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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training and Care

Behavior Issues, 6 Month Old Australian Shepherd

by Karen
(Hendersonville, NC, USA)

I love our little Folly girl. Now 6 months and 22 lbs. She was spayed about 3 weeks ago. So we've had the normal puppy issues (chewing, biting, etc.) pretty well contained, but are having a few other bigger issues...

She's food obsessed and while we try to put her outside when we eat, if it's raining or something, or you're just trying to snack, she drives us crazy and will steal food, children's food, other dog's treats etc. "leave it" is not sinking in with her! I've discussed her food amounts she's receiving with the vet and she's getting the upper end of the required amount. Also, she will "get in her place" but won't stay.

Also, while our older dogs (both age 11), Beagle and Jack Russell are tolerating her (usually), suddenly she's becoming more aggressive with them. She won't let them on the couch or on a certain chair, dog bed, etc. She nips the JRT (I know the herding instinct), but my little dog is already a nervous dog, and they'll full on fight occasionally. Do I let them work this out? Obviously, the Aussie could hurt her now that she's getting so big.

The other issue is the jumping and biting at our clothing. We seem to be getting a handle on this, but she'll still do it especially with the kids (age 11 and 17). Just wondering if this is going to be an ongoing fight.

I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but she's such a smart dog and wants to please me (does much better with me than my husband or kids), but she needs to understand that they can be the boss too. My husband is frustrated and wants me to get rid of her. I think it's just been a while since we had a puppy so he forgets this part of the process.

We've made great progress on several things by incorporating training learned on this site and she gets at least 2 30 minute intense exercise sessions a day, one in the yard with balls and frisbees and one 3 mile walk or hike.

I try to take Folly as many places as possible, but her behavior is making it difficult to handle her when out and about now that she's larger and stronger.

I'd appreciate any advice or encouragement!

Comments for Behavior Issues, 6 Month Old Australian Shepherd

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by: Anonymous

My own aussie use to steal food when she was younger. She is one of those aussies that is bit more of alpha female till you get mad at her then she turns soft. Anyway, is your aussie crate trained? Also how much work are you giving her? First thing I would do is make sure she knows what bed is when you are working on food issues. So when you say "go to bed" It means now and not later and you stay there till I call you. Start with that first. For her garbing at your clothing, I dont know if you have heard of something called bitter apple. Its a spray that is super bad tasting. When she goes to bite at your clothing, or has it in her mouth spray her with the bitter apple. Make sure to try to get it into her mouth. After a few times of this she will hate the taste of it and should stop. It sounds like a lot of problems are is she is board. Have you tried teaching her tricks. I am trick dog trainer and am writing a book now on trick training.

Force Free Certified Professional Dog trainer
by: My Buddy Dog Training

Please contact a Force free trainer help correct some obsessive behaviors. The food is Resource Guarding and the other behaviors as well. With some simple guidelines like hand feeding and teaching some rewarding games like Drop it, Take it plus some mental stimulation it will get better! Your dog is also in her "terrible teens" this is where your dog will forget everything it has learned.

by: Anonymous

Suggestions: Contact the dogs' breeder and see if they have suggestions. re: goes to her place but won't stay... you need to work on building duration of the behavior. Find a clicker training class/instructor to help you with that.

Biting/jumping, you can put a plastic water bottle inside your shirt. Every time the pup jumps/bites... you hit yourself on the bottle. Don't say anything, it will startle the dog and they will start to back off/keep their distance.

Aussies definitely bond with the person they see as the leader. It sounds as if you may have some resource guarding going on. You need to buy the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson.

If you aren't already enrolled in obedience classes, please do. Group classes are important learning experiences for you and your dog.

I need sleep!!
by: Bev

We have a 4 month old Aussie and she will NOT sleep at night. She has tons of room to run and she has other dogs to play with, but she wakes us up at least 2-3 times a night. We give her lots of attention. We both work and we are gone from our home about 8 hours a day and spend all weekend with her. She is in a crate and does well in it until night time. I see all the good comments about Aussies on here. I don't know what we are doing wrong, but we are exhausted from lack of sleep. PLEASE any suggestions will be appreciated!

Re:Sleep at night
by: Anna

Hi Bev,

I have a few ideas! Could you please clarify where you have your puppy during the day while you are at work? One comment sounded like she was crated during the day, and another sounded like she was free to run and play, so just trying to fully understand here :)

If she's crated while you are at work, and doing well on house training, consider purchasing a playpen or setting up a puppy proof room where she can be loose during the day.

Also perhaps some mentally stimulating toys would be good for her such as one of the puzzle balls which you put kibble in so that they have to work for their food and use up some energy in the process.

We found with our puppy that since he wanted to play right before bed, we had to move up the evening exercise time by about 30 mins so that he had the chance to settle down and realize how tired he was.

Also, try putting a blanket over the crate or purchasing a crate cover. Our little guy needs to have the blanket over his crate to create a cave like atmosphere which reduces stimulation. Best of luck!

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