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nippy Aussie ShepardX..

chico2
January 27th, 2011, 04:54 PM
WE went visiting a friend yesterday,their grand-daughter and daughter who lives with them,have a very pretty Aussie ShepardX,called Dakota.

They are having a problem with her nipping people.
Example,I got up to go to the bathroom,Dakota followed me,her body very close to my legs,looking up at me.
All of a sudden she jumped up and bit me,drew blood,but not a bad bite.

Dakota is a very smart dog,has won several agility-prices,the daughter at 13yrs old,is totally dedicated to her dog and training,a wonderful young girl.

Dakota is not showing any aggression,no growling,the nipping comes out of the blue.
I was told Dakota will herd anything,even cars:yell:and I cannot help but feel she was trying to herd me,but then again,what do I know:shrug:

I have suggested to the young girl and mom to come here for advice, they are really concerned,it's not the first time Dakota does this.
Hopefully she will join and some of our wonderful people will be able to help out.

chico2
January 27th, 2011, 04:58 PM
Forgot to add a picture,Dakota is now 3 yrs old,here she is as a puppy..

tenderfoot
January 29th, 2011, 10:04 PM
They need to put her back on the leash when they have guests and teach her to have calm energy with people and to help her learn it's not her place to go after people.
She is trying to take control of the people her home ad she needs to learn that it is not her job.
Sorry about the bite, soaking in Epsom salts can help.

chico2
January 30th, 2011, 07:32 AM
Thank you Tenderfoot,I will relay the message to the owner..I was going to suggest leashing Dakota too,but I don't know much about dog-training.

Love4himies
January 30th, 2011, 07:50 AM
What a cutie pie :cloud9::lovestruck:. Sorry to hear about the bite :(:grouphug:. I hope it doesn't turn into an infection :pray:

chico2
January 30th, 2011, 08:23 AM
Oh no L4H,it's only a nip,it looks fine.
I've had much,much worse from Rocky...it's just that this behavior is a great concern to her owners.

millitntanimist
January 31st, 2011, 08:21 AM
It sounds like she may be under-stimulated. Aussie Sheps are a very high drive breed, how much exercise and play dose she get? Dogs need to be mentally, as much as physically, tired out.
I'm a big fan of using re-direction (if the dog is herding because they are bored, stopping them from herding will not solve the problem, their boredom will simply manifest in other undesirable behaviors).
Try to give her a good run before people come over and work out a game that is acceptable for her to play with visitors (tug? fetch?). Dogs are most comfortable when they know what they are supposed to do in a given situation. A by interrupting the behavior and asking her to offer something incompatible with herding, she will soon learn to offer the other behavior instead.

This is a good general video for unwanted behavior
http://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup#p/u/46/TBvPaqMZyo8

Here is an example of a way they could satisfy her herding instincts (and it's hilarious :thumbs up)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4tqwzGJVEg

Good luck, I hope they have some success!

Aussie_Girl
January 31st, 2011, 02:58 PM
millitntanimist is very right with what they are saying, Aussie's are a herding dog, they nip because it is in their nature, and they will nip more when they are not stimulated properly, they love to work and when bored they act out the best way they know how and thats trying to "herd" nipping what it can that is moving, thats why the pup stays so close to you. If trained properly they will still nip but not to the point they draw blood. I have two pure bred Aussies, my 14 month old girl will still try and herd my kids but in a gentle way she does not hurt him, now I have a 8 week old Aussie pup who is learning that nipping is not allowed, it takes some time and patients but they will learn. I do not take my pup out yet because I'm terrified of parvo, since we had problems with it with my girl when she was a pup, but Aussies need lots of stimulation and exercise, up to 4-5hrs a day.
They are a working dog and need that stimulation or they will act out with nipping and getting into things, they are a smart easy to train dog but like to push boundaries :)
Good Luck with the little one soo adorable :)

chico2
January 31st, 2011, 04:24 PM
Thank you very much,Aussie_Girl and Milli....I will forward what you have said to my friend,it makes a lot of sense to me.

Since it is winter,Dakota probably does not get the exercise she needs.

