Need Help To Stop Aggressive Male Australian Shepherd

by Dennise
(Georgia )

Will my 6 month old male Aussie get any less aggressive towards strangers or other dogs being walked in our neighborhood? We have had him since 8 weeks and very loving towards his family.

My husband is on the verge of getting rid of him. Help, I don't want to lose him! We can't afford a trainer. We're both retired, but love the breed and did have a female that was fine no aggression at all.

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This Won't Likely Get Better On It's Own
by: Anton

Aussies can get quite aggressive, especially at that age due in part to their high intelligence and energy level. Other than making sure they have plenty of exercise to burn off excess energy these issues often arise due to leadership issues.

Given that he is aggressive toward strangers and other dogs it could be that he considers himself to be the leader and is being protective of you. Or he is acting out of fear and is not sure of your ability to protect him. Either way, as with so many behavior issues, it can be helped by improving your role as leader.

One-on-one dog trainers can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, these days there are many reasonable options available online. For example, "Doggy Dan" is a professional dog trainer I recommend who has an easy to follow video program on his site. He also has a lot of information about how to become the respected pack leader (which is often the underlying problem with aggression). He uses positive dog training techniques and never uses yelling or physical punishment.

You can check out his program here for 3 days (full access) for only $1. I think it's just $37 a month after that. This is probably your best option at this point if you are looking for solid information and you are on a budget.

Aggressive behavior, once it gets started, doesn't generally get better on it's own. But once you've gone through a program like Dan's you'll probably find that other behavior issues go away or don't arise in the first place once you have a proper foundation in place.

It will take work...
by: Anonymous

At six months old, he may be in another fear period. He's also starting to hit the "teenage" months, and hormones are kicking in. How much socialization do you do with him.

We have a sixteen month old Aussie, she has been going out with us since she was nine weeks old. Downtown areas, stores, anywhere she could go she went. She also went to puppy play groups and several training classes because I wanted her to be social and not have aggressive tendencies like our old Aussie had. It's a lot of work. It takes a lot of commitment.

Use distraction on walks to get by other dogs, or whatever sets yours off. Our trainer suggested little jars of meat baby food that would take time and concentration to lick out of the jar when trying to pass another dog, cheese sticks, hot dogs, something that your dog would really love. You may want to look into a trainer, mine charged $120 for three 1/2 hour sessions and they were the most informative sessions with lots of information and support via email when needed.

We used to do some playtime in the yard before a walk to take the edge off of our Aussie. It helped her focus when she was a little less wired and ready to go. Work on sits, stays, downs to mentally challenge your dog as well. Use those commands on the walk to keep dog engaged with you and not everywhere else.

Aussies will take charge if they feel you aren't in control of the situation. Your dog needs to have a "job" to do when he sees a trigger. You can decide what that job is. Maybe it's a sit or a down or a look at you, give them a counter behavior so that it becomes automatic when they see their trigger. Mine went through a barking jerk stage in the neighborhood, it the more we did it and desensitized her to it the quieter she got. She also has several people in our neighborhood that she just loves to greet because they have treats for her. If you have some neighbors that would be willing to offer treats upon greeting it might be helpful. Good luck with lots of work, you can work through this. Just remember you won't outsmart an Aussie, you ha to outwit them and always be several steps ahead of them!

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