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My room mate owns an Australian Shepherd (3 years old) who has a nasty habit of nipping people walking past him, and smaller animals when they are being held in someones arms. He's an otherwise good dog, but the nipping is a little bit too rough. He's bitten my leg, while I was playing with a smaller dog using my feet, another one of our roommates legs during a riled up play session, and my pet cat while she was in my arms. The bites aren't malicious, but they have broken skin, and were hard enough to make the cat yelp.

Obviously this kind of behavior is unacceptable, but the owner isn't the most capable trainer, though the dog does have basic obedience training, and minds well. I was hoping someone on the forum could give some advice for correcting the issue, as it's becoming more and more of an annoyance among housemates, and more of an embarrassment for the dogs owner. I have a reputation for my well trained dogs, and I'd like to takeover, at least for this lesson, so that the house can be a little more tranquil. I don't even know where to start with an adult dog though.

The dog is not neutered, and I was going to suggest that might be the first line of defense, but I was unsure what kind of effect that would really have given the dogs maturity. Regardless, a dog that bits people has no business being bred anyways. If the nipping can't be kept under control, there's going to be little option except to muzzle the dog whenever he is out of his owners room, and that makes for an awkward home situation for everyone.

Any and all advice is appreciated.
 

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when my dog nipped i use to say "no biting". sometimes i would push
him away (gently). if it continued i would hold him by some neck fur
and say "no biting". there was no shaking or squeezing hard when i held
him by his neck fur. a raised voice sometimes.
 

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IMO the key here may be the breed. He's an aussie, who has ingrained instincts to 'herd'. For aussies, nipping is a part of herding. My parents had an aussie and she exhibited this type of behavior. It's entirely different than puppy nipping.

You can try giving a stern 'no' when he does it, while offering a toy instead. What ended up working for us (my parents' aussie would nip our ankles, calves) was putting on rubber boots with the pants tucked in and spraying bitter apple spray on them. I know it sounds crazy, but a couple times of her tasting THAT and she never nipped our legs again. Be sure to reprimand her when she does nip your legs or other no-no things. Like giving her a toy instead, redirecting to a ball (soccer balls or kick balls are best) really can help. Aussies love being able to 'herd' a ball..

Also, I'm not so sure neutering would make any difference here. But that's just my humble opinion. Nipping is really common with herding breeds.

best of luck.
 

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I also agree with the key may be the breed,,Aussies are herding dogs, and very ingrained.

I have aussies, when they get a little "too" excited it seems to throw them into a herding mode and they can get nippy..

Working on a good "leave it" or "no" as the poster above suggested can help,,they need training to know the difference that biting/nipping a person is NOT the same as nipping/biting livestock..

I don't think neutering will make any difference..

If he likes toys, get him a special one he can carry around,,keeps his teeth on the toy not on the person
 

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My MIL had a female Aussie. If she was loose in front of her house the dog would try to herd the kids playing in the neighborhood and nip at their heels.It's the breed. Everyone who posted has good advice, hopefully your roommate won't mind you taking over the training.
 
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