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My fiancé has an Aussie that is extremely aggressive towards me and has bit her multiple times and lunged at me multiple times. He has been fixed and is still extremely aggressive mainly towards me. I do not know if he senses I’m the alpha or what. The dog has destroyed our new home and I’m lucky enough to be able to take my senior chocolate to my dispatch and he will hang out with my dispatchers while I’m on shift(I’m in law enforcement). If I left them alone I’m worried he would get hurt. I know some aussies can be this way as guy on my shift got attacked by one years back. Is this really that normal or are these just the exceptions??
 

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Aggression usually comes from (a) anxiety and (b) an escalation of warning people to back off because earlier signals have not been respected. For example, dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

And, I'm afraid alpha, dominance, pack leadership theory is plain wrong. It has been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack was not a real pack, it was a group of individuals thrown together and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. And dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees - in both cases there was a shared ancestor but the species evolved in different directions. That's why we have humans AND apes, wolves AND dogs.

This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal

Nobody disagrees with boundaries and good manners, but the these can be established through training, building a mutually respectful relationship and without forcing submission from your dog. We certainly do not advocate aversive tools and behaviours.

If you think about leadership in your own life, the leaders (teachers , co-workers) that you respect earn that respect and inspire followership, they don't command or force it through wielding power 'just because they can'.

So, I think just saying the dog is aggressive is looking at the outcome of many things that may have led up to this. How serious were the bites? Was skin broken? How often has it happened and under what circumstances?

If the bites were serious, it may be that you need more help than we can give online. But if you engage a behaviourist, please, for your dog's sake, find one who uses modern force free methods.
 

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Aggression usually comes from (a) anxiety and (b) an escalation of warning people to back off because earlier signals have not been respected. For example, dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals or reprimand the dog for giving them; stopping the dog from giving them would be like taking the battery out of a smoke alarm.

And, I'm afraid alpha, dominance, pack leadership theory is plain wrong. It has been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack was not a real pack, it was a group of individuals thrown together and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. And dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees - in both cases there was a shared ancestor but the species evolved in different directions. That's why we have humans AND apes, wolves AND dogs.

This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal

Nobody disagrees with boundaries and good manners, but the these can be established through training, building a mutually respectful relationship and without forcing submission from your dog. We certainly do not advocate aversive tools and behaviours.

If you think about leadership in your own life, the leaders (teachers , co-workers) that you respect earn that respect and inspire followership, they don't command or force it through wielding power 'just because they can'.

So, I think just saying the dog is aggressive is looking at the outcome of many things that may have led up to this. How serious were the bites? Was skin broken? How often has it happened and under what circumstances?

If the bites were serious, it may be that you need more help than we can give online. But if you engage a behaviourist, please, for your dog's sake, find one who uses modern force free methods.
I appreciate the insight on all of this! When he acts out there is literally zero warning it just happens. And I was unaware of the alpha theory was incorrect. As far as the bite goes the most serious one included about 15-20 staples a few weeks back and she hasn’t been able to work since she needs her hands at work as a dental hygienist.
 

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I appreciate the insight on all of this! When he acts out there is literally zero warning it just happens. And I was unaware of the alpha theory was incorrect. As far as the bite goes the most serious one included about 15-20 staples a few weeks back and she hasn’t been able to work since she needs her hands at work as a dental hygienist.
It does sound as though you need the help and support of a qualified behaviourist, but can you describe this (or a typical) incident? As you're in law enforcement, imagine we're the cops, the Aussie is the violent suspect, and you are the witness. Describe what happened? What was the dog doing just before the incident? What did your fiancé do?

How long have you had this dog? Has he been like this since you (or your fiancé) got him, or is this fairly recent?
 
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I think that is too serious for us to deal with online and would urge you to get professional help, and quickly.

These organisations may be able to help.


 

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I think that is too serious for us to deal with online and would urge you to get professional help, and quickly.

These organisations may be able to help.


Thank you!
 

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It does sound as though you need the help and support of a qualified behaviourist, but can you describe this (or a typical) incident? As you're in law enforcement, imagine we're the cops, the Aussie is the violent suspect, and you are the witness. Describe what happened? What was the dog doing just before the incident? What did your fiancé do?

How long have you had this dog? Has he been like this since you (or your fiancé) got him, or is this fairly recent?
I think that’s the best move for some help.
The most recent incident was she literally got up off the couch(she was having girls night while I was on shift) and when she went to sit back down he just snapped and bit the crap out of her. Once he finally released she ran into the bathroom and her friends coaxed him into the back yard. From what my understanding was he was on the other end of the couch and charged her.

she had the dog before me, he’s three. He was fine until about a year ago and he just went nuts.
 

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I agree with others that you need to find professional help fast. Online help isn't sufficient. Once you get the problem resolved, we can help you teach your dog to sit and stay.
 

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I agree with others that you need to find professional help fast. Online help isn't sufficient. Once you get the problem resolved, we can help you teach your dog to sit and stay.
Ultimately that’s what we will be doing. Last night he went for my face when I got off shift at 0300....
 

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Ultimately that’s what we will be doing. Last night he went for my face when I got off shift at 0300....
What methods have you tried to train/recondition him?

