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Territorial Aggression, Socialization, Biting
(Olathe, KS, USA)
My Aussie is a red-tri who turned 1 in February. I have 2 major problems with him. I have asked vets and various trainers and gotten conflicting advice. Would really like to hear from an experienced Aussie owner or expert.
1. I have a hyperactive 5 year old son. Sometimes, when my son is making weird noises, play kicking the air, etc, Ranger flies across the room and knocks him down or nips his face. I think Ranger is trying to treat my son as a puppy needing discipline, but this needs to stop. Today he bit him on the face—not a skin break, more like a hard pinch.
2. We exposed Ranger to all types of people as a puppy. He has not generalized this exposure. He is perfectly happy when someone he met as a puppy comes to the house. Anyone else—he acts like a vicious dog—growling and barking like crazy. When I walk him, he barks and growls at all strangers. When he gets out of the house (if son above leaves front door open), he acts like he will attack anyone who is out in the neighborhood. I've been using a Gentle Leader on walks and am getting this under control. When company comes, we keep him on a leash the whole time.
Interestingly, he is different at the dog park. He happily and gently plays with the other dogs and ignores the people. Since he is so pretty, lots of people pet him and he doesn't react, just runs off in search of a playmate. They always say, "He is the sweetest dog!" Little do they know he acts like Cujo when someone comes to visit!
Please help us. I am committed to this dog, but need this behavior to get under control!