FYI: If you buy something through a link on this site, I may earn a commission and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases—at NO extra cost to you.
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

My Australian Shepherd Is Very Aggressive And I Need Help

by random

I adopted the most amazing dog about eight months ago and she has really made my house a home. I got her as a puppy and did my best to raise her right and make sure she had plenty of interacting with other people and dogs. We even took several puppy classes. However, she has been extremely aggressive towards strangers. also, she takes a very, very long time to warm up to people. She was only 5 months old when her aggressive behavior started. I have always tried to redirect her behavior positively, however there is nothing that I can find that is a strong enough of a distraction to redirect her. When she sees someone else, or another dog, she is locked-in. Barking, lunging and even biting. it doesn't matter how far away they are either. The stranger could be a block away, but as long as she can see them she barks.

I adopted her because I really wanted a companion for hikes and camping and various outdoor activities but I cannot take her anywhere due to her behavior. That being said, I don't want us to hide at home because that certainly wont help the issue either. I need help badly and am very desperate for any kind of suggestions.

As of right now I take her on walks with a muzzle on and try my best to show her that people and dogs are not threats but she is very stubborn. My fathers dog and her get along because they were introduced before her aggression started and I often take them on walks together so that she can see how to positively interact with people and dogs. This does change her behavior somewhat, but she will still act aggressive if approached.

I have always owned dogs but have never had one with any type of aggression issues so I am very lost. I fear that she will hurt someone and I will be forced to get rid of her and I cant even handle the thought of losing her so if there are any suggestions out there I would really appreciate it.

Comments for My Australian Shepherd Is Very Aggressive And I Need Help

Click here to add your own comments

we call iT : reactive dog
by: Nicole

hii, My dog does the same.
May be you van contact : Karen Mulders in the Netherlands. She may know someone in your country to help you.
Wish you the Best.

Feel for you...
by: Anonymous

I'm SO sorry you are having to go through this. My female Aussie is 9 and has many of the same issues (but I don't think as severe) as your pup. I went through hours and tons of money training her but her issues are still ongoing and super inconsistent. So, we never know when she's strike. A muzzle has helped us for many years being able to walk her around the neighborhood and go to dog parks etc. The trainers did suggest electric collar but we've never resorted to that. I just wanted you to know that someone is in your corner and hopefully you can get this issue resolved with some good advice here and a great trainer. But, if not a muzzle can keep many around you safe. Best of luck!

Re: Aggressive dog
by: Susan Roberts

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this. The first thing you need to do is rule out a physical problem. Have you had a full physical exam done on the dog? I would request a full CBC, Chemistry, as well as a full Thyroid panel. You should contact the dogs' breeder to see if they can offer some insight, as well as to let them know there is a problem with the cross that produced your dog. If none of the above yields any answers you need to consider it a behavioral problem, and find a reputable local trainer who can give you their opinion on this behavior firsthand. Good luck.

i have the same issue.
by: Kimberly

I adopted my Aussie, Champ, when he was 3. He is actually fine around people , but other dogs he fights with. I know the previous owner and she said he was in puppy training classes and very socialized, but when he turned one, he started being aggressive with his brother. That is why she had to give him up. I have been told it is there personality. Not all Aussies, obviously, but I have heard this with other owners as well. The muzzle is the only thing that works and keeping him away from other dogs. He is the best dog in the world to me though.

Australian's are very intelligent dogs..
by: Anonymous

and they are herding dogs whose sole purpose is to protect the herd. You are her/his herd. I have a miniature australian and she likes to bark at people and other dogs when we walk depending on who they are. After I have spoke to them in a calm manner she will settle down and even lie down with her front paws crossed while I talk with them. Sounds like your dog see all these situations as a threat. It takes a lot of time and patience with aussies. Plus a lot of walks...they need jobs. But they are totally worth it. Aussies have the greatest personalities.

Aggressive Dog
by: Gwen

I have had several Aussies and have never had this problem...and it IS a problem. I hope you can find someone with the answer so you can enjoy your furry child.

Don't Give Up!
by: Anonymous

Aussies are naturally very protective. Your pup is probably thinking she's doing her job. That being said, the behavior is interfering with your good times together, so that needs to change.

We like to take our Aussie (18 mos) to our local coffee shop. She became very protective of us. She began to snarl at other people approaching us on the patio, or even those who spoke to us at a distance.

After trying a number of other methods, we finally bought a Petsafe Ultrasonic Remote Trainer on Amazon. The sound cuts through the barking, snarling frenzy, and your dog immediately orients to you. We only used it a couple of times, and now all we have to do is put it on the table where she can see it. It's not a substitute for the good positive methods you are using, but it might help you get your pup's attention when you need to make a correction in her behavior.

same problem!
by: Melissa P. Kincardine

hi, I just read the above article about an aggressive Australian Shepard. Hoping to get some good sound advice!!! Our Austealian Shepard is amazing, other than being aggressive (snarling/showing teeth/nipping) and a crazy chichucha bark at people!!!!! Please help!!!

More drastic measures are needed.
by: Dave

Have you considered a shock collar? I got one for my dog and I only had to shock him once. This model has a vibrate as well as a beep feature and most of the time all he needs is a beep from me and he stops whatever he is doing and runs back to me and a treat! Sometimes when he is "locked in" on something I send the signal to vibrate and I think it must remind him of the shock he got because he always runs back to me. With all that said my Aussie does better with other dogs (he seems to like most people) when he is off leash and can maneuver. I think he can feel a little boxed in at times when he is tied up on a leash.

Always remember that they are doing their job and keeping danger away, just a bit too aggressively in your case and needs to tone it down a notch or two..

Is your dog neutered?
by: Elaine

If not this is something that you should consider and at least discuss with your vet as it can make a big difference to a dog's behaviour and calms them down considerably.

Insist on obedience and don't give up on your Aussie
by: Marlin

I found an Aussie in the shelter when he was 18 months old. Two different owners had already given up on him. I was unfamiliar with the breed so I researched and researched again until I could write a book on Aussies. He has been with us eight years now.

Aussies are super smart, loyal and protective of their owners and turf. I have owned and trained some very smart dogs but this one tops them all.

First, you must understand that dogs don't fully mature until sometime after two years old. Until then, you're dealing with an adolescent mentality. Much like a teen-aged child they will continue to test the limits.

Second, you MUST set limits in behavior and be consistent about your expectations. If you deviate from the established discipline, your Aussie will quickly adapt to the deviation as acceptable behavior.

For example, my Aussie is not allowed to eat simply because I set his dish I'm front of him. He expected to sit and wait until I give him an okay to eat. If I let him charge into the dish the second that it hits the floor them he will not yield the next time that he is fed. I will have re-establish the behavior.

Third, you have to understand dog pack mentality and you MUST be seen as the pack leader in the dog's mind. The above feeding example may seem silly but it maintains my authority as the pack leader. Research about pack mentality and become an expert.

Fourth, teach your dog to heel upon command. This is very difficult to train. You must work at it daily to set the the behavior. Your Aussie needs daily walks anyway to vent anxiety and stress just as humans need exercise. I let my Aussie take as much liberty as his 26' recoiling leash allows unless I see animals or people that might trigger his protective instincts. At those times he is required to heel.

Fifth, teach your dog to stay. Start these drills in a confined area that is free of distractions. Gradually, increase the time and the distance between the two of you. As the dog learns to obey in a confined area, move on to an open area outside that is free of distraction.

When you can manage your dogs feeding behavior, heel her on command, and make her stay indefinitely, you are ready to expose her to the triggers. YOU are the pack leader. Be patient and work her EVERY day.

When my Aussie was on a leash as an adolescent, he would jerk my arm off at the sight of another dog. Now, he still gets anxious but he holds heel, even when passing another leashed dog.

Good luck with your girl. I hope that I have been a help to you.

by: kim

PLEASE contact the breeder you got her from.

Me too
by: Anonymous

i had a red tri for twelve years. He was my homie. My house was secure with him home. He was the meanest dog on the block. He was raised at a dog park and very socialized. But one day a pit dog got hold of him and my aussie tore that pit dog up. Going forward he was extremely animal aggressive. I loved him the same tho till the day he died. Miss him every day now for two years. Good luck

I too had a aggressive aussie
by: janey

I have an Aussie 3.5 years old. He would get aggressive and still does when strangers come around the "good" part was he bit me and not them. But I was really at the end of my rope and was going to get rid of him.
But I found a trainer that took him for 10 days, E-collar stuff, and it works. Aussies are very headstrong and want to run the household. I can now put my dog in a place and he stays. I no longer fear he will bite me.
He is a super smart dog. Learns lots of tricks all know that. But if you do NOT know how to use a collar properly then you NEED to higher someone to show you. Someone that knows. IT will cost money but you will have an awesome Aussie once again. Find a trainer to help you. Don't give up control. I hope this helps...

Look at Me!
by: Anonymous

I kept a Home Depot bag on my hips filled with treats on my walk. Every time I passed someone (never too close) I would tell my Aussie to "Look at me!" have a sit and give him a treat. He's still a bit cautious but has gotten a lot better at strangers coming by us. In fact, he'll look at me now expecting a treat when a stranger is approaching and doesn't much pay attention to them at all. The idea for the walking technique actually came from watching this YouTube video

by: lynn

hi we're going through the same thing ,this is my third Australian Shepherd in my male is very aggressive Towards people that he doesn't know and now he just growls at my kids which is become a problem.we got him when he was 6 weeks old and he is almost 5 years old I worry more. he's an amazing dog and he's very loving with myself and my husband we also have a female who is five and a half and they've been together since they were puppies she is terrified everybody but she welcomes everyone in a loving way. our first Australian Shepherd we had was amazing and we had her for almost 15 years until she passed and we never had issues so I'm at a loss with this one and it breaks my heart because this is the only breed that I want to own.

Don't Give Up
by: Aussie Lover

My female Aussie was extremely aggressive. I delayed having her spayed so the problem was of longer duration. It was a hormonal imbalance and after being spayed she is a different dog. Good luck!

Aggressive Aussie
by: Anonymous

I also have gone through the same situation. We adopted our Aussie when she was 1.5 yrs old though. She is a wonderful dog and very smart. I would also suggest a full checkup on your pup to rule out any physical issues. They are tough dogs & have a high pain tolerance. Our vet put my dog on Prozac, which she takes it daily. She also has an anti anxiety pill she can take when we have company over. It has made a difference in her intensity, but the behavior is still there.

We are working with a positive trainer - which I would highly recommend finding a reputable one by you. Maybe start at Victoria Stillwell's website. One of the things my trainer said, which really hit home, was that smart dogs such as Aussies make quick associations which helps when you are training them something new, but they also make negative associations just as quickly. Those are "triggers" are what you need to discover & change your dog's association. It's a lonnnnng process, trust me, it's not for the weak hearted. There are days I feel I am way over my head, but then some days she makes progress and my motivation is restored! I hope this helps you! Best of luck!

