Australian Shepherd Training Tips For Best Results (2024)

Australian Shepherd Training Tips For Best Results (1)

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By Anton Hout, author of

Australian Shepherd training tips can be helpful for any individual or family fortunate enough to welcome one of these bright, intelligent, energetic dogs into their lives. In order to properly channel the Aussie's seemingly endless supply of energy, it is important to begin training early and to be as consistent as possible. If you can manage this, the rewards can be tremendous.

As their name suggests, the Australian Shepherd was bred as a working dog, meant to herd on ranches and farms. Their intelligence and agility help them to keep up with wandering animals and keep them in line but it also means that the Aussie is always on the alert. This can make them a challenge to train as you need to find a way to harness that instinct and give your pup an outlet for all of that natural enthusiasm.

The herding instinct of the Australian Shepherd is present from early on; therefore, one of the most important Australian Shepherd training tips is to begin as soon as possible. However, finding an outlet for that energy isn't enough. In addition to physical exercise Aussies need mental exercise. The key then is to find a balance so that your Aussie is getting enough exercise while also being challenged mentally. You can find more information about your Aussie biting and nipping due to herding instinct here.

You can do this relatively easily by finding ways for him to put his herding instinct to good use or otherwise give him a job. Have him collect his toys into one common spot, or herd family members into a group as you walk or even bring them to the kitchen table in the morning. This will give your Aussie a sense of purpose and more importantly will put you in control of that herding instinct so that you can keep it from getting out of control.

One Of The Most Important Australian Shepherd Training Tips

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Make sure to establish yourself as the respected "pack leader" from the very beginning of the pup's life. Like most dogs, Aussie's do much better when they understand their place in the pack and if they see you as the respected leader they will be more inclined to listen and obey, making training much easier for both of you. It doesn't hurt that Aussie's are also very eager to please, so your pup will be naturally inclined to listen to commands and do what you ask.

Being a respected pack leader is not "dominance training". It is all about building a relationship of trust wherein your Aussie looks to you for guidance and is comfortable, confident, and happy to follow your lead knowing you have their best interests at heart. Having your dog follow your direction is not to demean them any more than a parent guiding their child and building a relationship of trust is designed to dominate them.

I think the confusion comes with the term "pack leader". This is then linked to the "alpha leader", and on to using discredited physical dominance techniques like the alpha roll to force a dog into submission. To be clear, never use physical punishment or the alpha roll to train your Aussie. You will ruin your relationship with your dog and instead of respect and love, you will engender distrust and fear.

These Australian Shepherd Training Tips Won't Work Without Consistency

Along with this role of respected leader, consistency is the key to training an Australian Shepherd. Because they are so intelligent, the more often you repeat a behavior the quicker they will be to pick it up. Consistency is also crucial when it comes to house training whether with a puppy or older Aussie.

Crate training can be very effective with Aussie's provided you also stick to a strict schedule. Make sure you take young pups out to relieve themselves at least three times a day, always at the same times, so that they learn as early as possible what is and isn't acceptable behavior while you provide them with opportunities for success and rewards.

Though these smart and active dogs can be a challenge, if you follow these simple Australian Shepherd training tips you should end up with a well behaved, loyal and loving dog that will bring so much to your life, whether working a ranch or hanging out at home. So, don't let the prospect of training your Aussie worry you; it can be easy and fun provided you go about it the right way!

You can find more information in our . If you are a visual learner and would prefer to watch videos that show you step-by-step how to train your Aussie, I recommend the video-based dog training program created by a professional dog trainer, who goes by "Doggy Dan". Dan explains dog training concepts from puppy training to obedience training and how to deal with specific behavior issues and shows you how to implement them with his own dog training clients. You can find out more about Dan and his program on his website here.

Short and frequent training sessions are better than longer ones. Be sure to end the training on a positive note and to make it fun for you and your dog. With a little patience and persistence, before you know it you will have a happy, well-behaved Aussie.

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A Beginning Guide To Puppy Obedience Training

The Right Approach To Dog Obedience Training

Dog Training Myth: There Is Only One Pack Leader In The Home

Dog Training Myth: Training Your Dog Takes Lots Of Time

The Myth of the Alpha Roll and Why You Should Never Use It

The Benefits of Online Dog Training vs Expensive In-Person Training

What To Do About Dog Biting And Nipping Due To Herding Instinct

Non-Food Related Resource Guarding in Dogs

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Australian Shepherd Training Tips For Best Results (2024)


Australian Shepherd Training Tips For Best Results? ›

Use treats and praise to encourage the dog's good behaviors. Australian shepherds are highly motivated by treats and praise and are highly intelligent dogs. This will work to your advantage when training them. You can also use treats to lure your dog into performing the desired behavior.