Aussie_Girl
January 31st, 2011, 04:36 PM
Anytime :)

If its to cold out, even tug of war, throwing a ball or toy, or try and have the pup run after you.. fun games you can do inside that stimulates the dog. Or even suggest doggie dates, if she has any other friends that have dogs, let them play and run around together, the little pup needs something ... :)
Thats the nice thing about having 2 Aussies, they keep each other stimulated as well as with my kids and myself...
Hope all goes well :)

chico2
January 31st, 2011, 04:47 PM
Aussiegirl,thank's again,Dakota is actually 3 yrs old,I just sent your two answers to the owner.
In the summer the daughter has Dakota in agility and all kinds of fun things.
They have a huge property,with a big pond where Dakota loves to swim.
I did not know Aussies were such water-lovers,but Dakota certainly is.

Aussie_Girl
January 31st, 2011, 05:50 PM
Awww right on.. she is so cute :)

Ya..she may just have some winter blues, once spring comes she will probably calm down on the nipping, cause they nipping is usually done when bored. Probably so used to agility in the summer, that she is just bored...
My little guy is a huge nipper right now, so trying to nip that in the bud... I dont take him out yet because of scares of parvo only having first shots and being young.. scares me... since I almsot lost my female to it...
its Mixed about water, my girl hates the water, its hard to get her bathed, she fights it... now my little guy seems to show huge interest in it...

chico2
February 1st, 2011, 07:28 AM
The owner was happy for the info and will try to implement all the suggestions.
I think she is happy Dakota's nipping is not a sign of aggression,I never thought it was,if it had been,the nip would have been a bite,much more serious.

She also told me,Dakota goes to indoor agility every Monday and they do the best they can keeping her busy...can't wait for spring..
We would love to see pics of your Aussies.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 07:53 AM
Thats awesome that they do the agility with her, ya the nipping is just instinct, nothing out of aggression.
Yes I think we are all ready for spring, I'm sick of this snow and cold and winter.. bring on the nice weather....

Here are my babies
This is Diesel my Blue Merle Male
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/FoxyRacing/Diesl1.jpg

This is Sierra, my Red Merle Female
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/FoxyRacing/Sierra3.jpg

And a Picture of them playing...
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y74/FoxyRacing/pups2.jpg

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 10:23 AM
Let's be clear - any form of biting would be considered an aggressive act. The difference comes when you are differentiating between a truly mean dog (few and far between), an insecure or fearful dog or a dog who is out of balance and acting out. This Aussie sounds like the last choice. He is possibly out of balance due to lack of stimulation this time of year and is starting to take charge of his environment.
The amount of work his family has done with him is great, but that doesn't mean they are in charge at home.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 10:34 AM
So your telling me that my Aussies are acting out of aggression? Not a chance, my dogs are not aggressive what so ever, Australian Shepherds are a herding dog which they use nipping for herding, and when not stimulated to where they should be they use there nipping instinct when something is moving.
I own 2 Australian shepherds, my in-laws own one, they are not an aggressive dog, the nipping is harmless, if it comes to the point where the dog is showing aggression then yes, but nipping is in there nature of herding and when bored will do.
I had a Pit Bull X Australian Shepherd, and her nipping was out of aggression, My female will open her mouth while chasing my kids around and just put her face against them wont even touch them with her teeth cause this is what they do..
I DO NOT agree wit it being a sign of aggression at all, but this is something we can argue about I guess..

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 10:36 AM
Let's be clear - any form of biting would be considered an aggressive act. The difference comes when you are differentiating between a truly mean dog (few and far between), an insecure or fearful dog or a dog who is out of balance and acting out. This Aussie sounds like the last choice. He is possibly out of balance due to lack of stimulation this time of year and is starting to take charge of his environment.
The amount of work his family has done with him is great, but that doesn't mean they are in charge at home.

MY dogs are by far from mean or insecure or out of balance, so I take this to offence..

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 10:56 AM
I never said YOUR dog was aggressive - please be clear that if this dog behaved that way towards a stranger on the street, the dog and person could easily be accused of an act of aggression. So we need to take this behavior seriously. Luckily the person who got nipped was an understanding friend. They might not be so lucky next time.

