Love Hate Relationship With My Australian Shepherd!

by Melissa

Hey All! I have a 14 month old Australian Shepherd and I am about to murder this little guy!!! (Not really :) ) Everything is slowly starting to get better from one of the worst puppy phases I have ever seen.

I've been working with a great trainer to work on his anxiety, fear and other general training, but it feels like there is always something and I'm feeling very overwhelmed with the amount that we need to work on and I'm starting to sink into the feeling that he will never be a normal household pet. He is wild, stubborn, rude and demanding.

I don't really have a question but I would love to hear from all you other Aussie owners about how your puppies grew up into the best dogs you have ever had so I can have a little bit of hope!!!

Throw a girl a bone!

Comments for Love Hate Relationship With My Australian Shepherd!

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It takes time...
by: Anonymous

The best advice our trainer gave us was give her time to grow up, and give her time to enjoy being a puppy. Our Aussie is now 16 mos old. She still has days she is a total ass, but even on those days she makes me laugh.

Exercise, exercise, and more exercise have been the best thing. Training exercise, mental exercise, physical exercise. We have also done extensive socialization. She goes to all dog friendly venues, we walk and do training in a busy downtown area, we walk busy walking trails. We've been doing this since she was nine weeks old. It was tough at times but so worth it.

They stay "young" for many years. My neighbors son has two Aussies, he just commented that for the first time his two settled down by themselves at night, they are both five.

Aussies will take charge if they feel you haven't. They are thinkers and problem solvers. You need to think several steps ahead of yours. Set up environments for success. If he reacts to the person that runs by you everyday on your walk, switch up your time or try a new route. Or try an inconsistent behavior, like a sit, stay or down. Ours wanted to chase cars, we started having her sit when cars were coming that way she couldn't move with the cars.

Is he neutered, that can help. Keep doing training, we incorporate it into every walk. Sit at crosswalks, down when we stop, greet strangers politely. It becomes a natural part of the walk, but it also helps keep them focused. I walk our three dogs together so I need a focused group!

Our Aussie loves her Jolly pet soccer ball in the yard. It doesn't deflate, it's the only toy she hasn't killed and it exhausts her playing with it. She will herd it or bring it to us for kicking or throwing for her to catch. A flirt pole is also awesome for tiring them out, especially if they have a prey drive.

They can be hard puppies but they are amazing adults and worth every tear they make you shed in frustration!

My aussie
by: Jannie

When I got my Aussie she was a year old and had developed a lot of bad habits. I started agility with her and she was a nut so much that I considered quitting with her. 4 years if consistent training has finally gotten her where she needs to be. A month ago i had an agility judge who has watched us from the beginning tell me how much he enjoyed watching us run now. He couldn't believe how far we have come as a team. That is my highlight. Just persistence

by: Stephanie

I have an Aussie who is now 7 years old. We went through all the puppy madness. My Aussie has high anxiety with weather, loud noises, etc. Other than that he is the most loving smart happy dog I have ever had. He outgrew all the puppy stuff. He truly is my best friend.

You will survive
by: Anonymous

I felt the same way about both our Aussie pups. We had 4 trainers and I still work with them on behavior and training. Hang in there and continue the training and around the two year mark things come together. It does get easier but plan to work with your Aussie through exercise and play.

The first trainer we had gave me a hug after each session because she knew I was struggling. Sorry...I'm laughing while I type this because I felt the same way.

Good luck

Stay the course!
by: Anonymous

I went through this same thing with our Aussie when he turned about 2. He had been obedient, sweet and well behaved and then one day that all disappeared. But we kept working with him and he finally emerged on the other side as the sweet, well behaved boy we knew was in there. We just recently lost him to cancer and I miss him every moment of every day. Good luck with your boy. Hang in there and you will have the most special dog you could ever find.

Hang in there
by: Kathy

Totally understand and also hung on to people telling me things would get better and guess what it did. Maturity and training are essential for Aussie's I believe. One thing you can't say is they are boring lol.

by: Rena

I feel your pain. My youngest Aussie, Astro, just turned three in January and I never thought I would have let him live that long. He has been, hands down, the most trying Aussie I have ever owned. He tore up stuff, split my lip open multiple times by lunging at my face to "kiss" me, still shreds every blanket he lays on, whether it's in his kennel or on our bed. I've never had an Aussie like him...EVER! But through time and a LOT of patience, he has become my snuggler, my shadow, my adventurer, my "little man." Time is all you need to give your baby and eventually he will become the dog you've always wanted him to be. Some Aussies are just more active than others. Good Luck and buy yourself some nice wine and drink that until he grows up. lol

first time owner
by: 10 week old Aussie Lab owner

So. My dog is an Aussielab, however her personality is all Aussie. I have been doing A LOT of research and from what I found out some owners of full Aussie breeds will find that their dog will become fully trained by the 2nd - 4th year. A long time to wait but they say that it is consistency. If you are disciplined to train your Aussie, then you will see immediate results. Exercising in the AM and mid afternoon are a must. Good luck!

