How To Deal With Younger Australian Shepherd Being Too Aggressive With Older Dog And Running Out Into The Street?

by Nancy Hansford
(Louisville, KY)

Hello everyone - My husband and I have two Australian Shepherds - one about eleven years old (male) and a female about fourteen months old. I am so frustrated and could really use some advice...

Our older dog, Marley, chewed some things up when he was a puppy but for most of his life has been a gentle, good-matured, even sometimes timid boy. He likes walks but loves being at home. The female pup, Ziva, seems to have such a different temperament and I don't know what to do.

Ziva tries to chase motorcycles, jumps the fence, and thinks, as my husband says, that she's "ten-feet tall and bullet-proof" - She and Marley play together but I think Ziva is sometimes too aggressive towards Marley. I believe we have had her just a little over a year and my husband said he is tired of chasing her and he is afraid she will hurt another dog - he really thinks she would be better off on a farm but it breaks my heart to think of giving her up...

However, the last time she got out she ran across a busy street with no fear whatsoever and without the help of our good neighbors I am afraid she would have gotten hit by a car. We have taken her through basic obedience training and she is very smart - it was suggested to me to take her through an obedience class again. Though it breaks my heart to think about giving her up, it would break my heart more if she were hit by a car and hurt or killed. If you can't already tell:), I love this dog and want to give her a happy home BUT I don't want to be selfish and I can't get a divorce over this (hope it would never come to that:) Ziva is a beautiful dog with gorgeous blue eyes and she CAN be really sweet.

If you are wondering about this, yes I know the importance of researching types of dogs before you get one - please let me remind you we already had an Aussie and had a VERY different experience with Marley - also, Ziva HAS been fixed but I have noticed her behaving very recently as if she is in heat.

I would appreciate any and all KIND suggestions... thank you.

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Comments for How To Deal With Younger Australian Shepherd Being Too Aggressive With Older Dog And Running Out Into The Street?

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Contact your breeder
by: Anonymous

I would suggest that you contact your girl's breeder first off and see if they can offer any suggestions. They will be most familiar with the lines the dog comes from, as well as have a vested interest in both you and the dog being happy. Aussies with strong personalities need strong leaders. You need to be firm, and set very clear rules for her. If she doesn't respect you as a leader, she will do her own thing. (I am not advocating physical "firmness" just to be clear) It sounds as if your first dog was perfectly suited to you and your lifestyle, while this second dog may be a little too much dog for you. Your breeder should be able to help you choose a dog similar to your first dog. In the best interest of your marriage, and your young dog it may be best to return her to your breeder and find a dog better suited to your lifestyle.

by: DeLinda

so sorry your pup is willfull. We have a 14 month Aussie and he gives us a run for our money. He is very willful and we take him to day care 2 a week for socialization and exercise with the pack. We also take him to the dog park often and let him run with all types of dogs. A tired aussie pup is a well behaved pup... send me a picture of your as we are considering adding another as soon as our home is renovated. The new home sits on 1.5 acres of running area and we bought it so our aussie could run until he sleeps.

Not all Aussies are alike, but I guess you figured that out.

she is a baby still
by: Connie

She is 14 months...that is still a baby. They need classes all the time and worked with daily. She will come around if you continue to we or on your recalls.

Agressive Aussie
by: Candace

We have a 1 1/2 yr old neutered male Australian Shepherd along with an 8yr old German Shepherd.. We too had problems with our Aussie being aggressive towards our G.Shprd. and then he got into a nasty fight with our neighbors Aussie, ( both our and thiers, from the same litter) their dog jumped their picket fence and onto our property and the two dogs went at each other. Terrible!

I was fearful after that incident of our dog. So we enrolled him obedience training and he was with the trainer for two weeks. He's been very good since. Although, we keep close watch on him and our neighbor keeps their dog on a run inside their fenced yard. We haven't let him around other dogs other than our own. so I don't know how he will behave with other dogs.

Try the obedience training again and keep a close watch on him and correct immediately any bad behavior. They are super smart as you said, and they want to please you. stay the course. he'll improve. Ours did.

It could be adolescence
by: PradyO

My partner and I have two Aussies - a recently adopted 6 year old male- Gunner, and16 month old female - Zola (whom we've had since she was 8 weeks old). Zola has always been rambunctious, inquisitive, loving and boisterous at the best of times. She went through a stage of chasing cars when she was let off lead. She's had basic obedience training via puppy school and work at home, but when she went into chase mode - would refuse to follow instruction. Our salvation was further training! We were recommended to have a one on one session with a dog trainer to help refocus Zola's attention. The session helped heaps, and the trainer (and a few other Aussie owner friends) let us know that Female Aussies tend to be more dominant than males, and push boundaries during adolescence...they seem to grow out of it post the age of 2. We've kept the training up in the meantime, and though she's still not saintly, she's getting heaps better! Best of luck :-)

Young Aussies
by: Mimi

We have a 14 year old Lab mix and got a new Aussie puppy last spring. At first he was aggressive toward her but he has calmed down in the last few month. I think the key to success with training any dog is to have them involved in exercise. Not just walking on a leash, but some kind of dog park activity so she can find dogs who are at her level physically. We recently started to take our pup to an exercise class for dogs. He loves the workout and the attention and when he gets home he is way too tired to bother our older dog. Good luck with your Aussie.

