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Aggression Concern in Aussie

This is a discussion on Aggression Concern in Aussie within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello! This forum clearly has a thing for Blue Merles. I have had some of the same issues with my aussie. I think one of ...

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Old 02-06-2018, 07:44 AM
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Hello! This forum clearly has a thing for Blue Merles.

I have had some of the same issues with my aussie. I think one of the misconceptions with aussies is that they are great people dogs. While they can be, they can also be very aloof. Forbes didn't really have any problem with children but he didn't really like men. When we go out I usually bring high value treats (cheese stick) and if I notice from a distance that there is a person he does not like I immediately get him to focus on me and work. I use watch, sit, stay, or anything that can keep him engaged with me. He can look at the person, and I'll reward for a look with no reaction, but I expect him to turn back and focus back on me. What this shows him is that although he may not like that person, working in front of them gets me stuff I REALLY like. I also say be an advocate for your dog. If you can see that your dog isn't comfortable in a situation walk away. It may seem rude at first but it's even ruder for people to approach a dog without asking first. Start in lightly populated areas and get him to work and focus on you. Then move into more populated areas. And High value treats SO help. I use cheese sticks but I know there are some recipes online for other yummy tasting (yucky smelling) treats.

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Old 02-06-2018, 12:35 PM
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Old 02-07-2018, 11:50 AM
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Talking the # of Vic's minions is growing, but they're not common - Yet.


Stilwell is great, but trainers certified by her are a bit thin on the ground - there are other assurances of pos-R training, with larger rosters.

PPG, the Pet Professional Guild - mostly in the USA, but also Europe

APDT in Ireland, the UK, & Australia
[not the U-S, as the US-apdt accepts every stripe of training methods, & all tools are permitted;
so long as U've never been charged with & convicted of animal cruelty, U can be a member in good standing.]

IAABC around the world

in the UK, COAPE / APBC, as well as the Animal Behavior & Training Council [ABTC], a regulatory body:
The Animal Behaviour and Training Council - The Animal Behaviour and Training Council

The next step up from a credentialed trainer is a CAAB - certified applied animal behaviorist.
Beyond that is a Board-certified diplomate, a veterinary behaviorist - a DVM with an added specialty in behavior.

@alexis112 - where do U live?
Perhaps someone on the forum can refer U to a local trainer, or a nearby behaviorist [with credentials].

- terry

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Old 02-07-2018, 01:15 PM
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Cute pup!

I'm a little late to respond, but since I was tagged I'll add in my 2 cents. I'm probably just repeating a bit what shandula and jclark343 have said.

I really do think you should go to see a behaviorist. Especially if you are planning on having kids. Dog's with fear based problems with kids can be so tricky, mostly because kids are not helpful. They scream, they run, they give hard stares, they're explosive in nature and oh so confusing to a dog that is only used to adults.

Aussie's can be such fickle creatures. I've seen a huge spectrum from extremely reactive to extremely friendly. From my experience they have a hard time with children largely due to their herding nature.

The thing you're going to have to figure out with a good trainer/behaviorist is where your dog falls on that spectrum. Is it a level of stranger danger along with it being a kid, is it the fact that your dog is naturally a little nervous in public and kids are just the topping on the cake to set your dog off, is your dog irrationally afraid of children, or just hasn't had good experiences and could learn the weird little humans are not bad?

None of us can tell you here. That's up to someone who has a lot of experience and can personally work with you and your dog. I've known plenty of dogs that don't like strange children, and will bark, avoid and growl, but do fine with their family's kids because the parents were great about separation, respecting the dog and observation. I've known some dogs that should never be around a kid...ever.

Jclark mentioned a great exercise that you can do. I suggest starting with that, I also suggest seeing if you can go somewhere, like a park where you can watch kids from very far away and reward your dog for watching calmly. Don't let your dog repeat this behavior if you can. Don't take him to places where he can feel cornered and might run into a kid (aka: under a table at a cafe/brewery ect) The more he practices this reactive behavior the more he might do it.

Also, ditch your trainer along with the leash corrections. It's going to make everything worse. Your pup needs to learn that kids bring good things, not pain, fear and more confusion from the one person that supposed to be helping them.
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aggression, aussie, australian shepherd

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