Intelligent, attentive, eager. These are just some of the words that the AKC uses to describe the Australian Shepherd in their breed standard.
The reason that these traits are so highly prized in the aussie is that they are traits that make phenomenal herding dogs. A herding dog must be aware the split second a sheep decides to move the wrong way. However, that attentiveness and intelligence can cause problems outside of working with sheep.
In Beau’s case, his great working traits led to him developing reactivity issues. Leash reactivity is often linked to aggression, but it doesn’t always start with bad intentions. Many friendly puppies start off by pulling and straining on the leash to get to their friend. When they don’t get to go greet the dog they are pulling toward, they get frustrated.
As time goes on, that frustration builds and builds. One day, the frustration boils over and the dog starts barking, growling, and otherwise showing signs of aggression. While the behavior has been an issue for awhile, most owners only realize it is a problem when this stage is reached.
The solution for Beau was to give Beau other things to do to take the place of these bad behaviors. A solid heel command gave Beau something to focus on when walking. Once Beau understood how to heel, we taught him a solid communication system of right vs wrong. Powerful rewards and fair corrections work well together to help dog’s like Beau turn over a new leaf.
Check out some of Beau’s progress!