While it’s true that any dog can have issues with using their teeth at the wrong time, nipping and biting inappropriately can be double the issue when you have a herding breed. Herding dogs are often known for nipping at the ankles of their charges to get them moving. However, when your dog is running around with you in the backyard, it can be relatively annoying to have him constantly nipping at your heels.
Australian Shepherds, also known as Aussies, are a herding breed that can exhibit this behavior without the appropriate training. It can be frustrating, especially if your Aussie is prone to herding small children or other household pets. Nipping and biting may be something you’ll want to put a stop to entirely if it’s presenting a problem for you or your family.
Teaching any dog to not bite once they’ve formed the habit can be challenging, but it can be especially challenging for breeds who are responding to instinct. However, with the right formula, you can break a bad habit and replace it with much better ones. Biting habits of Australian shepherds should be interrupted as soon as you notice them develop, which is generally during late puppyhood, but even an adult Aussie can learn to put energy into more appropriate habits.
Getting rid of inappropriate biting can take anywhere between two to six weeks, depending on how long your dog has been exhibiting it. Consistent and daily intervention and training should make the process relatively pain-free but remember that instinct is a powerful force. You’ll have to be more appealing than the base desire to run, chase, and bite.
Constructive outlets for biting and mouthing are important, so looking into things like chew toys can be useful. You’ll also want a leash for control when outdoors and treats for rewarding positive behavior. Have these things on hand whenever you begin your training, so you can be certain that you have what you need to keep training on track.
My dog is six and barks at anyone who is not a relative when they enter the door. He also occasionally tries to herd people out the door by nipping their legs. What can I do to make my dog more comfortable with other people in our home? We’re getting ready to move to an apartment and I want to train him for better behavior. He doesn’t do these things outside the home and often licks people after awhile.
Hello Kate, I suggest recruiting a bunch of friends and family members that your dog does not know to come over to your home, one or two people at a time. Check out the video linked below and have them practice feeding him treats while he is calm (do not reward while he is barking). Notice the use of a back tie leash to prevent him from getting too close to guests and nipping while practicing this. Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Adults: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Also, check out the article linked below for general ways to improve respect and trust - which can help herding breeds listen more in the presence of distractions (moving people they want to control). https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 Also, teach a solid Place command and practice having him stay on Place while people move around and enter and leave your home. This exercise not only keeps him from biting while he is on Place but it also builds his impulse control and teaches him to listen and focus on you in the presence of things he wants to herd and control. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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