I know to well
by: Devery

First off no 2 dogs are the same even if they are the same breed. You must start training your dog inside the house for recall behavior and who is the leader of the pack. She doesn't know that she has no business being the leader. She must be taught to listen to you first and then react. I had a wonderful outcome with a CD that I purchased online called Foundation Training for Agility by Moe Strenfel. Very comprehensive and it works even if you aren't considering agility for your pup. Check out www.Clean
The best to you and remember that patience beats out all odds.

by: candice

Hi I have 3 female dogs & the oldest is my 6 yr old Aussie named coley that I've had since she was born. She has a mixed puppy that we kept & we also have one more Aussie chow mix that we rescued. Coley has the same temperament as what your describing she's very hyper & always has been, luckily she hasnt jumped over the fence but she has dug under & everything else u can think of. Im afraid if she was jumping the fence we would just have to raise it somehow. We have to do all of her excersizing in our fenced in back yard or always have her on a leash if she's out of the fence because she runs straight across the street. She even tried to "herd" our neighbors 10 yr old daughter back on to her own porch, never touching her but going in circles around her nipping at the ground & barking & of course scaring the little girl. Even though I know it was normal behavior & coley meant no harm I completely understand her being frightened & her mothers frustration. Needless to say that's when we knew for sure that we just have to be as careful as possible every time we open the door & when we have her on a leash outside we have to be sure its secure. It seems like you are saying you live on a busy street & i dont, i live at the end of a subdivision at a dead end & i have to be careful about her getting out so i know you always have to be especially careful. Coley is a great & loving dog & obedient most of the time but when she's outside there are certain things that trigger her, her breed especially because she sees it as her job to make these cars & ppl go where she wants them to go. Doing an obedience class is of course a great idea but there are certain things with this breed that u just have to prepare for & deal with the best way you can. Coley isn't aggressive with my other 2 dogs, her puppy gets that way with her but never the other way around. The younger female being aggressive toward your older male seems normal & I'm not sure how much you should try to stop it with it being part of the natural order of things,but, if it seems unnatural & its too much aggression & she's hurting him then you might want to separate them as much as possible, keep one out while the other is in & vise versa, at least until you can get it under control. Maybe have an obedience class for both of them together & try to get a handle on it. Positive reinforcement is always the best way to go with Aussies & it takes a lot of work & time to get her to see that your way should be her routine & you want it programmed in her mind that acting correctly is part of the job that you've given her. They are already programmed to be task driven animals & it might sound crazy but hey need a job to do & a steady busy routine to actually make them calm. The hyperness is usually because she doesn't know what exactly to do with her time so try giving her tasks every day, making sure whatever it is its done the same way & around the same time every day. It could be hiding a lot of toys in the yard or the house & having her get them one by one or going around & waking everyone up in the morning & making it her job to get them all to the table to eat or whatever suits your household is fine just make sure you repeat it every day & hopefully you will start to see changes over time. Don't be discouraged because the energy you give off they definitely pick up on so just have an "I think I can I think I can" kind of attitude & whatever you do just keep trying because it does pay off in the end. I hope this at least helps you & that you can relate to the fact that your not the only one out there with questions like these. Good luck to you & your family I wish the best for both of your dogs!

This may not be a kind suggestion
by: Anonymous

But It really worked miracles with our 2 year old rescue Aussie. Over the strong objections of my wife I bought a training collar, the type that has many levels, not only shocks but it can also vibrate or make a beep sound. The reason I did was when he would run at the beach or any of the trails he was pretty good until he got some distance and then he had a mind of his own. After one day at the beach he took off after something and despite calling and hand signaling, he refused to stop and ran across the highway where he could have been hit. That was enough for me. To this day I have only had to shock him 2 times. Once on the first day with it on and once when we encountered a moose. Now all I usually do his hit the beeper button and he instantly comes running back! Very occasionally he ignores this so I switch to vibrate and that almost always done the trick. He is a much better dog now and it is much safer for him to be off leash. Inhumane? Perhaps but if it saves his life one day it will all be worth it.

by: Nancy

First of all think twice about getting rid of Ziva. She is still a puppy. We have a 7 yr old Aussie and a 5 yr old Aussie. They play and herd each other. They are not hurting each other. You would know if they were hurting each other. One would yipe. As far as being aggressive towards other dogs. Our older dog is very aggressive towards other dogs, people walking, motorcycles, bicyclists and any other person or thing that he thinks might be a danger to us. He is very protective. It wouldn't hurt to take Ziva back to obedience class. Maybe she needs a brush up course. As far as running away. You have to be out with them and when they do something you don't want them to do, squirt them with a spray bottle filled with water. It worked for both of ours. I don't even have to squirt them. I just get the bottle out and they stop doing what I don't want them to do. Maybe if you get a tie out and put it in the middle of the yard then Ziva would not be able to jump the fence. Please don't give up on Ziva. She is only doing what she was bred to do. Good Luck!!

