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Australian Shepherd Basic Training

 Australian Shepherd Basic Training


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The easiest training command to teach your puppy is the “Sit”

Begin by having your puppy in a collar and leash. This helps you to keep control of the pup and helps you guide him into sit position. Have a small treat in the hand that is holding the leash but don’t let the puppy eat it yet. Speak in a firm voice “sit” and raise the leash straight up while at the same time gently press the puppy’s hips toward the ground in a sitting posture. If he doesn’t sit right away, it helps to take your middle fingers and push back and down at his flanks. This movement helps to bend his leg at that hip joint. When he sits reward with the treat. Say “okay” and let puppy get up. Repeat several times. Make sure the puppy sits correctly, not slouching and don’t let him get up until you say okay. This will help when you start teaching him to stay.

 

After he has learned to sit and is consistently doing it correctly you can then progress to either shake or lay down.

We will start with shake because that is really easy and fun. Put the puppy in the sit position and with a treat in your leash hand tell him “shake” and at the same time gently lift up one paw. As a variation on the word “shake” it is fun to say instead “how do you do?” As soon as the pup lifts his paw give him the treat and say “okay”.  Repeat this until he gets it. With an Australian Shepherd puppy it won’t take very long most likely.

 

Congratulations, now you have two tricks to show off to your friends!

Now let’s work on lay down.

Ask the puppy to sit, but don’t reward him yet. Tell him “lay down” and at the same time gently pull down with the leash toward the ground and slide his front feet forward until he is in the down position and immediately reward him with the treat. Tell him “okay” and release the leash and allow him to get up. Pet him and praise him and then repeat.

 

With all tricks it works good with any dog and especially with the Australian Shepherd to repeat each request 2-5 times and then let him have free time, play for a bit, do something else, let him get a drink, or whatever he wants to do, and then repeat the training again for a few more times and then a break. That way neither of you get too overwhelmed. If your puppy is young he won’t have a very long attention span and he won’t learn too much if you push him too hard for long stretches of time. The older he gets and the more mature he becomes the longer your training sessions can be. Keep it fun, reward frequently and he will love to do the tricks for you!

 

When he gets the voice commands for sit, shake and lay down, you can also start to teach him hand signals for those commands. For sit, the hand signal that I commonly use is a flat hand, palm facing down. Say the command and use the signal. Soon enough he will begin to associate that hand signal with the command and you can try just using the hand signal. For lay down, I commonly use a pointing finger and point to the ground in a downward motion. For shake just hold your hand out and wait for the dog to place his paw into your hand. If he doesn’t immediately he will figure it out soon.

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