Pet Sitting 8 Month Old Australian Shepherd

by Brandy

Hi, I've recently begun to pet-sit a client's 8-month-old Australian Shepherd, and right from the start, whenever I'd let him out of his kennel to go to the bathroom, he would lunge at me, jump up on me, and grab my arm in his mouth. He would do the same when I'd let him out back.

He's really good on walks, and listens to me on-leash, but as soon as I get him back to his home and take off the halter, he's everywhere; on me, jumping on his sister... etc. This past Friday, he lunged at me, grabbed my arm in his mouth and tugged, and then when I tried to tell him 'no' and turned away, he grabbed the back of my jacket and tugged on that instead.

I will be honest when I say that he scares me a little, and since I'm not his owner, I don't know what I can do to stop this behavior. According to his owner he is in training, so hopefully, that helps, but in the meantime, I can't continue coming home with bruises on my arms or, like Friday, a big bloody gash. Tips?

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Pet sitting aussie
by: Anonymous

First I'll say that Aussies are known for nipping and tugging behaviour, especially when young. Your job is not training, but a bit of self defence would help! Before you let the dog out of its crate, throw a handful of treats on the floor, praise him when he goes for them rather than you. Same when returning, throw treats into the crate. Having a soft toy or tug in hand to deflect the nipping works too. It doesn't sound like aggression, just over the top boisterous.

Pet sitting
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for that tip! Having never owned an Aussie before, I didn't know what I was doing wrong, and I had an idea that it was all in play, but it still scared me. I'll try the treat thing next time I'm there!

High energy pup
by: Anonymous

I agree with the previous comment both your job isn't to train and treats will take the focus off of you.
Many breeds that are high energy have to have their play time and when a puppy you don't always get to pick when that is. Before or after your walks if you can throw a ball or toss a Frisbee perhaps that will help.

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