Has he had a vet check up recently? Sometimes sudden aggression can be a symptom of pain or health problems.

Best guess would be extreme resource guarding. Did anything happen a year ago, just before he "went nuts?"

You definitely need a qualified behaviourist, someone who uses up to date methods. Any mention of dominance theory or pack leadership, run a mile.
 
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What methods have you tried to train/recondition him?

Has he had a vet check up recently? Sometimes sudden aggression can be a symptom of pain or health problems.

Best guess would be extreme resource guarding. Did anything happen a year ago, just before he "went nuts?"

You definitely need a qualified behaviourist, someone who uses up to date methods. Any mention of dominance theory or pack leadership, run a mile.
Mainly just removal from the situation and when he does good positive re-enforcement.
Nothing to my knowledge far as a pre cursor to the extreme bad behavior. He went after a neighborhood kid last night around 1730. All I could see was a law suit happening.
 

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Mainly just removal from the situation and when he does good positive re-enforcement.
Nothing to my knowledge far as a pre cursor to the extreme bad behavior. He went after a neighborhood kid last night around 1730. All I could see was a law suit happening.
What happened? Did the child approach the dog? Where did it happen? Was the child hurt?

I strongly suggest muzzle training the dog:
Blue Cross: Muzzle Training

In the meantime, while you're training him to accept the muzzle, keep people away from him - especially children. Tell them, in no uncertain terms, that your dog is dangerous and may bite.

I know how you feel. My last dog bit my niece on the face. Luckily it was just a nip, and my sister in law was extremely understanding, but I was devastated! All I could see was him being taken away and euthanised.
 
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The entire family was walking on the sidewalk and he was on a training bike. Luckily Rick( kids father) picked him up as I literally tackled the dog. The dog jumped the fence and went after him. Luckily I was in the front yard and literally tackled him. He will definitely be muzzled for the future. I think she ordered one the same day. I just drove a 8ft spike into the ground for him to be tied to while he is outside for the foreseeable future. I will not tell my neighbors to not walk by the house because of the dog.

oh lord, glad she’s okay! I know this much he has one more chance with me or I will re home him. Being a herding dog I feel like he needs more space. Every Aussie I’ve been around has been like this. Hell a buddy of mine snapped and attacked a 5 year old and he lost house and business.
 

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Just a word of caution - rehoming a dog with a known bite history, (even with full disclosure), could come back to haunt you- legally. Even most rescues will not take on a dog with a known bite history, nor will (most) shelters rehome a dog that has a bite history or is deemed to be a bite risk through behavioral assessment, due to the possibility of legal ramifications down the road.

Unfortunately, this dog, and no, it is not normal for any dog to launch itself at it's owner, or other familiar people, for no apparent reason and cause serious injury. Based on accounts given, the dog doesn't seem to have a specific trigger for it's aggression, and no control or bite inhibition once it is triggered - something that is very concerning.


The following is a 'bite scale', which is used by professional dog trainers to evaluate the 'level'/severity of a bite : ian-dunbar-dog-bite-scale.pdf (apdt.com)

I think some serious consideration needs to be given as to whether this dog is safe for anyone to live with, it has bitten (and/or attempted to bite) several times with no warning and for no apparent reason, and caused serious injury.
 

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Just a word of caution - rehoming a dog with a known bite history, (even with full disclosure), could come back to haunt you- legally. Even most rescues will not take on a dog with a known bite history, nor will (most) shelters rehome a dog that has a bite history or is deemed to be a bite risk through behavioral assessment, due to the possibility of legal ramifications down the road.

Unfortunately, this dog, and no, it is not normal for any dog to launch itself at it's owner, or other familiar people, for no apparent reason and cause serious injury. Based on accounts given, the dog doesn't seem to have a specific trigger for it's aggression, and no control or bite inhibition once it is triggered - something that is very concerning.


The following is a 'bite scale', which is used by professional dog trainers to evaluate the 'level'/severity of a bite : ian-dunbar-dog-bite-scale.pdf (apdt.com)

I think some serious consideration needs to be given as to whether this dog is safe for anyone to live with, it has bitten (and/or attempted to bite) several times with no warning and for no apparent reason, and caused serious injury.
Thank you for the heads up, I was unaware of that. Fortunately I think he will be re homed to where he can have “a job” there’s a guy about an hour away from here that has horses and such. Every herding dog I’ve been around is like this. I appreciate you sending me the bite scale. This dog needs a new home for sure.
 

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This dog needs a new home for sure
This dog needs a proper assessment by a qualified behaviourist. Have you done anything about that?

How is this guy going to work him, what are his credentials for working with difficult dogs? My fear would be that he doesn't understand the complexity of this, puts the dog into a situation the dog can't handle, and it ends badly.
 

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This dog needs a proper assessment by a qualified behaviourist. Have you done anything about that?

How is this guy going to work him, what are his credentials for working with difficult dogs? My fear would be that he doesn't understand the complexity of this, puts the dog into a situation the dog can't handle, and it ends badly.
She is taking him to a behaviorist in NC the latter part of the week, and they are coming back to the house after I get back from my fun two week training. 😐

This guy that may be getting the dog apparently has experience with aussies as a breeder and trains them to do the herding stuff.

