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First, a little background. We have a 9 month old male puppy, named Frog. He is an Australian Shepherd/Doberman/mystery mix. We got him when he was about 2 months old, and he has been great so far. He is obviously very intelligent and learns quickly. He is house and crate trained, knows sit, down, come (sort of, he doesn't listen well outside), leave it, etc. He is verrrrry high energy, and I am sure he doesn't get as much exercise as he would like, but we do our best. DH is a FT student with a FT job, and I am home with our 1.5, almost 4, and 5 year olds, and work PT around DH's schedule. So, we're busy, but we do our best.<br><br>
Frog has always been good with the kids. He did the puppy nipping thing, but as soon as he was corrected (just a firm "Frog, no!" and/or moving away from him) he would stop - at least for a short time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">. A work in progress. As of now, he has almost completely stopped. The only issue is with my 5 year old and Frog. My son Taye has Asperger's, he is constantly running, jumping, climbing, etc. which get's Frog wound up. My son also has little impulse control, awareness of personal space, and sensory "quirks." One of which includes liking the way the inside of Frog's mouth feels, apparently. So basically, Frog will still sometimes nip Taye when he is running around, and Frog gets wound up. He does stop when corrected. Taye will also sometimes jump on/around Frog (or any of us, for that matter) and will sometimes stick his hands in Frog's mouth and sort of zone out. We watch as best we can, and correct/seperate when we need to. This has been our <i>only</i> issue with Frog, and I don't know if/how it relates to tonight.<br><br>
The only other thing that may be worth mentioning (I'm just trying to give as much detail as I can think of, maybe someone who knows more about dogs than I do will see something of relevance) is how Frog reacted to the guests at Taye's bday party last month. He is not used to a lot of people being here. We have a few core friends/family that he knows, but he will bark at strangers and strange noises. When people suddenly started coming in the house, he stood in a corner of the kitchen, barking, with the hair along his back standing up, and peeing all over himself. He seemed scared to me. I stood with him and reassured him. Within about 5-10 minutes, he was okay. He still wouldn't go near the people he didn't know, but he walked around among everyone and seemed fine.<br><br>
OK, so tonight...<br><br>
Frog was lying in the middle of the living room, chewing on a big chewy bone (we give him one about once a week, and have never had an issue before). My daughter (19 months old, adores Frog, has always climbed all over him without him batting an eye) was walking towards him to play. She was a couple of feet away when Taye went running by Frog's face. He immediately growled and the hair on his back went up. By then, Mya was right next to him, and he turned on her and snapped! He didn't bite her, thankfully, but I was shocked. I immediately yelled "Frog, no!" and sent him to his crate. I didn't let him out until the kids went to bed. The growling and raising his hair was not like him, he has <i>never</i> been defensive of his food. But the snapping? That I could not believe. None of it fits his normal behavior, and I don't know what to do from here. I can't have a biting dog around (especially one who outweighs all my kids), but how do I correct it?<br><br>
If you made it through my novel, thanks! Any thoughts appreciated.
 

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Hormones- Is he neutered?<br><br>
When you 'soothe' him for acting aggressively (scared or not) you are telling him it is ok to behave like that. If he is barking at people when he is scared, I would not croon over him, and pat him. I am not sure what the protocol is for that though.
 

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It sounds like he got startled by your son running by quickly and snapped and your daughter just happened to be there.<br><br>
What about giving special treats to him in his crate or outside?<br><br>
I would also start training on food stuff - start by having you and DH take away food and give it back, lots of praise for him letting you take it away. Do with his food bowl and treats. Over and over and over - I'm talking weeks or months here. When he gets that, and you are 110% comfortable, have your son do it. You can also have your son start being the one to feed him so he starts seeing the kids as above him in the pecking order.<br><br>
Good luck. I would also watch for any other signs of aggression. Getting startled and scared once is one thing - being aggressive more than once is an entirely different matter.
 

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I would NOT take his food away....that is a good way to cause him to guard it! You do want to teach leave it and drop it...but to teach you dont just take it away. You can hand feed to start though that probably isnt needed here, but it wouldnt hurt. Otherwise you want to not take the food away, but drop extra special treats in when you walk by and if safe, have your children do that as well. For drop it, start with a low value toy and "trade" for a high value treat and then give the original item back.<br><br>
9 months often is a fear stage...they get a little more nervous and anxious at this time and it can level back out...if you keep things positive. When you son gets worked up, give the dog lots of treats, teach him to go to his place or lay down or something. Build up the positive associations and separate before the dog can get to anxious.<br><br>
Does your dog have a safe place like a crate where the kids know to leave him alone? I understand its hard with your son, but the dog should not have to put up with that. Some do..but if he is growling he is obviously not happy...that is him communicating that to you.<br><br>
I would look into The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell or Help for You Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde.<br><br>
Also, exercise here is key....dogs who have pent up energy have to get rid of it somehow. Find a way to get him more and dont forget mental stimulation! Puzzles, games, tricks, free shaping with the clicker, those are all great ways to burn some of the mental energy off.
 

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The crate should NOT be used for punishment. Honestly, there are a lot of issues here that need to addressed. I highly suggest seeking out professional dog training. I know you said both you and your DH are very busy, but puppies are a ton of work, it's like having another baby.
 

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#1. The puppy needs to have enough exercise, whether or not you guys are busy, with whatever it is you are busy with. Unless you want a neurotic dog, that is.<br><br>
#2. Let's say a kid has too much energy pent up, and does something wrong, how is it locking a kid in a small space going to help that kid fix the behavior? Think along the same lines for the dog.<br><br>
#3. Every member of the family should be able to give AND take the food / toys / you name it from the puppy. I would start involving children in training. Maybe they can regularly walk the puppy on the leash around the yard, so that it learns that it has to follow them? Maybe you teach the puppy to "leave it", be it his toy, or food, or something else, and the kids practice it with the puppy (calmly and with your guidance), teaching it to leave the object it has right now, that way it will learn that it must obey what the children tell it, and move down the dominance stand.<br><br>
#4. Solve it now, and start by ensuring that your dog gets enough exercise. Sign it up for puppy daycare if need be. Sounds like you will have a large dog, and you cannot by any means skip around its needs, not just because it's not right, but also because you will be endangering your children unless you take the time to raise this puppy with proper care.<br><br>
#5. Look into getting professional help, if nothing else makes sense.<br><br>
Best of luck!
 

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Honestly, I think you are going to get a lot of conflicting advise here. I am going to suggest either getting some professional dog training, or at least pick up a couple of books. I recommend anything by Cesar Milan, I have tried several of his techniques with my own (slightly crazy) dogs with success. Really, like parenting, if you read up on a couple of different methods and see what makes the most sense for you and your family, you will find what works.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15359000"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would NOT take his food away....that is a good way to cause him to guard it! You do want to teach leave it and drop it...but to teach you dont just take it away.</div>
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???<br><br>
I'm confused. My trainer always taught that as puppies you should be able to go over, take their food dish up and the puppy should be just fine with it. Obviously you give it back! But teaching not to be aggressive/protective with food starts with puppy knowing it is ok for you to take it away and give it back when you want.<br><br>
I've always done that from day one at random and never had a territorial/aggressive problem when it comes to food/treats/bones.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>happysmileylady</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15359762"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Honestly, I think you are going to get a lot of conflicting advise here. I am going to suggest either getting some professional dog training, or at least pick up a couple of books. I recommend anything by Cesar Milan, I have tried several of his techniques with my own (slightly crazy) dogs with success. Really, like parenting, if you read up on a couple of different methods and see what makes the most sense for you and your family, you will find what works.</div>
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cesar milan....I could give you a million reasons why not to follow his advice. But since this is Mothering I will do a comparison....Milan to dog training is like Ezzo or possibly even the Pearls to parenting. He follows very old fashioned ideas about dogs that have been scientifically disproven. Watch him and then watch Victoria Stillwell...notice one comes with the warning of do not try this at home?? Milan is not a horrible, awful guy, but he has no clue on behavior modification and has really outdated and dangerous ideas on how to handle dogs and about dominance theory.<br><br>
I will reiterate the two books I mentioned above..both are professionals in dog training and behavior.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ChristyMarie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15360024"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">???<br><br>
I'm confused. My trainer always taught that as puppies you should be able to go over, take their food dish up and the puppy should be just fine with it. Obviously you give it back! But teaching not to be aggressive/protective with food starts with puppy knowing it is ok for you to take it away and give it back when you want.<br><br>
I've always done that from day one at random and never had a territorial/aggressive problem when it comes to food/treats/bones.</div>
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You are right that you do want to be able to take the food...but you dont need to teach it by taking it. I used to follow the same advice and it certainly can work and usually does on relatively secure and easy going dogs. But it is confusing for a dog to physically take it over and over in their mind for no reason. It is much better to teach them to leave it on their own and to build up really positive associations of being by the bowl. And with a new dog or one that has some issues with it you can start by hand feeding. If you drop a tasty treat into their bowl while they were eating the association become Yes, a human coming by! whereas if you walk by to take it the association becomes Oh no!. Not all dogs will care, but some will so most modern advice I see is to just not take the chance of causing the dog to think there is a reason to guard. In the dog word, guarding food is perfectly acceptable...once it is "theirs" it is theirs until they are done so its something we have to teach them.
 

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I'm going to second Paticia McConnell's books. There's also a book called "Mine!", I forget the author, that specfically addresses resource guarding of food by dogs. I also agree with the previous poster who said that getting a dog used to food being taking from him by just starting to take the food away is not a good strategy. Doing that will just teach your dog a negative association to being approached while he is eating ("they're going to take my food!") and instead get a positive training book such as "Mine!" to address the resource guarding.<br><br>
But really, managing the environment to prevent the dog from feeling the need to protect himself or his resources should always be the first priority, in my opinion. Humans expect every dog to be "bomb proof" in every situation. Some dogs are naturally this way, most can be trained to be more accepting of a variety of situations that could potentially be problematic, but ALL dogs have a breaking point at which point they will growl, bare teetch, snap or bite and expecting every dog to tolerate every insult by every person at any time is unreasonable.<br><br>
So, if this were my dog (in fact for any dog in a home with children), in addition to the training metioned above, I would confine the dog away from the children while he is eating his meals or has a bone. I would start crate-training and allow the crate to be the safe place where he is put if you are having guests (and look into "The Cautious Canine" mentioned previously) and where he can go if the kids are getting him too wound up or nervous. I would strictly enforce no climbing on the dog and no groping inside his mouth. Forcing him to endure these behaviors is extremely risky, in my opinion, and I think it's very likely that you'll be heading for more snapping and possibly biting if you allow them to continue. I would also recommend Patricia McConnell's book "The Other End of The Leash" - it explains why so many of our "primate behaviors" are problematic when exhibited toward dogs and often considered threatening by them.<br><br>
I received a small bite to the face from our family dog when I was three and I decided to "hug" her while she was sleeping. It was a one-time incident, but like I said every dog has their limit and the "blame" for it goes to my parents for allowing me to do that (although I don't blame them, if that makes sense). It's great to have a dog that will put up with some of this "abuse" because it's so difficult to perfectly manage kids and dogs together every second of every day but just I think just openly allowing those type of behaviors is just asking for trouble.<br><br>
Anyway, I have 2 dogs that are absolutely not bomb-proof, although in different ways, and it has totally re-calibrated my ideas on what dogs should be expected to put up with and the importance of managing their environments to set them up for success rather than failure.
 

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Aussies are very high-energy and need a LOT of exercise. If you aren't able to walk/run him (not just playing in the yard, but getting him a good hour of physical exercise every day) I'd consider hiring a dog walker or taking him to doggy daycare. A tired dog is a good dog.<br><br>
I'd also seek out a good trainer ASAP. They will help you deal with the behaviors, and teach you good strategies for dealing with any issues that you might have in the future. Yes, it's more time out of your day, but, especially when getting a puppy, they are like adding a toddler to your family and require just as much time and energy. We train 3 hours/week with our dogs, plus walks in the morning and afternoon and playtime and 1-on-1 training each day. We wouldn't have the dogs if we didn't intend to give them that kind of commitment.
 

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Thanks for all the replies. <br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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Originally Posted by <strong>BunnySlippers</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">Hormones- Is he neutered?<br>
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Yup. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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Originally Posted by <strong>ChristyMarie</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">It sounds like he got startled by your son running by quickly and snapped and your daughter just happened to be there.<br><br>
What about giving special treats to him in his crate or outside?<br></div>

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Definitely a good idea, we'll do that from now on.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">...drop extra special treats in when you walk by and if safe, have your children do that as well. For drop it, start with a low value toy and "trade" for a high value treat and then give the original item back.<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">We'll start doing this too. He does know "leave it" and is usually very good about it. I didn't have the time to say it in this instance though.</span><br><br>
9 months often is a fear stage...they get a little more nervous and anxious at this time and it can level back out...if you keep things positive. When you son gets worked up, give the dog lots of treats, teach him to go to his place or lay down or something. Build up the positive associations and separate before the dog can get to anxious. <br><br><span style="color:#800080;">This makes lots of sense, we'll work on it.</span><br><br>
Does your dog have a safe place like a crate where the kids know to leave him alone? I understand its hard with your son, but the dog should not have to put up with that. Some do..but if he is growling he is obviously not happy...that is him communicating that to you. <br><br><span style="color:#800080;">He does have a crate, and the kids leave it alone. He goes right in it when told, but doesn't usually go in it on his own. We work with my son and his behavior with the dog constantly...constantly. There is not an instance where he acts inappropriately that we don't say/do something. The dog would be in his crate all day if we used it to protect him, so to speak. It would be nice if none of us had to 'put up' with Taye's more difficult behaviors, but that's not the case (and we wouldn't trade him for the world). We're doing our best. </span><br><br>
I would look into The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell or Help for You Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde.<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">I'll see if I can get these at the library.</span></div>

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Originally Posted by <strong>Oriole</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">#1. The puppy needs to have enough exercise, whether or not you guys are busy, with whatever it is you are busy with. Unless you want a neurotic dog, that is.<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">Just to be clear, when I say we're doing the best we can, I mean we're doing the <i>best we can.</i> If there were a feasible way to get him more exercise, we'd be doing it. When we're outside (all the time on nice days) he is out with us. Our yard isn't fully fenced (yet) but he has a 40ft. lead that gives him access to 90% of the yard. We play catch, fetch, tug of war, etc. with him about 3-4 times a day for half an hour or so. On weekends he gets 2 walks/day, during the week the kids and I try to walk him in the woods at least once a day. Our neighborhood is not safe for walking with the kids, unless I had a triple stroller (which Taye wouldn't stay in anyway...) so the woods is our only option. When DH is out of school in 2 weeks, I will be taking the dog for a long walk every morning. </span><br><br>
#2. Let's say a kid has too much energy pent up, and does something wrong, how is it locking a kid in a small space going to help that kid fix the behavior? Think along the same lines for the dog.<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">I didn't put him in his crate to 'punish' him, although it may have seemed that way to him, I admit. I did it because he just tried to bite my daughter, and I needed to keep them seperated and keep her safe. </span></div>

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Originally Posted by <strong>nurturedbirth</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm going to second Paticia McConnell's books. There's also a book called "Mine!", I forget the author, that specfically addresses resource guarding of food by dogs.....I would also recommend Patricia McConnell's book "The Other End of The Leash" - it explains why so many of our "primate behaviors" are problematic when exhibited toward dogs and often considered threatening by them.<br><br><br><span style="color:#800080;">Thanks for the book recs. I will look for them in the library.</span><br><br>
So, if this were my dog (in fact for any dog in a home with children), in addition to the training metioned above, I would confine the dog away from the children while he is eating his meals or has a bone. I would start crate-training and allow the crate to be the safe place where he is put if you are having guests (and look into "The Cautious Canine" mentioned previously) and where he can go if the kids are getting him too wound up or nervous. I would strictly enforce no climbing on the dog and no groping inside his mouth. Forcing him to endure these behaviors is extremely risky, in my opinion, and I think it's very likely that you'll be heading for more snapping and possibly biting if you allow them to continue. <br><br><span style="color:#800080;">We'll definitely give treats in his crate from now on. As for crating him when guests are over - how does that work with socializing him? I'd like for him to be able to be out when people are over, as our guests tend to stay the day and it wouldn't be fair for him to be in there all day. Would I just leave him when they arrive, and take him out once things have settled a bit? I've been keeping him on leash when guests arrive, and taking him off it once he has become used to their being here.<br><br>
I have not been allowing any more climbing on him, and as I said up in this post, we work with my son constantly on the other issues. We're not forcing him to endure, or allowing anything that we can control. </span><br></div>

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Originally Posted by <strong>SquishyKitty</strong>
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<div style="font-style:italic;">Aussies are very high-energy and need a LOT of exercise. If you aren't able to walk/run him (not just playing in the yard, but getting him a good hour of physical exercise every day) I'd consider hiring a dog walker or taking him to doggy daycare. A tired dog is a good dog. <br><br>
I'd also seek out a good trainer ASAP. They will help you deal with the behaviors, and teach you good strategies for dealing with any issues that you might have in the future. Yes, it's more time out of your day, but, especially when getting a puppy, they are like adding a toddler to your family and require just as much time and energy. We train 3 hours/week with our dogs, plus walks in the morning and afternoon and playtime and 1-on-1 training each day. We wouldn't have the dogs if we didn't intend to give them that kind of commitment.</div>

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Your dogs are very lucky. I'm sure you don't mean to imply that we should get rid of the dog if we aren't able to give him that much undivided attention. I'm not even sure my kids get that much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> The dog is obviously a priority, but so are my kids, and making sure we are fed, and not buried in filth, etc. He gets as much time as we have to give. We live in the middle of nowhere, and the closest doggie daycare is 40 minutes away. Not to mention we're hovering just above poverty level, so the money just isn't there. I'm curious why playing in the yard isn't good enough? We just played fetch in the house for half an hour, until he gave up panting, went for a drink, and he is now sleeping on his pillow. It sure seemed to have tired him out, so I don't understand why it doesn't "count" so to speak?<br><br><br>
I truly appreciate all the advice, and I don't mean to come across as argumentative to anyone. I just find the "if people can't devote hours a day and/or loads of money to care for a dog, then then shouldn't have one" attitude a bit hard to swallow. I can't imagine how overrun the shelters would be if we were all held to that standard. We know <i>a lot</i> of dog owners, and I would not hesitate to say that we take better care of ours than about 90% of the people we know. We may not be the best dog owners ever, but I do believe we're "good enough" and we're always working to improve.
 

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I just find the "if people can't devote hours a day and/or loads of money to care for a dog, then then shouldn't have one" attitude a bit hard to swallow. I can't imagine how overrun the shelters would be if we were all held to that standard. We know <i>a lot</i> of dog owners, and I would not hesitate to say that we take better care of ours than about 90% of the people we know. We may not be the best dog owners ever, but I do believe we're "good enough" and we're always working to improve.</div>
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This is very dependent on the breed....aussies are one of the highest energy breeds...they require way more exercise and attention than many other breeds...it is an actual need, not just something nice if the time is there for it.<br><br>
On a 40ft lead is not near the same as being able to truly run....is there a way you can at least fence off a section for him to truly run in? I have some friends who live in the middle of major cities in apts...their dogs go on walks all the time but they will tell you they have to get to an off leash park mulitple times a week to keep the dog sane....and these are lower energy breeds.<br><br>
I think many people say out in the yard doesnt count because often times people count that time regardless of whether or not they are actually out interacting with the dog. Personally I dont walk my dogs that often but we do lots of fetch and tug in the yard, basic obedience, etc...and I have low energy dogs.<br><br>
What kind of training do you do with him? Sorry if I already mentioned this but clicker training is a great way to burn some mental energy as well as physical, and its fun too! Kids can usually help do it as well. Also some of the dog puzzles and food stuffing toys could be helpful.<br><br>
eta: there are also lots of variables within a breed as they are each individuals...goldens for example tend to be pretty easy going and put up with a lot, but I know many that are extremely anxious bordering on fear aggression. So while you may here anecdotal stories of the perfect dog who needs very little exercise, puts up with anything, etc that is not the norm. There are some dogs out there like that, but they are usually born that way and that is their natural disposition. You can most definitely modify behavior but you cant change everything. Just like with people, some can get over an addiction, or a bad lifestyle choice and never look back...others struggle for years or life.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>barefootbabies</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365593"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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I truly appreciate all the advice, and I don't mean to come across as argumentative to anyone. I just find the "if people can't devote hours a day and/or loads of money to care for a dog, then then shouldn't have one" attitude a bit hard to swallow. I can't imagine how overrun the shelters would be if we were all held to that standard. We know <i>a lot</i> of dog owners, and I would not hesitate to say that we take better care of ours than about 90% of the people we know. We may not be the best dog owners ever, but I do believe we're "good enough" and we're always working to improve.</div>
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I do not get those attitudes either. He is a dog and will adjust to your lifestyle.<br><br>
I had (still have 13-14yrs later) a huskey/collie (aussie?) cross. Lots of energy and intelligence there! She came from a bad place, so she took some 'extra' training. In the beginning she despised kids. I cant blame her, coming from where she did.<br><br>
Alot of her training was teaching her what was not, in no uncertain terms, acceptable- mostly you MAY NOT EAT CHILDREN!<br>
But anyway...point is, she was my first dog, I was a teen, we went to dog class for a bit. I intentionally focused on training her. She did not get hours of exercise everyday. Some days she got nothing but put out on her run (she was always tied to something or else she would run away). Other days she got more.<br>
It took time, but eventually she got to the 100% trustable stage, which was great, because I do expect a family dog to put up with curious children.<br>
She went from being a dog that should have (And was actually on her way to be) euthenized, to best dog ever <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> .<br><br>
This dog can have kids sit and lay all over, stick thier fingers in her mouth, ears, eyes, Pull her lovely bushy tail, drag her around, in general love her to peices! She not only puts up with it, she likes it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I think, you are doing the right thing in recognizing you have an issue and are researching ways to resolve it. Continue to block the info that makes no sense or does not apply to your situation and values, and absorb the rest.<br>
good-luck!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>barefootbabies</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365593"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Your dogs are very lucky. I'm sure you don't mean to imply that we should get rid of the dog if we aren't able to give him that much undivided attention. I'm not even sure my kids get that much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> The dog is obviously a priority, but so are my kids, and making sure we are fed, and not buried in filth, etc. <b>He gets as much time as we have to give.</b></div>
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Just something to think about, but, you've already stated that you can't have a dog that bites your children in your house. And I can't say I blame you. But you've been given plenty of advice and information about what might be contributing to his behavioral problems, two of those being proper <i>exhausting</i> exercise and professional training. If you don't have the means or resources to let him run and wear himself out, or to pay for a trainer, then what? His problems will become worse before you finally decide to re-home him? If that's what you're seriously considering as an option if things don't work out, please consider how his behavior will be affected by his current life style. It might be better to let him go before he gets worse. It will make him more adoptable, and less likely to be bounced from home to home because of behavioral issues. (Though I am ethically against re-homing a dog that has a bite history, but as it stands right now he's just growling right?)<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I just find the <b>"if people can't devote hours a day and/or loads of money to care for a dog, then then shouldn't have one"</b> attitude a bit hard to swallow. I can't imagine how overrun the shelters would be if we were all held to that standard. We know <i>a lot</i> of dog owners, and I would not hesitate to say that we take better care of ours than about 90% of the people we know. We may not be the best dog owners ever, but I do believe we're "good enough" and we're always working to improve.</td>
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I don't believe that at all. However, I do believe there is a dog for every family, every energy level, every living arrangement, and so on. Unfortunately, I would not suggest an Aussie go to a home without a fenced yard where they didn't plan to do some sort of sport or training with the dog, for this exact reason. They ARE a working dog, and they DO thrive on having a job. I think there are better breeds, better suited to your living arrangements, that basically don't require as much time or energy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
The reason playing in the back yard, tied to a 40 foot leash, on and off through out the day isn't enough is because this breed is meant to cover miles and miles per day, herding and guarding. This is a dog that is bred to be outside, working, from sun up 'till sundown. He's not doing that. And while you ARE offering him a fair amount of exercise, you're not offering <i>enough exercise for a dog that is showing signs of being stressed inside the house</i>. Keep in mind, he's a dog meant to be outside working. For the majority of Australian Shepherds, they might get by on what you're offering. But when researching this breed, it should have been fairly clear that this breed is known to <b>NEED</b> exhausting exercise under certain conditions. I'd say this is one of them. Any trainer you bring into your home is going to suggest more exercise right off the bat. You have an extremely high energy dog. And that's not to say that "if you can't devote hours a day and/or loads of money to care for a dog, then then shouldn't have one". It's that you should have picked a lower energy dog that doesn't require as much work and resources. Sorry.<br><br>
You can throw around the shelter argument and how over run they would be if people had to live up to that standard, but the fact is, shelters DO want people to live up to a standard because it's that standard that stops dogs who growl at the kids from being dumped there. People need to research and be prepared for the breed they are taking on, including the associated time and costs in making the dog a PERMANENT member of the family. Behavioral issues are the number 1 reason dogs get surrendered. If I couldn't work an Aussie or pay for agility or training, I totally wouldn't get one. Love them (and border collies), but I'm in the same boat as you. Don't have the time or money.<br><br>
Can you make it work? Absolutely. I know people who have border collies and live in apartments. But they DO devote a couple of hours each day to physically exhausting their dogs when they come home from work. They <i>have</i> to, or they would have extremely neurotic, destructive, bored dogs.<br><br>
Nobody is trying to tell you you don't deserve to have a dog. Goodness. We're just trying to keep it real. If you want to make things work with one of the most intelligent, highest energy, most driven breeds there is, you might have to step it up a bit. Sorry. That's just the reality of the situation. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BunnySlippers</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365999"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I do not get those attitudes either. He is a dog and will adjust to your lifestyle.</div>
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No, dogs don't just adjust. Well, sometimes they do. But, by and large, I think this is dangerous advice. Having a dog is a lot of work. Or at least, it can be. People should be aware of that. And all dogs are not created equal. The exercise needs of a bull mastiff won't be the same as an Australian shepherd.
 

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while it's difficult considering your son has some challenges, it's also best to start really working on how he interacts with the dog. if your son's favorite thing to do was jump on the baby's head and knock her down, your thought process wouldn't be "oh well, that's how he is and she needs to get used to getting hit on the head and pushed to the floor" so please don't use that same thought process for your dog.<br><br>
it's a living creature that is trying it's best to fit in to your pack and it's protecting itself in the only way it understands. i cringe when i see people making comments that expect a dog to always be perfect and accomodating no matter what is going on. we don't expect that for our children so i don't understand why it's expected from an animal.
 

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A long walk VS playing in the yard....<br><br>
Just my theory and observations as I have no idea of the actual science behind this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
When we're in the yard the dog can take a break, go find some shade and hang out, go slower to get the ball, look at you like, "oh yeah, how 'bout you run for the ball I'm tired" or whatever.<br><br>
On a walk he's gotta keep up and keep going until you <i>let</i> him stop. He can't just stop because he's getting a little tired and wants to conserve energy.<br><br>
I have found that a long walk - on lead, off lead, whatever - tires them out and makes for a happy puppy. Playing in the yard is fun but it just doesn't get them to that "ok, I'm gonna nap now and be totally content" place.<br><br>
And with that, it is time for walk #2. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Ok, pressed for time, so forgive me if this was already discussed...You said that your son is really high-energy and this gets the dog all wound up. Is it possible to have your son get his energy out by playing directly <i>with</i> the dog? Like in the yard with a ball or frisbee or whatever? The interaction would probably help both of them!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Catubodua</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15367159"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">"oh well, that's how he is and she needs to get used to getting hit on the head and pushed to the floor" so please don't use that same thought process for your dog.</div>
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OK, except I never said anything like that. What I actually said was:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>barefootbabies</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15358736"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Taye will also sometimes jump on/around Frog (or any of us, for that matter) and will sometimes stick his hands in Frog's mouth and sort of zone out. We watch as best we can, and correct/seperate when we need to.<br></div>
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and...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>barefootbabies</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365593"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We work with my son and his behavior with the dog constantly...constantly. There is not an instance where he acts inappropriately that we don't say/do something. The dog would be in his crate all day if we used it to protect him, so to speak. It would be nice if none of us had to 'put up' with Taye's more difficult behaviors, but that's not the case (and we wouldn't trade him for the world). We're doing our best.</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15365839"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">....is there a way you can at least fence off a section for him to truly run in?<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">We'll be fencing the whole yard in this spring/summer. We're not exactly sure when, but hopefully sooner, rather than later.</span><br><br>
What kind of training do you do with him? Sorry if I already mentioned this but clicker training is a great way to burn some mental energy as well as physical, and its fun too! Kids can usually help do it as well. Also some of the dog puzzles and food stuffing toys could be helpful.<br><br><span style="color:#800080;">TBH, I don't do any set type of training. We just train what we need as we go along, if that makes sense. He really is very bright and has picked things up so quickly, it hasn't been an issue. I know very little about clicker training. The few I know who have done it have horribly trained dogs, so I was never motivated to learn about it. It sounds like it could be worth looking into though, thanks.</span></div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ramama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15367722"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ok, pressed for time, so forgive me if this was already discussed...You said that your son is really high-energy and this gets the dog all wound up. Is it possible to have your son get his energy out by playing directly <i>with</i> the dog? Like in the yard with a ball or frisbee or whatever? The interaction would probably help both of them!</div>
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Oh, how I wish this would work! Its such an awesome idea, but no dice. Taye used to like playing tug of war, sometimes, on his terms, and once Frog got big enough to win, it just got too frustrating. 90+% of his play is focused on Mario Bros. (play-acting, not the actual video game). Kids with Asperger's often become overly obsessed with one particular interest, this is Taye's current obsession. He is always Mario - sometimes he wears an orange shirt instead of a red one, so he has "fire balls". He enlists his little brother to be Luigi (and insists he wear green). He is mildly irritated with me because my daughter does not own a pink dress (or much pink at all, as I hate it, and she is a baby <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">) He collects dandelions to be fire flowers, and leaves to turn him into a raccoon (not sure how that makes sense...) Anyway, it's constant, he can turn almost anything into a Mario prop, it's actually quite impressive. So, unless we could get Frog a part in the play (and not a bad guy to be jumped on <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">), so to speak, it wouldn't hold Taye's interest for more than a few minutes at best. Thanks for the idea though!
 
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