As members of the herding group, Australian Shepherds have a very strong drive for both mental and physical stimulation. If they do not have a physical outlet, Australian Shepherds can become neurotic, destructive or even aggressive. Training your Australian Shepherd to fetch will give you a convenient way to make sure she is getting what she needs along both lines to stay balanced.
Luckily, your Aussie is smart – you already know that! Teaching fetch is likely to only take a few quick sessions. Moreover, it will quickly become a self-rewarding game. That is, your Australian Shepherd will probably come to think of fetching that ball as his job and put his whole heart into making sure he does it just right!
This guide will show you three different ways to teach fetch – a game likely to serve you and your Aussie for many years to come.
Here are a few tips to make sure your training sessions go smoothly:
Although rare, some Aussies are picky about what they like to have in their mouths. If your pooch does not seem interested in a ball, try starting your training with a plush toy, or, proceed to the 'Tug' method if she loves a game of tug already and you want to learn how to turn that into a fetch game.
Keep the mood positive. This should be a fun game. Don’t even bother with any punishments as they will only hold back your training progress. Keep the tone fun, reward often, and ignore failure, especially in the early stages.
If you happen to already have a clicker, then you should definitely use the 'Clicker' method for the fastest possible training of the fetch game.
If you do not have a clicker, you can still use that method. Just use a sound or word unique to your training such as a certain whistle that is always followed by a treat. This will be your “marker” and you will use it to let her know that whatever she was doing when you made the sound is what you are rewarding with the treat.