Aggressive pup
by: Anonymous

Your pup is young and it will take time. As I watched all Zak George's you tube videos I think you need to anticipate the reaction before it happens and catch her attention and reward it. Small steps over and over. I agree with all the previous comments. She feels she is protecting you. It will take time and consistency but don't wait for the behavior to start anticipate it and address it. My pup was an excited jumper. Knowing she would jump I didn't wait. As she came towards me I wod tell her to sit. Then she would get loving. Now she catches herself starting to jump and stops. They are so smart. Check out Zaks you tubes. They saved me

Don't Give Up
by: Kendra

I agree with Marlin on all counts. I've had my Aussie from 10 weeks old and it's been very challenging. She has had no previous association with anything or anyone bad so...why? Basically it's fear that makes a dog aggressive or seem aggressive. You must must be the alpha so he/she knows you're in charge, that you will handle the situations that he/she sees as a threat. When walking, every time you see a person or another dog, make him/her focus on you and give the dog a treat. Be like, "Yay! Dog/people! They're fine!" If you have a clicker, use it. If not, get one. After a while of doing that, teach him/her a Go Greet command. When the dog makes a nose touch contact with the person, click and give praise and treat. Believe me, I know how hard it is. Still working on it after 15 months. But she makes progress all of the time in small steps. She even wags her tail at some strangers now. She is an awesome dog and yours will be too. Keep at it! One last thing I recommend is agility classes. They help build a dog's confidence. And Aussies excel at obstacles.

Ours is aggressive towards people of color.
by: Anonymous

Our 2+ year old male Aussie has his "issues" as well. He really loves most people he meets and greets them with exaggerated wiggle butt so long as they are not "of color". He will growl at black or native American's who get too close to us but doesn't go after them any further. He also gets aggressive towards most other dogs getting too close to us. Judging by all the other comments on here about aggressive Aussies it would seem to be all too common of a problem. I don't know if ours can be made to be nicer to other dogs or people of color but if not we will continue to try to keep our distance a little so he won't feel so stressed and want to attack.

by: Ron

I have a friend who is a Farrier [a person who trims horses hooves] He puts lavender essential oil on his hands. Many times horses are nervous, but after he talks to them and pets them with his lavender hands they calm right down. Using lavender essential oil with your Australian Shepard should help calm him. Other good calming essential oils are Bergamot, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Sweet Orange and Roman Chamomile.

Same boat.
by: Anonymous

I have a male Aussie. He just recently turned two. I've had him since he was six weeks old. I made sure to socialize him when he was a puppy. He never had any problems with strangers, and then one day he flipped out when someone walked by us, and has been aggressive since towards anyone he doesn't know. He has bitten someone. It's been a nightmare for me. I love him so much, and hate the idea of an accident happening somehow then him being put down or I having to get rid of him. I've had him neutered. I've had a behaviorist come to my house do a full assessment. I've been doing all of the tricks she has suggested I do to show that I am the leader, etc... Unfortunately I am not seeing any significant changes in his behavior. I've been desensitizing him to a muzzle, and hoping that will give me some piece of mind. I hope everyone else dealing with this problem finds something that works, and when you do please share.

Biting and aggression
by: Anonymous

We adopted a Aussie mix puppy at 8 wks. And he has a loving home wish us and our 2 daughters(college age). Unfortunately he has bitten my niece and nephew 9 and 3 and my daughter age 22. He also bit a friend while we were at a local coffee shop. He has tried biting or been aggressive with 7 people total and he is now 1 year old. He is impulsive and we never know when he will get aggressive. He as siting on my husbands lap when one incident happened and the person put her face in his face so that was not a good idea. The other times the kids were standing quietly in our house. We love him and are attached to him don't want to get rid of him but we are so worried he will get loose and hurt someone badly. He knows I'm the alpha female and will usually obey me but not my husband. We took him to obedience school and he caught on quickly but he is a door dasher and is still agresssive with people not dogs.
We are thinking about a behavioralist ..

rude dogs
by: Anonymous

I FOUND A FIX. I did it. well... my dog did it. So, I moved to a large property in Nevada. Lots and lots of room. I got one of those ball throwing green sticks. The one with the orange tennis balls. Every day I go out and toss that ball as hard as I can. My dog "Tiddlywinks" runs so fast to go get it. Every time. I do this over and over and over again. When she walks the ball back to me I know she is good. Now my dog is so sleepy she doesn't care who comes to the door. She doesn't care that the neighbor is out, she doesn't care about people walking by. SHE JUST DON'T CARE. When she starts to care, BALL TIME. lol. This is how I fixed it when nothing would work. It takes a lot of work from me to just stop what I'm doing and toss the ball. 3 times a day sometimes. I'm not saying it will work for all, but if your dog loves a ball... try it out. Good luck.

My female Aussie has become very aggressive
by: Yvette

we took our aussi's to the groomers yesterday with explicit instructions on what to do. Wash, look for ticks , trim the feathers in the rear and regular grooming. Do not shave. We picked up the dogs and they had been shaven. They were both unrecognizable to us and they were unrecognizable to each other. The female has attacked her male playmate several times last evening and during the middle of the night. I got in the middle of one of the fights and got bitten. I am sure the female thinks she is protecting the family against an intruder. The dogs look nothing like their former selves. I don't know what to do. We have them separated right now. These are working ranch dogs. They don't go about on a leash, and although they are caged at times when horses are worked they have freedom on the ranch. Can this actually happen that two lifelong friends could suddenly lose all perception of each other by the transformation that happened with the unrequested shaving?

In the same boat
by: Annie the Aussie Lover

I have 2 little Aussie shepherds as well, ages 2 and 4. They are healthy, vibrant, energetic pups with healthy, vibrant, energetic lives. Although they are around people and dogs all the time, they are very protective of their momma. If a stranger or unknown dog comes up to one of them, they go insane and bark, growl, and sometimes bite. Now, I have read that Aussies are very protective, and happen to be very intelligent, but this is getting out of hand. We are thinking about adopting a border collie soon, and I am very nervous about how my Aussies will handle it. While on vacation (I brought one Aussie), I went to a restaurant with a (definitely not dog-friendly) patio. Unfortunately, I had to leave her tied to the fence on the patio, which I thought would be okay, since I was a mere 2 yards away. People continually tried to pet her, and every time, she would attack. It was gruesome. Help.

My Aussie turned psycho
by: Kq

My dog, an Australian shep mini is the best dog. Smart, warm, loving. But she has an aggression PRob that started alittle before a year. She has turned psycho at outsiders of the immediate family and sometimes gets mean to the older kids that are not home much.( college)
I love her to death but I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!!
I have tried classes and therapists paying hundreds but nothing works! I am heart broken!!! Why didn't they say this about he breed!!! WHY!!!!!!!! Now what do I do!!!
- heart broken

My dogs the same way
by: Anonymous

My dog does the exactly the same thing and I can not get through to her no matter what I do or try. I need help with her and I have had other dogs before in my life. But never had this problem. So I know how you feel.

3 mnth Lab/Aussie is aggresive when gets into human food
by: Anonymous

We have a similar situation with our pup. We got him at 6 weeks and is now 4 months. He got aggresive the 1st time just passed 2 months old. He is aggressive when we get on to him for nipping at our young boys and jumping on them. He growls and shows teeth and tries to bite harder. Then the biggest issue is his aggression when he's gotten into food from the table or counter - or our kids laps. He literally attacks over human food (doesn't get aggressive at all with dog food). He def sees my husband as pack leader, as he will cower a bit to him if he gets onto him, but when he gets human food, he's even attacked my husband. Just 2 days ago he got a sandwich that my son was eating at the coffee table when he went to get a drink. My younger son walked into the living room to sit down and Cooper ran after him and bit him, just bc he walked by while Cooper was eating the stolen sandwich!
Otherwise, he is a sweetheart and we love him. His is super smart and we enjoy his company, but it's scary at the thought of him attacking my own children... We have an apt to get him fixed, as said to help with aggression and I know food aggression is common and can be trained, but that's for dog food aggression. We don't give him table scraps, he only gets it if he gets into our food. With 2 young boys I can't live my life in fear and expect that they not be kids and be able to just have a snack or eat in a place where he can't get to them or put him in the kennel every time they think about eating anything. I'm just worried about him being like this already and he's not even grown yet - which 1-2 seems to be the time that a lot of others became aggressive. He's already big and he's going to be a VERY big dog, I can't - and don't want to think about what damage he can do as he gets bigger and older... Patience is scary when my boys are hanging in the balance... And with all of the above comments about their aggression, I am really worried that it won't change, but rather get worse - even if we work a lot with him. Each time it happens, I'm angry and want him out of our home, but then he's so good and sweet again and I keep hoping it will get better... We are torn... Any ideas...?

My progress up and down
by: Joanne

I have a just over one year old Aussie! And he is an amazing family pet! Perfect with my children and other dog! So at bout four month he chased cars! I spent many hours watching traffic with him! Slowly with busier roads and the problem solved! Then the next task he became aggressive to strangers at seven months! Barks turn to trying to bite! Firstly I muzzled him! He hates it but if I don't I am nervous which he will pick up on! And I need to establish alpha role with him so nerves are not aloud! Then I walked with a lot of treat in quiet street every time some one in site I treat! He also has been made to walk in line with me on the lead no longer in front! Before he was ahead and only close when passing people! My mistakes or that may have made him see them as threat! If when walking someone passed I make him sit a little away and treat him! Today was the first time I took him outside a busy shop and he did great anxious at first but by the end he was looking for treats and not worry about people! This has been all over a month and u have only a few time he has pulled at some one never barks! I am happy with this! I will also be getting provisional training for me! There hopefully is a light but it does take time and ensuring there energy is being burnt!

Same thing
by: Anonymous

I am experiencing the same thing. For the most part Jake is super playful and loving to people and dogs. But every once and a while he dislikes a dog at the park and end up in a scuffle which has caused us to have to leave a few times. But worse is that he is consistently aggressive to the neighbor dog and now the owner to the point where the owner is afraid jake will bite him. I don't know what to do but I am going to have to resort to a shock collar as I can't afford to pay for someone's hospital and vet bills.

