Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
10 Principles of Aussie Training Cont'd
4. Aussies will follow the leader.
This is one of the most popular concepts in dog training these days, but it's also one of the most misunderstood: the "pack leader." Let's clear up the confusion around this concept right here and now.
Being the pack leader doesn't mean "Dominate your dog." This is the mistake a lot of people make – they hear the term "pack leader" and think it means something aggressive. So they start using physical punishment and domination techniques on their dog. This only serves to make the dog fearful and can often make problem behaviors even worse.
Being the pack leader is really about respect and trust. It's about teaching your dog to trust what you say, because you have the dog's best interests at heart. The concept is really about building a friendship with your dog, but a friendship where you call the shots. This may not sound like much of a friendship, but remember, you're dealing with a dog – not a person. With dogs, they're either the leader or a follower. If you don't assert yourself as the leader, the dog will have no choice but to take the lead herself. This is the root of a lot of problem behaviors.
5. Use natural behaviors to your advantage.
Many Aussie owners are trying to "push a boulder uphill" when they train their dogs. In other words, they're trying to battle against behaviors that have been deliberately bred into the dog. This is like trying to train your dog to permanently walk on two legs – no matter how good you are, it's not going to work. It's against the dog's physical nature and genetic make-up.
This is why we discuss the history of the breed so much. It lets you know what to expect from your dog and when you're fighting a losing battle. Now, of course, this doesn't mean you should just sit back and accept problem behaviors because they're "built in." It simply means there's a right way and a wrong way to deal with most problem behaviors. This book is here to show you the right way.
Next time: More Principles of Aussie Training
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