Some people don’t start training their dog until they are adult, but this is a big mistake. The period when your dog is a little puppy represents a crucial training opportunity as young pups are very impressionable. It is during this period that you can set the baseline for much of the dog’s later behavior. However, you do have to be careful as puppies can be easily harmed if the training is not appropriate or is too rough. From 8 weeks on, puppies can also easily learn very basic commands such as sit and even to walk on the lead. All of this should be done gently, with no harsh corrections imposed, but they will help ensure that your adult dog is a dream.
From when it first arrives at your home, your new puppy will be watching your every move and it will be learning from you all the time, not just when you “think” you are training. It’s crucial that you are consistent with your approaches so that your dog clearly understands what you expect.
Puppies should immediately learn boundaries, that is, there should be certain areas in the house where they aren’t allowed to go. This will help you later on when the dog is an adult and understands the ideas of boundaries and knows that it is not the alpha dog, this is particularly important with Australian Shepherds, who have a tendency to try to dominate.
Teach your dog to respond to basic commands such as “sit” and “stay”. Sit is easily taught as it is a natural reaction for puppies and the key is to praise your Aussie as soon as she sits. Remember to consistently use the same phrase and tone to teach your dog the commands. Hand signals are also useful.
Potty training is not difficult if you start it immediately. Rubbing your puppies nose in his mess is NOT, I repeat, NOT, a good way to train your puppy. Remember, that puppies have little bladder control and need to go to the loo frequently. The key is to give your little puppy regular potty breaks outside and praise him lavishly when he does is business in the correct place. He’ll soon get the hang of the idea that this is what you want – and he only wants to please you. If you do catch your puppy in the act of peeing or pooping inside, grab him immediately and put him outside on the lawn. This reinforces where you want him to do his business.
Give Your Aussie a Place of His Own
Dogs need a place of their own that they can escape to and feel secure in, where they aren’t expected to do anything but rest. This can be a crate or a kennel and should be made comfortable with blankets and toys. Teach your dog to spend time in this when you are at home and then when you are away he will be so much more secure.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on the way to having the dog of your dreams.