Territorially Aggressive Australian Shepherd

A black tricolour Australian Shepherd
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Re: territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd Cross

Our family has an incredibly difficult 2 year old territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd Cross (Lab) named Bones, that we have had since he was about 6-7 weeks old. We began private puppy lessons and then group lessons when he was a little older. He learned quickly. For the next year he was a great dog. We would take him to the dog park and for long walks around our area and everyone loved him. He allowed everyone to pet him and we had no problems. After about six months he was becoming toy aggressive. Then he stopped allowing the neighborhood kids to play with him and he began barking at strangers. Last week he got out of the house and yard and chased someone who was riding their bike. He ended up tearing the pads off of both his feet while attempting to eat the bike rider. He is now incredibly aggressive towards anyone that is not in our immediate family. He not allow anyone in our house and attacks anyone that walks by him. It is becoming nearly impossible for anyone in our family to walk him. We are afraid that we will be forced to put him down.

– K.

Hi K.

Here’s what you can’t do with a territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd. You can NEVER leave them in a yard unsupervised nor can they EVER be left alone for any amount of time where they can see vehicle or pedestrian traffic through a window or a door. For some reason retrieving breeds crossed with herding breeds can produce overly territorial dogs that make Charlie Sheen’s crazy train look like Thomas the Train. (If you don’t have little kids, google it.) Here’s what you HAVE to do with these dogs. Spend a lot of time with them in the yard and where they can see vehicle and pedestrian traffic through a window or a door and correct your territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd Cross’s bad behaviour and reward his good behaviour. They have to be taught and reminded until the day they die that, “This is your house and they just get to live there.”

There are studies used to support the use of all positive dog training that claim correcting a dog for aggression will make the aggression worse. However the only thing that study proved is that bad science is alive and well and can be a tad cruel. It can be made to be true by structuring the study so a poor dog is essentially dumped into a charged situation and while its attention is fixed on the target of its aggression a “correction” is “applied.” No real trainer works with aggressive dogs that way. They would first look into the dog’s history, look at exercise and mental stimulation available to the dog etc. They would address the window/yard issues and show how to develop a proper working relationship foundation. After about 30 days of the latter they would in short succession likely exercise the dog to the point of happy exhaustion, do a quick review of the foundation exercises learned and then immediately introduce an incremental exposure to the red zone stimulants. They would both correct bad behaviour and reward good behaviour to help your territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd Cross understand more clearly where it was going wrong without any risk of increasing aggression and unless the dog has a screw loose every chance of getting it under control if not extinguishing it entirely.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

(File: territorially aggressive Australian Shepherd Cross)

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6 thoughts on “Territorially Aggressive Australian Shepherd”

  1. Ronda Lake

    U was told that my puppy is an Alaskin Shepard cross with Lab. Her name is Sophie. I along with my 8 years old daughter and her daddy are the only people in the house. She likes anyone that will rub her belly but she bits at anyone(not aggressively) but enough to feel it a little. I had her house trained so I thought until the last two days she irinated in the house so I trapped her on the nose after showing her what she did wrong and put her in her cage. She’s knows when she does something wrong. She’s not leaning to me like she use to and now that she’s 4 months I’m beginning to worry that my mate wants to get rid of her. We love our puppy but I need help and at this time we can’t really afford a trainer. Why tips can you help us with so, we can have a loving dog?

    1. I don’t think anything can replace some time with a good trainer but when that’s not in the budget I point people to buying my dog training book. You’ll find it on this site in the books sections. It’s an ebook and affordable.


  2. Danielle Faulk

    I hope you can help me. I have a black lab/Aussie shepherd mix that is a little over 9 years old. His behavior seems to be getting worse the older he gets and I don’t know what else to do. He and my male GSD grew up together (both neutered) but the older they became, the more aggressive he became to the GSD. He would try and bite me when corrected. I finally had to separate them and let the lab/Aussie stay with my mother until my GSD recently passed. I have brought Kilo back home and now he’s turning in my 2 female dogs and the cat. Attempts to bite me when corrected again and I have had to start kenneling him again. If o let him have outdoor time he barks non-stop until I let him back in and he’s constantly trying to mount one of my female dogs (spayed). He’s been to the vet and I have tried everything possible to no avail. He tried to bite a friend yesterday through the kennel when they hugged me bye. My mother took him to her vet several months ago and he told her that he had one mixed the same breeds and finally had to have him put down at 10 because he’d become so out of control. I am afraid I’m going to have to do the same. I’ve made attempts to re-home him with someone who had no other dogs or animals but no one wants a dog his age. I love him but I am at the end of my rope and cannot do this anymore. I’m afraid he’s going to seriously hurt one of the girls, myself or company. Please, if you could email me and give me some insight, I would truly appreciate your help.

  3. Hi… help!
    My 18 yr old daughter and her boyfriend have a yr old male Australia Shepherd and a 10 month old golden doodle. They live in a small apartment. The Australian shepherd is not fully house broken. They occasionally take the dogs park to play. The shepherd is not nuetered. He has viciously bitten me once, and yesterday bit my daughter for the 2nd time sending her to the ER requiring stictches. She was breaking up the dogs fighting. Only now at this point are they considering training..which they cannot afford. Im hoping I can forward your expert advice to them. Thank you.

  4. Ronda Lang

    Our family just adopted a 11 month old Aussie mix from our humane society. We just brought him home yesterday….he seems so smart and fits into the family well including getting along with our 8 yr old shitzu.
    We are making sure that he gets plenty of exercise and stimuli.
    My husband brought home bones for both dogs and he got In a little skif with the shitzu. And then a friend stopped by and he acted a little territorial, barking and carrying on…we told him “no” on both accounts but now after reading your site this seems wrong.
    We really want to start off on the right foot. What should we do? He’s probably feeling a little overwhelmed in a new environment.
    We had a Aussie for 10yrs and he was the best dog. We are hoping this one can be too.

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