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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Australian Shepherd Is Charging, Nipping Hands And Shoes

by Alan Shenefield
(Torrance, CA, USA)

Skye 5 months

Skye 5 months

I just adopted a 5-month-old Aussie Shepherd. She lived in an apartment on the 4 floor and stayed in a cage until they go home, (a Mother and Daughter) and just played tug and a short walk to the bathroom.

Since they sold the dog to me they must have lived in fear somewhat. I've had her for 1 week. She has a habit of suddenly starting to growl, nip, pull my shirt, etc. I say stop and she runs circles around me. Sometimes I'm sitting, sometimes standing, or just play ball.

I read on here people try to give a toy to distract. I do that sometimes that helps. I ordered a shock collar if that is the only next step.

I had to kick her away, take my shoe and slap or a small stick to shoe her away. She usually just keep running circles around me till I get a hold of her and hold her down. Then its done and it's kissy kissy for a while.

She likes to be around me, happy to see me. Everything is play, especially around other dogs, hard to get her in stop time. Anyone have any suggestions?

My last Aussie was the alfa but was 2+ years old when I had her so play biting was not part of the rehab, but more of trust me to be the leader and you just be sweet.

Thanks, to anyone that can advise.

Comments for Australian Shepherd Is Charging, Nipping Hands And Shoes

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No,no, no!
by: Anonymous

You kick her and willing to shock her????
After what you said about her life before she came to you, why are you surprised????
Find her another home with someone who has lots of compassion & time for her.
There are some that should not own a dog... do that dog a great favor and surrender her to a more stable, understanding & loving home ASAP!

by: Anonymous

At 5 months this pup needs to exercise until it is tired. The running around you is burning off energy. Nipping is part of the breeds way to control and we struggle with that issue and ours are 4 and 5. Trading class and doggie day care help socialize and exercise dogs. A tired puppy is a happy puppy.

by: Alan Shenefield

After reading my post I realized I did not properly explain myself. When I said I had to kick my dog away, I did not mean really kick my dog, How long do you let a dog bite your leg. I put my knee up to protect myself. When I said use my shoe to slap my dog that pulled my shoe off, I did not mean beat my dog.
I was asking for help and said can any recommend anything besides getting a shock collar.

Maybe something like this is how you stop an attack. When I stand there and turn my back she nips my back and legs. If I continue to let her scar and tear my arms what good is that. I do calm her down but I'm dizzy going in circles by then. What did you offer, Nothing, just a cheap shot with no name. I'm done with this site. I spend the whole day with her, walking, playing feeding, Hugging, petting, singing to her, praising, introducing her to other dogs to play. I attempt to redirect with toys. She is fine then suddenly she decides it time to jump on me and start barking and backing up and move forward. She doesn't even do that with other dogs. If you don't want to help them just pass this buy.

Adjustment Period
by: Anton

Hi Alan,

There is going to be an adjustment period. Keep in mind that she is now in a completely different environment with a new way of life and new people. It sounds like the previous owners had no idea about the training and exercise needs of Aussies and she got little of either.

Much of the behavior you are seeing sounds like pent-up energy. You'll want to give her more exercise than a walk and have her running a lot—maybe chasing a ball or frisbee.

I'm also doubting that her previous owners provided any real training. They likely did not establish themselves as leaders either. Assuming the role of respected leader is essential before any other obedience training is likely to be effective anyway. This is something you are going to want to do ASAP.

It is at about this age that many Aussie owners see behavior issues develop. Usually, it traces back to owners who have not understood the foundation of dog training—leadership.

Without this principle in place, dogs (especially smart energetic ones like Aussies) will take on the leadership role. Many owners think they are in charge and that their dog is exhibiting behavior problems. Meanwhile, their dog's behavior is consistent with a dog that thinks they are in charge, they run the house, they are responsible to protect the owner, etc. This soon escalates and the dog becomes more and more uncontrollable and aggressive.

Assuming the leadership role has nothing to do with using dominance or aggression yourself. It's about understanding how your dog thinks and using that to your advantage so they see you as the respected leader and want to listen to you.

Dogs are generally calmer, more content and happy in the role of follower. Dogs that are in charge will be more high-strung and aggressive as they assert their dominance and control over you and your home (their turf).

Using a shock collar is not a good idea. You really need professional level knowledge to use them correctly and even then there are usually alternative approaches that will work. In the wrong hands, shock collars can ruin the relationship you have with your dog. Nor will a shock collar address the underlying problem—the need for exercise and establishing yourself as the respected leader.

