If you have an Australian Shepherd, you've probably been nipped more than once. Your pup may nip at your heels when you aren't moving fast enough on a walk or you have something they want, such as their food bowl or favorite toy. While you may not mind the occasional nip, your guests probably don't like it, especially if there are children around. What to you is an affectionate graze may fee like a serious bite to someone who isn't familiar with your pup. Training Australian Shepherds to not nip is an essential part of raising a well-mannered dog.
Like most shepherds, Australian Shepherds were bred to be herding dogs. Years of selective breeding has imparted deep instincts into your Shepherd. The desire to herd is as natural to your Australian Shepherd as their need for a pack. Herding dogs learn to nip and snap at the heels of livestock to keep them in a group. If your pup is doing the same to you, it is important to learn constructive methods for redirecting that energy and techniques to show your Shepherd that nipping is not allowed.
Keep in mind as you work with your Australian Shepherd that you may not be able to stop nipping altogether. As a herding dog, the instinct to nip is very strong. However, you can help them learn to control their instincts more effectively. For these methods, you will need a long training leash and a chew toy or rawhide bone. You can also use treats to encourage the behaviors you want to see more of.