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Australian Shepherd Dog Photo of the Day

Mary Lightner

This photo of Nova, a beautiful blue merle male, was sent in by Aussie breeder Mary Lightner of Nova Australian Shepherds.

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Training and Care — Tip Of The Week

Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
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Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Excerpt #13

Understanding What Motivates Your Dog

Want to know why there's no one-size-fits-all training program that will work for every dog? Simple: every dog is different. That's why in this book we go into different variations of the same technique for teaching the same command: because one method may work for your Aussie, while a different method works for your friend's Aussie.

So to get the best results you need to do a bit of homework and learn a little about your Aussie's unique personality. One of the most essential parts of this, in terms of training, is making sure you know what treats motivate your dog the most.

You may think: easy. The answer is food. Well, yes and no. Food is a strong motivator, but different dogs have their own preferences when it comes to their favourite food. Likewise, some dogs – Aussies in particular – are easily motivated by games and physical activities as a reward instead of food.

Here are a few food treat ideas to experiment with:

  • Small pieces of cut up sausage

  • Small pieces of cheese (be careful with this one – too much cheese will make your dog constipated, so it shouldn't be used too often)

  • Dog biscuits

  • Dry kibble or dog food (this should be different from the food you give your dog for meals)

  • Liver pieces

  • Ham

And some physical rewards to try:

  • Fetch

  • Chasing games (these should be avoided if you're trying to discourage herding behavior)

  • Playing with a squeaky toy

  • Chewing on a nylon bone or other chewable

The key with physical rewards, if you end up using them in training, is to keep them short. When you get the behaviour you want, reward with a ten second chew on a nylon bone, then take it away and repeat the process.

Test these out and see what gets the most enthusiastic reaction from your dog. Also pay attention to what gets the SECOND best reaction – you'll be using both of these motivators for your training.

Next time: Using Treats for Training – Jackpots and Random Rewarding

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Training & Care Ebook...



Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care


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Dog Quote of the Week

Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail.

~ Josh Billings




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