Australian Shepherd pup is aggressive with my wife but not with me?
Our pup is now 4 months old. So far, so good--he has been crate trained, responds to multiple commands, and is house broken. Our biggest issue: he'll respond to me when I give him commands but when my wife gives him commands his behavior intensifies. It will often start by his nipping at her hands. We have been training him not to bite by holding his snout shut and speaking firmly "no biting" when he clamps on to something he shouldn't. This has worked great for me but not for my wife. When she does this, he'll begin getting even more excited, jumping up on her, barking, and biting her hands and shirt. All other attempts to get him to stop this behavior have failed. He will stop for a short while if I intervene but this is not a practical solution. Is there anything we can do (short of attending behavior classes, which will be happening in the near future) to help change this behavior and help my wife feel like she's able to work with him?
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Make your wife the sole care-giver. If he wants anything, he has to get it from her. Have her give him his meals, treats, walks, potty breaks, play time, etc. He has to sit before he gets anything, otherwise, he doesn't get it. Have him completely depend on her until his behavior changes. Classes are a good idea. Have your wife take him to the classes. Changing his behavior will take some time and patience. Sounds like he is a very smart dog. He will make a great dog if you get through this. Also bear in mind, he is a working dog. They are not satisfied with boredom. It would be a good idea to teach him a job or skill like herding or agility even if it's just for fun. Good Luck with him!
Kali answered on 6/17/12. Helpful? / 0
A better way to stop the biting than grabbing his snout (which he is interpreting as play from her, but not from you) is to yelp loudly ("AI! "OUCH!" etc) when he bites, then turn your back on him and ignore him completely, or leave the room. He should learn that biting means no more attention, which is what he really wants when he bites. So far, her "no bite!" command instead has become his signal for a game of bitey-bitey. So short-circuit that by refusing to play his game.
Also, if your wife wants to pup to obey her, she needs to work on training him too. Make sure that her commands are the same as yours, with the same words, same gestures (dogs pay more attention to your body than your words). She should reward the pup effusively when he complies, because it's a big cognitive leap for a dog to learn that a command is universal and applies to more than one person giving it.
Good luck, 4 months is a great age to start in-class training too!
Bruno CGC answered on 6/17/12. Helpful? / 1