I woke up for shift today and he had gotten ahold of my body armor and my duty belt. He is continually costing me money. That’s only about 2100 that will come out of my pay now.
 

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I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with your dog. I can imagine you've had enough. It may be time to cut your losses and hand the dog to people who can give it the right conditions to thrive, if you can find such people.

I guess your dog's teeth are stronger than speeding bullets if he can chew through body armor.
 

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I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with your dog. I can imagine you've had enough. It may be time to cut your losses and hand the dog to people who can give it the right conditions to thrive, if you can find such people.

I guess your dog's teeth are stronger than speeding bullets if he can chew through body armor.
That’s what I’m thinking. I don’t want to tell her that and make it sound like an ultimatum but it kind of is.

hahah, unfortunately our department gives us soft armor which is dumb. I honestly don’t think it would stop and I’m not buying plates out of my pocket and having to wear those all day. Soft armor is hot enough in the summer, plates would cause a heat stroke haha
 

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Aussies need hours of exercise a day and absolutely will get into trouble and will get frustrated and bored with pent-up energy without a job to do, such as herding animals which is their thing they're bred for.
Please get this dog a full medical workup including full thyroid panel, check for all possible tickborne diseases and pain assessment. My own dog has become aggressive (mainly lunging and barking at people but also going after and getting into fights with other dogs who he normally loves) on three occasions; when he developed hypothyroidism, when he had Lyme disease and very subtle atypical symptoms (I actually had to fight with the stupid vet to even do the test and then to treat him when it was a weak positive but he went back to his happy playful self in only a week once he wasn't in pain from Lyme anymore) and when he developed pain from hip dysplasia and arthritis.
I know your dog is only three but my dog had all these medical issues by the time he had his 4th birthday. He was three when he had Lyme and hypothyroidism. Vaccination for Lyme isn't perfect and there's many other tickborne diseases there's no vaccines for.
Pain and physical symptoms can completely change a dog's personality and people and many vets always immediately assume it's always behavioral. No vet wants to deal with an aggressive dog so they just pass it off to a trainer instead of doing their job.
Dogs and cats are evolved to hide pain as a survival technique and often don't show they're sick is in pain until it's unimaginably severe.

I've literally had a dozen cats and several dogs that were terminally ill with endstage cancer and horrible pain but showed absolutely no symptoms until the last days or weeks.
Please thoroughly check out this dog. A full thyroid panel is nit just a basic thyroid levels. My dog will get cranky and snappy if he misses even one dose of his meds, especially in the summer as he's very sensitive to heat. So I don't take him to the dog park until he gets his meds. Same for his pain meds for his hips. If I miss it or am out of it it's asking for a fight to bring him there because he's protective of his sore hip.
I've definitely seen protective and aggressive Aussies in the dog park, usually the ones with not enough exercise and training and busy owners that don't have enough time for them. One large neutered male used to be friends with my dog and they played at the park for years with no problems. Then the owner went away for a few weeks and I don't remember if she boarded him or put him in some type of training facility but he came back aggressive to other dogs and with a lot of new behavior problems. I don't know if he was mistreated or was traumatized from missing his owner. He started bullying and picking fights with other dogs and he even went after my dog who is larger than him and started fights with a couple if times and wouldn't back down. Luckily I'd trained my dog to run to me and run away from fights by then. Although he was pretty mad when the Aussie tried to attack and chase him away from me once and went after him. He didn't back down and it got pretty charged for a couple of minutes. Luckily it was all verbal posturing and them being males pushing each other and no injuries until my dog remembered to come back to me.
Whoever said dominance theory is disproved has obviously never had, watched or observed multiple dogs together! There's always dogs who have to be in charge and act dominant or "in charge" and are pushy and want everything first and push around the other dogs. Then there's the dogs that get along and don't care and then there's the submissive ones that get pushed around and picked on by the others unless they find a stronger dog to protect them. I've been a horseback riding instructor and horse trainer and observed horses in herds for over 25 years and horses behave similarly with herd dynamics of alphas and lower in the pecking order to dogs.
My dog is calm and not bossy and happily shares food. Runs from bossy females and won't fight with them or any small dogs and has a calming presence to the nervous young dogs or abused or older dogs and loves older dogs. If a large male or adolescent male challenges or humps him he quickly puts them in their place and doesn't back down unless I call him or a human separates him. If he can he'll even go back and restart the fight to prove his point that he's in charge. The bigger the male or if unneutered the worse he is. But I've professionally watched literally dozens of dogs, females, small dogs and neutered males that I know he likes and he always gets along fine and bonds with them with no issues. Most dogs don't mess with him because he's confident and very large. I see dogs interact all the time both when I watch them and in the park and they always have a pecking order so I always observe dominant and submissive behavior. That seems bizarre to just say the theory has been disproven when it makes so much sense and is practically observable all the time. I have a respectful relationship with my dog and all dogs I handle but they definitely correct each other with barks and warning snaps and bites. So do cats and horses for that matter, it just seems natural.
 
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