Australian Shepherds are a very
versatile breed. They can excel at obedience, herding,
conformation, agility, flyball, tracking or almost
other dog sport. However, this does not mean that they are
an easy breed with which to compete. They are very reactive
to new people, places, and situations. Without proper
socialization, training, and exercise, Australian Shepherds
will react in inappropriate ways to new experiences;
especially stressful ones.
Therefore, early socialization is a
must. This is not a passive activity where the puppy is
taken everywhere with their owner; rather it is time that is
planned with the puppy's training and well-being as the
primary focus. Even with training and socialization that
would be adequate for many other breeds, Australian
Shepherds may present behaviors that can baffle even
experienced dog owners.
with one or more Australian Shepherds requires providing
both physical and mental stimulation daily. Training for
just 15 minutes a day will often tire the dog out more than
an hour or more of frisbee. Aussies, (and many other
breeds), do not respond well to training based on aversive
methods. Clicker training, or any other training based on
positive reinforcement and operant conditioning, is ideally
suited for this breed.
I have owned Australian Shepherds for more than 15 years and have
trained and competed in obedience, conformation, and
herding. Leslie Frank, of Propwash Farm, has let me live and
work with many wonderful dogs. Along the way I am sure they
have taught me much more than I ever taught them. Some of
that information can be found on these pages.