by: Anonymous

Hi there

I am also in the same boat but I have two! They are the same age and are completely crazy. My male is trainable, he's come far but my female is a holy terror. She's distroyed my yard... Literally dug up every single service she can find, and even hanging planters. My patio cushions and pillows are her favorite and she does not learn. I fenced off the entire garden... She chewed up the fences... She ate half my herbs and planter veggies and has decided her favorite past time is lounging on my outdoor sofa. I have tried everything I know and yet she will not stop. Help!!!! She knows she's been naughty, I will scold her and show her what she's done yet 1 min later she's back at it. Her saving grace is that she's good on lead and walks like a dream. My boy is just a goof ball. He's fast to learn but follows her naughty behaviors. I had an Aussie before but for him at 4 years old. He was a dream dog and welled loved for 12 more years. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy. I spend at least two hours a day cleaning up after them. What do I do???



Been there too...
by: Anonymous

Our experience with our first Aussie was a game changer. She is extremely intelligent which also means that she is extremely aware and thoughtful; this makes her a bit anxious. We've noticed that our behavior more than anything makes a difference on her behavior. For example, (sadly) when I pay her too much attention (mostly by talking to her too much) it seems like it overstimulates her (brain) and she acts like she doesn't understand what she is supposed to do and she acts worried. Sounds weird, but I have to reign in my tendency to talk to her and have to just be with her. When we come home, we don't immediately go to her, when we leave, we don't say anything at all.

She is eleven months old now and there are a few commands that I can use that she pretty reliably responds positively to (without treats). She is willful and she definitely thinks that being the watchdog of our cat is completely her responsibility and that she should only come to me when she agrees that it is a good idea, but she is coming around.

We used a crate to give us some sanity when we couldn't be there to give her direction... it seemed to be a place where she knew that she wasn't responsible for all the goings on. I never thought it would happen, but she is finally learning to relax in the house (out in the open) and now likes to sit next to me on her bed while I work on the computer.

She loves her toys and seems to understand that if she has excess energy she should grab one of them to use as a release. I've never had a dog that was so good at entertaining herself with toys, rocks, bones, sticks... etc. We found a soccer ball dog toy at Wal Mart made of nylon that has nylon strips attached to it that she loves to grab between her teeth and swing it around. She loves to pick at things with her incisors and while maybe not recommended, she knows that the packing paper (not plastic) in our deliveries is for her... she tears it to shreds. We bought natural wool dog balls from Amazon that we thought she would like to play catch with, but she just really wants to tear little pieces of wool off bit by bit (it all seems like a natural, not violent, instinct to her).

I have been at my wits end several times with her, but I have hung in there because deep down I believe that she will be our best dog ever. She has forced me to become a calmer, quieter leader. I have to first thank her for that and I'm sure it won't be the last thing I owe her for. Hang in there... if it makes sense to.

Mine was a DICK
by: Anonymous

My aussie male was an absolute dick until he was 3 years old. Then all of a sudden he matured over night and is the best dog now. I just had to wait and give lots of training.

Try agility to focus his attention on you and build a stronger relationship. This helped for me and is so much fun.

I can soooo relate
by: Anonymous

My 6 month old is so much more than I can handle some days. He is agressive/terrified of other dogs, hyper beyond belief when we take him in public and cannot be separated from us! He has climbed fences and run through screen doors to get to us if he thinks he hears our voice. We just failed puppy obedience... our instructor feels so bad for us. I wanted a dog we could road trip with but the few places we have taken him we got lots of dirty looks. We look like a real s&!@ show when we are in public with him and it usually ends with my husband and I screaming at each other about our "technique" or lack of! I refuse to give up and am planning on trying the doggie dan site tonight. If that dosent work he is going to a dog trainer for a 10 day program that worked for my friends Aussie. I swear he is laughing at me as I type this post!

