Australian shepherds are a stunning breed, often with piercing blue eyes and displaying such wonderfully rich colored coats, all unique for each individual Aussie.
These shepherds were bred to herd sheep and are highly intelligent as well as easily trained, friendly, and loyal.
I am referring to adult Australian shepherds, not puppies. Ahh, puppies; how cute and adorable; little balls of fluff.
Puppies do not automatically grow into calm, well-mannered adult dogs. They need discipline and training as shepherd puppies often bite and nip.
We may even think it’s cute at first, but this will quickly grow old and is unacceptable in an adult.
In this post, you will gather some information on how to stop Australian shepherd puppies from biting and nipping, which will be by training and different training techniques.
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Why Do Australian Shepherd Puppies Need Training?
Not only do Australian shepherd puppies need training but all dogs require it too. Just as children need to learn right from wrong and to follow rules, so do puppies. This learning is essential for their safety as well as others.
Australian shepherd puppies have an overabundance of energy and are very smart. These two impressive traits won’t be displayed properly if you don’t train your pup to use them in the best possible way.
Without proper training, your rambunctious shepherd puppy will grow into an equally out-of-control adult that will be calling all of the shots.
You are the leader of the pack and your pup should know you love them but also be aware that you are in charge.
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Why Do Australian Shepherd Puppies Nip and Bite?
Puppies all do their fair share of nipping and biting and most times it’s perfectly normal behavior.
Puppies may be teething and need to bite or chew because sometimes teething causes them pain and chewing feels good but, it shouldn’t hurt us.
If teething is the reason, they should be given something appropriate to chew on like a toy or a teething toy that can be refrigerated or frozen to help alleviate teething pain.
Australian shepherds were bred to be herding dogs, to chase down sheep, while often nipping at their legs to keep all of the sheep together in one area.
This kept the sheep away from danger and prevented them from getting away from their fellow sheep and wandering off.
Australian shepherds will always have this herding instinct within them due to breeding and heredity. Your pup may not be herding sheep but they still have that strong primal urge for it.
If you are not planning to use your Australian shepherd as a sheepherder, then “nipping” this in the bud with training is essential when they are puppies if you want a calm well-behaved canine.
Australian shepherd puppies’ herding instincts will kick in if you have children in your household or even other pets or both.
Your pup will want to round everyone up by running around and nipping at everyone’s heels. This will not go over too well with children or pets, can be even dangerous, and needs to be squelched.
if you don’t train this desire out of them as puppies it will become even more unacceptable as an adult dog with even guests being very wary of your shepherd.
There are other reasons your Aussie could be nipping and biting, such as aggression, but most often this behavior as puppies is due to teething and their extreme herding instinct.
Australian puppy Basic Training
Again, all puppies need a form of basic training. You may not even know where to begin with training, so it’s best to read up on the subject or ask an expert, because there are many different ways and methods of training.
If you feel you need a professional but don’t want to spend big bucks on one-on-one training, there are numerous options for training classes often found at your local pet store. Many are geared just toward puppies.
These are a big plus because along with training, they will give you very helpful advice and tips and your pup will benefit from the socialization with other people and dogs. They may turn into the social butterfly of the class!
Before beginning their training also research possible behavior problems or bad habits so you know what to look for and have a clue as to why they are doing what they’re doing.
This gives you the opportunity to stop bad behavior in its tracks before it becomes a problem. Things your puppy does may seem cute, funny, and adorable now but as an adult, they will be old and unacceptable.
For instance, pulling and chewing on their leash as a pup will only turn into a power struggle as they age and make for many unenjoyable walks. Proper training on and off-leash will ensure that your pup is well-behaved and guarantee fun and adventure for all of your outings.
Consistent rules should apply indoors as well as outside. Certain areas like furniture or beds should always be off-limits if this is how you want it to be.
Being diligent with all training is necessary, so as not to confuse your pup by waffling. Having routines and being consistent are imperative.
Australian Shepherd Puppy training not to nip and bite
Training your shepherd to stop nipping and biting should begin as a puppy. This will take patience and diligence on your part and be an ongoing process. A few training techniques are listed below.
Whenever your Aussie bite or nips, yell “ouch!” This may remind them of playing with their littermates and how one would yelp when nipped and they knew to be more gentle when playing.
The puppy will be startled by this yelp. After you yell, stop playing with them and ignore the puppy for five minutes. After that time call your pup back and begin play.
If they nip again, repeat the process until the puppy plays with you gently. This may take a few times but the puppy will get the idea that if they nip there will be no playtime.
By the time your puppy is 5 months old, it should be over this stage. If you are having trouble seek out a pro.
Nipping when walking or running
If your pup keeps nipping at your family members’ heels when walking or running this bad habit needs to be curbed because it can be downright dangerous, especially on stairs, with children, or with guests.
When a pup dabbles in this unacceptable behavior, simply stop in your tracks and wait for the puppy to stop nipping.
If they become calm, praise them and give them a treat. Continue walking and keep repeating this process if the puppy nips and bites. Again, this will take some time and patience and only reward good behavior.
Eliminating Herding Behavior
Because herding behavior leads to chasing nipping and biting, this also has to be “nipped in the bud. Begin observing your dog to see what triggers the onset of their herding.
Is it children running, other dogs running, a bicyclist speeding by, or even loud cars passing by? See what their body language tells you when this occurs and enlist someone to be the “trigger.”
Your pup should know the “come” command before trying to solve the herding problem. When you see them start to chase the “trigger,” call them to “come” to you.
Distracting them will help change this pattern. If they try this on a leash, give the leash a gentle tug and tell them “no.” Never become angry, yell or use physical punishment if they don’t listen.
They are puppies and need to learn. Keep these sessions to around 20 minutes and always have plenty of fun playtime afterward.
You must have patience, but be persistent and make this a routine for the training to stick. If you need help, consult a trainer or take your pup to classes.
Australian shepherds are smart and quick learners. They also love to please. If they are nipping and biting, it has to be dealt with by training.
Keep in mind, that they are puppies and this is their instinct, and are not behaving this way deliberately or willful.
Keep training sessions positive, and fun, and have patience. In no time at all your Aussie will be a well-mannered adult with no nipping.