My aussie puppy is aggressive towards men

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My aussie puppy is aggressive towards men

This is a discussion on My aussie puppy is aggressive towards men within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I am in desperate need of advice! I have a 10 month old australian shepherd who displays major aggression toward adult men. I got my ...

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Old 06-15-2015, 10:55 PM
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My aussie puppy is aggressive towards men

I am in desperate need of advice! I have a 10 month old australian shepherd who displays major aggression toward adult men. I got my dog from a breeder when he was 12 weeks old. (the breeder was a man). He was so loving and jumped right into my arms and started licking my face. He always jumped into my husbands arms and was very sweet with him. Soon after I got him I put in into puppy kindergarten. That is when I realized he seems to be fearful of men. He would growl and pee when a man approached him. After a few weeks and help from the trainer he seemed to be doing a lot better. He has shown aggression on and off towards men at the dog parks or while we are on walks but that is very rare. He is so unpredictable. Sometimes he even lets random men pick him up, pet him, play fetch with him, and other times he barks and howls uncontrollably and viciously. It is the worst when a man comes into our home. He barks like crazy and growls and it has now taken a turn for the worst. He ran up to my husbands friend and nipped him and tore his shirt. With women and children he is GREAT! He is very sweet and has always loved kids. He has been through obedience classes and nothing ever happened. He was so good and graduated second place in his class! His trainer said that our pup is confused about his role in our home and every time he acts out we need to make him submit over on his back and hold him down until he is calm. Well, I do that and he submits right away to me and my husband. I have tried everything. He has been very well socialized, LOVES other dogs, and we even have guys that come into our house give hime treats and kneel down so they do not look scary to him. Nothing has worked and I am to the point now where I am scared to take him out in public or to the dog parks because I do not know if there is going to be a man there that he just wants to attack. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, it is not an issue of getting enough exercise because I am a runner and we run about 5 miles everyday, plus he goes to either the dog park or doggy daycare while I am at work. I just don't understand why sometimes he is great and so well behaved and then the next minute a flip switches and he goes crazy.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:22 PM
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[QUOTE=sarahandaxe;2584305] His trainer said that our pup is confused about his role in our home and every time he acts out we need to make him submit over on his back and hold him down until he is calm.

First of all get a new trainer. One that uses positive reinforcement not punishment. What you are doing is making matters worse by holding your dog down you are connecting men to this punishment. You would be better off giving a handful of treats to any man that enters your house and have him toss one every few minutes to the dog. man = treats. I would look for a behaviorist to assess the dog.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:40 PM
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I agree, get a new trainer. Rolling him on his back is reinforcing that men are super bad news and he needs to protect himself from them.
Having men kneel down and give him treats is several steps ahead of where you should start . Try having men come to the house, and totally ignore him. You might want to keep him on a leash so he can't lunge at them. Keep them from looking at him, and have them toss him treats. Aussies are very smart, he will very quickly learn men = yummy things.
For public places, I would use something really smelly (like hot dogs or cheese) , and redirect his attention as you walk past.
It sounds like he gets lots of physical exercise, how about mental exercise/stimulation?
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:23 PM
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My dog, who is also a herding dog, does this too. He's fine with my husband, LOVES the ladies and children, but is very fearful of men. @Shandula gave great advice, and this is what we do with our dog. When men (who he doesn't know very well or at all) come over, we have them throw him treats, and ignore him. It's also more helpful if they throw treats, ignore, and move slowly into the house. Our dog is more agitated by men who stay by the front door (strange, I know). Ignoring is key. Our dog is fine with men who ignore, but once they are showing interest, he gets riled up. I'd say it takes him about 3-7 minutes to calm down and be fine with a man who ignores him, and much much longer with men who try to engage.

Outside, I bring treats with me and attempt to counter condition his response to men, or keep him distracted as soon as I see a man. If I'm too late, and he notices, I just try to distract him in the process. I've also had to tell men about why he is barking at them, or ask they ignore him, or explain we can't come over to them because my dog is fearful of men. It was embarrassing at first, but now I'm used to it and more comfortable letting people know where my dog is at vs. where I (or they) think he should be.

Someone on this forum once told me that some herding breeds are bred to be protective over the herd, and that could explain some of my dogs behavior. I'm not entirely sure what it is with men, the only thing I can think of is that I am the one who trained him and he spends more time with, so he is more comfortable with women OR trying to protect me.

