - 18 hours a day in a finished basement. We have had her for three weeks now. She is very smart, loving and easy to train - we taught her sit, down, roll over, shake and crawl in one week. We take her for trail runs 2 - 3 times a week, play frisbee and fetch. We also take her to the dog park and around the neighborhood to run and socialize with other dogs and owners.

We have had behavior issues with her barking / lunging at strangers who approach the house or car we are in, including his brother who lives in the house. She also goes crazy anytime she thinks she hears something - like a creak in the house. No nipping or biting, at least not yet. And no issues when we are out in public. We have tried getting her attention / distraction with treats (beggin strip pieces are her jackpot) and then walking her to the brother or neighbor and have them give her treats.

Yesterday she was barking and I thought I would ignore her until she calmed down and then use a "quiet" command. Something outside was bothering her, so I opened the door to show her nothing was there. She bolted out the door and into the neighbor's yard to bark aggressively at them. I immediately tried 5 minutes "time out" in the garage and had to do it 3 more times. She knew by the last time she was going to time out and stopped. But later that night she barked at the brother again. She can be cool with him one minute, but if he moves in the other room or tries to go upstairs, she will try to bolt and bark at him. I now keep her on a lead when we are downstairs in the "living areas" of the house so I can control her when she starts to get anxious and prevent her from starting to bark. I try to walk her to the area of the house where the movement or noise came from to show her in a controlled manner that everything is "ok". Her crate is upstairs in the bedroom and she is perfectly quiet and calm when in the bedroom or the crate.

I don't know if we are doing the right thing, and it has brought me to tears. I want this to work so bad and am willing to do anything we need to. Today I am going to try the squirt bottle with water / vinegar in it anytime she is aggressive. Any other ideas or suggestions? I bought an electric bark collar but really don't want to use it. She is really a timid / scared animal but I don't know if it is fear aggression or guarding we are dealing with. And it doesn't help that she is now in heat. I have even started to give her a homeopathic supplement for dogs in her water that is meant to help calm her down and ease her anxiety to reduce barking. I have been trying to give her as much exercise as possible so she is more calm.

Comments for Adopted Aussie Help

Click here to add your own comments

Adopted Aussie Help
by: Nonnie

Take her to a training class, one on one if you can. Our PetSmart has private, one on one classes. Our Aussie developed fear aggression. This class helped a great deal.

Good luck!

PS our mini Aussie, Bailee, is also a Blue Merle.. She has beautiful blue eyes! Does Loka have blue eyes?

Aussie Help
by: Rhonda "Round em up Aussies"

Sounds like you love her much. You have done all the things I can think of and more. Be patient and consistent. Maybe someone else will know of something. Good luck she is a beauty.

by: Richard Bryant

Our Ozzy also has fear aggression, He's 2 1/2 now and very well socialized. He has a brother and sister as well. We don't know why he is different as we got him @ 8 weeks from the breeder that his brother and sister came from. I don't have an answer for you but Ozzy has calmed down a bit but will let out the deep bark anytime someone new is around.
Keep doing what you're doing and if you do the petsmart thing let us know your thoughts.
You have a great looking aussie.
Have you thought about having her spayed? All three of our were fixed as soon as possible. If made a difference with Zoey, though her personality so different.

Aussie help
by: David

our dog Kenya we adopted at 8 months and had social issues. thru much reading and classes with her teaching her verbal as well as hand commands, i was able to determine that she was the alpha female in her litter and was not socialized either. however if you would read the book called "how to be your dogs best friend
" by the monks of new skeet and in particular the disipline section this would help alot. this type of correction is not harmful or inhumane. it is simply the best i believe for your situation. And I happen to know this works as our dog has calmed down so much. read in particulr the shake and drop followed by giving the dog commands. Wearing your loving dog out is not all physical. it is 50% physical and 50% mental. trust me my dog loves me unconditionally. and i love her so much. Kenya is a tri red aussie

takes time
by: Norma

Hi Sara, Loka is absolutely beautiful. We got a sweet male when he was about six months old. He had a lot of fear aggression too, and did things like you are experiencing. We have had him for a year and a half now, and he is much much better. It just took time for him to trust people and us and know that there is nothing to fear. We are having a blast with him. Enjoy Loka, it takes time and love.

Skip the squirt bottle!
by: Lisa

She's smart, remember? That tactic will not work on her over the long haul. You want her to want to do what you need her to do. No offense but the problem is not the dog its the handler. Get the brother to participate in the care of your Aussie. Have him feed and walk her so that she can bond with him. He needs to remain calm while doing so. She can pick up on your tension before you know you are tense. I really like the techniques used by Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer). He has a website and his shows are still on TV. You might want to take a look at them for guidance. I learn something every time I watch. Good luck!

Authority, confidence and Treats
by: Paco Guerilla

As a shepard, she is trying to protect you from any danger she can think of.
You are treating her right by loving her, and having her understanding it.
Nevertheless, you need to be the Boss (the shepard) and the dog at your service; so you must have authority, while keeping her confident on you as being the leader.
If she feels, you are in control, she will be calm, will obey, and stop barking for small reasons.
Our Aussie is barking when the postman delivers packages, but after a while, I told him "silence" (quite) with much authority, and he's barking less now he understood I'm happy when there is a delivery; so the postman now means "good news"...
Good luck, and continue loving her, with "an iron fist in a velvet glove".

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Australian Shepherd Q & A. icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Have Dog Training Questions?

Check out these introductory dog training videos...

I want my dog to stop being aggressive.

I want some help training my new puppy.

I want my dog to stop barking at everything.

I want my dog to walk nicely and calmly on the leash.

I want my dog to listen and come every time I call!