Olivia is a tenacious little canine, always looking for a playmate. She enjoys long walks, cuddles on the couch and anything remotely edible. However, your Australian Cattle Dog also seems to enjoy biting. It may have started with gentle nibbles when you were playing, but now it has become an aggressive and persistent habit. It means you’re on edge whenever a guest reaches down to stroke your pup. It also means even you, as their owner, don’t want to get in between them and their food.
So it’s got to a stage now where training your Australian Cattle dog to not bite is essential. You know it’s just a matter of time before someone or another pet is seriously injured. If that does happen, you could be landed with steep vet bills and Olivia may even have to be put down. Fortunately, training her not to bite will give you a well-behaved, controllable canine.
Training your Australian Cattle Dog to not bite won’t necessarily be easy, but it is definitely achievable. Firstly, you will need to introduce a number of deterrence measures to remove the temptation. You will also need to look for triggers so you can tackle them head-on. At the same time, you will need to use positive reinforcements to encourage them to play gently.
If your Australian Cattle Dog is just a puppy, then the habit should be relatively new and you could break it in just a few weeks. But if your dog is older and the habit has developed over a number of years, then you may need months. Stick to your new training regime and you’ll no longer need to worry when you see a new dog approaching on the horizon. It also means you can start them back on the path of being a calm, friendly dog.
Before you get to work, you’ll need to tick off a few things on your checklist. A water spray bottle, muzzle, and a deterrence collar will be needed for one of the methods. You will also need a decent supply of treats or the pup's favorite food for positive reinforcements.
Toys, a body harness, and food puzzles will also be required for one of the methods. Set aside around 15 minutes each day for training. Try and train when you both won’t be distracted.
Apart from all that, you just need patience and enthusiasm, then training can commence!
I've had my cattle dog, Zephyr, since he was 5 weeks old. He's always gotten anxious when people leave, but he's decided to taking up biting at my room mate's feet when he leaves for work in the morning. My dog really likes my room mate and gets excited when he's home, but he primarily stays in his room with the door shut. Today he actually caused pain versus just being a tripping hazard to him, and I don't know what to do. When I leave, we have a whole deal where i give him affection and talk to him and he gives it back without barking before I shut the door. What do you think causes my dog to be so obsessed with biting at his feet when he leaves?
Hello Taylor, As a herding breed, Cattle dogs will use nipping and bite holds to control the movement of livestock - especially stubborn livestock that won't go where the dog wants. It sounds like Zephyr might be trying to control your roommate's movement and prevent him from leaving. The bite may have progressed to a firmer bite because Zephyr decided that your roommate was being stubborn and needed a more forceful approach to stop him from leaving. Zephyr likely does not respect your roommate - this is fairly common with dogs and family children that the dog views as equal to them. Work on teaching Zephyr a "Leave It" or an "Out" command. When he tries to follow your roommate to the door - before biting him, tell him to "Leave It" (which means leave something alone) or "Out" (which means leave the area). If he disobeys, correct him by getting between him and your roommate and firmly walking toward him until he is at least ten feet away from the roommate. Block him from getting past you to your roommate until he acts submissive, leaves the area completely or lays down. If he is very stubborn you can also keep a drag leash on him in the morning, which you can grab to keep him from slipping past you as needed - focus primarily on enforcing the command with your presence and body language though because you want him to choose to obey because of your consistency and not just force him to stay back with the leash. Choosing obedience requires submission and respect, being forced to stay back while he strains against the leash does not require a mental change from him. There are a number of ways to address this, but using Out and Leave It are some of the gentlest. You can also have your roommate work on teaching him respect through obedience work, consistency, and structured focused heel work, but you enforcing Zephyr leaving your roommate alone is easier for your roommate and it still asks for respect from him - what you are communicating is that your dog should leave your roommate alone because of his respect for you and your rules. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?