My eight month old Aussie has recently started greeting other dogs in a very excitabl

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My eight month old Aussie has recently started greeting other dogs in a very excitabl

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Old 07-22-2018, 07:35 PM
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Exclamation My eight month old Aussie has recently started greeting other dogs in a very excitabl

I hope somebody on this site can help as I feel out of my depth with new behaviour that is being exhibited by my eight month old female Aussie Shepherd.

Up until she was about six months old she was a laidback pup who seemed to take everything in her stride. I bred the dog so I can attest to the fact that her puppyhood was stable and loving and full of positive experiences with both people and other dogs. This is why I am so shocked at what is happening now and the dog she seems to be turning into. At the age of six months she started greeting other dogs and people in a very reactive manner. There are lots of places we can walk off-leash and it began with her barking at approaching dogs. She would have raised hackles (what I call a doggy Mohawk) and rigid front legs, but her tail would be wagging. I never saw bared teeth but there would be a LOT of barking. This progressed to her running towards the oncoming dogs in a frenzy of barking. She never makes actual contact but I can see the shock on some of the other owners faces. But what is really worrying me is that today she ran at children. Within seconds she was being petted by them but that’s only because they had a dog of their own and so weren’t afraid. I feel it is only a matter of time before she really scares somebody. I have resorted to keeping her on-leash and this has reduced my stress on our walks but I would like to find a solution that actually addresses the behaviour. Does anybody have any insight into why she is doing this? Also, will it escalate into actual biting other dogs or, god forbid, people?
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:16 PM
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I don't know much about the breed but I've heard that can be typical of them. My dog is a mutt and used to be afraid of everything and everyone. He'd bark at strangers, especially tall men and people with hats and anything with wheels. He still barks at strange kids, people running or roughhousing or strange behavior. He's never escalated to biting in over two years.
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Old 07-22-2018, 11:17 PM
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Also that adolescent age can be a time where they get timid and fearful.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:45 AM
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Aussies can be very bossy. They use barking as one of their herding traits. I think you are seeing the first of the herding instincts coming out. It can be scary. They also like to nip. You really need to teach the dog to control these at an early age. It takes finesse and patience. Force won’t work and can have an opposit effect of aggression.

My Aussie thinks she owns the whole world and needs her to run it. I use a watch me Command with high value treats to distract her. The point being to guide her to me and good things while she maintains her instinct control.

Aussies haven’t been ruined yet so take a careful hand to develope them. They are really wonderful once you get their acceptance and trust.

I use several leashes from 4’ trading leash, 8 foot walking leash and 30 and 60 foot field leashes. My guess is that even with very consistent training, you won’t get good off leash performance. My dog is almost 5 and is not good off leash. We have an explosive recall that we work on every day but she would rather go herd the neighbors horses than lay around.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for your input, Shadowmom, it is reassuring to know that your dog never escalated into biting.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:04 AM
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Reactive eight month old Aussie female

Thanks for your response, Bentwings. I was very interested in some of your comments about my young Aussie female. I have the mother dog and use a “watch me” command very successfully with her, but her whole approach to the world is on a more gentle level than her daughter. The young dog has a fantastic recall that we practice daily, EXCEPT when she sees a dog in the distance and then she’s gone like a flash. I have turned into that annoying dog owner on the trails who is bellowing their dogs name in an ever-more frantic voice, it is very frustrating. My main worry with all of this is that it could escalate into real aggression towards other dogs and/or people.
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Old 07-23-2018, 11:24 AM
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My dog is the same way... Got really bad around 6 months. People told me that it's genetics and that socialization won't always make a huge difference (do you know both parents?).. I did everything right to socialize her but it seemed to only makes things worse! It got to the point where I don't walk her anymore because it's just too stressful every time we see a dog (she's *usually* ok with people, but if someone appears suddenly, it can trigger her), but I have to be really careful about having people she doesn't know over (she scared my friend's 9 month old son yesterday when she went nuts at him - she was crated, but still).


She has never hurt anyone though. She DID nip at a kid's clothes a couple times, so we saw a trainer, and that did help, but I'm still not leaving her out around children she doesn't know (she's fine with the ones she saw regularly when she was a puppy). I was super worried about the vet and she did growl, but it didn't go farther either... will definitely monitor that.


But I got her because I wanted a dog I could hike with, needless to say, this isn't what I expected... She's not an Aussie though, just a rescue mutt.
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