Training Australian Shepherds
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
Are Australian Shepherd Dogs easy to train?
Australian Shepherds were bred to herd sheep and to take directions from the shepherd-person in charge of the flock. That heritage comes in mighty handy when you need your Aussie to follow your directions around the house.
But Australian Shepherds aren't robots. Each one is a little different. In fact, I have a friend with Australian Shepherds and none of them are alike. So whether your Australian Shepherd will be easy to train or difficult to train depends on the individual dog.
For example, my friend's first Australian Shepherd was so intelligent she could practically talk. Training her was easy. Show her how to do something and she would get it right away. Most importantly, she was willing to please....though, like most Aussies, she did have an independent streak.
Herding dogs sometimes need to think for themselves and make up their own minds when they're trying to find a lost sheep or keep their flock together. So herding dogs aren't necessarily pushovers to train. My friend's current Austalian Shepherd certainly proves THAT to be the case – she has a strong mind of her own, so training her has been a battle of wills. She also happens to be a high-energy Aussie who leaps and bounds her way through life. As you might imagine, training an Australian Shepherd who won't calm down can be challenging!
And then there was Zoe, a mild-mannered Aussie who took life in stride. She was athletic and energetic but quickly calmed down when activity time was over.
So you see that Australian Shepherds are quite variable in temperament. Some are extremely energetic, quick moving, even hyper-reactive. Others tend toward a milder, calmer manner.
Yet all Australian Shepherds need plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation (activities and games that challenge their mind, like herding, advanced obedience, agility, fetch games, playing frisbee). Boredom is the leading cause of destructive behavior and barking in all intelligent dog breeds.
Australian Shepherds are demanding of time and attention and want to be with you constantly.
They are polite to aloof with strangers. There is timidity in some lines, and early socialization is important to avoid shyness or sharpness.
Some Australian Shepherds are dominant with other dogs and will chase cats, while others are good-natured with all creatures.
So when you ask, "How easy is it to train an Australian Shepherd?" my answer is, "A good Aussie with a stable temperament is one of the most capable and trainable breeds in all of dogdom. But how "easy" it will be to train him depends on the temperament and personality of the individual dog, plus your own dog training skills."
That's where I come in. Keep reading my dog training articles (and hopefully buy my book, "Teach Your Dog 100 English Words") and I will help you train your Australian Shepherd to be well-mannered and well-behaved. I've been working with dogs for 35+ years, as a dog trainer, canine psychologist, breed advisor, and author of 15 books about dogs.
Dog Training – What Works, and What Doesn't
Some dog training methods are based on what makes the OWNER feel good, rather than what on actually makes sense to the dog. For example, "positive-only" dog training is a big fad right now. Now, treats can be great motivators for training Australian Shepherds, but if your dog will only obey for a treat, then HE is in charge of his obedience, not you. [read more]
Teach Your Australian Shepherd To Respect You
"Respect Training" is the dog training method I use and recommend for training Australian Shepherds. I often get phone calls from distressed owners who are having trouble with their dog. Let's listen in on a phone conversation between myself and a typical dog owner (we'll call her Kathy Armstrong). Kathy: "Michele, my dog Jake is being difficult. I can't make him do anything. He only listens to me when he's in the mood." Me: "I see. Would you say Jake is behaving rudely?" Kathy (surprised): "What do you mean? How can a dog be rude?" [read more]
Teach The Right Words In The Right Ways To Your Australian Shepherd
My method of training Australian Shepherds includes teaching specific words in specific ways so that your dog not only learns the words but also develops the respectful attitude that makes him happy to obey you. Teach your dog words and he will understand what you say. Teach those words in the right ways and he will actually DO what you say. [read more]
Solving Australian Shepherd Behavior Problems
One of the most common questions dog owners ask me is: "How can I stop my dog from (doing some specific behavior problem)?" They're hoping I'll tell them where to find a secret button on the back of their dog's head that will trigger a MISBEHAVIOR-OFF switch. :-) Alas, my answer is almost always the same, no matter what the misbehavior is. Here it is (free of charge!).... [read more]
Training Australian Shepherd Puppies
Just got a new puppy? Australian Shepherd puppy training starts the moment you bring your puppy home. If you use the wrong teaching method, your puppy will begin making decisions about how he wants YOU to fit into his life, and that's a recipe for conflict and behavior problems. Whatever he does, you must react properly or he will learn the wrong things. Here's my recommended schedule (what to teach, when to teach it) for training your Australian Shepherd puppy. [read more]
Housebreaking Your Australian Shepherd
There are two keys to housebreaking. Just two, but you have to get them both right. And I mean 100% right, not 50% right. Otherwise you're going to end up with a dog who is 50% potty trained, and who wants that? So here they are – your two keys to housebreaking.... [read more]
Copyright © 2000-2013 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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