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Aggression In The Australian Shepherd Dog
The Australian Shepherd is a working dog which was developed in the United States (contrary to its name, it did not originate in Australia). Australian Shepherds (known affectionately as Aussies) generally have very sweet, loving natures, but this is affected by how much of the working-dog instinct is included in the individual dog's temperament.
This article deals with animal-related aggression in the Australian Shepherd. If your Aussie is showing aggression towards you or has bitten someone in the household, this is a very serious matter and must be dealt with by a professional, immediately.
Reasons for Aggression
The Aussie is a real working dog. Bred to herd cattle and to make quick decisions without the benefit of human instruction, the breed is hardwired to act in a certain way: primarily, to chase and nip anything that moves (especially other animals). The working history is the leading cause of animal-based aggression in the Aussie: a long tradition of ranch-work, which requires a certain degree of protection against strange animals and predators, means that the breed has a tendency towards animal aggression - especially towards dogs of the same sex.
What Is Animal Aggression?
Your Aussie will demonstrate some distinctive characteristics when it comes to aggression towards other animals:
How to Deal With It
There isn't any tried-and-true method of getting rid of all animal-related aggression in the Aussie; it's just hardwired into their natures. As with all working dogs, protection is part of the job, as is suspicion of strangers and unfamiliar animals; this is to be expected as a characteristic of the breed (and one that is cherished among Aussies that work today). However, as most of these behaviors aren't appropriate in the modern-day household setting, here are some tips for handling and preventing the more overt behaviors:
If your Aussie is still showing signs of aggression after all your hard work, you may need to consult an animal-behavior modification expert. Your vet should be able to recommend one to you - whichever one you choose should be qualified, experienced, and humane in their methods. Ensure that you're involved in the sessions (you want your dog to respond to YOU, not someone else).
Australian Shepherd Aggression | Dog Training Advice
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Find out why your Australian Shepherd is acting aggressively and what are the best steps to take to stop this aggressive behavior.
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