Aggressive Australian Shepperd?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by srdogtrainer, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I recently went to visit an Australian Shepperd to help out with training. Over the phone I got the impression that the dog nips at the heels as though trying to herd people. When I talked to the owner in person the story was that when any one comes to the house the dog barks and bites at the person (including the owner). The owner said that some times she has blood running down her legs by the time she gets into the house. They have been threatened with being sued and the wife was asked if she was being abused by her husband because of all the bruises on her legs.

    Overall the dog seems like a wonderful dog! He is extremely food motivated, toy motivated, generally friendly, and I saw that he will choose to relax on his own in the right circumstances. He is a very high drive and has trouble relaxing despite a daily 1 1/2 hour off leash walk and frisbee in his own yard throughout the day.

    When I arrived he was out in the yard laying comfortably. He did not get up or bark when I pulled in. He came over calmly to see what I was getting out of the trunk then we walked up to the house together. When I got to the door the owner was like "oh so he barked at you and was biting at you the whole way up the driveway, right". She was shocked that I said no, he was very calm and he didn't do anything like that. (I'm not sure why people feel the need to leave the dog out for the trainer to see how aggressive their dog can be!?!)

    Anyway he seems like he could use some major boundaries, and lots of work on self control. We worked on bringing the frisbee back (no keep away/ grab the frisbee as fast as you can and get hands out of the way of the dogs mouth.) Sit and stay calmly while the frisbee is picked up and moves around to be thrown again. Touch a hand, go to a spot, down (which he didn't know yet and learned REALLY FAST!), on your side, massage/relaxing. Walking to and from the car/ running to the car.

    The whole time I was there I never once even felt teeth. He never tried to nip me or the owner. He did bark out of frustration at times if the game ended.
    The owner said she learned a lot, was very interested in clicker training and saw that she was doing a lot of things incorrectly.

    I was wondering if anyone else has experienced or heard of a similar experience. I am wondering if there are other things we should be working on? He seems like an amazing high drive dog. I can't really imagine him doing the things that I heard about, seeing how he was the whole time (1 1/2) hours I was there. Any suggestions? What do you think about this dog/ situation?
    brodys_mom likes this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    That 's really odd. I thought it was a little strange that this "allegedly aggressive" dog was left alone (was he alone?) in the yard loose and unmuzzled when you drove up. Are they way out in the country or something? That wouldn't fly in my neighborhood!

    Is it possible he's left on his own a lot, so he's overexcited when anyone comes home? Was he so well-behaved when you were there because he was getting the undivided attention of you and his owner? Maybe they just don't do anything with him other than walks.
  3. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    He has an electric fence and is sensitive to the boundaries. He was not muzzled, just out in the front yard. It was a non-busy road/ side street, large yards and as country as it gets in my area. He did not bark at the neighbors when they pulled in their yard. His owner said that is because of where the electric fence is and he is sensitive to it. When I drove by at first I saw that she was out in the yard playing with him, then I turned around and came back and he was laying outside and everyone else was inside.

    I think part of the reason he was well behaved is because he was getting mental stimulation, which I think is more beneficial and more tiring then physical exercise alone.

    I have also had several dogs that respond differently to me then they do to most people they meet. I think it is because I am calm and come with expectations on how they should behave. It really doesn't explain why he did not react at all to my car coming in the driveway though? :unsure:
    threenorns likes this.
  4. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    It seems like things are coming along well, how is he now/these days?

    Just a side comment. An hour and a half of exercise isn't nearly enough for a high-drive aussie. Get a bike and take that dog out on top of the walk and frisbee. Give him a job to do, even if it's something simple like 'cleaning up the house' or have him learn to pull a skateboard, bike, cart, something.

    High drive aussies are high drive aussies, I'm not sure why people don't understand that when they bring the dog home and this lady should consider finding something for this pup to do. Or at least teach him tricks everyday or something along the lines.

    Get out muffin tins and make him work for his food. Do other eating games. Fill kongs to the brim for his meals, etc.
  5. threenorns Well-Known Member

    for any high-drive/high-IQ dog, this site is amazing:

    it helps even the rawest newbie plan out what trick to do next and you can get certificates to show off your accomplishments.
    brodys_mom likes this.

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