Dominating dog

Posted by Cheyenne
Dec 11, 2008

I take my 2 dogs, a 2 yr old Australian Cattle dog, Rocky,(male/neutered) and my 10 yr old Yellow Lab , Caleb, (male/neutered) for a morning walk every day. The dogs begin to become excited as I put my coat on and when we leave the house, Rocky will jump on Caleb and bite his ears. Caleb responds by trying to put his head between my legs to keep Rocky from biting him. I live in a rural area and do not walk my dogs on leashes. During the time we are walking Rocky may again run and attack Caleb and bite his ears (or leg or hind quarters, whatever is most available). He might only do it once or try many times. We often walk with our neighbors who also bring their dogs (also unleashed) sometimes there will be 4 people and 6 or 7 dogs ( all of the dogs are neutered males). Rocky will play roughly with the others ( one in particular quite aggressivley which has come to fighting once or twice) but will not try to bite them, only Caleb. This only happens outdoors, never in the house. I have taken Rocky out of the house on a leash and he behaves well but the moment I let him off leash he will attack Caleb. No blood is ever drawn. I have tried all levels of discipline (grabbing his scruff and looking him in the eye and telling him he is a bad dog, putting him back on leash, just yelling at him to stop) Rocky obeys all commands (come. sit stay, crate) but this is one habit I haven't been able to break. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you,

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Posted by KOPsarah
Apr 17, 2009
Hi cheyenne,
I too have an australian cattle dog and have experienced this problem with him in his earlier years. The behavior originates from the cattle dogs original purpose which is herding cattle by nipping at their ankles. I have found that the best way to combat this behavior is to give the dog another outlet for the behavior i.e. give it something else to chase. If your dog is interested in toys and will fetch this problem can be easily solved. Take a good quality tennis ball sized ball (a tennis ball is fine if your dog will not destroy it immediately) and use either a tennis racket or preferably a ball thrower and shoot the ball out as far as possible and let the dog retrieve it. A ball thrower which is like a long slender curved plastic stick with a cup on the end is ideal because it allows you to pick up the ball without actually touching the slobber! Cattle dogs tend to become very focused on the game and will ignore the dogs which it previously nipped completely. It is also an excellent way to burn off heaps of that energy that cattle dogs have. Furthermore they will be highly obedient to whoever is holding the ball which can be very useful.

I hope this helps. If you find your dog is not interested in toys or this method does not work for him please contact me again and we can sort out something else.