Anyway, good luck!!
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:33 PM
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You do need a new trainer, ASAP. Dominance-based training, which is what your trainer is advising, can result in aggressive behavior in dogs - here's an article summarizing studies about that.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-behavior-dogs

Please note that 31% of the dogs who were subjected to an alpha roll showed aggression.

Positive methods are much better for dogs and and result in happier, more trusting pets.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:06 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I have tried having my husbands friend come by and ignore him and give him treats. He barked and growled at first but got used to him after a few minutes and then was fine. Im hoping this works. We have are having our friends watch him for a week while we go on vacation and I am very worried. We have no family in the state that we live in so strangers watching him is a must. We can't afford to board him for a week. They're having a family party and they are aware of the situation but I am still worried because I am not there to control it and make sure Axe doesn't nip anybody. I have been told that a cage muzzle might be something to invest in? while he is around a ton of strangers just in case? What are your thoughts?
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:21 PM
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If you do get him a muzzle, make sure you research carefully and get it properly fitting. He should be able to pant, drink and take treats through the muzzle.

Also, introduce it to him slowly so that he learns to accept it without fear. Don't just slap it on him; pair it with lots of treats and keep the initial wearing of it very short.

Keep in mind that there can be legal liabilities associated with dogs who have shown aggression. You may want to check the laws in your State to find out exactly what your/your friend's liability is, if he does bite someone. Between now and when you go on vacation, do as much counter-conditioning as you can and have the friends who are watching him while you are gone take part.
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahandaxe View Post
Thanks everyone for the advice. I have tried having my husbands friend come by and ignore him and give him treats. He barked and growled at first but got used to him after a few minutes and then was fine. Im hoping this works. We have are having our friends watch him for a week while we go on vacation and I am very worried. We have no family in the state that we live in so strangers watching him is a must. We can't afford to board him for a week. They're having a family party and they are aware of the situation but I am still worried because I am not there to control it and make sure Axe doesn't nip anybody. I have been told that a cage muzzle might be something to invest in? while he is around a ton of strangers just in case? What are your thoughts?
In this situation, I would make it clear to your friends that your pup should not have contact with people at the party.

Muzzle training is a good idea (I've seen The Muzzle Up Project recommended), but I wouldn't advise muzzling him and letting him loose at the party. There is far too much potential for unnecessary stress and the risk of un-doing everything you've accomplished following the advice given above. He's going to be in a new place with unfamiliar people, then have even more unfamiliar people around and the commotion of the party to deal with. Even the most rock solid, confident dog would be stressed by those things.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:34 AM
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(could you please break down your text into paragraphes in future post...I a bit reactive towards text walls *lol*...it's much easier to read, when there are pauses in the text. )

Aussies always had protection drive, so it's partly typical for the breed. With 10 months your dog is stating to become adult so typical behaviour of the breed but in an unpolished and "puberty monster"-like manner.
If you're firm, consistent and reward-based when training him it will get better after puberty, but you must start training to control the protection drive.
As an owner you should be always sure that you can control your dog in any possible situations. not by "dominating" or "alpha-roling" it (this will only end up in making the dog feel unsafe around you), but by working with it together in a team and teach your dog, that the best option is always to let you solve a situation. Your person and everything you do, should be conditioned to the dog as something positive.
I would not let a people-reactive or even people-aggressive dog being cared for by anyone else than yourself or persons that are specifically educated for dealing with this kind of dog!
This is just asking for a disaster to happen.

definitively condition your dog on a muzzle. So in difficult situations you can be sure it can't hurt someone.
this is a good way to do it in my opinion:
https://youtu.be/1FABgZTFvHo

for parties, I'd keep the dog either in a box (if he know the box) or in a room separated form the party guests. this is much to stressfull for a young dog and can set back your training for months.

Last edited by mathilda; 06-18-2015 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:29 AM
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Can your dog be separated from the family party while you guys are away? Kept in another room, away from strangers? Is it possible to board him for just that one day so he's not around a ton of strangers?

Can you bring him to the friends house for a few trial runs before you leave, so he gets used to them and used to being there? These things could all be helpful.

Over Yom Kippur, my dog was staying with my mother in law while my husband and I were out of town, and she had a party (which she neglected to mention to me). I had the same concerns: "I can't be there to control him" and I didn't trust others to do it the way I would. She kept him upstairs, away from the party, in his own room. Apparently, he barked A LOT as the party was getting started, but eventually calmed down. People also went up to visit him one by one, and he growled at the men. Message was then received to all men at the party: don't bother the dog.

It wasn't ideal, and it made me nervous as all getout, but in the end it worked out OK.
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