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Australian Shepherd Meetup Group of Denver Message Board › 2 year old aussie mix needs new home

2 year old aussie mix needs new home

Brandy L.
Denver, CO
Post #: 3
I am hoping this group of Aussie lovers will know someone looking for an Aussie Mix. My dog's name is Bentley and he is 2 1/2 years old. We moved here last year from a rural area in Pennsylvania where Bentley was free to roam around and run. City living is not agreeing with him. He is a very sweet and obedient boy, loves kids and people, does not love other dogs. He has also become territorial which seems like an Aussie trait that I was unaware of. I have used several trainers to try to work on the agitation toward other dogs. He does great at doggie daycare, at group obedience, but doesn't like them coming into our home. The vet has diagnosed him with anxiety and placed him on Prozac. Each of the trainers and the vet has suggested that he is just not getting enough exercise in the city. I walk him but I am not a runner and cannot take him to dog parks because he gets in fights. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion he will be happier elsewhere with someone who can give him what he needs. I couldn't figure out how to post a picture on here but he is black with tan feet and if anyone knows someone who is interested I can get contact information and send pictures. I have contacted several rescues to no avail and this idea was given to me by a friend. I am reluctant to post on craigslist as I have been told their are people looking to get dogs for fighting purposes. If someone here knows of someone looking - he is free to a good home. If nothing comes of this - thank you for letting me post! - Brandy
user 3842251
Littleton, CO
Post #: 6
Brandy, please don't give up on Bentley. Moving is very stressful and requires an adjustment period. Aussies also tend to go through another fear phase around age 2, which can mean showing fear aggression toward other dogs and people. I moved here around the time my dog turned 2 and we have worked through the issues with discipline and love. But he still does not like people coming into my house, which is "his territory" and he reacts by protecting it and me. That's okay, I understand who he is (a shepherd's job is to protect) and adapt by crating him or closing him into a room he likes with music. It's not his fault he's a little neurotic, but it's my job to protect him.

Keep doing the things that are working, like walks and doggy day care. But please don't give up on him. Too many Aussies (and mixes) end up in shelters because of this very situation. I can guarantee you that I'm not the only member of this group who has seen the same behavior as you're seeing, and I know you can work through it.

user 13639734
Group Organizer
Littleton, CO
Post #: 12
I agree. Don't give up on him, there are no bad dogs, just owners who aren't sure what to do with them to help them learn what is right and what is wrong.

Take your dog to dog parks but keep him on a leash. Let him get closer to other dogs, the instant he shows aggression, give a very hard correction on the leash. He needs to learn what is good behavior and what is bad and won't be tolerated by you. The only thing stopping him from learning to socialize with other dogs is time and your dedication to correcting and rewarding him and being in control of him and making sure he knows the pecking order with you at the top. You need to keep at it and keep upping the interactions and be in control of him. It does no good to set him free in a dog park where he can interact and display aggression with you too far away to correct him. Keep him on a leash and hard correct him until he learns you won't accept that type of behavior. He will come along very quickly. Some trainers are way too touchy feely and gentle, afterall they do get paid by the session and how long it takes to correct a problem. You should adopt your training to the dog based on his temperment and what he reacts to. Sensitive dogs take a gentler correction, a very dominate dog takes a harder correction. Anything with Aussie in it generally maybe strong willed and test you and everyone else, trying to see how much dominance he can get away with and he learns what he can get away with based on the reactions he receives.

Once you get the aggression under control you can start benefiting from tiring him out at the dog park, an exercised, tired dog is a much happier dog and a easier dog to have around. A young active dog with pent up energy is like a crazy dog, he can't focus, his brain is polluted and he is difficult to train or be around. Teach him to fetch and return. Use gravity to your advantage, you'd be surprised what a set of stairs can do with the dog repeatedly running back up them to return a toy to you!

Buy this book­

This is one of the best books around for helping an owner at wits end turn their relationship around with their dog. Don't give up on him!
Brandy L.
Denver, CO
Post #: 4
Thank you for your suggestions. It has been a year now since we have moved I would have though he would adjust by this point. I will try keeping him on a leash at the dog park that is a good idea. When we first moved he loved the dog park then we didn't go for about a month because if a hectic schedule and when we returned he started fighting. It stinks that I am not rich and can't send him to daycare every day! I went to several trainers and had several different training styles shown to me. I have been working diligently on this for 6 months before making this choice. I realize it is me....I am the bad owner and I am judging myself harshly, believe me. I must say that unfortunately I have always had Golden Retrievers and I got him because he was supposedly half golden adn thought he wouldn't have the health problems of a golden. No. He is all aussie and I am one of the classic people that didn't research that breed enough. I am so incredibly frustrated and cry over him a few times a week. He is definitely winning the war over who is in control! I commend the people who own this breed of dog.
A former member
Post #: 39
You've found an empathetic audience of fellow owners here, for sure! I can appreciate your frustration and wanting to do right for your dog: we adopted an older Aussie from the pound, and she sure is sweet and smart, but we also had to work through the trauma of the pound + the trauma of her abusive past. It's been a year of ups and downs, but we are now seeing her pain is less and she feels she can let her guard down to be herself around us.

