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Resource Guarding Miniature Australian Shepherd

Dear John,

We have a mini Australian Shepard that is 8 months old. If he has a bone and my 15 year old daughter walks into the room he attacks her. He has only done it to me once but is getting more aggressive. I have no idea what to do. We have a dachshund also. I’ve tried to stop giving him items that will potentially bring this behavior out. It is like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Any advice would be appreciated!


Georgia U.S.

Hi NW,

I think you’ll need some more of a hands on level of help. Generally speaking I can tell you that the sort of resource guarding you are describing can often be resolved but it’s not easy to safely do in homes with children. In some dogs it exists because the dog thinks it has the right. The dog believes that because of the way its owners interact with it. They’re generally just wired to need a clearer idea as to who’s living in who’s house, a higher and level of obedience. However your dog is rather young to be so cocky so you may find it an unsafe challenge to take on from a rehabilitation perspective. Your problem may be further compounded from a genetic perspective. Not always, but almost always when breeders chose physical characteristics that are cosmetic, in this case the miniaturization of a breed they can get some negative by products. I personally would want to learn more about what’s happening with litter mates from the same litter and any pups from prior litters to see how many might have aberrant behaviours.



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2 thoughts on “Resource Guarding Miniature Australian Shepherd”

  1. Hi John,

    We have an Aussie mix (shepherd, collie, cattle dog, English Springer spaniel). He is just over a year old. Basic training was fairly successful for us, but we still struggle greatly with extreme resource guarding/reactivity. I read your comment about looking into litter mates to look for similar trouble behaviors. We happen to be in touch with a family who adopted a littermate, and that dog has the same extreme issues. Are we fighting an uphill battle?

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