"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Female Australian Shepherd and Female German Shepherd are Fighting

– Posted in: Aggression, Columns
Aggressive Australian Shepherd

Hello,

I have a German Shepherd who was the alpha female of her litter. The breeder made me aware of this right away and so she went into training very young. She had a bit of dog aggression to strange dogs but it was clearly fear based and we have been able to train it out.

A couple months ago I started to see my boyfriend who has an Australian Shepherd with dog aggression and general aggression issues. Our dogs will get along great for a couple days and then the Aussie will attack my shepherd who defends herself. My shepherd will stop fighting when told to Leave It bit a couple days ago his Aussie used this to her advantage and attacked my dogs face causing several bite marks.

The Aussie gets unacceptably protective of toys and food and has actually growled at me when I went to take something away. I have never been fearful of a dog but will admit this Aussie scares me. How should we fix this aggressive behavior? Does he need to train her that she can’t be aggressive and then I step in and train once we know it is safe?

Oh the German Shepherd is 2 yo and the Aussie is 3.

Thank you so much,

Jessica

Hi Jessica,

I think she needs to be assessed first to determine what direction training should or might take. Better to determine what’s causing the conflict before selecting a training direction.

One possibility is that the dynamic between two female dogs can be touchy, enough so that some simply can’t accept the presence of another female without absolute clarity as to who is top dog. That’s fine if it’s okay with the other female but if she has any leadership qualities it can make for a poor dynamic and a never ending headache for the dog owner(s).

Another is that one or both of the dogs hasn’t accepted to a sufficient degree that both you and your boyfriend are “higher on the ladder” and this results in greater reasons for fighting over perceived “resources”. Some dogs set the bar higher than others as to what level of direction they need from their owners. A big part of the program for addressing this is a focus on less significant matters before addressing the dog to dog dynamic.

I suspect if you can get your dog to listen to you when she’s being harassed by the Aussie this is more of a problem having to do with the relationship the Aussie has with her owner and/or yourself.

You won’t have any problem finding trainers that believe they are sufficiently skilled to help you assess and then train one or both of these dogs but you might just find that it’s tricky finding a trainer actually sufficiently experienced and skilled to help you with this. Doing your homework carefully in finding the trainer will be important. If you can give me a location and the distance you are willing to travel I can post on some of my training groups.

Regards,

John Wade

2 Comments… add one
Vanessa S June 19, 2015, 7:28 pm

I Suggest that you Keep the dog Your Training on a Harness and Leash That May Take Away Some Of This Aggression!.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade June 20, 2015, 4:10 pm

How and why would this work Vanessa?

John

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