Ill-mannered Theo
by: Aleene

3 weeks ago we adopted an Australian Shepard Theo from our local shelter. From what we know about him he is about a year old give or take a few months, he was an owner surrender and we are his third owners. We are not sure if he is neutered or not because our vet could not determine it. No scar, no testicles etc. He started out all sweet and friendly, super obedient and a wonderful companion to our children. However, this week, he is getting even more "nippy" and "mouthy". He purposely jumped up onto my 11yo daughter and tried to bite her which he knows not to jump up. It's maybe the 3rd time he has done it first time aggressively. He also nipped my 4yo son enough to make him a little fearful
He gets at least 1 hr of vigorous exercise a day with balls and Frisbees and easily 2 more with running after our kids (5 in total). We love him lots but NEED to curb his aggression.

It is evident that he was not socialized properly when young because he used to be very aggressive of people and other dogs. He is very skiddish, submissive and rolls over immediately onto his back when he comes to you. I suspect that his confidence is low. However, he has come leaps and bounds from the first day we got him. He obeys the sit command and is doing much better on a leash. He is much more approachable and We are finally able to take him out into public and enjoy the joys of having a dog. But now with this aggression issue at hand, he is getting stubborn and testing the limits.

He knows that me and my husband are the alphas but is trying to establish that he is higher than the kids is my guess. He is super smart and is capable of change and he has showed us that he can. He shows that he cares for us when he brings you his chew toy and the end of the day and chews it on your lap while you sit next to him. He loves tummy rubs and taking order's from our 3yo with no problem.

We have tried bitter apple spray in moderation, avoiding him when he exhibits negative behaviors, rewarding the good behaviors, and even a time out spot on our covered patio. Little to no avail, he is still aggressive.

Any advice, books, videos? He had the potential to be a wonderful dog, if he can just see it.

I'm in the same boat
by: Anonymous

Our Aussie was socialized very young. We walked him a lot and tons of people would always come up and pet him. Once he turned 6 months, it's like he flipped a switch and became very aggressive towards other people. He has never bitten anyone, just runs towards them and barks, especially around children. He does not like children and I am so scared that he'll bite one someday and have to be put down. He's an amazing dog. Incredibly affectionate and sweet towards our family. I don't know how he can just be so mean to other people. If anyone finds something that helps let me know.

australian shephard
by: Anonymous

I dont know how aggressive your dog is but a muzzle or shock collar will definitely make that worse. I was 18 when i got my australian shepherd i am now 26 and it has had its rough moments. I love him to death though. I got him neutered. I also realized im the only one that he really wants to be with, he never takes to others, vacations are tough, and im sure if i had a baby, jealousy would kick in. Since he is older now its a bit easier, the dog needs to be your best friend, find a way to mentally connect with him! we go around the block with no leash, we started with short distances after adulthood and he slowly learned to just stay by my side. We play fetch most of the time in the yard with rope toys, we play tug of war, I try my best to make it competitive and he sleeps right smack in the middle of the bed with me and my husband. puppy years i found difficult but we always used a yard until he calm down a bit (roughly age 4). love him unconditionally and if he doesnt like others jsut tell people dont touch him. every dog has its own personality, this does not come easy and it takes dedication and time.(also the dog will never like other animals)

My aggressive mini aussie
by: Anonymous

I've had my mini aussie since she was 1 month old. Her mom developed milk issues and couldn't nurse her pups.I kept her around people daily til she was almost a yr. She became snippy and would growl. We live in the country so she has lots of room to run. I've used a muzzle to help with growling and barking around people. I've used a vibration/shock collar to teach her boundaries since we live close to a highway. She's loving and smart. Licks her feet alot when she settles at night. I have to remind her to leave her feet alone. The collar works by just putting it on. She hid behind my husband recently when they came across a possum. Which is out of character since she can be very aggressive. I've used leather gloves to help with the biting. It's almost as if she zones out and goes psycho. We have a 6 month old lab mix. The play alot but every once in awhile, she zones out and tries to destroy the puppy. Scares me til she can refocus. She's almost 3.

by: Anonymous

We found our Aussie wandering lost one night and no one claimed him. I think we know why now. At first he was loving and playful with our other three dogs. We weren't going to keep him because we didn't need another dog and he sheds so much but we feel in love with him. Over the past six months he has become a demon dog. He has no fear of showing his dominance with our 125 lb lab who smacks him to the floor and holds him down. Now he has started the constant barking. We've scheduled an appt to have him fixed next week hoping that will help. If not we will have to get rid of him. Sad face.

Use a no pull harness
by: Anonymous

We switched to a no pull harness with the clip for the leash on the chest instead of the harness clip between the shoulder blades or on the collar. You will find a huge difference in the way they walk with one of these, much less pulling and therefore less tension in the dog.

There may be a leash reactive class in your area. Great for giving insight and for learning strategies for dealing with aggressive leash behaviour.

by: Zanna

I adopted an Aussie female, 3 yrs. old from the owner, who said she was aggressive with her other unspayed female. I really fell in love with her, so smart so loving!! I had her spayed and then when she was healed, I had her meet our 7 yr old female, spayed Rottweiler mix, Holy cow if we hadn't had them on long leashes she would have tried to kill our totally non-aggressive Rott. It was epic violence from this little dog. i talked to a lot of experts and they all said, no guarantees she could be rehabilitated. She also barked at Black people, so weird. i gave her back to the owner, who had a family with no other dogs. Now my question, I fell in love with the breed and I have a chance to buy a puppy from this same woman, different genetic line, are all Aussies aggressive? Help!!!

Aussies tough
by: Anonymous

This breed is very very very challenging, exhaust all of your options, be positive with the breed they respond to enthusiasm and redirection much better than negative reprimand, that being said sometimes force is needed. My Aussie is 1 year and is still a daily challenge. Build their confidence and don't be discouraged. Remove them from whatever situations trigger them until you have more control of the dog and more reliable. I'm frustrated at times too. Keep going Aussies Rule!!!!!!

My Aussie
by: Anonymous

My Aussie is very aggressive towards lil dogs even the ones he grew up with I have had him neutered I think it makes them worse my Aussie has killed 3 of my other fur babies I need info also I say please help me too thank you.

by: Anonymous

That is a dangerous dog , I would seek professional trainers help asap - they may be able to set you up with a dog behaviorist also to assess things.

Good luck

Aussies are crazy and fun
by: Anonymous

Hello! I also have an aussie male ( he is a mini tho) and he had similar issues as a puppy minus the actual biting. He just turned one and I have to say is getting better. The thing I noticed that helped him was my body language during his acting out. The energy will transfer through the leash and if they start to feel tesion right away as a person approches then they are going to assosiate that with needing to be on gaurd. We started bringing treats on walks (these treats are different and tastier treat then the ones we use for trick training) and honestly it helps. He also has a pronged choak collar that seems to be the only thing that keeps him behaving and it is not because it hurts him it's because it is not tight all the time. He does aweful in a harness because he pulls and feels the tension and then thinks the situation is bad. So if your using a harness my advise is maybe switch it up. Also put faith in your pup. Any small improvement is worth reward.
We also ask new people to give him treats and to not make eye contact. He needs to know that ignoring people is ok (no matter how much people want to pet him sometimes we have to keep our dogs comfort level above our friends desires)
The other thing we did was actually get another puppy. We got his a basset hound companion. Bassets are known for there kind temperament and kinda being lazy ( even though ours is very active :)) but having another dog that likes to meet people doesn't nessisary make him want to meet people too but people don't give all their attention to him therefor letting him warm up slower. Also baskets bark at alot of things but not in an aggressive way it's more of a I'm letting you know there is something out there so our aussie picks up on that and has started not caring about people walking past our apartment as much. Sorry for such a long post but my little man also means the world to me so I hope some of this helps.

Shelter Aussie MX Cant Get a Forever Home
by: Felice

At our shelter we have a 2.5 years old Aussie mix who is sometimes totally lovable Then, suddenly, you see him give you the "side eye" and he will snap/bite or attack. No apparent reason. It appears to be happening more often. He has been adopted out 3 x and always gets returned because of this. I love the little mooch and want him to find a family, but need to know what we can do to help his behavior. He can play fetch, but suddenly will turn toy aggressive at times (not always). I have not noticed any particular triggers for his sudden aggression. He is otherwise healthy and in good condition. Any suggestions?

Yes I can help.
by: Anonymous

You most likely have to look within yourself. If you are letting the dog lead you, and do this then you are going to have the problem. You have most likely and still do give your dog signals that it is in charge each day. Do research and find out how to be the pack leader. Once dogs start being the follower, they then follow rules and stop trying to make the rules.. Even if the dog acts out, you should be able to have enough control to be able to make the dog stop immediately. If this is not the case then that dog thinks that it owns you and outranks you inside of your "pack." Dogs are pack animals. If any do thinks it outranks you in your "pack" then you will have trouble controlling it and it will do as it pleases most of the time. I'd find out how to fix this and take control. There's way more to it, but hopefully this gives you a starting point. Good luck!

Here are some ideas
by: Anonymous


I am working on a similar problem with our Aussie. I am making good progress but be prepared that it takes time. 1)Exercise your dog with a ball in the backyard every second day and give them a break from going for walks. 2) Is there a structured dog daycare in your area? My dog enters daycare with muzzle and the handlers take them into a fenced area where they adjust to the surroundings with a fence between them and the other dogs. When the dog is calm they will enter and spend time with similar energy dogs. (The muzzle is taken off before entering). The staff in this type of daycare really knows what they are doing. 3)Learn how far you need to be from whatever triggers your dog on walks, usually across the street. 4)Walk your dog with an 'easy walk -no pull halter' and a muzzle (caesar milan's funny muzzle has the best fit and they can pant somewhat in it and pick up treats with it on). Here is the important part: Bring a bag of chopped hot dogs or lunch meat on the walk. When you walk past the person/dog/bicycle (on the other side of the street), call the dogs name so they look at you and say 'Get it'. Then toss a couple of chopped hotdogs in front of the dog's face. They will immediately zone in on the treats, tail wagging. They may not look at you the first time but they will notice the treats flying. Make sure you always call their name first so they learn to look at you and away from whatever is making them react. Toss and walk until you are past the person/dog/bicycle. This works well. You will have to bring treats and use this method for months and months but you will slowly see that your dog losses interest in barking at people/dogs/bicycles, etc. It will take time but I am seeing excellent progress with my dog. It has been two months and we have tried walking without treats and she is much calmer but is not quite there yet. We will continue to walk with treats and muzzle for awhile yet.

aggressive female
by: Anonymous

We got our aussie when she was 6 weeks old. She is the most affectionate dog I have ever had. Here is our problem: She is now 2 and about a month ago she started getting aggressive with our jack. He went after a ball and she grabbed him and threw him around until we got her off of him. It took a few weeks for him to heal and she has gone after him 4 times since then. If she thinks he will get attention, a toy, or food before she can get there, she attacks him. He is 10 and the alpha dog. We do not want to get rid of her but we have been trying alot of things suggested and so far it isn't working. Someone said to get her fixed so we will try that. She does not do this with our lab but we are now afraid to take her to the dog park because we do not know how she will react to other dogs. She is fine with people, unless they try to take her toy. I will take suggestions also. We have been doing the training with her to stop aggression with no luck. She has always "herded" him in the backyard but now he is terrified of her and won't go in the yard if she is there.

do not buy an aussie unless you live on a farm
by: Anonymous

we have an aussie, currently 9. its been mostly a terrible experience. not at all what we envisioned when we brought her home as a puppy. I don't think I will ever own a dog again of any breed. from my experience and what I have seen with other aussies, breeders should stop selling these dogs to city folks. these dogs belong on a farm. there may be exceptions, where some aussies are great city dogs, but I don't see the need for the risk. just get another dog breed if you live in the city.

the dog is needlessly overprotective. I wish her common sense was as developed as her ability to love and her devotion to our family. I am not in danger of being killed by a child on roller skates.

anyone who is tempted to reply that we didn't train her adequately can shove it. this post would exceed the 10000 character limit if I listed all the obedience schools and cesar milans we have taken her to.