So what is herding behavior? It is redirected prey drive. The herding of any animal is a focused prey drive that is inhibited before the "take down". Call it assertive if that makes you better but it is an aggressive act in the other animals mind - thats why it works . If the sheep doesnt listen the dog has to turn up the pressure and not all herding dogs are good at turning the prey drive off. Some of the best herders still end up with their canine teeth filled down to prevent hurting the sheep.

This dog was willing to put his teeth on a human and I take that seriously. It doesn't mean that he is MEAN, it means his behavior is socially inappropriate and needs to change.

Your dogs are doing the job they were bred to do when they herd sheep or balls, but to transfer that behavior to a human should not be permitted.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 11:17 AM
See you said Nipping is a form of aggression, my older girl nips without using her teeth, and my little guy nips and it can hurt cause his sharp little puppy teeth.
The thing with Australian shepherds is this instinct can come out at any time, if something catches there eye this herding instinct can come out of them.
For Example, my in-laws mini-aussie, she is the best dog I've ever met, so calm and relaxed and great with my kids, she would never hurt a fly, well one day she was outside on a nice sunny day with my father in law, and a little girl rode by on a scooter and the movement must of caught her eye and she nipped at her, out of instinct, cause she is not an aggressive dog what so ever and has never nipped at my children ever, they will come out at time to time if something catches them.
And she said she wasnt aggressive about it, so the herding instinct must of come out, yes you need to correct it and tell her bad, but I do not believe this was an aggression act.
And when Aussies herd they are not like lions herding, they do not take down the sheep, they herd them to where the farmer/person is wanting that animal without harming the animal. They are not preying on them, they are simply doing there job to what they are being told to do, and will listen when told to stop on command.
If the dog was showing aggression usually the nipping would last longer then a simple quick nip, its a herding behavior that should be corrected yes but not aggression.

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 11:45 AM
You are proving my point. The best dog you have ever met nipped at a child - well it's not how good the dog is most of the time, its how bad can she be the other times. Because the dog is good under most predictable circumstances do we forgive the bad behavior when something out of her comfort zone occurs and she makes a bad choice? No, we take it as a red flag that more work needs to be done.
Dogs are predators who have been bred to modify their natural instincts for a specific job. People tend to think of them as gentle little fur balls who can do no wrong. Lunging to nip a child flying past them is a bad choice. ALL dogs can bite - I don't care what excuse the person gives. It is the responsibly of the person to teach the dog to fight their impulses and instincts in order to live in harmony with people. The whole point of training should be to teach the dog look to their person for support and guidance when ever they have a question or decision to make, not just react impulsively and instinctively.
It doesn't matter how good this mini-Aussie is -what matters is how this child felt about being lunged at. That could have frightened most small children very badly.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 12:02 PM
Wow, honestly I'm done this argument. I didn't prove any point but Aussie's have instincts that come out at certain circumstances.
She didn't do it out of aggression.. but like I said, this conversation is done...
Apparently only something someone who knows about this breed would understand.
Hence why nothing was done because of the breed of dog and the dog not being aggressive, this was coming from the humane society who actually defended the dog and the breed of dog and who met the dog personally to make sure she was acting out of aggression and was only acting out of instinct..
Again point is we will not see the same points..

aslan
February 1st, 2011, 12:12 PM
Aussie girl,,just curious are you using your aussie's to herd? either way this female nipping a human whether herding behavior or not it is inappropriate,,i have own an australian sheppard before and at the moment own a Great Pyrenees which is also a herding breed.. This is the first behavior i made sure to correct. Herding or not,,nipping a human even out of boredom is not allowed, That's like saying a pittie attacking a dog is ok cause that's what they were made for.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 12:19 PM
I never once said my girl nipped anyone, mine will chase my kids around the house when the kids play with her and she trys and herds them but has never nipped them.. I said my in-laws dog did once, in her 7 yrs of living, and she was disciplined for it, and hasnt done it since.

