Training an Australian Shepherd puppy takes dedication, patience, and plenty of time. Australian Shepherds are smart and easy to train and can be taught basic commands in as little as a day. As a high-energy breed, Australian Shepherds need an outlet when working and exercising daily; without being hyper-active and destructive around the house. Training your Australian Shepherd puppy should be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your puppy.
Teaching an Australian Shepherd Its Name
If a nice name has been chosen for the four-legged friend, the dog should of course also listen to it. The name is one of the first things the Australian Shepherd has to learn. This should be done by acclaiming so that the dog becomes attentive and looks at you.
To get their full attention, it is best to first train in a low-stimulus environment. Wait for a situation where your puppy is not busy doing something else.
Now call out their name clearly and in a joyful tone. The Australian Shepherd will probably be wondering what’s going on and will look at you curiously. Now is the time for a reward. This can be a treat, an exciting game, or a small caress.
It is important that the dog learns that the sound of its name is associated with something pleasant. If the dog looks at you when you call, you could always throw a treat, for example. Repeat this several times a day and increase the level of difficulty by moving the exercise into an environment with more distraction.
Training an Australian Shepherd Puppy Step-by-Step
1 Socialize your Australian Shepherd puppy early on. Socializing can be done by taking them to the park, homes, and pet stores that welcome friends’ dogs. This is important for a well-adjusted dog. They need to be exposed to different people, dogs, places, and situations. A properly socialized puppy will learn two times faster than an unsocialized dog.
2 Walk your puppy on a leash as soon as possible; they must get used to wearing a collar and walking on a leash for their safety. Australian Shepherds are instinctively herding dogs, and at the sight of other animals, bicycles, or children, can take off running towards them. As “shepherds”, they want to collect all moving objects in an area. Tug on the leash and stop in your tracks when your pup pulls. Resume running when they calm down. Repeat this as often as necessary.
3 Teach your puppy to sit. Start with “sitting” because it is easy to learn. Hold a treat in your hand just above their head until their butt touches the floor. Reward with a treat when they sit. Knock the covering off if your puppy is jumping. Push them down gently to encourage them to sit. This may require repetitive action for some dogs, possibly taking a few days. Spend 5 to 10 minutes training your puppy daily. Keep lessons short; 2-3 sessions is enough.
4 Once your dog has got the hang of the “sit” command, teach them to lie down. Get your puppy into a sit position, then tell them “down”. Put a treat to their nose and lure them to the floor slowly. Your puppy will follow the treat to the ground and release its body. Reward with the treat once it is down.
5 Train your puppy to stay by asking them to sit first. Tell them to “stay” with your hand up, palm out. Step back, slowly. When they get up to follow, take them back to the same spot and repeat the command. Step back short distances, a few feet at a time, with your puppy on a leash. Try longer distances, gradually increasing by a few feet at a time. Ultimately, you can let your dog “sit and stay” without the leash training. Return to them and reward them with love, affection, and a treat.
6 Ask your puppy to “come” when called. Command your puppy to “stay”. Walk back as far as you can while holding the leash. Call their name and say “come” while clapping your hands together twice. Reward them when they arrive at your feet. Tug on the leash if they don’t. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog as their skills improve.
Written by respected Aussie breeder Kirsten Tardiff of Echolight Australian Shepherds, this book truly is a “Complete Guide” in which even the most experienced Aussie owner will learn something new!
Potty training Australian Shepherd
Select an outdoor location where you want your dog to eliminate. Take the dog out on a leash at first, go to that area, and help them eliminate. Also, create a schedule for your Australian Shepherd. As creatures of habit, dogs thrive on a schedule and what happens on the schedule will arrive on time, according to the comprehensive guide from Responsible Pet Ownership.
Don’t give Australian Shepherds food or water close to bedtime, and make sure your dog has an empty bladder before going to bed.
Supervision is essential in teaching your dog to eliminate in the area that you designate. For your puppy, each spot is only as good as the next, so the onus is on you to teach accepted elimination behaviors.
Reward your Australian Shepherd with enthusiasm when they eliminate in the correct area. Offer praise with a happy sing-song voice, and reward them with a treat.
Don’t scold your dog for having an accident around the house. Actions such as spanking and rubbing the dog’s nose in the mess will be detrimental to training. According to the Humane Society, this behavior will make your dog fearful of eliminating in your presence that prevents proper training.
Immediately clean up any accidents with a certain type of pet odor neutralizing enzymes, like Nature’s Miracle. Eliminating the smell of the dirty stain will prevent your dog from trying it in the same spot again. If you discover your dog wanting to eliminate and making sounds to get your attention, then take them out to complete the action.
Crate training Australian Shepherd
Start crate training your Australian Shepherd puppy the first day you bring them home. Crate training not only makes training easier but also gives your pup a place where they can feel safe, similar to a cave. Keep your Australian Shepherd puppy in the crate when you are gone and at bedtime.
Training an Australian Shepherd to walk on a leash
Being on a leash is extremely important. The dog should be controllable at all times and the leash is an important aid and acts as an extended arm of the owner. In addition, nobody likes to go for a walk with a dragging dog who throws himself into the harness and drags their master behind them.
- Practice in a quiet environment.
- Put the leash in front of the Aussie without comment. If they examine the lease curiously, praise the dog.
- Clip the leash into the collar or harness. Let the dog pull the leash behind you. They shouldn’t be afraid of it. If they accept the appendage, praise them.
- Pick up the leash and walk slowly. If the Australian Shepherd puppy rushes forward, you simply stop. After a while, the little one will see why it is not going any further. At that very moment, you go on in a different direction. Your puppy will soon realize that they have to orient themself towards you and will become more attentive.
- However, there are also very shy candidates who put their paws in the ground and do not want to go with them. If you pull on the leash now, you will make the situation worse. It’s tetter to lure the little one with a treat, friendly words, or a nice toy. When they finally come, praise them.
- If the leash is sagging and the dog is carefully walking next to you, you can praise them from time to time or give them a treat.
How to train an Australian Shepherd not to bite
Dogs don’t have to bite human skin!
You have to remember this sentence and teach the dog that it is unacceptable to bite you, either into your skin or your clothes.
Most new puppy owners find it cute when the dog nibbles on their fingers. If you allow the dog to nibble on you from the onset, then your dog will soon understand that they are allowed to bite. Dogs can use their teeth so well that they can neatly chew things up.
If the puppy does not learn to control its teeth, then at some point you will have an adult dog that has a much stronger bite force and that can be really dangerous. Therefore, it is extremely important that the dog knows that it cannot bite people!
If you feel your dog’s teeth on your skin, no matter how gentle it is, don’t say “Ouch” and withdraw from the dog. That doesn’t work with the Aussie, because they will think, “Yeah, I won” and take a bite again.
Instead, perform a snout grip, ie grasp the dog’s muzzle with your index finger and thumb and hold/press briefly. If the puppy whines, the snout grip has been successful and the dog has learned that they will be uncomfortable if they bite people.
Finally, ensure more rest for the dog; many dogs bite because they are completely over-excited!