As you mention, Aussies are a smart and energetic breed. Some things that helped us:
1. Mental stimulation toys. Aussies are smart; they need to be challenged! These are easy games to set up, that you can get from Jennifer (see contact info below; she charges very fair prices, usually same or less than PetSmart), or PetSmart (sometimes) or Amazon (some of them listed below, not all). We have 5 games we rotate - a different one per day - and a special toy that she gets when we come home for work so we can "bond" by playing a game. WOW did our girl's behaviour change and confidence go up once we gave her "tasks" to do (i.e. games).
All games can be made harder or easier for your dog, changing up the challenge. It's so much fun to see them solve puzzles!!
Some examples (in our order of preference!):
a) these are GOLD: http://www.nina-ottos...­ - plastic ones can get washed in your dishwasher! Our dog loves the tornado and the blue one with white bones that slide (­)
b) Petsafe Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom Pet Toy, Small
c) Kong Wobbler (screw off top, put in a bit of dinner kibble, screw back on top - dog must "bat" the kong wobbler to make it spill out kibble. As a starter game, put 1/2 your dog's kibble in there for dinner. Your dog will figure it out! You will enjoy watching the whole experience unfold!)
d) Petsafe Busy Buddy Barnacle, Medium size

2. Stimulation games. These can be done with supplies around your house (boxes, old cloths, etc). See for example:
101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy
Brain Games for Dogs: Fun Ways to Build a Strong Bond with Your Dog and Provide It with Vital Mental Stimulation... by Claire Arrowsmith

3. Jennifer of http://www.namastaytr...­. She is GOLD. She will not make you feel stupid! She has been invaluable in helping us understand our dog's mindset - boy, were we interpreting things wrong by applying our skills from past dogs on to our aussie! She helped us master greetings at the door (it took 3 weeks of asking random neighbors coming over, setting a safe zone, and lots of treats, but we have gotten to making greetings and guests in the house a pleasant and happy event). She helped us help our dog work on anxiety and positive outlets for stress. Jennifer was referred to us by 2 other families in the neighborhood who adopted dogs; we now have referred 3 other friends to her and everyone agrees: she gets it, she doesn't make you feel dumb, she knows your dog! She does private & group lessons.

4. There are great, natural supplements that can help your dog "chillax" and cope better with stress. They only need to be used for a few weeks while you work out some of the anxiety issues in other ways (games, etc), and again when life might get stressful (e.g. visitors, leaving at kennel, etc). We have used:
a) Composure for Medium and Large Dogs
b) DAP plug-in wall adapter (did not go over well with our dog)
c) there is a naturopathic option online that clips to the dog's collar - msg me if you want the details as I can't find it here at the touch of my fingertips

5. TTouch. It's a special type of massage that helps your dog chillax. The first time Jennifer showed us, I wasn't so sure, but our girl LOVES it and it makes such a difference. She now even "asks" for it with a paw as a pre-bedtime experience.

6. Hang out with other Aussies! Your dog knows how smart it is, and might need to be around other Aussies to relax, re-set, and thrive. The owners on this board are awesome and the group events have helped our girl a ton to be "reminded" of her normal breed behavior!

Hope the above helps you & your lovely dog.


user 13639734
Group Organizer
Littleton, CO
Post #: 13
He is all aussie and I am one of the classic people that didn't research that breed enough. I am so incredibly frustrated and cry over him a few times a week. He is definitely winning the war over who is in control! I commend the people who own this breed of dog.
Aussie isn't the problem, there are problem behaviors with all breeds. As you suspect control may be part of the issue. The other is definitely lack of exercise. Dogs are domesticated wolves, which function socially in a pack. The leader of a wolf pack doesn't keep control of his pack with baby talk, he does so through dominance and establishing a pecking order, mother dogs nip, bite and growl at their puppies to teach them. I watch dog owner after dog owner with a problem dog, baby talk it, "no you stop fluffy... oh what's wrong.... you stop that..." all in a baby talk voice, while the dog either ignores the owner or looks at the owner like a sucker, and then the owner can't understand why they have a problem dog.

There are 3 levels of personality in dogs, you have to figure out what personality your dog has to adapt correction to his level. It is no good to over correct a mild or meek dog as you will create fear in him, just as it's no good to mildly correct a dominant aggressive dog as he will ignore you.

Buy the book I linked to. Learn to correct your dog in the appropriate manner based on it's temperment and personality and all of your control issues will disappear, then you can start excercising your dog and your life will completely change. An Aussie with a dominate personality will not respect you unless you establish dominance and pack order with it. Until you do this you are doomed to continued crying bouts twice a week.

This is not really that hard, but it does take a commitment and most importantly a consistent approach, and it requires getting control of your dog and establishing who's the human and who's the dog, or who's the pack leader and who is the follower. Right now your dog runs your pack, as soon as you change that, everything will turn around for you.

Our first Aussie had the people pleaser personality, he was super easy to train and was a joy from day one. Our second Aussie was the complete opposite, he was the devil in a fur disguise. He was/is a total Alpha male, amongst other issues. Absolutely nothing we did with our first Aussie applied to our second one. He quickly and the ability to get aggressive and dominate unless we immediately started correcting his behavior and rocking his world that he wasn't going to run the show. It took a while but today he is 90% improved and a very good sociable dog and member of the family. But had we applied the light touch we did with our first Aussie to our second one, he would have ended up a very, very bad grown dog, full of aggression and bad behavior.

If you don't have a choke collar, get one immediately, and please learn how to put it on your dog correctly and never leave it on him unless you are training. But a choke collar will do wonders in your interactions with your dog, you will wonder how you ever functioned without it. It is essential in training. You're wasting your time if you don't have one.

Good luck! Don't give up on your dog.

You should watch these videos -­­

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