Are you aware of the fact that the Australian Shepherd has descended from the finest herders of Europe? Their world tour started in Europe, near the Pyrenees Mountains. The indigenous people living near the Pyrenees Mountains, located at the borderlands between Spain and France built their reputation as world-class shepherds. Their herding dog of choice was known as the Pyrenean Shepherd which was touted to be the progenitor our modern Australia.
During their long journey in Australia, the Basque shepherd rejuvenated the dogs with judicious crosses to the British imports of Australia, Collies and Border Collies, among them. Post building their flocks, the intrepid Basques left Australia for better pastures and set sail to California.
The Australian Shepherd is a rather intelligent working dog of strong guarding and herding instincts. As a companion to human beings, he is extremely loyal and also has immense stamina to keep working all day. He is balanced properly and is longer than tall, of medium bone and size with coloring that provides individuality and variety. He is animated and attentive, agile and lithe, muscular and solid without any kind of cloddiness. His coat is of medium length and coarseness and he also has a natural and docked bobbed tail.
Quick Interesting Facts on the Australian Shepherd
Type – Work-oriented, Smart and Exuberant
AKC Breed Popularity – Ranks 17 out of 195
Height – 20-23 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
Weight – 50-65 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)
Group – Herding Group
Life Expectancy – 12-15 years
Being an extremely energetic and athletic dog, the Aussie requires too much of exercise on a regular basis. Even if you have to give him the minimum exercise, a run across the backyard for at least an hour is necessary everyday. Australian Shepherds usually have a strong bond with their owners and hence they love to accompany them on long walks and hikes.
As he leaves back his puppyhood days, his skeletal system is formed fully and this is when he can make a great companion for running. The best part about them is that you can always give them a job to do like herding livestock, competing in canine events, shepherding children or dock diving.
Early obedience and socialization training are the two ‘musts’ as long as Australian Shepherds are concerned. In fact, one of the main reasons why these dog breeds result in rescue situations is that their owners couldn’t successfully channel the boundless energy of this breed through training. Australian Shepherds not only bond terribly with their owners but they are also overprotective and territorial about the property of their owners. They can in fact become destructive in case they are left without their owner’s companionship for a long time.
Tips to Train your Australian Shepherd Puppy
Being highly energetic and intelligent breed, the Australian Shepherd has to be trained just at the right time. In case you fail to train them or give them anything positive to do, you’ll still find them training themselves. Begin to train your puppy while he is young so that he starts realizing what exactly you expect from him.
Socialize your puppy
From the time you bring him home, you should start socializing with him. However, experts recommend you to begin this socializing process from the time they are 7 weeks old. In between the period of 7 weeks and 4 months, these dogs usually go through the ultimate socialization period. In case you don’t socialize your pup during this time, it gets harder later. Pups that are socialized at the right time are better able to interact with different people.
Take your puppy to as many places as you can so that he gets used to interacting with other animals and humans. Show him that it is fun to go to new places and interact with people. Make him realize that it is not always a scary experience that has to be avoided. Only this way, you can raise a well-rounded dog that has got interest in everything.
An Australian Shepherd is that is socialized in a wrong way will grow up to be shy and fearful and can also have serious behavioral disorders like fear biting. You can also make him attend pup socialization classes if you’re not sure how to do it.
Housebreak your Aussie pup as early as you can
Try to housebreak your puppy as early as you can. By their natural instinct, an Australian Shepherd will always want to keep his living space neat and tidy. Hence, if you have been keeping him inside a crate part time, he will learn gradually that it is not proper to release himself in the house anywhere.
However, make sure you don’t leave your pup inside the crate all the time. Take him out every 2-3 hours during the day and give him enough playtime. After he completes eating, try to take him out for a walk so that he gets the hang of housebreaking. If he eliminates outside by listening to your commands, don’t forget to reward him with his favorite treat. Loud praises or claps will also encourage him.
Teach him basic obedience
While your Australian Shepherd pup is at his tender age, try to teach him the basic obedience skills. Once you do this, you can have better control over him from the very beginning. The best way to impart obedience skills is to make him join a training class and this can also be combined with other socialization lessons.
Make him join dog sports
While he is still a puppy, make him join a dog sport. Australian Shepherds excel at different kind of sports like rally, agility, herding and advanced obedience. Such activities will give your dog a new meaning to his life and he will also get a new purpose to life. Both you and your dog can compete in various types of events where they can win trophies and ribbons in dog sports.
So, now that you know the tricks and techniques of training your Australian Shepherd, what are you waiting for? Get one and start imparting the best form of training so that you can help him grow into a smart and well-behaved dog.