HOW TO TRAIN YOUR AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
Although deemed extremely intelligent and docile, Australian Shepherds still need a solid education to succeed in channelling their boundless energy. Implement the correct training methods from the start to allow your dog to flourish by your side each day.
Are Australian Shepherds Easy to Train?
Yes, you're in luck! Australian Shepherds are very receptive to learning, so you won't have any problem training them. This does not mean, however, that you should be lax with them. Like all dogs, Australian Shepherds need a well-defined structure in order to evolve properly within the family. It's important to establish yourself as the boss right from the start; your pooch needs to understand their place in the pack and realise that they are not in charge. Underneath their good-natured exterior, Australian Shepherds have a strong will and would soon take on the role of leader if given the opportunity.
Why Is it Important to Train My Australian Shepherd?
Training your dog is one of your main responsibilities as an owner. Through training, your four-legged friend can move through the world around them fearlessly. Having a normal social life involves meeting other dogs, animals, and people.
And in these situations, a lack of training (or poor training) may make your dog uncontrollable, or even dangerous! Despite their light-footedness and medium size, Australian Shepherds could seriously injure more vulnerable people, such as the elderly or children.
So, training your Australian Shepherd should be taken seriously, even if your dog appears to be the perfect pooch!
What Age Should I Start Training My Australian Shepherd?
The answer is simple: as soon as you bring your new puppy home if you adopt from a breeder! You can start training your Australian Shepherd as early as 2 months old. The younger the dog, the more they want to be stimulated. Lucky for you, Australian Shepherds have this attitude throughout their life! You can use accessories like the clicker, for example, to help you with your task. Australian Shepherd training is made easier by your dog's intelligence, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a walk in the park. It is your responsibility to put precise rules in place from the start, rules that you must follow to the letter without giving in! Remember that your puppy is going to grow.
Annoying behaviours developed when your pooch is small can become more problematic in adulthood. So, be sure to prohibit anything you wouldn't want your dog doing once they grow up. It is easier to grant permission later than to withdraw permission granted too early. Set limits and make it clear to your puppy that you are in control.
Australian Shepherd Training Tips
To successfully train your Australian Shepherd, it's important to have a strong relationship with your dog. Don't only pay attention to them during training sessions. It’s vital that you also spend quality time with your pooch outside of training, particularly in terms of games or tender moments together, to create a real bond between you. Three main principles apply for training any dog, regardless of the breed: patience, coherence, and consistency! You can't expect your Australian Shepherd to remember everything you expect from him with the snap of your fingers. As smart as they may be, your dog will need to repeat the exercises over time to master them.
Training sessions should be short—fifteen minutes at most—so as not to tire the animal. These sessions can be split into games sessions. Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy and need to exercise to exert themselves. Take advantage of it. Repeat the training exercises every day until they've been incorporated into your dog's learnings, then move on to the next one. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overloading your pooch with information.
Finally, be consistent with yourself and your furry friend. Keep your commands short and easy to remember, and stick to them along the way. Modulate the tone of your voice to better convey what you expect from your Australian Shepherd.
Above all, never resort to violence. In recent years, our relationship with dog training has evolved. These days, it is strongly believed that positive-reinforcement training is the best way to achieve good results. This form of training excludes all violence and advocates for rewards instead, either in the form of verbal praise and petting or something like a game or treat. For this type of training, be sure to plan your Australian Shepherd’s training sessions before meals, not after. This way, your dog will be all the more interested in their gourmet reward! Encourage good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour.
Positive training also involves nonviolent punishment, which is used to correct destructive behaviours in your dog. Please note: You can only punish your dog if—and only if—you catch them in the act! It is counterproductive to punish your dog and could result in your breaking their trust in you and damaging your relationship for good. Don't take that risk.
Make the Most of Every Opportunity to Train Your Australian Shepherd
You don't have to wait for training sessions to practise lessons with your pooch. Any and every situation can be used to educate your dog. For example, take advantage of your daily walks with your Australian Shepherd. Outings are a great way to teach your four-legged friend to walk on a lead without pulling and to come back to you as soon as you call. Initially, always perform this type of exercise in enclosed, secure areas, such as dog parks.
Which Basic Commands Should I Teach My Australian Shepherd?
A few basic commands should be taught to your dog as early as possible to guarantee their safety:
Once these commands are well instilled in your dog, you can move on to the next ones. Australian Shepherds are very intelligent. As such, they are quite capable of learning tricks: rolling over, jumping, ball tricks… The possibilities are almost endless! For your dog, the important thing is to spend time with their master. This is a very sweet, loyal animal, who only wants to please you. A training routine based on trust and encouragement will make your Australian Shepherd want to learn. By following these few tips, you'll have no trouble educating your dog.
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