Aggressive male mini aussie
by: Anonymous

I also have an aggressive male mini Aussie who is getting worse. He was a loving and affectionate puppy for about one month after we got him, then he started getting spurs of aggression. He could be playing with you one minute then the next growling and going into "attack mode". He is now a few months shy of a year old and has gotten worse. We have fixed him, brought him to trainers recommended by the vet, and give him hours and hours of exercise and to no avail he still bites. He has lunged and bitten multiple family members, friends and my face pretty badly. He can love on you one minute and the next completely snap and go nuts. He absolutely hates strangers, the only way he tolerates them is by us using the pronged collar the trainer provided us with and command him to sit and sway his attention with a treat. He also has aggression with certain toys, bones, and treats and cannot have them around any people encluding our own family members. He really is an incredibly smart dog and trained well. When he isn't being aggressive he has the ability to be loving, and fun and we absolutely love him and his wiggle butt and don't want to give up on him. Our vet expressed his concerns that he is so aggressive at such a young age. I just worry that one day he will hurt me, my friends or family, or worse someone else if he snaps. Our trainer seems to think it is fear based aggression and that he lacks confidence, hoping for some answers on how to build his confidence more so he becomes less aggressive.

Depressed and overwhelmed
by: Anonymous

Five months ago my husband and I were so excited to bring our 8 week, male minture Aussie home. The day before deciding on the breed, I read as much as I could about the characteristics. I knew that I would need to offer daily excerise, walks, fetch and puppy training. I also read about the traits of hearding and "nipping." I read about Aussies being stubborn and clever. It seemed from what I read, the good traits outweighed the potentially bad traits. In hind sight, our puppy displayed aggression upon our arrival to bring him home. Even though Ollie was slightly larger than a baked potato, he managed to growl at husband the moment they met. I figured it was due to my husband's deep voice, his beard, or perhaps just because he was a man. I never really gave it much consideration, I was joyously in love with my adorable new puppy. Ollie's aggression towards my husband continued... barking, growling, air biting and biting, even though the bites did not break skin. Over time, Ollie has seemed to "overcome" his rocky beginning with my husband. We also have issues with separation anxiety when I leave, fear of other dogs, strangers, resource guarding, I am the chosen one... I thought we would be okay until last month when he walked behind a man who was working at our home and bit him through his pants on his calf of his leg. It was a light bit, but still a bite. No barking, no growls, he just walked silently behind him and bit. Now we were told to hire a behaviorist. We are two sessions in with the behaviorist and yesterday upon my sons arrival home from college, within the first hour of his arrival, he jumped up from behind as my son was walking and bit him on the back of the arm. This bite was more. Both bites occurred not in my presence. The reality is that I now have a puppy that I have had for five months bite twice in a 60 day period. The fear and depression of wondering how this will all play out is more than I ever bargained for. I now am dealing with the reality that our discretionary income will be spent on a decade of training and correction, pet corrector spray and who knows what else. Making a decision to be a pet owner is not one I take lightly, once I own a pet it becomes a lifetime commitment. If I had read the endless articles that I now can find regarding Aussie's and biting, I can promise you, I would have never selected this breed. I love him so much, but I never thought bringing a family pet into our home would become full-time work, expense and worry. I met with our behavioral trainer today and she was honest to tell me that we will do our best to train and help deal with these issues, but there are not promises for full correction.
I am feeling so depressed and full of anxiety. My husband and I just married 7 months ago, we are both looking to retire soon, our kids are grown. The plan was for peaceful, happy years... not ones with stress. I am hoping for a rainbow and not endless storms. Feeling disappointed.

Dog Aggressive
by: Gwen

My dog has been the same. takes so long to warm up to people. everyone in the neighborhood is scared of him. He is fenced in but it is chain link. I'm not sure if getting another dog for him to play with would help or not. any suggestions. also, I have tried using the training collars and that seems to help when walking. He can not stand the vet. He will try to bite even with a muzzle. I need some help. I have to work so I cant be home with him or he would be better. He used to be socialized when he was young playing and rounding up all the kids. they loved him now they cant even come near him. it makes me sad. I don't want to get rid of him but I don't want anyone to get hurt.

Work work work!
by: Zanna

My 10 month old female spayed Aussie is so intense! She has been in puppy class and obedience school. My trainer calls her a "special needs dog". She is the best and she is crazy! Being consistent and working her everyday some days is still not enough. We don't have much money and hundreds and hundreds of dollars have gone to her! I knew she would be more of a challenge than most other dogs. I had read about them, I had a rescue for a bit. My vet recommends trazadone before stressful events, I hate medicating her and frankly she still is intense. I have spent hour upon hour training her and exercising her. She is so excited to meet people she bowls them over. What do I do. She nips me and my husband, I know it is not aggression, but her breed. She really is hilarious but I need help!!! I am considering a shock collar for just when she meets people. I have a lot of grandchildren and she simply can no longer be around them because she is bigger and so strong and so excited to see them and jumps and nips. The baby is terrified of her. Is a shock collar the right thing? I would like opinions. Thanks and happy day with your balls of energy.

Hope you can get her under control
by: Viviane

I'm sorry to know about your situation! Jack is 8 months and I already consider him the best dog I ever had . I'm totally in love with Aussies and I had luck because Jack is a submissive dog so that makes him very friendly with everybody, today I told my husband that if we ever need protection we'll be in trouble because Jack just isn't cut for it , he never barked lol.
He does amazing off leash and my 7 y.o daughter and I take him hiking in the woods every day. I'm amazed how natural he herds of us without making a noise, I can see he is very attentive with ears up all the time, he runs in front waits and if we take a while to show up he comes back, circles the last one on the trail and takes off again, he does that during the whole hike, usually we are done in 1h30m. If we encounter other people with dogs he greets them happily and I learned that if I keep walking he will follow us. Today he saw a deer and of course he had to chase it lol, I whistled one time (this is how I do to let him know we are still hiking) and I kept walking without waiting for him, it didn't take 5 seconds for him to come rushing through the woods lol. He is a great swimmer and he can't see a puddle without splashing in lol, at the lake he takes off after ducks but will give up chase if I whistle one time. My only problem is that he figured out a way to break out of cage while I'm at work : he pushes the plate off the cage and uses his nuzzle to pull the gate up in order to open it . The day I saw him in action I didn't believe my eyes.

I learned from his breeder that a littler is classified in submissive and dominants : submissives are docile and display playfull behavior and dominants will be more aggressive and will try to take the lead. If you don't use a firm posture with dominant personality you'll be in trouble because they will rule over you. I think this might have happened to you. Show her who is the leader of the pack and she will get better, use the muzzle until she figures out this is unacceptable behavior, Aussies are very smart and she will get it pretty quickly. If they don't get enough exercise to make them tired they will get bored and you won't like what they will choose to do while unemployed :(
she needs a job and I guess protecting you is the way she thinks she is working .
Take her hiking . It will make her tired enough to give up agression, if you don't trust her off leash I suggest basic comand class so you are sure she will follow you.

Be patient and I'm sure that with a firm hand, lots of love (I'm sure you give her plenty), bonding and some obedience class will make her respect you as a leader and you will enjoy having the best K9 companion only Aussies are experts to be !

by: Anonymous

I have a female Aussie who is nearly 1 year old now, and I have used nearly all positive training methods. I would advise visiting Cesar Millan's website, reading his books, and watching his movies. He will answer your questions and his website covers FAQs and problems your dog might have. He has dealt with many dog problems, so check it out! I have used his methods many times on problems with my pup and the problems have stopped. If your Aussie is food-motivated, use a ton of kibble and treats in basic conditions, like looking at you when there are strangers around. Say his/her name, get him to look you in the eye, even if it is for a second, and give him a treat. Do this all the time, at home, on a walk, at the store, then try getting him to obey a command with distractions. This should work. Make sure you are a firm leader who does not let him get away with bad behavior. The instant he pulls, stop and tell him to sit next to you or get him to look at you before moving on. This will take a long time to go for a walk, but after 3 or 4 walks, he should get the point and get better about pulling. Good luck!

8 month old, male neutered Aussie has changed overnite
by: Anonymous

We have had our Aussie since he was 6 wks old. He has had all his shots, vet checks & neutered on time per his vets recommendation. Our Australian Shepherd started "nipping" around a couple months of age, and then uncontrollably digging into the ground, in a way that I dont think he could hear me. I could walk up to him to tell him commands and he would "air bite" toward me and run away. I am the "alpha" its me and my 12 yr old son. My dog will bite son hard enough to draw blood if my son is too close to me, hugs me. My dog also silently will walk up behind both of of at any time and bite the back of our legs or hands.
Now this is not my first dog, I researched this breed and was ready for the challenge. I walk him three times daily on a leash, he gets one on one time as well as lots of rest and play time. When I walk him, He has to have a muzzle, harness and a collar. If he sees anyone or another animal he turns into "cujo" instant. I have a leash with two handles so i can keep him close. He will run around me, stand on his hind legs, bark, howl, growl. Push all his weight to try to get to what he is looking at. Thankfully besides my son and I no one else has been bitten. But if we have company over he has to be put in a kennel and he will howl and cry so loud that i have had my company leave.
I have also tried putting him into a bedroom, he will run into the door with his head, ( i have been in the room) until the people leave. No matter how much i try to calm, console him. Nothing. If i try treats his anxiety is so high he will throw up.
Is this beyond help? He just turned 8 months please help.

