Australian Shepherd Training Guide
The Australian Shepherd is an amazing animal, one that is higher versatile and trainable. In fact, the Aussie, as the breed is sometimes called often excels at obedience and training. For this reason, the breed is still a popular choice for people who herd sheep or cattle, as well as people interested in competing in canine sports. Keep in mind that this built-in desire to work can be seen in just about anything the Aussie does, meaning he puts his best paw forward at all times.
The one thing to remember when training an Australian Shepherd is the high energy also means you need to keep his interest. Because of the high level of intelligence, this breeds needs to be exercised, played with, or trained daily. You will hear that the Aussie can be a demanding dog, often wanting and expecting tremendous time from its master, which is true. While somewhat possessive of the master, proper socialization and training can take this potentially bad habit and turn it into something positive.
How to Train Australian Shepherd
One of the best ways to be successful when it comes to training an Australian Shepherd is to work with a reward system rather than punishment. In other words, when the dog does as you command, you would reward the positive behavior with a treat or playtime with a favorite toy. This type of training helps to bond dog and master closer, while making for a happy dog. Unfortunately, using punishment will only break down trust between master and dog, which could lead to some serious behavioral issues.
After all, the goal in training an Australian Shepherd, whether for herding or sports, is to make the process fun. If the dog is having a great time, thinking of training almost as playing, then you will find his attitude far more willing. Keep in mind that you want to offer a reward only for the things you want him to do. Therefore, while he may do something good, that does not mean he is automatically rewarded. Be selective so the training is drilled in to a specific command.
Now, some dog owners and trainers believe that with an Australia Shepherd, you can merely pat him on the head and say “Good boy” when he obeys. However, we do believe and support the treat system. You could provide the dog with petting and praise but offering a tidbit as well will make the training session even more successful. Regardless of the method of training you choose, you want to reward you Aussie immediately upon doing the right thing so a link can be connected in his mind on action and reward.
It is also more beneficial when working with an Australian Shepherd to work on just one command at a time. Yes, some dog breeds can learn a number of things at once but this particular breed will do best focusing on a single task. This way, he is clear on the command for which he is being rewarded. Once he has learned a number of commands, you can then begin to connect them. Let us say your dog now knew the “sit”, “lie”, and “heel” commands. Each would be taught individually and rewarded when understood. The next step would be to get the dog to “sit” and then immediately “lie”.
As you train your Aussie, if you find that he responds with the wrong command, rather than get angry or frustrated, simply start the sequence over again. When he understands and carries the command out, he is then provided with a reward. With this breed, you definitely want to show consistency. Australian Shepherds are bright but also intense when it comes to training so keep to a schedule and routine, which will help him learn even quicker.
Read More About
- Australian Shepherd Breed Information
- Australian Shepherd : 10 Most Common Questions
- Owning an Australian Shepherd : Breeder Recommendations
- Australian Shepherd Health Guide
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