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How To Stop an Australian Shepherd From Biting (Explained!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Training and education are needed to prevent your Australian Shepherd from biting and nipping. Even though they are very intelligent dogs, tutoring is still required.

This wonderful furry companion will make a great home pet and an even better working dog. Education is required for all dogs, including the Australian Shepherd.

You should start instructing and teaching your Aussie during puppyhood. Properly trained, this smart dog will surely behave itself.

Key Takeaway

  • Australian Shepherds tend to bite due to their inherent herding instincts, which drive them to nip at moving targets as a way of controlling and directing movement.
  • To stop an Australian Shepherd from biting, consistent training is essential, which includes redirecting the biting behavior to toys or chewables, using positive reinforcement when they obey commands to stop, and gradually desensitizing them to triggers that provoke biting.

Why Do Australian Shepherds Bite?

How To Stop an Australian Shepherd From Biting

Most Australian Shepherds bite because they feel threatened or scared, they are feeling playful, or they are trying to herd someone or something. People bred Aussies to serve as herding dogs.

When doing their job, biting and nipping are just some of the methods these dogs use to keep the livestock in order. Australian Shepherds will always try to herd everything that moves, as herding is deeply written in their DNA. Hence, the biting.

According to canine behaviorists, biting is the most common problem when it comes to puppies. Every known breed has the same problem, and Australian Shepherds are not excluded.

Biting can be extremely frustrating for an owner. Especially if you have smaller children, biting will be a serious issue. The Aussie will always try to herd them by nipping their ankles.

Another reason could be that they’re feeling threatened or scared and they’re trying to protect their pack (which includes you and your family). Sometimes they just bite because they’re feeling playful! Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand why your dog might be biting so that you can help them stop.

If your Australian Shepherd is biting because they’re feeling threatened or scared, it’s important to help them feel more secure. This may mean providing them with a safe space in the house where they can go to feel calm or working on training exercises that help them build confidence.

If your dog is biting because they’re trying to protect their pack, you’ll need to work on socialization exercises to help them learn that people are not a threat. Finally, if your dog is just feeling playful, you’ll need to provide them with plenty of toys and playtime so that they can burn off that excess energy!

How To Stop an Australian Shepherd From Biting

How To Stop an Australian Shepherd From Biting

This issue can luckily be addressed. Aussies are not naturally aggressive, and all the biting comes from their desire to herd. These smart dogs can be easily trained, and below we’ll explain how to train your Australian Shepherd not to bite.

The process of teaching your Australian Shepherd is a three-step program. It will take some time; it will not be easy. Luckily for you, Aussies are super intelligent. If you needed to do this training with other breeds, it would be harder.

If you follow the instructions carefully, the training will be a success. Here is how to stop an Australian Shepherd from biting in three steps.

1. Bond with your Aussie Shepherd

Your relationship with the dog is another thing to consider. An owner’s bond with the pet is the most important thing in the dog’s training. You must become a calm, consistent leader. Your dog must look up to you for guidance and direction. Bonding with your Aussie can be beneficial for you both.

The Australian Shepherd can make you happier, and healthier. Also, a healthy relationship will help with the dog’s training.

A good leader will not ignore an issue like biting. You need to show your dog how you want it to behave. You can learn how to behave with your dog by simply observing a mum with its pup.

They can control the entire litter with simple growls or changes in body language. As a leader, you should be able to do the same thing with your pup. Once your Aussie respects you as a leader, future training may begin.

Biting is an issue that needs to be resolved early in the puppy’s life. Once you see your puppy biting, you need to address the issue quickly, fairly, and efficiently. If your puppy respects you as a leader, it will stop biting immediately. The same goes for asking your dog to do something. This is a two-way relationship, but there can be only one leader.

2. Exercise your Australian Shepherd

The Aussie’s high energy level is the second reason they bite. The Aussie gets frustrated if not properly worn out or left alone. A frustrated, unhappy dog will bite and chew everything it can find.

Releasing some energy will surely solve a big portion of the biting problem. Find yourself some time, and off to exercising.

Aussies are very active. There are a plethora of activities you can do with your Aussie pup. You can tie the leash to your bike and your dog will run beside you. If you go hiking or mountain climbing, your Aussie will be happy to join you.

Australian Shepherds can swim, play fetch, and flyball. Taking your pup to a dog park will be good for both of you. Socializing is very important for them.

Apart from physical activities, the Aussies also need mental challenges. They love working, and they thrive when given a job or a task. Give your Aussie some errands to run, and watch it succeed. Hide-and-seek games are another way to entertain and wear out your pup. Puzzle toys and chew toys will also keep your Australian Shepherd busy.

This breed requires activities on a daily basis. The more the better, but an hour and a half per day should be enough. Aussies don’t get tired easily. Do not expect that. However, wearing the dog off will most certainly help in its training, including the no-bite education.

3. Train your Aussie not to bite

You’ve established a relationship with your dog and exercised it. You covered the basics. Now it’s time to get to more serious training. Training is the solution to the majority of dog issues, including biting.

If you want your puppy to behave, you need to create a developmental program. You must decide what you want your puppy to do at a certain age.

Gathering information on what young dogs are capable of is essential. You need to know what to expect from your Australian Shepherd.

The moment your Aussie bites something, you need to shift from being fun and loving to strict and firm. Leadership body language is very important. Shoulders back, chest up, serious face. Your body language should be accompanied by a very stern verbal correction.

