Are Australian Shepherds Aggressive?

are australian shepherds aggressive

Are you planning to buy an Australian Shepherd and are wondering whether they’re aggressive dogs? Owners usually form a misconception of this notorious breed because of their hyper energy and intimidating looks. To answer your question simply – no, Australian Shepherds aren’t usually aggressive.

These adorable dogs are affectionate and good-natured and can only get better, depending on how well they’re trained.

However, they do have strong feelings for work; in fact, they love working! Therefore, they can act bossy with other small dogs and even their owners. This process makes them nip and herd sometimes, and you need to train them from a young age to prevent this.

Read along to find out when they get aggressive and how you can deal with them! These intelligent animals are definitely worth your time!

Why Is Your Australian Shepherd So Aggressive

Just because Australian Shepherds aren’t usually aggressive doesn’t mean that they can’t act aggressive at times. You can see visible signs of aggression in any dog breed due to some circumstances or triggers.

Here are some of the main factors that cause aggressive behavior in Aussies:

Your Australian Shepherd Might Be Stressed

Australian Shepherds, like other Shepherd breeds, are most likely to get stressed often. Stress obviously won’t make your furry friend good about themselves and will lead to aggression. You might notice that your dog acts cranky and irritable sometimes; well, this might be because of stress build-up.

Australian Shepherds are herding dogs that have particular stressors like the following:

  • Leashes
  • Individuals getting in their face
  • Hitting
  • Shouting
  • Strangers touching their face
  • Loud noises
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Insufficient Socialization

If your cute pug hasn’t socialized in the early stages of life or has experienced trauma, they will get stressed in new situations. An Aussie might get triggered by the sight of other dogs or some sounds they make.

Other stressors could include unfamiliar animals looking, touching, instigating play with them because they perceive these actions as threats.

Australian Shepherds have an instinct of being standoffish with people they aren’t familiar with. They can become nervous and aggressive if you haven’t exposed them to people much.

Injury or Illness

There are some health problems, diseases, and injuries that might cause dog breeds to act aggressively. You will notice this clearly if your dog hasn’t ever shown aggression and suddenly begins biting, snapping, or barking excessively.

Pain is most likely the cause of your munchkin’s aggression since discomfort triggers an instinct of protecting itself. Common pain causes in Aussies are internal injuries, bone fractures, Osteochondrosis Dissecans, Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, or tumors.

If your dog shows unusual signs of aggression that you can’t explain, you must get advice from a veterinarian. However, don’t misinterpret your dog’s aggression.

How To Stop Your Aussie’s Aggressive Behavior

Now you know some ways that can aggravate your furry friend. Therefore, here are some methods you can adopt to calm your munchkin!

Socialize Your Australian Shepherd

If you adopt or purchase your Aussie as a puppy, ensure that you socialize it as much as possible. Let them get to know other dogs, your family, friends, and others! You can take your adorable dog on outings and to others’ houses as well.

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Who doesn’t like a cute dog playing with them?

This tactic will help your dog’s fear of people lessen drastically and prevent aggressive behavior in the future.

Engage In Australian Shepherd Training

If you don’t train your Aussie thoroughly, then consider this a sign to start! Get it into the correct training program to stop bad behaviors like barking at night or biting strangers.

Practice Redirect Biting With Your Aussie

If your dog nips while herding, then people might see it as aggression, especially toward young children. If your munchkin nips, you can redirect it to something else. If it comes at you to bite or nip you, be it in a playful way, say “no” in a calm but firm voice.

Please don’t yell at your dog, as the harsh and loud tone might excite it. Don’t forget that usually, it’s just the adorable pet’s way of playing with you, and your loud tone might seem like an invitation.

Put a hand on its muzzle and say “no” again before releasing them if your Aussie continues to nip or bite. Don’t be aggressive when you place your hand on its muzzle. Give your dog a chew toy after they stop biting to make them associate biting with toys and not humans.

Praise your munchkin for its amazing work when it bites only the chew toys.

Spend More Time With Your Aussie

Many breeds act out when they get bored, and your Aussie might get aggressive if it wants some entertainment. Aussies are bred as dogs for work, and therefore, this kind of behavior is quite common for them. They naturally have high energy because they want to be busy.

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Ensure that you spend tons of time with your munchkin and indulge in activities for it to use up energy. Take it for a walk and make it walk on a leash behind you to reinforce the idea of safety and teamwork.

You can take your dog to a dog park as well to make them burn energy while socializing with dogs. Your Aussie will get used to dogs of all temperaments, sizes, and breeds this way.


Australian Shepherds are workaholics in the dog world, and it’s best if you keep them busy! Get your dog toys to give them something to play with when they get bored of sitting at home all day when you’re working.

You can also buy a special feeding mat for your dog to give it a challenge while eating. This will help it use brainpower to get food. Also, leave one piece of your clothing in your munchkin’s bed to maintain a bond and keep them stress-free.

You can teach your dog to pick up laundry from around the house and place it in a basket as another technique. Your Aussie will love working, and it’ll help a chore of yours get done too! You can also ask it to bring recyclable objects like cardboard to the recycle bin.

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