Hang in there!
by: 3Bbirds

We got our two Aussie puppies in 2003. They were very different. Petey was quieter, more circumspect and ultimately the Alpha. Rocky was full of energy, curious and impossible! The first year we had them made us totally nuts and filled with regret. (They got kicked out of puppy school!). I called the woman we got them from and told her I didn't think we'd make it with these little maniacs. She told us to hold on, "they don't get their brains for about 15 months - go easy on them and don't expect much." Good advice. Fortunately, we have a huge off leash, 10 acre dog park nearby. We started walking them there on leashes when they were 6 months old, it was great because they caught on quickly, and by the time they were about a year they were walking with us leash-free. My diligent husband would walk them there twice a day - it was a great way to expend some Aussie energy. It saved our sanity and improved our health! They turned 12 earlier this year. We lost Petey in August due to some serious health issues. We miss him every day, beautiful soul. Rocky is lonely for him, but still has the energy of a two year old. I have noticed more than a few posts by people who have an Aussie that is less than friendly, very independent and not particularly affectionate. Our dog Rocky is like that, yet he follows us everywhere around the house, never misses a chance to ride in the car and doesn't like to be alone. He doesn't want anyone to touch him until the sun goes down, then he is up on the couch with his head in my husbands lap! Such is the behavior of some dogs in this breed, don't take it personally. They're the best.

Exhausted Aussie mom
by: Anonymous

Girl you hit it on the head when you said rude and demanding. I have a 9 month old mini and she is just that. I can't have her around other dogs because she forces herself obsessively on them. She wont stop, she gets crazy eyes and will not listen. She pounces and jumps on everything especially people. It's in a demanding way and I have had it. She is ruining the walls and the couch. This isn't my house so I feel we won't get our deposit back. I as of yesterday am not allowing her to jump on anything or anyone. My friends think it's funny but the parents at the dog park don't when she's mauling their dog and the people at the doggie daycare don't think it's funny when she gives the other dogs anxiety or makes them mad to the point of almost attacking her. She is so smart and we have trained her but, now it's time to really focus on her manners. We have no business owning this dog instead of providing me relief from my severe anxiety she adds to it in a bad way. These dogs are for one thing and one thing only. Work, they are working dogs. That's it. I never see her sleep, she never sits down or stops pacing. She has a massive backyard and runs and plays fetch everyday. She has no friends anymore because other dogs and dog owners can't stand her. My heart is broken.

by: Anonymous

My girl is now 4 years old and my best friend! We live on 10 acres up north with goats. She has a job and takes it very seriously. All day she goes back and forth to the barn to check on livestock. She also spends alot of time chasing critters off the property. By 8:00 she is begging us to go to bed! Sassy is afraid of lightning and thunder also, havent figured that one out, yet.

Love our aussie....try this
by: Anonymous

Our Aussie, Pearl, is a dream. She 14 months. We adore her. She kept us up every night for the first 7 months we had her but thank goodness that phase is over. We did crate her for the first 6 months when we would leave the house. We used that as an opportunity to desensitize her to the rumba by running it or load sounds by play loud music or city sounds via Alexa. I highly recommend Sit Means Sit (Dog On It) training. Go to the classes. It will change your life and your dogs. Pearl is one of three dogs. Our other two are gentle soul older ( 9 and 10) male doodles. They are wonderfully behaved and great big brother's (same training). All 3 of our dogs are hiking dogs. We hike with them every day. This keeps them fit. Pearl is more focused and easy-going when she hikes. She can run free with commands off leash and come back when asked. When we are not hiking she can be a little stubborn and only come when she feels like it or she will sneak in the pool and swim at times she's not allowed (she loves to swim), but for the most part she has been an exceptional addition to our family. She loves dogs and she's good with kids. She can be a little bossy sometimes but she's smart and you can see her observing and thinking things through which is wild. I chalk her good disposition up to exercise exercise exercise, the right training, stimulation and exposure to ad much as you can get around everyday... people, cars, dogs, big trucks... everything. You got this!

Challenging for sure
by: Anonymous

My 14-month-old pup is driving me insane! I’ve never had a dog that has been this much work. He NEVER gets tired. He is a thief; he steals everything in the house and shreds whatever he gets into pieces. I really think these dogs would be better suited for life on a farm.

by: Anonymous

Aussies tend to be pretty be difficult, especially if they are first time dogs. Many people plan of having theirs compete in agility trials and such, but they are not able to because they are too difficult. My advice would be to do daily training, try different methods, and give him plenty of exercise. He might just be bored stuck in the same environment all day. They should never be first time dogs! And they need a home with children over 12 and a LARGE backyard!! Or else thats just abuse and they shouldn't own dogs.

by: Anonymous

If you haven't looked into dog daycare you should.

Aussies are working dogs, they need more than just walks. So having a that Aussie part of your dog will be challenging. We take our 7 month old 2-3 times a week and it is so great, he gets to get rid of all the energy.

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