6 Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Is Attacking Other Dogs

If your Australian Shepherd has attacked another dog, then there’s definitely cause for alarm. However, with the right care, training, and understanding, it’s entirely possible for you to change your dog’s behavior.

In this article, you’re going to learn why Australian Shepherds attack other dogs, how to stop them from attacking other dogs, and what to do if it happens again!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know! And remember, if your Australian Shepherd is attacking other dogs, then you’ll need to take them to a vet or specialist as soon as possible!

Do Australian Shepherds Attack Other Dogs?

Fortunately, it’s not overly common for your Australian Shepherd to attack other dogs. However, when it comes to dogs, you’ll always need to look at them on a case-by-case basis. If your Australian Shepherd had a poor upbringing or they’ve been provoked, then it’s entirely possible they’ll attack another dog based on their temperament.

Why Do Australian Shepherds Attack Other Dogs?

If your Australian Shepherd has been attacking other dogs, then the first step is to find out why it happens in the first place! Here are some of the most common causes to consider:

They Received Poor Socialisation

One of the most common reasons your Australian Shepherd might attack another dog is a lack of socialization or exposure to other dogs. Your Shepherd may never have learned how to act appropriately around other dogs if they didn’t spend enough time with them as puppies.

Asserting Dominance

It’s possible that your Australian Shepherd is assaulting another dog in an attempt to demonstrate dominance. You may notice that, in addition to assaulting other dogs, your golden retriever seeks to position itself over them and ignores your instructions to stop.


It’s possible that your Australian Shepherd attacked because they believed you, your family, another dog, or your house needed to be protected. If you believe this is the case, you should investigate what occurred before the attack. This might also explain why your Shepherd attacked a person as well.

They’ve Been Attacked Before

If your Australian Shepherd attacks a certain breed of dog, it’s possible that they’ve been attacked previously. This type of protective behavior may be to blame for your shepherd’s assaults on other dogs.

They’re Playing Too Rough

It’s possible that your Australian Shepherd is simply being too rough with you, especially if they’re still young. A shepherd will learn how hard they can and cannot play as they grow older, but they should outgrow being rough with time.

So it’s critical to understand your dog’s body language in order to determine whether they’re being rough or attacking.

Your Reactions

If you become very emotional in the presence of another dog, your Australian Shepherd will reciprocate. This may cause them to become confused and believe they need to attack another dog. So, if you’re around other dogs, make sure you’re remaining calm and in control of your emotions.

two Australian Shepherd dogs fighting for a food bag

What To Do If Your Australian Shepherd Attacks Another Dog

According to the PDSA, If your Australian Shepherd attacks another dog, you should always do the following:

  • Stay calm. If you become agitated, this may make your dog feel more worried.
  • Distract your dog from a distance. Try to avoid shouting at or making direct eye contact with your dog as this can make them more aggressive. Call them away if you can, or use their favourite toy to distract them. If you have a leash or a large coat you can throw this over your dog to help you distract them for long enough for the other dog to get away, and then get them under control. Hopefully, the owner of the other dog will also be trying to remove their dog from the situation.
  • Get them back on the lead. Be careful when you do this as they may be highly stressed and you don’t want to get bitten yourself. A slip lead may be safer (you can make one with a normal lead by putting the end of the lead through the handle to make a loop). If you cannot get a lead onto their collar or over their head safely, you can try to put a slip lead under the dog’s tummy, just in front of their back legs.  Remain calm and try to take them somewhere they can’t see the other dog and can calm themselves down.

How To Prevent Your Golden Retriever Attacking Other Dogs In The Future

Now that you know why your Australian Shepherd is attacking other dogs, the most important thing to consider is how to stop it from happening again in the future. And with that being said, here are some of the best preventative measures.

Speak To A Vet Or Specialist

If your Australian Shepherd has already attacked and you’ve managed to remove them from the situation, the first thing you should do is seek the advice of a veterinarian or a professional. They’ll be able to offer you sound recommendations on what to do next based on your Shepherd’s unique circumstances.

Find A Training Program

Another thing you should do is train your golden retriever, regardless of whether your Australian Shepherd is attacking another dog or not. Positive reinforcement is one of the best methods since it rewards good behavior rather than penalizes bad behavior, which is a lot more successful and strengthens your relationship with your dog.

Desensitization Training

Desensitization training is another excellent option. Allow your Australian Shepherd to view other dogs from a safe distance, but not so close that they feel compelled to attack; when they behave appropriately, reward them with a treat. Once they’ve become used to it, gradually move the dog closer and closer until they’re comfortable around other dogs.

Create Positive Associations

Positive associations can also be formed between your Australian Shepherd and other dogs as well. To do this, you start with little rewards and gradually work your way up. Begin by praising them for noticing a dog and not responding violently. Then approaching a dog without being hostile, then strolling past a dog, and so on. If you do this often enough, your golden retriever will develop long-lasting good connections.

What To Avoid Doing

While there are some great ways to make sure that your Australian Shepherd doesn’t attack again. It’s also important to remember all the things you’ll definitely want to avoid doing! Such as:

Don’t Let Them Off The Lead In Unfamiliar Places

If your Australian Shepherd has previously attacked another dog, only allow them off the leash in places you are familiar with. Even then, if they’re continuously attacking other dogs, you should keep them muzzled.

This way, you’ll always know where your pup is if you need to call them, and you’ll also have some idea of the environment around you.

Don’t Become Complacent

You should constantly be aware of and on the lookout for other dogs so that you can quickly recall your Australian Shepherd if something goes wrong. This is beneficial in both directions; it reduces the likelihood of an unknown dog approaching your Australian Shepherd and vice versa.

Don’t Shout Or Make Direct Eye Contact

As hard as it will be, you should also avoid shouting and making direct eye contact. Shouting or making close eye contact with your Australian Shepherd may cause him to become more aggressive and riled up.

Don’t Ignore Early Signs Of Aggression

Finally, ensure you aren’t overlooking early symptoms of aggression. If you catch them early enough, you may consult a specialist and drastically reduce the risk of your Australian Shepherd attacking another dog!

Want To Train Your Australian Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your Shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


As you can see, there are a lot of reasons that your Australian Shepherd could be attacking other dogs. And with enough time, dedication and patience, you can also help train them and stop it from happening in the future. But before you do any of that, you should always speak to a professional!

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