Aggressive Aussie
by: Anonymous

I'm very sorry about this behavior you are experiencing with your Aussie. I believe you have tried many things to fix the problem. If you have a treadmill inside, you should try working with your dog to walk/slowly jog on it to give him exercise. Cesar Millan does this, and it works really well. I am starting that with my 10 month old Aussie. Work patiently and with no distractions. Millan has a website you might want to look at that is very helpful. Is your dog afraid of male people or female people? Could there be something that is encouraging or stimulating his aggressiveness? Red zone aggressiveness needs training, but don't lose hope! Keep training and working!! Good luck

8 month old male neutered cont:
by: Anonymous

My Aussie originally was "nervous" meeting anyone outside of our home. But inside, as he meet our small family he loves us all. I have noticed when he gets in the aggressive state or has locked in on something I dont think he can hear me. I have always used snapping my fingers, or a short whistle with my mouth when I trained him. But when he is locked in I feel like im trying to get the attention of a 45 pound 2 yr old who is throwing a very dangerous tantrum. He is solid muscle.
I read all the stories on here and for those of you that said they are ranch dogs. I agree. Aussies respectfully need to have a long day of work, and plenty of room to run. I dont have a treadmill, my Aussie would freak out. He dont like the vacuum. Thats why we take so many walks, where he is actually walking on two legs.

by: Anonymous

talk to your vet about trazadone, we use it with our 1 year old when she needs to get groomed or be around kids

Cont 8 month old male neutered
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your suggestions. Very much appreciated.

Having the same problem
by: Anonymous

I adopted my mini Australian Shepherd at 5 months old. The second day I had him he bit a family member.
It’s frustrating to hear comments from non-Aussie owners when I have researched and done behavior modification for months. He is aggressive both on and off leash and has now bit five people! He is not food motivated when he is fixated on a stranger or visitor. I’ve tried a shock collar which I never thought I would ever resort to! All that collar did what stop the barking and he silently attacked and bit a friend of mine in a friendly environment! He otherwise obeys and listens to me as the pack leader but I see that other owners on here have commented that their Aussie has also seemed to just flip a switch. He is loveable and sweet to women but when he sees a man he becomes aggressive and will attack. He has been neutered and it made no difference at all. I am at a loss and discouraged with all the money, training, training products and time spent on exercising this dog to exhaustion. It’s becomes full time job and is not improving. He is becoming more unpredictable as he is almost one year old.

Aussies are a hand full!
by: Anonymous

He was 5 months old? These Puppies nip all the time. Mine was a difficult puppy, not easy ever! Nipping, nipping all the time. I thought when do I get a sweet little puppy? never happened. Did he draw blood? Is it a nip or a full on bite? Is he growling when he bites? If he is people, other than family, aggressive, that is one thing. Being a young dog is another. Have you tried a spray bottle with water and a little vinegar. They can be so frustrating. What is the dog like with you? and your family? Where was she before you got her? Was she like this with them? I think answering these questions for yourself might help. Is she enjoyable to you?

I never had a dog like my aussie, she is a challenge everyday and I understand the full-time job part, also the $$$. But we are bonded now and the work is worth it. My dog needs exercise and even more she needs mental stimulation, if she doesn't get it, oh boy rough day for me!

I hope some of this helped. Mine has gone through 2 obedience classes, yeah right! My vet gave her trazadone so she could attend. He also said to give her one when small children are around. She doesn't want to hurt them, but she she does want to nip and herd them.

Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your help!
Yes, I adopted him from a breeder at 5 months. I contacted her to see if possibly any males working at the ranch may have caused a traumatic experience. She said there were no issues. He is afraid of men. With women, he gets all wiggly butt and it’s just all love and kisses.
When I bring him to the dog park he LOVES every dog he sees and he does fabulous at daycare with the dogs and staff. I asked how he was with the males that work there and they said he’s great.
At home he is so loveable and just wants to play every waking moment. The incidents of aggressive biting (certainly not nipping) have been in or outside my home. Even if we are in the car and a man is close by, he goes crazy!! Growling, barking, snarling. He had this behavior each time he bit a person. The 4th incident discouraged me terribly because for the first time it happened out in public at a park, although the two of us were alone and he was playing and running off leash. A stranger approached us and although I was talking to the man who was friendly, my dog ran over and bit him. That’s when I got the bark collar. The last time was outside my home but next door. He had the collar when he started the aggressive barking and lunging. The collar scared him and it stopped. I had a conversation with my neighbors for about 10 minutes and when the man stood up to walk to the car, my dog lunged and bit him without barking.
After that, I took him to the dog park and Petco because I didn’t want to be stuck on these events. He was absolutely fine and friendly in the store and at the dog park where both places had men there.
I am trying to work through this but I’m learning now that it’s a fear aggression but seems to be protective around the home to strangers. When he barks at people outside, I always correct him and calm him by saying it’s OK and Come. It breaks my heart because I see him tilting his head at me and he’s really trying to understand and please me. He’s a very fast learner and wants to be a good boy. My family says that he’s crazy and will need to be put down. I’m overwhelmed but luckily he’s only 16 pounds and when he’s out of control aggressively barking i I pick him up and carry him to go in the house and he stops.

by: Anonymous

Also, he is neutered. It didn’t make any behavioral difference.

by: Anonymous

I am no expert, my AS is the 1st i have had except for a rescue. That dog turned out to be dog aggressive and would have killed or been killed by our rott. She also barked incessently at black people, so awful. A family was found who had no other dogs and she is doing fine. Even if she doesn't work out for you, there are ways for her to be adopted, I don't think she needs to die. Are you on Facebook? There are many Australian Shepherd pages with many experienced owners who might be able to help. I recommend AS International. It sounds like your dog is super smart and really loves you and wants to protect you from males. I don't think females seem as scary to dogs.

Aussies are a particular kind of dog and I would never have believed how tough it can be to train them. I do use the tone on an e collar and that really helps. I am sorry this happening. Also you could muzzle her when she is around males outside. We had to muzzle ours for obediance class, because she was so excited. best of luck

by: Anonymous

Please help! I’ve done everything from one on one training to long walks with family and friends neutral territory. However my neutered Eli is still a threat to others and dogs. He has one dog friend he loves and is protective of. They met when Eli was a puppy before the aggression kicked in. I’m been told that I need to socialize him...that’s a joke...he wants nothing to do with other dogs! I love Eli but I can’t have friends over unless we take several walks 😟

You can't change genetics
by: Anonymous

So many times people run out and get an Aussie pup or grown dog at the dog shelter or a breeder that carries a line in the blood that has aggressive behaviour. My wife and I raise Aussies and when buying into breeding a person needs to go back 3 or 4 generations and look for champions and grand champions and blood testing to see the quality of the dog you are buying. I owned and operated a horse stables and clinic breeding the best that we could. Dogs are no different. In a horse 3 generations back will show what the mares all foal.

My wife and I have Whispering Woods Australian Shepherds, and we try to breed the best to get the best. Look us up at Whisperingwoodsaustralianshepherds Facebook or call 740-391-9999

by: Anonymous

Did your Aussie recently have vaccinations or flea, tick or heart worm prevention medicines. Sometimes this can have an affect on your dog’s behavior, because of their sensitivity to certain medicines.
Patience, routine and finding a job for it to do everyday consistently.
Avoid any reward of protectiveness, aussies learn quickly and will repeat a behavior if they are encouraged even if you do it inadvertently.
Take classes with an expert who deals well with an aggressive dog.
Retrain: Reward frequently when your dog performs the correct behavior. Try to create situations that work. Repeating situations with positive results may help it relearn what to do.
Aussies are awesome but require firmness and need to learn their place in the family pack.

for aggressive puppy
by: Anonymous

Desensitization and counter conditioning--- you start with giving treats for her looking at people from a distance and not reacting. If she starts reacting you are too close and you build from there. it takes time and patience... do not use aversive collars they will make her worse!! look up CARE dog training

Going through the same thing
by: Anonymous

I’m 16 yrs old and have a 1 yr old black tri Aussie, he’s extremely aggressive toward people and recently in the past few day toward me and my puppy, we have 2 other dogs beside him and the puppy and he’s never tried to attack them but with the puppy, who we’ve had for about 2 months, it’s different. He used to love the puppy, they were best friends, and it just all th sudden changed and when his relationship with the puppy changed so did his relationship with me now, sometimes he’s ok and sometime I can’t walk in my own room because he’ll try and attack me. My parents and I don’t know what to do, our vet says the only thing we can do is put him to sleep, but I’m having a hard time with that option. So I know what your going through, I hope yours gets better.

consider more options
by: Anonymous

I am no expert on these dogs, but please don't put the dog down! There are people who would take her. Does she break the skin, does the puppy get hurt? Is it herding behavior? Tell us more about her.

my dog is aggressive and killed one of my other dogs.
by: Anonymous

my dog is a 5 year old aussie/great dane mix and she's a great dog, but she's so aggressive. her and one of my other small dogs got in a fight last fall and she killed the small dog. i have two other small dogs along with her, and she never displayed that kind of aggression with them, so i thought it was just an issue she had with the one she killed? but now she's starting to be really aggressive to my other small ones; she won't let them eat, we have two food bowls and she won't let them get near either of them, she won't let them outside with her, when they try to go out she nips at their face, and tonight i've noticed she's started to put her face in my oldest dog's (10 yr old weenie dog) face and snarling at him. he turns his head away and shuts his eyes and he's started sleeping pressed up in the corner. this is the same behavior that i realized was being displayed by the dog she killed. i'm so worried she's gonna hurt one of the other two, and i feel like i should've listened when the vet said to rehome her, but she's like my child and i couldn't even bear the thought last year. but i can't let her kill one of my other dogs and now i'm at the end of my rope. i feel like rehoming her would traumatize her after this long of being with me but i don't know what else i could do besides, god forbid, putting her down. please give me suggestions, i'm desperate.

My Aussie male got aggressive at 18 months
by: Anonymous

I got a 12 week old Aussie from a breeder and immediately put him in puppy preschool to get him socialized and start training. He wasn't able to complete that 8 week class because he wanted to bark in class the entire time while all the other puppies were quietly behaving. He was excessively overly excitable. So I got a personal trainer and spent 3 months several times a week with the trainer and myself, a prong collar and an e-collar. He learned so fast and could sit still for anyone, even chickens walking right in front of him, never jumped on any kids, never barked at my neighbors or strangers, and passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors. I enrolled him in Nose Work and he excelled, learning techniques that search and rescue teams teach dogs. I exercised him every day with routines of long walks, lots of ball throwing, hikes, time at the beach running off leash, dog parks and interaction with other dogs and people. Then around 18-19 months old, he started showing very aggressive behavior, barking at anyone who walked by, lunging, biting forcefully and shaking the leash (leaving teeth marks in the leather). I couldn't get him to refocus and one day without showing any signs of barking or signs of fear, he nipped my neighbor on her butt when she walked by- didn't break the skin but left an apple sized bruise. He was on a leash and was sitting by my side! A week later we were in a park and parents with a toddler came up gently and my dog was fine with that. But when a screaming little girl came up waving her hand he lunged at her and mouthed her. That was enough for me. I wasn't going to take on any liability. I had taken him everywhere with me and now all I could see was keeping him muzzled and quarantined. It broke my heart but I decided to re-home him. And like so many of the other owners have commented, my dog was super sweet with me, was super smart and I really really miss him. But I just couldn't take any chances with that kind of behavior. He was my first Aussie and I will not be getting another one due to this experience.