How do you discipline an Australian Shepherd? ›

Discipline should focus on positive reinforcement and redirection rather than punishment. Use reward-based training techniques to encourage desired behaviors and provide mental stimulation to channel your Australian Shepherd's energy positively.

How do you mentally tire an Australian Shepherd? ›

More Fun Ideas...
  1. Hiking. This activity is a great (and free) way to burn off your Aussie's pent up energy. ...
  2. Kongs. While a Kong may seem like a rather odd contraption, it is actually a brilliant toy that can keep your dog occupied for quite some time (hours even). ...
  3. Clicker Training.

How do you raise a perfect Australian Shepherd? ›

It's important to start training and socialization early, use positive reinforcement techniques, and be consistent and patient. Australian Shepherds are energetic and need daily exercise to burn off their energy. This can include walks, runs, and playtime, as well as activities like agility or herding.

What are the best activities for Australian Shepherds? ›

There's scenting, disc chasing, dock diving, flyball, herding, freestyle, and agility training to name a few. Aussies are great at these sports and other activities that'll keep them busy and help them burn off the energy they always have. There are many canine sporting events that you and your Aussie can join as well.

What not to do with an Australian Shepherd? ›

Alone Time. Aussies are people-oriented dogs who tend to follow their family from room to room just to be near them. They require plenty of attention. Being left alone for too long may cause the intelligent, energetic Australian Shepherd to create her own fun—often through destructive behaviors or barking.

What is Aussie Rage Syndrome? ›

Also called sudden onset aggression, rage syndrome is a neurological disorder, not a temperament defect or training/socialization problem. Affected dogs go into a kind of seizure that makes them attack anyone or anything that happens to be in the vicinity.

How do you train a stubborn Australian shepherd? ›

Australian shepherds thrive with reward-based training, also called positive-reinforcement training, that promotes good behavior. Instead of punishing unwanted behavior, this type of training motivates the dog to complete desired behavior by giving it praise or rewards when it does what you want it to do.

What makes Australian Shepherds happy? ›

Australian Shepherds love the attention that playtime brings. They're also generally quite placid and easy-going! Their instinctual desire to herd livestock makes them very protective. They are not an aggressive dog, but they have a strong desire to protect their family and their territory.

At what age do Aussies calm down? ›

At What Age Do Australian Shepherds Calm Down? An Australian Shepherd will always be a lively dog, but you may notice them calm slightly after two years of age when they mature. However, some may only quiet down once they reach old age.

Do Australian Shepherds pick a favorite person? ›

They do sometimes tend to pick a favorite person, but are generally affectionate to their entire families. A working dog at heart, the Aussie has a built-in affinity for herding. In fact, he may even try to herd his human pals!

Where should Aussies sleep? ›

First thing's first: try to avoid having your Australian Shepherd's bed in your bedroom. You don't want to encourage their dependence on you or let them think of themselves as the leader of the pack. Instead, opt for somewhere like the living room. Choose a quiet area, out of the way, which is airy and well ventilated.

At what age do Australian shepherds calm down? ›

At What Age Do Australian Shepherds Calm Down? An Australian Shepherd will always be a lively dog, but you may notice them calm slightly after two years of age when they mature. However, some may only quiet down once they reach old age.

What causes aggression in Australian shepherds? ›

An Aussie that thinks they are the leader within their human “pack” is usually more stressed than they should be, and can even start to “boss” the human members of the household which can lead to uncontrollable behaviour and even inappropriate aggression.

Are Australian shepherds difficult to train? ›

One of the key traits of Australian Shepherds is their intelligence. They are a highly intelligent breed and are capable of learning a wide range of commands and tricks. This intelligence also makes them highly trainable, as they are able to quickly pick up on new behaviors and commands.

Do Australian shepherds have behavior problems? ›

If they do not get enough exercise, they can become destructive or bored. They can also be stubborn and independent, which can make training difficult. However, Australian Shepherds can also be very loyal and loving dogs. They are great with children and other pets, and they are always eager to please their owners.


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