Shifting personalities has to happen instantly. If you’ve already established yourself as a leader, this change should be more than enough for your dog to understand it’s doing something wrong.

After the verbal correction, remove yourself from whatever you were doing with the pup. If you were playing or cuddling, stop doing that. The dog needs to know it has done a mistake. You need to redirect the dog to the desired behavior.

It is up to you what kind of action you’ll undertake. One option is giving your dog the sit and stay command. Another one is giving your dog something else to chew and bite, like rope or rubber bone. Whichever you choose, it will pass your message to the Australian Shepherd.

How To Prevent Your Australian Shepherd From Biting

Preventing an Australian Shepherd from biting involves consistent training, redirection to appropriate chew toys, positive reinforcement, and gradual desensitization to triggers.

Consistent Training

Early and regular training sessions are key in teaching your Australian Shepherd not to bite. This can involve teaching them commands like “leave it” or “no bite,” and consistently reinforcing these commands whenever they show signs of wanting to bite.

Redirection to Chew Toys

When your Australian Shepherd starts to nip or bite, redirecting their attention to a chew toy can be an effective strategy. This not only provides them with a safe outlet for their chewing instincts, but also helps them understand what is acceptable to bite and what isn’t.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in preventing biting behavior. Whenever your dog successfully follows a command to stop biting or chooses to chew on a toy instead of biting, rewarding them with treats or praise can reinforce this positive behavior and encourage them to repeat it.

Gradual Desensitization to Triggers

Australian Shepherds often bite due to certain triggers, such as excitement or fear. Gradually exposing them to these triggers in a controlled environment and rewarding them for remaining calm can help desensitize them and reduce their tendency to bite in response to these triggers.

Is Biting a Common Issue in Australian Shepherds?

Yes, biting can be a common issue in Australian Shepherds due to their herding instincts which often emerge as they grow older.

Australian Shepherds are a herding breed, and as such, they are born with inherent herding instincts.

This instinct often becomes noticeable when the dog is several months old.

The herding behavior can sometimes manifest as nipping or biting, as this is how these dogs would traditionally control and direct livestock.

It’s important to note that this is not aggressive behavior, but rather a natural instinct that the dog has for controlling movement around them.

Will My Aussie Stop Biting?

Yes. Aussies usually stop biting when they are around one year old. Puppies use their mouths to explore and play. They bite and nip everything until they reach adulthood. Biting is a natural behavior for dogs, but it’s one that often gets them into trouble. If your Aussie is biting people or other animals, it’s important to take action.

There are several things you can do to stop your Aussie from biting, including:

  • Providing chew toys and bones for your Aussie to gnaw on
  • Training your Aussie with positive reinforcement techniques
  • Avoiding rough play or games that encourage biting
  • Consulting with a professional trainer or behaviorist if the problem persists

With patience and consistency, you can help your Aussie learn to curb his biting habits. Soon enough, he’ll be everyone’s favorite furry friend again says PetHelpful.


Q: Can teething cause increased biting in Australian Shepherds?

A: Yes, teething can cause increased biting behavior in Australian Shepherds. During the teething phase, which occurs between three to six months of age, puppies experience discomfort in their gums. Biting helps relieve this discomfort. It is important to provide them with suitable toys to chew on during this period.

Q: Should I punish my Australian Shepherd for biting?

A: No, it is not recommended to punish your Australian Shepherd for biting. Punishment can lead to fear, anxiety, and aggression, which may worsen the biting behavior. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement training techniques and redirect their biting onto appropriate toys.

Q: How long does it take to stop my Australian Shepherd from biting?

A: The time it takes to stop Australian Shepherds from biting can vary depending on the individual dog and the consistency of training. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, most Australian Shepherds can learn bite inhibition within a few weeks to a few months.

Q: Can I train my Australian Shepherd to never bite?

A: While it is not realistic to completely eliminate biting behavior, you can train your Australian Shepherd to have proper bite inhibition. This means teaching them to control the force of their bites so that they do not cause harm. Through training, you can significantly reduce biting incidents.

Q: Are there any professional training programs to help with biting issues in Australian Shepherds?

A: Yes, if you are struggling with biting issues in your Australian Shepherd, seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist can be beneficial. They can provide personalized guidance and training techniques to address the specific biting issues your dog may be experiencing.

Q: Can neutering/spaying help reduce biting behavior in Australian Shepherds?

A: Neutering or spaying your Australian Shepherd can help reduce biting behavior, especially if it is driven by hormonal factors. However, it is important to note that neutering or spaying alone cannot completely stop biting behavior, and training and behavior modification are still necessary.

Q: Are there any special considerations when dealing with biting issues in adult Australian Shepherds?

A: When dealing with biting issues in adult Australian Shepherds, it is important to assess the underlying causes of the behavior. If your adult Australian Shepherd suddenly starts biting, it may be a sign of fear, anxiety, or pain. In such cases, consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist is recommended to address the issue appropriately.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, consistent training is key when it comes to stopping an Australian Shepherd from biting.

By redirecting their biting behavior to toys or chewables, using positive reinforcement when they obey commands to stop, and gradually desensitizing them to triggers that provoke biting, you can effectively train your dog to control their urge to bite.

With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can ensure that your Australian Shepherd becomes a well-behaved and non-aggressive dog.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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