How to Train an Australian Shepherd: 5 Key Steps (with Pictures)

🦴 Updated on July 13th, 2023


Hemsworth’s been with us just a few days. Not much more than your typical puppy, incredibly active, loving, and funny almost every time. 

As the days passed, we noticed that our little Australian Shepherd kept peeing in the worst possible spots and his greeting manners to our guests were not the best. At that moment, we knew something had to change.

Everyone in the family loved Hemsworth, but just like you love your kids/friends or anyone, you will not let them have it their way if they are acting wrong. If Hemsworth kept destroying our furniture and scaring a few of our guests, we had to put him out for adoption.

Luckily, learning how to train an Australian Shepherd was not that hard. Keep reading to learn all the top tips for training your dog. 

Are you ready to find out how to teach your Aussie better manners? Let’s get started!

How to Train an Australian Shepherd and When to Start

Australian Shepherd training is based on setting rules, teaching your dog to respond to cues, and socializing your pup. Training an Australian Shepherd puppy should begin when the dog is between eight and 16 weeks of age. 

The first goal for training an Australian Shepherd puppy should involve setting rules and working on basic cues.

You must teach your dog basic rules to exercise its brain and body. The basics include teaching your dog its name and how to sit and heel. Use a positive manner when speaking to your dog. Also, teach the pup how to walk on a leash calmly.

You will also need to socialize your dog with other pups, adults, and children. Another vital part of training includes housebreaking the dog and crate training.

Are Australian Shepherds Easy to Train?

If you’re concerned about how to train Australian Shepherd dogs and feel that it will become a complex process, you’ll be glad to know it’s not.

Training an Aussie is a straightforward process. Since these dogs have a good amount of loyalty, plenty of intelligence, and extra energy, they are easy to train. Your dog will love learning commands and following you around to get treats. 

These dogs tend to bond well with their families. That only makes them easier to train. Yet, if you are having trouble training your pup, you should sign him up for a session with a dog trainer. Experts will know how to help you bond with your puppy and teach better behavior.

Training an Australian Shepherd Puppy

Since the Australian Shepherd is an intelligent canine, the puppy will learn basic obedience commands relatively quickly. These dogs are problem-solvers and will learn commands like sit and lay down fast.


You will want to complete short training sessions with your puppy regularly. Consistent training for 15 to 20 minutes is the best way to go. Also, remain consistent when teaching your dog commands. Focus on the same commands, such as sitting, until your dog masters them. 

Over time, you can work on various commands. The intelligent dog should learn them without too much trouble. Your dog may also benefit from professional dog training. 

Key Steps for Mini Aussie Training

You will want to follow five basic steps when training your mini Aussie canine. These steps are:

  • Socializing your dog
  • Teaching the pup basic commands
  • Using rewards and praise to train your canine
  • Practicing the basic commands several times per day
  • Remaining patient if your dog has trouble remembering commands 

Australian Shepherds can become shy around strangers and feel uncomfortable in uncommon situations. As such, you should socialize with your dog and take him to as many different places as you can.

Keep the training sessions to about 15 minutes at a time and provide treats as a reward, along with praise, every time the pup follows a command.

Practice makes perfect, which means you should train your dog to follow commands several times a day. Lastly, you want to keep your patience, as a mini Aussie needs you to remain in a positive frame of mind. If you do get frustrated, take time off from the training and resume once you’re feeling calmer. 

Housebreaking and Potty Training Aussie Puppies

Potty training an Australian Shepherd puppy involves taking them outdoors regularly and creating a schedule for outdoor time.


Along with that, there are five basic steps to follow when housebreaking and potty training Australian Shepherd puppies. These five steps are:

  • Limiting how much your puppy eats and drinks
  • Crate-training your canine
  • Rewarding your puppy for peeing and discharging his bowels outdoors
  • Taking the dog outdoors when you catch him in the act
  • Repeating each step above regularly

If you’re not home with your dog, don’t leave a huge bowl of water and extra Kibble, or else your dog will pee in the house. Follow these steps and your dog will be housebroken and potty-trained in no time.

How to Socialize an Australian Shepherd Puppy

Socializing an Australian Shepherd puppy is a relatively easy task. All you need to do is take your dog to your friend’s house, take it with you when out on the town running errands, or walk it in different dog parks. 

When you adopt an Australian Shepherd puppy, you will want to start socializing the puppy at around seven weeks of age. Dogs that get socialized early will function better in public around other adults, pets, and children.

How to Teach Your Australian Shepherd to Follow Directions

You will need to stay positive and provide praise when teaching your Australian Shepherd to follow directions or respond to commands. You will want to start training the dog when he is relatively calm. When the dog is hyped up and overly energetic, he will not focus on training.

At around eight weeks of age, you can start teaching your dog commands and offering treats and other rewards for every command he follows. Use routines when training your puppy and provide training at around the same times each day. 

Utilize Reward-Based Training Ethics

Reward-based training is often called positive reinforcement training. Essentially, it involves teaching your dog the right behaviors by rewarding the pup every time he follows directions. 

Along with food and treats, you can use games and playtime, toys, and social time as rewards for exhibiting good behavior and following directions.

Reward-based training will also build trust between a dog owner and the pup along with increasing communication. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Check out the answers to some commonly asked questions about Australian Shepherd dogs.

Are Australian Shepherds from Australia?

The original Australian Shepherd dog came to the west coast with Basque Shepherds and then moved to the United States as the sheep and wool industry grew. Essentially, the Australian Shepherd is an American breed of dog that was first bred on western farms and ranches. In Australia, the only Aussie breed is descended from US-based parents. 

How much exercise do these dogs need?

Australian Shepherds are active and constantly moving dogs. Therefore, they need plenty of regular and extensive exercise. The best option for these dogs is to have a fenced-in yard where they can play and run around. You will want to make sure these dogs get at least one or two hours of exercise per day.

What if I don’t have a fenced-in yard?

If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, you can still take your dog on long walks and hikes every day to get the pup’s energy out. Once your puppy has grown up, you can take him on regular jogs. 

How are Australian Shepherds with children?

You should not leave a small child alone with any dog including Australian Shepherds. However, if you supervise your children and teach them to behave appropriately around the dog, the Aussie canine can make a great pet for your kids. 

How big do male Australian Shepherds grow?

Male Australian Shepherds are usually around 20 to 23 inches in height at the shoulder. These male dogs also weigh around 45 to 60 pounds once they are fully mature. 

How big do female Australian Shepherds grow?

When grown, female Australian Shepherds are 18 to 21 inches in height at the shoulder. Female canines are usually 35 to 45 pounds in weight. However, you may find a few that are slightly larger or smaller than these parameters.

What type of food do Australian Shepherds eat?

Australian Shepherds eat a variety of different foods. Their diet can accommodate both prepared food in the home and various commercial kibble brands. If you are getting an Australian Shepherd puppy, ask the dog breeder to see what type of food is best for your canine. 

Before You Go

After reading the guide above, you should now understand how to train an Australian Shepherd. Follow the tips in the guide. Soon, your pup will become a well-behaved pet. 

Now, go take your canine for a walk at the local dog park. Your friends and family will love how smart, friendly, and well-behaved your dog becomes. 

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Picture of Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt Schreiber | Certified Dog Trainer
Matt keeps online and looking great! When he’s not working on our web pages, he’s helping people and their pets as a certified dog trainer. With such a unique combination of skills, it’s easy to see why he’s such a valuable asset to our team.