My Australian Shepherd Is Out Of Control

Australian Shepherds are a high-energy breed that was bred to work with humans. Their need for energy can sometimes be misdirected in the form of outbursts, but often it’s just pent up energy and increased exercise is all they need. Aussie’s also require specific nutritional needs to provide them with the protein and nutrients that they need. We recommend you read our Best Dog Food For Australian Shepherds guide.

If you’re looking for a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle, Australian Shepherds are perfect. This breed is specifically bred to herd livestock and as such they’re very active; but if care isn’t taken during training or the routine it’s possible to have a destructive dog.

Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Is Out Of Control

An Aussie’s behavior can be influenced by a wide variety of factors, but one factor that shouldn’t be overlooked is the environment it grows up in. All breeds come with preferred living conditions, so if your puppy seems aggressive, it may have to do with its growing environment.  

Not Enough Exercise

Australian Shepherds were bred to be working dogs during the Gold Rush of the 1840s. As such, pups are happy when they’re doing work and moving around. It’s necessary give these dogs work so that they have something constructive to expend their energy on instead of destroying things.

A lack of work or exercise can sometimes lead your pet to act aggressively or picking up bad habits because they are bored and full of energy. It is vital that you give your Australian Shepherd the exercise that they need.

Changes In Routine

Regardless of breed, dogs usually thrive on their routines and dislike when you don’t follow them. Most breeds will complain if not fed at the correct time and this is normal for them. Australian Shepherds seems to love a consistent routine and can begin to misbehave if their are changes in their routine.

A dog’s routine should be stable and predictable from day to day in order for him to feel secure. If you’re altering your dog’s habits, he may become frustrated or distracted.

Your Aussie Is Bored

Dogs who have less of a daily routine and get bored may provide their own entertainment. This can include such things as chewed toys, messy couches, chasing small pets like cats, or jumping on humans for attention. If your Aussie is bored then it is common that they will begin to get out of control.

Not Enough Social Interaction

One reason for an Australian Shepherd to run out of control is that they are a working dog, protector dog. Without proper socialization training these dogs may become aggressive and wary around other pets or humans. It is important that Australian Shepherds receive routine social interaction in a safe manner.

Poor Training Practices 

Australian Shepherds are clever dogs. They are one of the breeds that are easy to train and used as service dogs in some instances. Owners must also focus on their pet’s training, especially if you don’t have any experience handling these furry friends. These animals can perform lots of canine tricks but they are prone to bad behavior without proper training.

Leaving Your Aussie Caged For Too Long

Working dogs like the Australian Shepherd are happiest with large living spaces. If they are left in a crate or cage for too long then it can be difficult for them to remain happy and calm.

Pet leashing can be helpful for short periods, but longer durations may cause bad or destructive behavior.

Common Australian Shepherd Behavior Problems

A dog might show different levels of aggressive behavior. Some dogs have only one type of aggressive behavior, others many types. You need to know how your dog behaves and take action as soon as possible if you see anything unusual. It is important to keep an eye out for the most common types of behavior problems in Aussies.

  • Chewing On Household Items – destroying toys or other objects in the house.
  • Constant Barking – boredom and lack of exercise can cause a dog to bark. This is just one behavior they may display while trying to get your attention.
  • Dog Nipping and Biting – Dogs can sometimes behave this way when they’re feeling threatened, frustrated, stressed, or on a leash for too long. 

If your Australian Shepherd is demonstrating aggressive or destructive behavior, you might want to bring them in for a check up with the vet. Local vets may offer consultation and advice on how to tackle these issues. Read our most recent dog breed nutrition and dog health guides.

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Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM

Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM is a certified veterinarian who graduated from the University of California - Davis Veterinary School in 2012. He specializes in nutrition and veterinary medicine for companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and more. He has been featured in websites such as PetMD, Yahoo News, Hills Pet, Daily Paws, and more. Learn more about Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM.

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