Obedience Training With The Australian Shepherd

Merle Australian Shepherd dog with a toy in teeth. Close-up portrait

Originally the Australian Shepherd was a herding dog, and he still is, but he now wears many hats.

Genetics At Play In Dog Training

Australian Shepherds are fun, high energy, versatile dogs that will keep you on your feet. They need to be engaged in activities and can be demanding of it through their higher energy level.  Aussie’s arrived in America through California in the 19th century. Whereas other breeds had to build popularity, the Aussie was immediately loved and welcomed into American’s homes.

Originally the Australian Shepherd was a herding dog, and he still is, but he now wears many hats. Rodeo performer, disc dog, agility competitor, and a family dog just to name a few. The Aussie’s extreme intelligence and athleticism makes them exceptionally versatile in training, and a blast to spend life with on the daily. 

Going back to the Aussie’s roots, their genetic desire to herd animals is coming from a combination of prey drive and defensive drive.  For our pet Aussie’s these drives can be seen in their love for tennis balls, chasing anything that moves, and even biting at tires, or resource guarding a favorite bone.

Herding dogs typically have a hyper awareness of the space around them, between them and people, and objects. This can show its head whenever you recall your Australian Shepherd, and he comes but stops 6 feet away from you, as if there is an imaginary bubble that he can’t pass through. Also with thresholds – you can open a door for them to go outside and they will simply stare at you, in their mind the angle your body is at is blocking them from exiting even though there is plenty of room for them to pass by. With a step backwards and simple shift of your body, BOOM, they take off through the door with lightning speed. 

Channeling Drive Into Obedience

At OverWatch K9 Academy located in Atlanta, Georgia we take the genetic drive of the dog in front of us, and channel it into their obedience. For Australian Shepherds this creates obedience with the dog moving in power, slamming into behaviors such as a sit, exploding out of the behavior when released, ecstatic to get a reward. 

Throughout our training programs we take their drive and channel it into the obedience, keeping their personality and energy intact. Through counter conditioning we can manipulate behaviors. We manipulate behaviors by teaching what obedience to offer in exchange for the reward that he ultimately wants, which may be physical love or a tennis ball or some treats.

Pairing an e-collar into the training takes the obedience to the next level, allowing for secure off leash recalls. What’s better than being able to watch your dog be a dog and go for a run in a field, playing fetch or just having a blast, and know when you recall he’s going to come back? And not because of avoiding a correction, but because he’s excited to get a paycheck. 

OverWatch K9 Academy’s owners, Joey & Paige Morris, have extensive experience working with Australian Shepherds. Beyond training them to be excellent pets in the home, Paige has owned one herself, named Dent. Australian Shepherds are the #8 most common breed we get the honor to work with! Meet our dog trainers, or contact us if you have any questions about our dog training programs. 

As we love to say  –  we can’t help you love your dog anymore than you already do, but we can help you enjoy them more!

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