Australian shepherds are often referred to by Australians as the ‘Aussie dog’. But surprisingly the breed developed on the ranches of Western America in the 19th century. A medium-sized dog, it is the perfect addition to the family. Aussie dogs are extremely easy to train with wanderlust potential and a drive for chasing prey. Keep in mind, however, that because of their shepherd name, this makes them much more prone to the act of herding than much else. Still, other tasks are certainly trainable with this hyper-intelligent breed.
The Australian shepherd has a high success rate in dog careers such as guide dogs, hearing dogs, and hunting dogs. With heritage in the working dog arena, this pup makes the ideal dog for hunting or herding. Their characteristic bark is perfect for when they have found the prey they are looking for, or simply want to warn you of something and their easily-spotted coats make it easy to spy them in the field to a trained eye. No wonder why we call them man's best friend!
Australian shepherds have high energy levels and so training them in the art of hunting is perfect for giving them a release. They need around sixty minutes of exercise a day and a large amount of mental stimulation in order to stop them getting bored. This is why training them to hunt is an easy way to achieve all their needs.
While learning to hunt is fairly difficult because of the large amount of tasks that must be learned, the Aussie is ready and willing to pick up on your commands fairly readily. Your dog should be able to exhibit strong recall, as well as track and hunt with the trust from you that they will not ruin their kill. Your pup should be able to start simple obedience training by eight weeks old. Once she's got that under her belt, she should be able to start hunting training. To train your Aussie to hunt, it may take anywhere from six to eight months with continuous practice to keep her skills in check.
To get started, you will need to define what you would like your Aussie to hunt. Typically, they are sheep herding dogs and are used to keeping low to the ground. Hunting small game such as rabbits is probably the ideal target.
A good idea for hunting rabbits would be to find some rabbit skin or feet. This will familiarize your pooch with the scent that he will be intending to hunt. The second is that these pups, like any, respond really well to treats and praise, so stocking up on her favorite snacks will provide her with lots of encouragement.