Calmness in a storm
by: Mr. DeMell

Remind yourslef emotions are watched by the dog. Smiles positive attention distraction from negative behavior. When the dog sees someone and barks. Speak give him POS. directions aussies love to work. If I am silent or have headphones when I go for a walk he won't be in stride with me to much distraction. Keep focus on your time with him look them in the eyes tell them you love them be calm. Always praise good behavior ignore bad behavior most of the time. Always exceptions to the rule with situational behavior. Aussie's learn your behavior and daily routine so when you put on shoes or work pants they know what's gonna happen next. Always stand in front or between the barking direction. Body Harness a must, walk him close and tight 90 degree leash tie. Walk on your him in a stride that is for you he will learn within minutes. Tug of war can be fun but, it can also cause aggressive and dominant. IF BITES YOUR ANKLES PICK HIM UP TURN HIM AROUND AND GENTLE HOLD HIM STILL UNTIL HE CALMS REPEAT OVER AND OVER IT DEFEATS NORMAL INSTINCT. He also might just wanna herd everything that moves it is what they are breed for.

Mr. DeMell
Owner of Black tri

Aussie has become aggressive
by: Sandy

I have an 18 month old female Red Merle. I have taken her to three lots of puppy training classes, also one week live in at a dog training centre and walked her twice a day to the park where she can play off leash. She pulled me over and hurt my knee requiring surgery when I was trying to walk her, she jumps up continuously despite correction. She has now attacked smaller dogs at the park 3 times. It usually starts with a smaller more feisty dog showing signs of being top dog and then she turns on smaller timid dogs and attacks them. I have to pull her off as she will not stop! The funny thing is, none of these dogs have actually had bite marks, but I am getting so concerned at her behaviour. We found out she has kidney and elbow displaysia and will probably not live long, so rehoming her to bigger pastures is not an option as it would not be right to pass vet bills and problems on to another owner.
She has already cost us a fortune although we do have pet insurance.
I am getting very anxious and stressed about her and seriously thinking of having her put down. I am at my wits end as I love her very much but cannot seem to get her under control. Please help. I have contacted the breeder who tells me none of her other dogs have had problems but that I need to be really firm with her. I thought I was firm but now feel I cannot go to the park as other neighbours are getting very upset with me and her. She desperately needs exercise so I feel I am in a no win situation!

Training and socializing
by: Anonymous

Get Don Sullivan's training the perfect dog. My aussie I had since 10 months was never socialized fault of me...his previous owners never wanted him socialized. He has issues still too but lots of training and excersize should help. You can even mix the two together. It will take lots of patience and time and dedication...stick with it and your dog will be happier.

by: Anonymous

WTOV9 - Shadyside man hospitalized after an attack by his own dog

I had no idea they could be vicious. Perhaps there is more to this.

by: Red

2 1/2 yo female Aussie. Have had her since 7 weeks old, great dog, obedience trained, started agility at 14 months. Very well mannered, very friendly around all people and dogs. We took in a 2 yo Labrador female who she had been on many walks with, another family members dog. Seemed to be fine with Lab then on walks she would get aggressive with me if she had to stay behind husband and lab. She had also nipped my husband a couple of time. Aussie bite me, needed 5 stitches on hand. Then she had a toy and as I walked by one day, Aussie became very aggressive. I directed her to her crate (she has been crate trained since puppy hood). She continued the aggression in the crate. I left room and ignored. Out of crate I was attacked.

comment to the woman with red merle and lab
by: Anonymous

can you get the lab out of the home for a week or 2 to see if her behavior changes?

by: Anonymous

It really helps to know we are not alone. We are at wits end with this little guy.

We had researched and were familiar with the breed or so we thought. Had no idea until we brought him home (5 month old) about the aggression and biting of family members.

Nothing works to deter him and it truly seems like switch gets flipped and he is on the attack. He will be calm and out of the blue is running around like crazy jumping and biting. Sometimes he is so sweet. And then this.

In talking with trainers, this behavior may never go away. I believe he needs to be on a ranch or farm with other dogs. He may be a great dog in a different environment. But we are not the right family.

Aussie New Owner
by: Anonymous

I have stressed obedience and pack mentality since we brought ours home. The food is the trick. It was explained to me on a few occasions that the dog eats last. Even "Ceasar Milan" stresses this. I make him wait and we feed ourselves first. It lets them know where they stand. I still have some challenges, but he is 6 months. He's pretty good for the most part.

Aussie's are temperamental sometimes
by: Anonymous

Hi, I've read a lot of the comments that other Aussie parents have wrote, some of them very good, I had a blue healer for 16 years, got her as a pup and she was my best friend. I have 4 children, and she would literally herd them when they were outside playing. She was extremely protective, I was her human. So I always told people to let her come to you, don't try to pet her. She will nip or bite. I never had to muzzle her, but if your pup bites all the time, and doesn't settle, then a muzzle will protect other people, and ultimately her.
Aussie dogs are working dogs, smart to a fault. Find a job for her. Talk to her, she can feel tension through the leash so be careful not to get to tense. Walk her. Some dogs are just more prone to bite, it's a hard habit to change. Classes might help. Good luck, don't give up, I loved my dog so much, and I miss her every day, but I know she's up in doggie heaven herding all the other dogs!

Aggressive Aussie
by: Anonymous

Our great Aussie had issues as a puppy and it was resolved with obedience classes for a 18 mo period at For Pets Sake, Waukesha, WI. One hour class a week with obedience and agility taught him to trust me to be the leader and he could relax.

He went on to be the best dog ever.

Dog attacks daughter.
by: Anonymous

Hi there. I'm sorry you're going through that. I have an almost 2-year-old Australian Shepherd. I got him at 6 weeks and brought him home. He was such a loving dog when he was little. The older he started getting the more aggressive he became with strangers.

I have had to walk him on a leash or he will attack someone. If I have company he becomes very aggressive and goes crazy to get out. We just thought because he was being protective. Then my friend's daughter came over a week ago and he broke out of his kennel and bit her twice.

I kept him...then Sunday night my daughter came home and went to her bedroom and she opened her door to come out and he charged at her and attacked her leaving several bites. I had to rush her to Texas Children's Hospital in the Woodlands.

It was like nothing I've ever seen. He never has been like that with us. The dog pound picked him up yesterday. I went by today to check on him. Since he has to be looked after for 10 days. They told me that he's a very dangerous dog. That they've never seen anything like it before.

Dog bite
by: Anonymous

My new Aussie is 11 weeks right now and he bites me continuously. He eats everything he can find (dirt, leaves, plastic, rocks, board, wood, cardboard, etc.) I don't know what to do anymore. Help please...

My beautiful Aussie needs rehoming
by: Anonymous

I have an Australian Shepard named Abby. She is beautiful and 1-year-old. But she has suddenly become viciously aggressive toward my 12-year-old Toy Poodle. I am having to keep them separated. I fear that Abby will try and kill my Toy Poodle. So I am rehoming Abby as soon as I can find someone that I would like to see her with. Is there anyone in South Carolina that might be interested in Abby? Abby has not been spayed yet. She has never been aggressive toward me or my hubby.

Note from Anton: You can add a listing on our Australian Shepherd Rescue Listings page here.

My Aussie Was Also Aggressive
by: Anonymous

My family purchased a blue merle male Aussie puppy about 9 weeks old from a breeder. He was from show lines. My kids were 8 and 10 at the time. We had a very difficult time with him a couple of weeks after we got him. He would steal things and run away. He nipped a lot. We had scratches and bruises all the time. He would run and jump and nip my kids from behind. It was extremely difficult to redirect him and my kids started to be afraid of him. Everything we tried to stop his behavior was like a challenge to him and it got more intense. At about 6 months, he began charging at the gate when my kids went up the stairs. He growled and lunged at my mom when she came to visit. My kids couldn’t run in the backyard without attacking.

We had a trainer come who was supposed to use the least harsh methods for the situation but in hindsight, I don’t think he knew what he was doing and he just wanted us to buy the electronic collar from him and take his training class. He put the collar on him right away. Band aid. I will never use an electronic or prong collar with any dog again. It definitely made the behavior worse.

He was loving toward me and my husband and I was his person. He would even play with the kids ok. One day I had him in my bedroom with me and he lunged at and bit my daughter out of nowhere when she came into my bedroom. I was trying desperately to find a trainer who would work with him to help stop and or manage this behavior. A few days later he attacked my daughter again out of the blue and this time it was worse. I had just taken him for a walk and we were recovering when my daughter walked around the corner and he lunged at her and bit her arm and leg. We got him a muzzle and took him to a new vet who was supposed to evaluate him for medical concerns that may have been causing it. We kept him in a muzzle around the kids and other people. He continued to be ok with the kids sometimes and lunge at them others. The only thing between him and severe injury was the muzzle which had come off a couple of times. We considered rehoming him but felt it was too risky and ended up euthanizing him at our home when he was 18 months. The risk of serious injury was too great and we were prisoners in our own home.

We noticed he had an involuntary jerk in his hind leg and I always wondered if this was a seizure of some sort. We also had him tested for the MDR1 gene mutation and he was mutant/mutant. Has anyone else who experienced the aggression been aware of mutant/mutant MDR1 status?

My Aussie Dog Is Aggressive to Very Small Dogs
by: Anonymous

My Border Collie / Australian Shepherd is very needy and when a tiny dog barks, or growls, or jumps forward at her aggressively she attacks the other dog. Bella is 3 years old. I can get the other dog out of my house because she belongs to someone else. How do I stop her from biting the other dog?

BC and AS mix aggressive to small dogs
by: Anonymous

Keep a muzzle on her when the small dog is around. They make very comfortable muzzles for dogs now. I don't know if it is possible to change that behaviour. You could get involved with a good trainer who might be able to direct you, but in my experience, that aggression is there to stay.