I highly recommend a dog training program which has at its core 5 exercises (or the 5 Golden Rules of dog training) that teach you how your dog thinks and what you need to do in order to become that leader. ALL of the obedience training or dealing with specific behavior problems that follow rests on that foundation.

I've created a page about that training program and you can find more information about it here.

Best of luck!

Thank you all for help.
by: Alan Shenefield

This is not my first rodeo. But it's important to re-remember the basic. It's been a very short period of time in life that I've had her. Most dogs hand the leadership right over to me and feel I'm safe. I used to go to our dog park 6 times a week with my last dog.
With Skye most of the time is good, sometimes she needs to chew things in front of me to get my goat. I know it's part of the baby thing. I let her run off leash with another dog last night and then when we started walking again the jumping and grabbing my shirt and pants thing started up. I was next to a pole so just wrapped my leash around the pole and waited for her to calm down. A few minutes were back to jump nip. Final took her back to the car and it's all over. Thanks to the people that took the time to help. I felt like I looked like a monster from the first reply. I didn't realize that I should of used shaked my foot trying to disengage dog teeth from my leg.

by: Anonymous

I’m anonymous.....Catherine
I apologize for my knee jerk reaction. I understood where she came from, which you shared w me where & the environment tat she came from speaks volumes about her behavior w you. She was treated badly so treating her badly now is not the answer.
Positive reinforcement can be done very easily in your home as long as you have the discipline to do so. Have low cal treats or fill baby jars w peanut butter and ONLY use to train. With jar in hand when she does what you ask a quick lick rewards her good behavior. It takes time & patience & not much money to train properly.
Training classes are actually training you not the dog 😊 I wish you all the best and again for my reacting so quickly.

Kind Regards,
Catherine, Daisy, Strider, Bella & Scout

Thank you Catherine, Daisy, Strider, Bella & Scout
by: Alan Shenefield

Today was a better day. She starts up a little and I am able to calm her down in a very short time, I just let her go between my legs and we sway and calmly say No and rub her neck. It was very nice of you Catherine to offer some encouragement. I felt like I look like a beast. I never hit animals. Dogs have always been my friends. Maybe the 6 months of working with my last dog faded away after 13 years. If I need a trainer, I will be man enough to seek help. It's just going to take a while for even realize what she is even doing. I took her for a walk and everything is just so new and scary, like big trucks and campers. Boy, she couldn't wait to get back home. So I know the I can't wait to please you is going to take time. Bad news for me, she likes green tomatoes.

I can relate
by: Carine

I think our 10-month old mini Aussie does the same thing. With him the growling and barking and jumping are all done with a clear "let's play" attitude. I'm not sure if your dog is doing it more aggressively? I'm no expert, but I thought the behavior may be the urge to herd which our dog hasn't been able to learn to re-direct. I've had terrible cuts and bruises on my arms and legs from this, and he often makes our 9 y.o. son cry when he jumps at him. When we can we use the behavior as our cue that it's time for a walk, but that isn't always an option. I've gotten momentary relief from carrying around a squirt bottle and squirting a little water at him when he jumps at me. It makes him stop for the moment but hasn't broken him of the habit. Any specific, concrete steps to try would be appreciated.

Major improvements
by: Alan Shenefield

We have hit our 3 months together and 7 months of age. I have a local dog park that I have been taking her to in the afternoon. The jumping, nipping and things snatching would start up again around walk time at night, 9:30 P.M meant night walk time. I also found her a play friend sometimes at night. I think this has really help bleed the monster out of her. The foot chewing is mostly gone and she is able to rest. The biggest thing now for the last day is she has not been kicked out of the house for nipping and stealing everything. The most unbelievable thing that has happened is she was able to sleep in the house for the first time. Woke up and nothing chewed, no cleanup on Isle 4. This is a big thing. People are right, just pour on the exercise, keep correcting. She did grab my wife sock this morning after getting up but didn't eat it. May we all survive herding dog, puppy training. I know this is still only the start.

7 month Aussie Recue bahavior issues
by: Richard

All I can add is Aussies are the greatest companions but are at heart working dogs, AKA Herding. They have their little quirks but to have the best relationship with them is to be a kind leader and make sure your establish that you are the leader not them. They learn very quickly but establishing that you are the pack leader is the number one thing to do before any other issues can be addressed. Actually as soon as that is done most of the other issues go away. Doggy Dan's videos with the 5 Golden rules is point on to learn how to do this. Here's to your Aussie and you having a great journey together for many years!

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