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Australian Shepherds/pushy little aussie

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Question
Good morning!

I have two dogs, a 4 year old beagle/boxer rescue, (male), and a 17 week old blue merle Australian shepherd, (female).

The rescue was a foster that had a rough start. Because of the issues he has, I kept him. He requires proper management, but is wonderful with other dogs.

My aussie is a gift to myself. I've worked in rescue for many years and wanted so much to raise a pup from a proper background. I'm active and wanted a smart, trainable companion. I did my research before hand and have changed my schedule and lifestyle to provide her with the care she needs. It's been wonderful. She is the best little dog I've ever had or known.

There's the background. My question is this; While both are very good with other dogs, their play together can become very intense. They are still never unsupervised together, and they get along, but she has more stamina. I can stop their play with a verbal command for the most part, the aussie being the stubborn one. She's hard on the poor guy, nipping his heels when he walks past and being pushy. I don't let her pester him and separate then when they get too excited, but he doesn't have it in him to correct her. The energy just keeps escalating until I call it off. They also have times when they are calm together with us watching T.V. I am just concerned that as she reaches maturity, she will continue to push him and I'll have a fight on my hands. It's as if they don't communicate well. For example, my mother has a female shepherd mix that my aussie visits, and there is never any monkey business at all. It's as if my aussie respects her more.

Am I handling this properly by separating them when they get over excited? Is there something more I can do to ensure they will continue to co-exist peacefully?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Answer
The question I would ask is whether, when you gently pull your Aussie away from the Boxer, what does he do?  Does he go back to her, run away, just stand there?  What you look for in normal play is that he might go back.  If not, they should probably take a breather.  Generally speaking, any time the play gets "over the top" you can interrupt.  Normal play, even if intense, has lots of self interruption, exaggerated body language, open mouths, etc.  If you aren't seeing that, time to take a break.  He may well stop taking her guff when she gets a month or two older, and "runs out of puppy license" but so far so good.  She should, however, be getting experience playing with other dogs, too.  If you are not enrolled in a puppy class with a good positive trainer, now's the time.

Australian Shepherds

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Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about the Aussie breed and temperament, and basic information about working lines versus show lines, training your Aussie, grooming your Aussie, and what it's like to live with a dog breed that's smart and versatile, but isn't for everyone.

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Professional trainer, and Aussie owner.

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IPDTA, APDT, Truly Dog Friendly, Therapy Dogs, Inc.

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B.S., Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate, NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician (American Pet Care Assn.)

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