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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Basic Dog Training For Beginners

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

Dog training for beginners is really not all that complicated. Fortunately, your dog has a natural instinct to please you. He wants to earn your praise but he needs you to let him know what is and isn't acceptable behavior. For owners, having a dog that is well trained makes life easier in general, knowing that your dog can be easily controlled and that you don't have to worry about him acting out.

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Of course, there may be some instances where you'll need your dog to have more specific training, whether to do a particular job or to perform on an agility course, but all training starts in the same place, with basic obedience. Just as with humans, a dog has to learn to crawl before it can walk and in this case that means picking up the essential obedience commands.

Commands such as sit, heel, drop, stay and come are the building blocks of training. All other training gets its start here, so this should be the first step in dog training for beginners. Each of these commands serves a very important purpose, both in teaching your dog about acceptable behavior and in allowing you to control him with a simple verbal command, whether on leash or off.

Man giving Australian Shepherd a treat.

Christian Müller /

Always make sure your training sessions are a positive experience. Using rewards like praise, play, and treats will improve your chances of success.

All dog training should begin by learning "sit." Luckily, this is also the easiest command for most dogs to pick up. It also provides a simple way to get your dog used to listening to you and obeying. "Stay" helps your dog to learn how to remain calm and keep to one place until you give him the verbal direction to move again. These are the first two commands that you should teach your dog, always remembering to use a firm but gentle voice when doing so.

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

"Drop" and "come" are safety commands and constitute the next step in dog training for beginners. "Drop" is used as a quick way to get your dog to let go of something he is holding and can be particularly important if he's gotten into something that is potentially toxic. Similarly, "come" can help get your dog out of harm's way and back to your side quickly and easily.

The "heel" command is a bridge between basic obedience and more complex training. This command is used to keep your dog close to you at all times, whether he is on a leash or not. Not only can this help to avoid potentially difficult interactions with strangers but it can also reinforce the idea that he needs to heed your commands at all times, something that is crucial in agility or field work.

The Key To Dog Training For Beginners Is To Keep It Positive

Of course any breed can benefit from training but more intelligent breeds like the Australian Shepherd may adapt more easily and be good candidates for more advanced training. No matter what kind of dog you have, the key to dog training for beginners is always to use positive reinforcement. Dogs learn best when they are rewarded for their actions. Again, they want to please you so yelling at them if they've done something wrong will just make them upset, undermine the training, and harm your relationship with your dog.

Next Step...

If you are looking for a great dog training program to get you started and keep you on track building a solid foundation with obedience training and dealing with behavior issuses I recommend the program created by "Doggy Dan."

He is a professional dog trainer from New Zealand and his online video-based program features a guided dog training program that covers dog training for beginners right through more advanced lessons. If you are struggling with behavior issues he covers just about any problem you will face. You can find out more about Dan's program here.

Dog training can be a wonderful bonding experience, helping to develop a close connection between you and your furry best friend. At the same time, it's a great way to teach your dog the importance of obeying and ensuring his safety. That way you can enjoy many happy years with a well behaved dog and gain the satisfaction of having taught him some new tricks! icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Have Dog Training Questions?

Check out these introductory dog training videos...

I want my dog to stop being aggressive.

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I want my dog to walk nicely and calmly on the leash.

I want my dog to listen and come every time I call! icon
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