Last Updated on September 17, 2021
The Australian Shepherd is a very energetic and highly intelligent dog that will definitely become your loyal friend and wonderful companion.
Training Australian Shepherds and Owning one can bring you joy and happiness. As fun as training can be, make sure to remember how important it is for your Aussie.
1. Start socialising your Australian Shepherd puppy as soon as possible
Socialisation is very important for young puppies. Proper training and socialisation will help your puppy become a great member of the family. All puppies will need time to adjust to a new place, new home, and new people. However, training should start immediately even as your puppy is acclimating.
The Australian Shepherds are known to be problem-solvers. These dogs can think independently and even make the decisions on their own. So, when a new puppy gets into your home, the main task is to let the puppy know what his limits are. It is absolutely indispensable for building a good relationship.
Think well about the limits you are going to set. Make sure that you are not planning to change your mind about those limits. You should also be consistent and never make exceptions.
Keep in mind that the critical period for Australian Shepherd puppy socialisation is between 7 weeks and 4 months of age. But if you miss this hugely important period, it will be extremely hard to raise a well-behaved and disciplined dog.
Have you ever thought what socialisation means? In fact, it is a process through which your dog learns to behave in a friendly way with the others. You certainly do not want your Aussie puppy to be aggressive and fearful. That is the main reason why early socialisation is crucial for any breed and especially for the Australian Shepherd puppies.
Do your best to introduce the puppy to a wide variety of sounds including kitchen noises, thunder, vacuum cleaner, trains, airplanes and many others. The Aussie will gradually get used to all those sounds and will not be afraid of them.
Your puppy is likely to be scared if it’s not socialised properly. As a result, your puppy will probably have behavioural problems. So, you should help your Aussie understand that meeting strangers and visiting new locations is not scary, but exciting instead.
2. Reward-based training for training Australian Shepherds
The Aussies are very smart. That’s why, training Australian Shepherd will not be a problem if you find the right approach to your dog. Reward-based training is the most effective way to train your Aussie, because this type of training helps develop and maintain good behaviour in your dog. Plus, it allows owners address the unwanted behaviour that the Australian Shepherd puppies might show.
This type of training is also called positive-reinforcement training. The reward-based training methods include praising your dog for completing the tasks successfully. It is highly recommended to choose treats that your dog can eat quickly. Remember that small treats are key to making the training session successful.
Small treats are also perfect in case if your Aussie is prone to weight gain. Keeping treats small will help you count calories and prevent your dog from putting on weight. Try several treats until you find out what your Aussie really likes. You can start with:
- Dried liver
- Sweet potato
Dried liver is known to be one of the most effective training treats for the Australian Shepherds. There is hardly a dog who doesn’t like it. Dried liver is high in protein. Plus, it contains no additives that can be damaging to your pet’s health.
When training Australian Shepherd, you may also use tiny pieces of chicken if your puppy is really attentive and follows all of your commands.
Sweet potato can also be successfully used during training sessions. Sweet potato is not just delicious, it also has a lot of health benefits. This vegetable is a powerful source of vitamins and essential nutrients including vitamin A, C, B5, calcium, copper, iron, potassium and dietary fiber.
Even if you know what treat your Aussie really likes, giving it on a regular basis is not a very good idea. One day you may notice that the dog is really getting bored with the old treat. So, if your pet’s enthusiasm is gradually fading, try to use a variety of treats during the training session. In this case, the Australian Shepherd will never know what treat is coming next. It will help you keep the dog constantly motivated and eager to learn more.
In order to keep your Aussie safe, avoid giving artificially sweetened sugary treats and toxic human food.
The reward-based training works really well for sensitive dogs. So, it is definitely a great option for training Australian Shepherd.
3. Get your Australian Shepherd puppy respond to commands
Building a bond and going through puppy training can be challenging and frustrating. Set yourself up for success by beginning training when your puppy is 7 weeks old if possible. Research and learn proper training techniques to create a solid and safe training foundation for your puppy. Responding inappropriately to your puppy during training will create a lack of trust in you when you need to establish yourself as a trusted leader.
At first, teach your puppy to respond to such basic commands as “sit” and “lay down.” Repeat the commands several times to make sure that your Aussie understands what you want. Do not forget to use treats when your puppy behaves well and does what you ask. Your dog will lose interest if the training session lasts longer than 20 minutes.
When the training session is over, find some more time to play with your puppy. It will help you end the training session on a positive note. Plus, you will stimulate more interest and curiosity in your dog.
If you want your Aussie to be obedient and listen carefully to what you say, choose the right strategy to communicate with the dog. Avoid raising your voice when you give commands. Remember that you start yelling just because you are not in change and cannot control the dog. It’s worth mentioning that dominant Australian Shepherds do not bark like nervous and fearful dogs.
Keep in mind that you should be the boss and you do not have to yell. You should also be patient and consistent during training sessions. Choose a specific word for each command and stick to it. If you use different words for the same command, the Aussie is less likely to remember it. You will just confuse the puppy and achieve no desired result.
4. Reduce your Australian Shepherd’s herding behaviour
The Australian Shepherd is an excellent family pet and has great personality traits, so this means that an Australian Shepherd is:
The Australian Shepherds can get along very well with other pets that live in your home. They are loving and caring dogs that always want to please their owners.
However, these dogs still possess strong guardian and herding instincts. If you are not planning on training your Aussie to herd livestock, you want to try to minimise this type of behaviour. When your dog gets ready to herd, it usually demonstrates some certain behaviour.
Your Aussie may start barking loudly. Interrupt the behaviour that you consider unacceptable. You will learn to analyse your dog’s behaviour over time. It will help you predict your Aussie’s herding behaviour before it even occurs.
If you have kids, you should also remember that some Aussies consider children part of their flock. So, the Australian Shepherds may even try to herd the kids. You should do your best to explain the dog that it is not allowed and you are not going to tolerate unacceptable behaviour. Obviously, it will require a lot of training.
When your Aussie learns the lesson, he will definitely become your kids’ best friend. So, what can you do to achieve that purpose?
Let your kids and the Australian Shepherd play together. Such activities will make both of them healthy and happy. Plus, it will contribute significantly to building positive and friendly relationships between them. Spending time together will also create more trust between the children and the Australian Shepherd.
The Australian Shepherds tend to be more aggressive with smaller kids. They try to control and even nip them. Fortunately, this type of behaviour is rare.
When you learn how to anticipate the herding behaviour, you will be able to prevent it. When you notice that the dog is going to herd your kids, interrupt him and explain that it’s not what he’s allowed to do.
If you really want to teach your Aussie the right behaviour, ask your kids to be present during the training sessions. However, training Australian Shepherd is not the only thing you should do. Explain your kids how to react to the dog as well. Let the kids walk the Aussie alone. If things go well, they will learn to trust each other soon enough.
5. Think about hiring a professional dog trainer for training Australian Shepherds
No doubt, training your Aussie is a hard process that requires much time and dedication. If you lose precious time and let your dog do whatever he wants, you will have to solve serious problems in the nearest future.
If you notice that you are not achieving success with training your Australian Shepherd puppy, ask a professional for help. The professional trainer will analyse your dog’s behaviour and provide actionable advice on the best way to address and change the undesireable behaviour.
The professional dog trainer knows well how to fix your problem within a short period of time. A specialist will help you make your Aussie an obedient dog that brings unforgettable emotions into your life.