Basically, you cant take the stripes off a tiger, you cant take the full instinct out of a dog.
Yes it needs to be corrected of course, I never once said to allow the animal to do so, not once.. My hole point in this is exactly my saying above with the tiger.
No dog did what they did out of aggression or showed aggression just an instinct, that was corrected quickly.

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 12:26 PM
Good point Aslan.

Aussie Girl - I appreciate your devotion to the breed. But no breed is perfect, as few people are perfect. Every breed comes with its caveats and even the most enthusiastic fancier should be clear on that.

We have had Aussies for 25 years, and have trained hundreds of them for our clients, so I am confident in our understanding of the breed, as I am for all of the breeds we train. Aussies are one of our favorites and when they are well bred and well trained they are the best.

I wish you continued success with your dogs, and hope they continue to impress you with their wonderful ways.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 12:39 PM
I am very devoted to this breed, and as I said I'm done...

aslan
February 1st, 2011, 01:13 PM
See you said Nipping is a form of aggression, my older girl nips without using her teeth, and my little guy nips and it can hurt cause his sharp little puppy teeth.
The thing with Australian shepherds is this instinct can come out at any time, if something catches there eye this herding instinct can come out of them.
For Example, my in-laws mini-aussie, she is the best dog I've ever met, so calm and relaxed and great with my kids, she would never hurt a fly, well one day she was outside on a nice sunny day with my father in law, and a little girl rode by on a scooter and the movement must of caught her eye and she nipped at her, out of instinct, cause she is not an aggressive dog what so ever and has never nipped at my children ever, they will come out at time to time if something catches them.
And she said she wasnt aggressive about it, so the herding instinct must of come out, yes you need to correct it and tell her bad, but I do not believe this was an aggression act.
And when Aussies herd they are not like lions herding, they do not take down the sheep, they herd them to where the farmer/person is wanting that animal without harming the animal. They are not preying on them, they are simply doing there job to what they are being told to do, and will listen when told to stop on command.
If the dog was showing aggression usually the nipping would last longer then a simple quick nip, its a herding behavior that should be corrected yes but not aggression.

i'm just going by what you said,,nipping, nipping at,,,not acceptable.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 01:22 PM
Never once said it was acceptable....Just said it is in there nature, and sometimes act it out in a way not ment to hurt one..doesnt mean it was ment as an aggressive act.
She never ment to hurt the little girl, she is protective of my kids, it was an act of instinct in the breed of dog.
And everyone has there opinions... we have different views on this enough said..
Aussie will nip when excited.. if an aussie is nipping out of aggression you will know..I've seen it.....

aslan
February 1st, 2011, 01:42 PM
Aussie girl,,at no point did i say that you thought it was acceptable,,nor did i say that it was a sign of aggression. I did say it is unacceptable behavior and whether it is instinct or not you can train them to not act on instinct. What intrigues me is how personally you're taking Tenderfoots comments as if they were directed right at you..Tenderfoot is a professional trainer and i'd dare say knows what she's talking about when giving Chico2 advice.

Aussie_Girl
February 1st, 2011, 02:01 PM
As I have said I am done with this thread... We will never come to an understanding of what we think of this.... so I'm not going to start an arguement over something like this... I've said what I wanted to say... and thats it...

chico2
February 1st, 2011, 04:15 PM
I am sorry this post turned in to an argument,I am very grateful,as is my friend,for all the advice,both from Tenderfoot and Aussiegirl.:grouphug:

I don't think anyone said nipping is acceptable,no matter what the breed,but that it is more common with Aussies and it has to be corrected.
Both of you agreed on that and my friend will follow all advice given.:thumbs up

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the concern Chico2 - you did nothing but ask a question.

You are not responsible for other peoples behaviors/opinions. Unfortunately when people talk about their dogs :dog:they can get rather sensitive, similar to when people talk about their kids:stork-baby:. When hearts and emotions are involved things can get heated and people get upset. When voices are not able to imply tone and faces are not present to be read then many times people misunderstand intentions/words. :shrug: It is the sad fact of the internet.

Perhaps we should all just speak in emoticons.:crazy:

No harm done, and hope things work out with your friends dog.

:grouphug: