Australian Shepherds are incredible dogs. They love to play, are always happy and are incredibly loyal to their owners. However, dogs that love humans aren’t automatically friendly with other pets also. If you have an Australian Shepherd, you may be wondering: are they good with other dogs?
Fortunately, Australian Shepherds generally don’t show any problem being with other dogs. However, their behavior may vary. Some love to make new friends, but others are shyer and don’t want socialization. Australian Shepherds rarely fight with other dogs due to their friendly personality.
If you plan to own an Australian Shepherd soon, that’s an incredible idea. You don’t need to concern yourself if he is going to cause problems or not. Well, at least not regarding other dogs.
Why Are Australian Shepherds So Friendly?
Although Australian Shepherds are a protective breed, they generally aren’t aggressive. Australian Shepherds are recognized for being not only incredibly friendly with their owners’ family and friends but also with other dogs.
Australian Shepherds were originally bred to work in farms herding livestock. Sure, they had to intimidate the animals for them to obey the dog. However, this was just to comply with their owner’s orders.
In fact, they didn’t want to hurt or to be seriously aggressive. Australian Shepherds would actually protect livestock in case of any threat. If a wild wolf appeared, for example, the dog would immediately try to save the unprotected animals.
This behavior remained and, until nowadays, Australian Shepherds will give their best to protect their owners. If you see your Aussie going a bit crazy against someone, don’t worry. He might have identified them as a threat, and he may just want to protect you.
Can Australian Shepherds Behave Aggressively Against Other Dogs?
Sometimes, Australian Shepherds misbehave with other pets. However, these moments should not worry you because they are not uncontrollable. You can easily teach your Aussie to behave adequately.
First, you need to know why he is acting like that. Here are some reasons to explain this behavior:
- Fight for territory
- Wish to herd
Frustration: Dogs hate when they’re frustrated. The way to express this feeling is through aggressive behavior. You can compare them with a child. Both of them make a scandal when they aren’t satisfied. While children cry, dogs bark and make a mess.
This is typical behavior if you let your dog constrained in your home. Australian Shepherds, especially, hate being stuck for long periods. If his owners aren’t close to him, this situation worsens even more.
Illness: Pain is also a reason for your Aussie to be aggressive. If he used to be a good dog, but suddenly started to act poorly, this may be a sign of illness.
In an uncomfortable situation, he will try everything to call attention. Not only he may bite you to do this, but he will also show the same attitude with other dogs. Besides, your friend may also be suffering from a brain disease. It can affect his mind, directly causing a behavioral change.
Jealousy: The feeling of lack of attention might also be a reason for him to act aggressively. If you prioritize another pet over your Australian Shepherd, he may feel ignored and can become mad at them.
Many other things can also trigger this behavior. For example, if he sees another dog playing with a cool toy in the street, he may be tempted to attack him to grab it from the pet.
Fear: Before starting this, you should know that protective instinct and fear are different stimuli. Your Aussie will always try to protect you if you get severely attacked by something. It doesn’t matter if it is a person or an animal. He will be fearless to act and save your life.
On the other hand, he will become afraid if something scares him. In a situation that looks dangerous for him, he will seek help. To do this, he will try to call anything capable of assisting him. Therefore, he may act aggressively in desperation.
Wish to herd: As I mentioned before, Australian Shepherds are herding dogs. Therefore, your Aussie may, sometimes, mistakenly try to herd other dogs. This is more common if the dog is from a breed other than his.
In situations like that, your furry friend will chase and bark at the other dog. This is a very unpleasant situation. You should take immediate action to stop this behavior.
Fight for territory: The last possible reason on this list is actually the most commonly seen. However, this attitude is almost only practiced by male dogs. Your Australian Shepherd may also act aggressively with other dogs because of territory.
Dogs need to establish a specific area and show their dominance over it. If there’s another dog close, they will likely become rivals. In these situations, they may clash to see who owns the region.
Being the dominant male also attracts females. Actually, there is another type of fight which is directly related to them. Aussies can also become aggressive when fighting each other for a girlfriend.
How to Train an Australian Shepherd to Be Dog-Friendly
If your Aussie frequently shows aggressive behavior with other dogs, he is a rare exception.
As with any other problem, you should immediately try to fix it. The way you can do this is by training your dog.
While Australian Shepherds are extremely intelligent and easy to train, you still need attention to achieve success in this process. Let me show you some tips on the best ways to start training your furry friend.
First of all, obedience: Before starting anything, your Aussie needs to see you as a leader. He needs to obey basic commands. Make sure when you say things like “sit,” “heel,” or “stay,” he will identify what to do and will behave adequately.
If he passes this test, it will be much easier for you to teach your dog advanced instructions. In addition to it, you will be able to control him in stressful moments. Basic commands are useful for you to stop an attack before it even starts if you see this attitude coming.
Play with him a lot: Australian Shepherds are extraordinarily outdoorsy and love to play and exercise! Due to that, you need to provide your friends with a lot of periods of fun. If you don’t do it, he will become very dissatisfied, and he is likely going to protest with violence.
When I say a lot, I really mean several hours of daily exercise. Need a number? When you feel you had enough, I guarantee you that you are going to get tired way before your Aussie.
Expose him to his fears: The best way of changing the mindset of your pet is by exposing him to the things he bothers. If he behaves aggressively towards other dogs, this basically means that you should consider making him get in touch with them more often.
If you socialize him with new friends, he will quickly get used to the situation and, therefore, will gradually lose his fear. However, you should always have caution. Make sure you’re not exposing him to a naturally aggressive dog that can really cause damage.
Offer him prizes: Pay attention, because this is one of the most critical parts of the training. If your Australian Shepherd behaves adequately, you should praise him. He loves a tasty treat and will do anything possible to get one.
If he identifies that every time he controls his attacking instinct, he gets a gift, he will repeat the action. If you go out with him, make sure he sees you carrying the treat when you leave. That way, he will mostly know that there is a possibility for him to gain the gift.
Before finishing, there’s one last important thing to consider. You should not oblige your dog by using a muzzle. This will make him feel more imprisoned and angry, and it will worsen the situation.
My Final Thoughts
Planning to get an Australian Shepherd but skeptical about his behavior? Don’t worry! Australian Shepherds are extremely good with other dogs and with their families.
If you already have an Aussie but he behaves inadequately, that’s a sign that you need to train him. This shouldn’t be a reason to worry as well. Your dog loves you and he will use his great intelligence to meet your demands and see you satisfied.
Patience is key. If the results don’t show up quickly, let your friend take some time to learn the lesson. He will always make all the efforts to do what you want as fast as possible!
Are Australian Shepherds good with cats?
Yes, they are. Australian Shepherds won’t try to hurt good animals. However, always be cautious. If you have a cat at home, socialize them gradually so they can get used to each other without stress.
How much time does it take to train an Australian Shepherd?
You probably won’t need more than three months to train him fully. Australian Shepherds are naturally a friendly breed towards other pets. Due to that, your dog won’t take much time to learn.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.