Crazy Boy
by: Anonymous

My Aussie, Teddy, is super sweet to the family but if he didn’t know you as a pup he will bite your face off. I hate it because we can’t leave overnight because we have nobody that can even watch him! That’s a long 15 years without a vacation. We are on year 5. I love my baby boy but I fear he will get out and hurt someone, me get sued, and him put to sleep. I dread his yearly shots and any time something appears wrong because the vet visit is stressful for anyone. He gets along fine with other dogs but humans aren’t his best friend. He’s the biggest baby at home so long as nobody else is in the house. If someone comes home we have to lock him up and he barks for freakin hours! We have to have company hide in a room when we have to let him out! It’s a pain and super embarrassing. At this point I think I’m going to have to shell out the $3,000 for a local trainer and hope that helps. Let us know if you found anything that works! Good luck to you!

Trainer help
by: Anonymous

I have the sweetest little female Aussie and she just loves our little family. She is extremely intelligent and committed to us. She comes from champion herding lines so the instinct to herd and protect are strong in her. She is a well behaved little girl, not a lot of bark and growl, so when she attacks the back of someone’s leg it is shocking. She has attacked extended family and friends in the mindset that she is protecting us and our home. Everyone in my extended family wanted her put down. It was a hard decision to make but I let my family know that I didn’t blame them for saying they wouldn’t come around anymore but I felt I needed to do right by my dog. I took full responsibility for letting the biting get out of hand and I sat my kids down to make sure that this was everyone’s responsibility. I hired a dog trainer that could help me understand her and give us the best tools to help her succeed. Also, I made a schedule that is followed by everyone. She now gets plenty of training and exercise. We have come up with games that challenge her and help her get out her herding instincts. We also have a ACD and she has been doing the same training. I went from loving my dogs to truly enjoying my dogs. And my kids got the chance to learn that life isn’t dispensable at the preservation of your convenience. That was a concept I wasn’t raised with, and my biggest commitment is to ending corrupt family cycles. You must truly make a sacrifice of your time and pleasures for the things you love, and stick to your commitments. That lesson alone has made the time and money worth it.

Pet corrector
by: Anonymous

We have the same problem with my dog but recently we got this canned air called Pet Corrector he used to lunge at anyone coming in our house and since we have been using it he hasn’t lunged at anyone we call it the spray and whenever we say that we will get the spray he lies down it definitely helps!

Aggressive Aussies
by: Anonymous

I have 2 Aussies. My 22 pound Aussie is either very aggressive or so cute you can’t help loving her. She is 2 years old and I have been working on this since we got her at 15 weeks old. She lashes out at my other dog and at us as a resource. You don’t know when it’s going to happen but yesterday she turned in a second from kisses my 22 year daughter as a resource from the other dog and almost took her eye out and nose off. This is not the first time I have scars under my eye from her and on my hand also. It is usually from saving my other dog. It is unfortunate that I need to let her go. I have had many dogs in my life and I never let one go. They all have been great. I never saw one like this before that would bite their owners. So the only reason I am telling you all this is because you have 2 young kids. A vet told me, dogs are animals and you have to be very careful even though we treat them like our kids.

by: Anonymous

My Aussie is about 2 years old and has recently become very protective of me and my mom. She will bark at strangers or anyone who approaches her that she doesn’t know. We were recently around my mom's dad who she has seen before. He started busting rocks with a spud bar while my mom was next to him. My Aussie came over and nipped him on the leg then seemed scared of him the rest of the night. She refused to walk past him. She has been around him many times and has never done this. She is very trained and hasn’t ever done this before. So I don’t know how to break her of this.

7 different types of dog aggression, which one is your dog having and get the right treatment
by: Anonymous

We had a puppy with similar issues and more.
I had done so much research. To find answers. What I think may be of some help is learning about the 7 different types of dog aggression.
And finding a good behaviorist and have them train with your dog. We unfortunately had to put or puppy down at 6 months. Because he was from an irresponsible breeder. There’s a reason why breeders do genetic testing on their parents and so forth. It’s heartbreaking to have to put not only any puppy but Your puppy down. Our little guy had brain damage, lameness, seizures, and looking into all of his different types of aggression he ended up having the very Rare idiopathic aggression. And his seizures were 6-8 a day, each medication helped until it didn’t. We realized too that he was MDR1 (Multi Drug Resistant) where his body would not metabolize drugs right. Eventually he was not responding to meds well at all. Had we kept him alive , one day would come when he’d have those cluster seizures and it would raise his temperature and melt his brain. We went to Dr.’s, specialists, behaviorists, private trainers. He was also weened from his mom too young 6 weeks.. looking back the puppy was almost dead by the time we got him. Full of parasites, etc. we realized after the fact later that he was an abused and neglected puppy. His brain damage may have been congenital but also we believe from abuse. We did our very best. Bugzee (AKA Love Bug) spent the six months with us doing his absolute best to be the best puppy he could. Until he couldn’t any more. he hugged me and kissed me as he knew what was about to happen. He still was scared, death anxiety. But the vet that came to our home said we were doing the right thing. She sees this all the time. If all of the love in the world could change this situation it would have already. Bugzee couldn’t put himself down, so I guess we were it! The most painful to ever have to do, the thing you never should have to do. In this situation Ian’s his health history it was the only humane option.

Please rule out all types of aggression and find a behaviorist to work with your dog on the right type of aggression you dog has. I think a lot of folks face this with their Aussies and don’t realize it usually is resolvable! Too many dogs have been surrendered or killed for being misunderstood or read wrong, because no one knew what type of aggression their dog had and didn’t know how to work with it.

I’d ask any behaviorist if they knew if the different types of aggression and what do they know about it. And have they worked with it successfully. If they know about at least 7 then they maybe they would be the one you want to help your dog.

If they don’t know about the 7 different types of aggression, I mean How do they know what to treat or what they’re dealing with? How could they possibly really help?

Inaccurate diagnosis and improper treatments happen a lot. Advocate for your little ones. They are a part of our world. We ARE Their World!

Australian shepard attacks my other dogs
by: Anonymous

I took an Australian Shepherd and Mountain Cur mix off my neighbor. She is still a puppy and she attacks my other dogs for no reason. I don't understand and my mom wants to get rid of her because we don't know what to do. Any suggestions? She means a lot to me.

by: Mary

My Aussie pup was exactly the same. I am a vet tech so I followed textbook rules on socializationwith strangers and other dogs. My baby started showing aggression at the age of 4 months. He has even bit my mom and sent her to urgent care (no stitches needed but it was pretty nasty) I spent countless hours trainingand thousands of dollars trying to get this fixed before I finally realized that is the way he is. My pup is my whole life, he understands me in a way that not even another human does, he is so smart and just the best dog ever all around. I have come to accept that this is him, I have had to alter my life slightly because of him but I love him so much it does not matter. All that matters is that he is good with you and the people in your household. I have learned schedules to walk him when the rest of the neighborhood is asleep, I still take him on hikes and to parks. You just have to learn when those areas are quiet. If you do have to take him somewhere where there might be other people, a muzzle is a must. I use a cage muzzle, they are way more comfortable. They do not hurt your pup, it may feel weird to them at first but some training can get them to ignore it quickly. With an ausshole like ours, we just have to make sure if they are at risk of biting someone we are aware. That means muzzle and always stay up to date with vaccines. I wish you the best of luck, and understanding during this time. It is frustrating at first but you got this!

My Toy Aussie is aggressive too
by: Anonymous

He's a red merle 2.5 years old, it started when he was 5 months old and in puppy class he became aggressive seeing the other dogs. I tried many trainers and programs, even a dog shrink and medication. I had some success with a trainer that rescued shelter dogs with aggression issues. I still cannot take him to anyone's house or have anyone over as he will be unfriendly or worse attack any dogs he meets and barks at new people. He is leash reactive but is fine meeting dogs in a large dog park. I can't walk him without him going crazy when he sees another dog. I have owned 4 dogs previously, they were all well trained sweethearts. This dog loves me and is beyond affectionate but I cannot live with the constant aggression. I can't travel with him or take him anywhere in public for fear he will act out. I made such a terrible choice in selecting this breed. I met this breed and saw they were shy but I never met an aggressive Aussie. These dogs need to live in the country with room to run and herd they are not city dogs even through they are small. He's 12 lbs. They are protection dogs not companion animals. I would discourage anyone considering this breed for city life. They are a little crazy, unstable emotionally. They see everything as a threat.
They are like tough street fighters. My dog is devoted to me but I am at the end of my rope. I'm a very responsible dog owner and I don't give up on a dog easily. I spent thousands of dollars on training and he is only marginally better. I work with him on every walk to sit, heel and stay. But it does not make a difference to the overall situation. Now, how can I re-home him? I want to make sure he will find a good home. What a terrible dilemma. Good luck to us all, many here are suffering with the same issues.

Don't know what else to do!!
by: Tracy

We got our female Aussie 2 weeks before our male. He is 2 weeks older than her and both are 18 months old now. He is food aggressive, and very protective of his toys, but lately has calmed down with the toy thing. Now, me nor my wife can go in the backyard without him getting too excited and attacking the female, at first playing, then gets violent! To where I have gotten bit 2x, and can't break them up. If I can't correct this soon he will have to go and I absolutely love him. Need help ASAP!!

Love my Aussie but can be aggressive towards other dogs
by: Anonymous

I got nico when he was 8 weeks old. He is about 7 1/2 months old now and he is a great little animal. He’s very sweet with people and my wife and I have gotten really attached to him. He’s very energetic so it can be overwhelming at times but I will take him on long walks and try to get him around other animals. He just started this aggressive behavior with other dogs. He attacked my parents little chihuahua last weekend when he wanted her food and grabbed her by the neck and was going to kill her if it wasn’t for my dad. He was playing with our neighbors dog today and I brought them out two separate bones and handed one to each but he lunged at her and started attacking her and grabbed her by the neck. I ripped him off of her (he’s almost 55 pounds) and he then bit my hand. I was so mad I could’ve killed him. the other dog (a husky mix who is a little smaller than him) was shaking in the corner of the yard scared. We are putting him in training next month but I can’t have him doing this. I didn’t have a clue aussies had this side to them. Not sure what to do but want anyone reading this to be aware. Great animal but will literally kill another dog over food or a bone.

No Food Rule
by: Anonymous

pretty simple, if food is the only issue, don't have him around dogs and their food

Aggression and Australian Shepherds
by: Aussie owner

I have owned three Australian Shepherds. Each lived to a ripe old age without these issues. The first time my Aussie nipped was the last time they nipped. I "explained" to them in no uncertain terms that this behavior was NOT acceptable!

However, I also provide my dogs with extensive training and exercise. This is CRUCIAL!!

Walking on a leash is NOT anywhere close to enough exercise for an Aussie. Walking on a leash while necessary sometimes, just increases frustration, it does not provide exercise.

These intelligent dogs were bred to herd cattle on large ranches and work for many hours a day over large areas of land. To do their job they needed to be able to be attentive to commands from their handler, but also be able to think independently to make split-second life or death decisions.