Aussie troubles
by: Anonymous

She needs more to do ... she has too much energy and no focus. Can you get her into some type of doggie day care where she can run off some of her steam ? or it is possible to take her for walks/runs several times a day ? She will calm down eventually I am sure, mine did - but it can take a couple years. As far as the aggression, you need to step in and make sure she knows that it is NOT acceptable - scold her and tell her NO ! - this will deter the behavior.
bottom line, she needs a JOB they all do - they have alot of energy and want to work -
hope this helps !

not uncommon problems
by: rochelle

luckily we've never had trouble with ours chasing cars, but i've read it can be very common. have you tried a training collar that can beep or vibrate when she gets too close to her boundary? how is her recall? it's hard once they go into herding mode, but always make it more rewarding to return to you.
sounds like she is testing her boundaries now that she is getting older. ours will be two in april and she can be rough with my sister's 10 year old lab. she nips at his face and jumps all over him in typical aussie fashion to get a rise out of him but he is so mellow he would never do anything but bark at her so she keeps at it. try removing her from the situation and the fun to let her know her behavior is unacceptable. we puts ours in a room on her own and close the door if she gets too aroused, just for about 10-20 seconds to start. when she comes out, if she starts up again we remove her again. it took three tries for her to realize what was up and knock it off. ours just wants to be with us, so removing her gently from the room was punishment enough. show her what her boundaries are and be consistent and she'll get there. good luck!

by: Nancy

THANK YOU! I could almost cry when I saw all the tips and encouragement in regard to my post - thank you all SO MUCH for taking the time to respond. The one person who suggested returning Ziva to the breeder and getting another dog, I realize that you may have meant well, but I'm not sure that you got the message that if we can train and work with Ziva and she can have a happy, safe life with us giving her up is a last resort for me - I don't give up easily on anything or anyone that I love. I plan to use a lot of these tips and take her back to obedience class. I will post a picture soon. The encouragement I received meant more to me than most of you know.

by: Nancy

Thanks so much for all the tips and encouragement - what an awesome group of people on this site!

try this
by: Anonymous

I have a 1 year old blue merle aussie. Hes a great dog runs for hours in the yard never ever leaves! With his 12 year old mentor (dog) of course. I have two trick that has worked for me. First we installed one of those electric dog barrier with the reciver in the collar to shock correct the dog. After training, our dogs never think about leaving. Also when the pup begins to be to ruff with his mentor. I just play his favorit game catching frisbee, until hes wopped tired. Everyones happy. Good luck

3 aussies
by: Anonymous

We had three Aussies all littermates are red merle was the outfit she kept the boys in line never nipping or hurting they were very good but we did have several instances where we were attacked by Rottweilers and Mastiffs needless to say our Three Amigos we're somewhat fearful of other dogs but it did not deter us from walking them every night for a good hour now we have only one Deuce are 12 year old boyl he is slightly senile and agitated with our younger pup Porter who is only 10 weeks my daughter has her blue merle and we have Porter and are working with him right now with a special trainer for Behavior In nipping and plan to start him in his classes this weekend. It takes time and patience if you have an Aussie but it's a lifetime of fun. We plan to get another Aussie next year to be Pals with Porter

Frisbee time
by: Anonymous

Maybe some frisbee time in the am to take the energy down a notch it's easier to behave well when your engine is not in over drive. She is still young... Very best wishes to you and your pups.

Similar situation
by: Anonymous

Like you, our first aussie was gentle and sweet. She didn't care for other dogs (she was a rescue) and preferred to ignore most people, although she was always sweet with us. Sadly, she died in the spring and we bought an aussie pup in June. The two dogs are polar opposites. Blue is assertive, challenging, and constantly on the go. Being a puppy, that energy is understandable, but she doesn't know when to stop. Older dogs growl at her and she intimidates younger ones when she tries to play. When she gets groomed, they have to tie her up because she's constantly trying to play with the others. When she's boarded, she wants to play to the point where she is growled off. (She plays rough) She is good with us, but is demanding. I am taking her to obedience classes and have also purchased Susan Garrett training videos. Susan has a remarkable approach to dog training and some of her behavior shaping games are getting through. On my own, I discovered that when Blue is over exuberant, I can shake a tin can containing coins and she stops immediately. She really hates that noise. Perhaps you could try that when she is getting on your last nerves or your older dog can't take it anymore. It's cheap, harmless, and it works. Don't give up on your pup yet.

by: Hbh97

My Aussie is about to turn 1 in about a week, and is behaved perfectly with other dogs - no aggression at all. But when I first got him at 4 months old, he didn't like other dogs getting near me so he would nip a warning at them. I knew that it could turn into something more dangerous if I didn't do something, and I had read about how to stop a dog's possessive behavior before I got him in case that happened. So as soon as he would do that, or even just get in between me and another dog, I'd send him into the backyard or put him in the bathroom for a few seconds, that way he wasn't getting what he wanted - me. It just took a few times of that happening and he stopped doing it. He hasn't done it since.

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