Australian Shepherd Got Aggressive As Person Was Leaving

A friend of ours visited while I was playing with our Australian Shepherd in the back yard. She is a dog person. She had never seen our Aussie. Our Aussie checked her out when she came to the yard but was not aggressive towards her. I continued to play with the dog while my wife and I visited with our friend.

After about 5 minutes, our friend was leaving our yard. Almost as soon as she turned her back to our dog, he dropped his ball and raced approximately 30 feet from his location and leaps into the air to about her shoulder height and snapped at her. She got a scratch from his paw on her arm, but if he did actually bite her, it did not show.

Our friend just held still until I could grab his collar. After this initial lunge he did not attempt to snap at her again. I am mortified by this. He has been around people in our house and yard before, some he never does accept (keeps his distance), others he accepts over time, but has never done something like this.

Has anyone experienced this before?

Comments for Australian Shepherd Got Aggressive As Person Was Leaving

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by: Neil Coy

This may well be part of the Aussies herding instinct. Since they do not have a herd to call their own, they seem to adopt people into their 'herd' and do not want any of their herd to leave. I've noticed this with all three of the Aussies that I have had. They want to keep their herd together. I've never had one go this far but have become very agitated at anyone leaving even after a short stay.

by: Steve

Thank you Neil for your input related to my Aussie. I am going to try putting a leash on him just before people leave to see what kind of reaction he has to them to see if this is a new trend.

My Aussie is aggressive when people leave also - help!
by: Anonymous

My female Aussie started doing that to my daughter when she comes home from college. She started doing it when my daughter would try to leave, but now she does it to my daughter whenever she (the dog) doesn't get what she wants or if my daughter interacts with my husband, my son, or myself. She actually tried to bite her the one time; thankfully my daughter had on a sweatshirt, so it didn't fully break the skin. Now we keep her on a leash or in her crate when my daughter is home. She goes to college locally, so she comes by for dinner at least once/twice a week on her way to work. My other daughter is in college out of state and the dog will nip/go after her if she tries to horse around with any of us. Now worried she'll do it to others leaving my house. Not sure how to handle this; we've reached out to the breeder with no response. Any help/ideas would be appreciated - I really don't want to get rid of the dog-we love her, but won't jeopardize my girls' safety!

ours does this too
by: Rochelle

Hi- ours does this too (2 YO female), both indoors and out. I had her in the backyard and the neighborhood kids came over to throw the frisbee with her awhile back. One went to leave and she took off after her, barking and circling, but no jumping up thankfully. From then on, I ask people to let me know that they are leaving and I grab a hold of her harness or put the lead back on her. Even though I am holding her I still work on the Leave It command with rewards in these situations, but always while she is in my grasp. She's an obedient girl and I can see in her face that she wants to listen to me but her instinct is telling her otherwise. Hope this helps.

by: Anonymous

We adopted an Aussie and he would do this occasionally. Unfortunately we live in a city so this "herding instinct" does not work well. We tried the leave it command with positive reinforcement to no avail. I order a training collar and wow! Before resorting to giving your dog away I would look into these. Now before people jump on me let me explain. Yes I live in the city and I understand these dogs need a lot of exercise. I am a very experienced dog owner and I knew what I was getting into with this dog. Unfortunately a person before me did not and ended up returning my poor baby back to the shelter so I took him in. We live by the lake and he gets to play on the beach all the time, we run with him and take him for multiple walks, he is allowed to run and play in the apartment and we even train him in agility so he is very entertained. However, it would not be entertaining for him to bite someone and us have to put him down. So we looked into the collars. The collar we use is tone and vibration. Our pup would try to run after rabbits and motorcycles. When he would get in this mood he would have complete tunnel vision and not hear a thing we say. After getting the collar, I would give him the command to leave it (so he has an opportunity to listen and reply to the command) if he failed I would sound the tone, this usually broke his fixation and I would immediatly restate the command and when he came to me I would give him a treat. I use the vibration when he goes to run after someone that is leaving. It doesnt hurt him but he does not like it. We have noticed so much improvement and he actually enjoys his walks more because we can let him be on a longer leash and he gets to go more places. I would definitely suggest looking into one before getting rid of your dog.

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