These dogs should not be left in a crate all day or even home alone all day without supervision while their owner goes to work. I live on acreage. I take my dogs to work with me. I play chuck-it fetch with my dogs at LEAST twice a day until they are too tired to keep playing. I provide a water trough for my dogs to cool off in on hot days.

I take my dogs to herding lessons AND dog agility lessons. I take my dog to the local dog park for off-leash exercise. I invite friends with dogs over to my land for doggie play dates. I take my dogs on off-leash hikes in local parks. That is what constitutes "adequate" exercise for an Aussie.

DO NOT get an Aussie if the only off-leash exercise you can offer them is a small fenced backyard. This level of restraint and boredom will drive an intelligent athletic dog literally crazy from lack of exercise and mental stimulation. This can result in aggression as an outlet for their frustration and boredom. It can also make them mentally ill.

Your dog needs a REAL job that will challenge their mind and exhaust their body at least 2 or 3 days a week. On other days they need to at least play fetch or run till they choose to stop due to tiredness twice a day. And playing fetch is not throwing the ball across a room or a few feet in a tiny backyard. The ball should be thrown at least 75 or 100 feet using a chuck-it. And even this will not be enough exercise for some high drive Aussies.

Also, you MUST set high standards for your dogs and do not tolerate rule-breaking. These dogs are happiest when they are succeeding at following the rules. EACH FAMILY MEMBER must agree to requiring the dog to follow the same set of rules.

Look for a sheep herding facility and get your dog out there to take sheep herding lessons. Then keep taking them there at least once a week to practice herding.

AND / OR... Take dog agility lessons, then keep going to practice sessions, hopefully at least twice a week. And set up equipment at home to practice daily. Of course, let the trainer know about your dog's aggression issues and have the dog wear a muzzle to protect other people and dogs.

YOU are responsible for keeping your dog, other dogs, and other people safe. A dog with a bite history should ALWAYS wear a muzzle in public. YOU are also responsible for keeping your own children and your spouse from being bitten by your dog.

Some of the dogs described in these comments should be given to a reputable Aussie rescue organization for rehabilitation and rehoming. Some of the dogs should be humanely euthanized.

Repeated, unprovoked puncture wound biting that draws blood is so far from acceptable behavior that the dog will, unfortunately, need to pay the ultimate price. Is that sad? Yes! It's very sad. It is still your responsibility.

What's also very sad is knowing that your dog caused a child to develop a lifelong phobia of dogs. OR that some adult or child became disfigured because your dog bit them.

Also sad can be the effect on your pocketbook if you are sued by someone for allowing your dog to bite them. These types of lawsuits frequently result in tens of thousands of dollars in damages being awarded to the harmed person, or more!

I love Aussies, but they are not for everyone by a long shot. They are not house dogs or lap dogs. They are working dogs. The AKC did a big disservice when they gave the Aussie a big thick coat that makes them look like a stuffed animal and attracted pet owners to the breed.

There are hundreds of thousands of non-aggressive dogs that get put to sleep at shelters every year due to a lack of available homes. Those dogs need you and would make you happy.

Suck it up and if you can't take decisive action to keep your Aussie from biting people or attacking other dogs, have that dog humanely euthanized.

Contact the breeder to let them know the outcome so that they can make changes to their breeding program if needed.

Then adopt some poor sweet submissive mixed breed or purebred dog from a shelter that is about to die due to lack of an available home.

Sometimes life requires us to do difficult things. If the dog is just nipping, not a hard bite that draws blood, or just barking at strangers, not attacking them, consider meaningful exercise and training. Pay for a professional dog trainer evaluation of your dog, but first, look up reviews online before choosing a dog trainer.

If the dog trainer feels that the dog is savable, consider giving the dog to a rescue group that has experience in rehabilitating Aussies. Tell the rescue group all the details of how your dog is misbehaving. Let them decide if they feel like the dog can be retrained.

Otherwise, for the dog that attacks other dogs or people unprovoked, and you do not have the resources, the acreage, the expertise, or the time to give that dog the intensive training and exercise it needs while keeping other people and dogs 100% safe, and if you can not find a reputable rescue organization willing to take the dog, that dog should be euthanized.

Just please don't get another Aussie if you don't have the land, the time, and the training experience to provide the dog with the job and the training that it needs to be able to thrive.

And Aussie breeders: Please, please, please SCREEN your puppy buyers and get references! Don't set people up to fail.

End of rant.

by: Anonymous

I have a 3-year-old going on 4 yrs. He is a male fixed. I tried CBD oilsand I have a muzzle. He hates it but does ok. He is still showing aggression. I know that he protecting my other dog and myself. I am trying to get him use to other people and other dogs. It's not working. While he is wearing a muzzle he is still aggressive. I do dog sitting and he does great with that dog. I am the second owner because his first owner didn't want him because he bit a UPS driver. So she gave him to me. I do not remember when Aussies were aggressive. My 4-year-old Aussie attacked another dog for no reason. He just scared the poor dog. Anybody who comes close to me he wants to attack them. He bronks and jumps and turns like a horse. He broke loose and that is when he attacked an innocent dog.

by: Anonymous

I have a 7 month Aussie male. I'm really a dobie person but when my last dobie died, I decided to get an Aussie. Dobies are super intelligent but I have to say that the Aussie I have has surpassed any of my dobies at the age he's at now. I got my Aussie at 12 weeks old; and he was potty trained in less than 3 days - never pooped in the house and pee'd just once - no accidents after that. Smart dogs need consistent work. My Aussie is extremely protective and will growl and bark to warn me of any perceived danger. I live out in the country and on a farm; so my dog gets plenty of exercise. If your Aussie is biting then you need to correct it NOW. Say no and then put him in the crate and leave the room for 10 minutes. Come back, open the crate and ask him to sit and pet him. The crate should not be a punishment but a place for him to get himself back under control and lay down. If you have friends coming over and your dog is exhibiting unwanted behavior, then you need to crate him and let him get used to seeing the people in the room - then let him out and clip his lead on and have him sit by you. One thing you need to be careful of is letting your Aussie not allow people to hug you or sit near you. My dog tried that when my husband would sit next to me on the sofa or would hug me. He would wiggle his way between us and stare at my husband. I would get up and grab him by the collar and ask him to sit on my husband's side. These are herding dogs and they will herd you and take over - They're bred for this instinctively but patience, love and determination will pay off with a well behaved dog. A big key factor is lots and lots of exercise. Aussies are very sensitive dogs and I don't believe in nagging a dog. I have always trusted my dogs unless they give me a reason not to. If you keep yelling and pulling on the leash - Your dog is going to ignore you and tune you out. If my dog disappears outside, I yell his name once and wait. When he comes charging around the corner, I pretend as though I haven't seen him in years and get all excited and tell him what a good boy he is and hug him. Stay happy and smile (even through the difficult times) and you'll find that your dog will want to listen more. Good luck.

Same here
by: Anonymous

We rescued our Aussie at just over 3 yrs old. He had "nipped" at the previous owners 5 yr old child, who had cornered the dog. The vet called us to see if we’d take him. We did. It’s been a rough 2+ years. We have been bitten multiple times and he bit our dog walker on the butt, all bites breaking skin. He’s improved, but we still can’t put a collar on him. Every day, for the past 800+ days, we take him for a walk and use a training harness. He tries to avoid the harness everyday, but loves his walks and eventually relents. He gets so anxious during this time. He’s finally starting to trust us, but it’s tough. He’s been kicked out of boarding places and off, though we do have a pet sitter who comes to the house. He’s good with the other dog and cats. It’s put a strain on us as my partner is gone a lot through work and I can’t join because we can’t be gone more than a few days…the pet sitter is unable to walk him, he’s too aggressive towards other animals and people and bikes and cars (he bit the tire on my Jeep the other day). He’s learning to trust us but it’s a process. He was severely abused. We give him a smaller fleece blanket for him to love, licking it and chewing off tiny pieces and spitting them out. When we get home, he runs for that blanket, tail just a waggling! We love him and are secvited for the extremely slow changes? Don’t give up!!

We’re all in the same boat
by: Anonymous

Seems like we are all (or most of us) in the same boat! We adopted a year old male Austrian Shepherd. We immediately got a trainer because he had separation anxiety issues. We got that fixed after a month. He has always had "crazy eyes." Our trainer noticed this right away and said you need to watch his eyes, if he gets his eyes fixed on someone or an animal that we have to snap him out of it. However our dog is not easy to snap out of his state. I’m not sure if anyone else had this experience with this breed. At almost exactly 3 months of having him, he is now completely settled in our home and everything we read this 3 month mark is where they feel comfortable with their pack and can get very protective and even aggressive and this 3 month mark. He now has become a crazy dog to everyone who enters our home, who aren’t in his family pack. He’s the most loving, affectionate dog to us "his pack." However, now we fear people coming to our house. We had the trainer come again right after this started to happen and he was even vicious towards him, who he’s meet several times. Our trainer suggested extra exercise (even putting him on a treadmill), or sending him to a herding trainer for a weekend to see what they recommend. If his behavior continues, he said he rarely recommends this but he would get a shock collarand only one person (the one who he is protective the most of) gets control of it. He said try the shock collar on ourselves first, so that we know that it’s not too light or heavy of a shock.

Our main concern is never being able to go on vacation because if his behavior continues, who will want to watch an aggressive dog?!

Toy Aussie Problems
by: Anonymous in Indiana

My Aussie also has aggression toward neighbors and strangers and any vehicle passing by. She is 10 lbs. and a "terror" to our neighborhood and their small dogs. Her barking won't stop and you can't distract her at all. In one night within about 1/2 hr. she left our garage, bit our neighbor twice, ran after a car and then went to the neighbors dog that was tied up and terrified it all the while not hearing my husband screaming at her. My husband wished we never got her and she is the love of our life inside the house.
She also goes crazy and barks at cars/etc. that are moving toward us in the car. If they are going away from us she is fine. Please help!!!

Here are some notes
by: Michael

I'm sorry to hear that your Australian Shepherd is being aggressive. I can understand how it might be a bit scary and frustrating. In general, aggression in dogs can be caused by many things, such as fear, dominance, territoriality, and/or excitement.

One of the best ways to help deal with an aggressive dog is through positive reinforcement training. This means rewarding your dog for good behavior instead of punishing him for bad behavior. It may take some time and patience, but with proper training it's definitely possible to change your dog's behavior. I wish you the best of luck!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Australian Shepherd Q & A.

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Have Dog Training Questions?

Check out these introductory dog training videos...

I want my dog to stop being aggressive.

I want some help training my new puppy.

I want my dog to stop barking at everything.

I want my dog to walk nicely and calmly on the leash.

I want my dog to listen and come every time I call!