The Australian Kelpie is known for being extremely intelligent. This is a dog that has the ability to independently solve complex problems and think things through. The Kelpie is an animal that has the ability to work unsupervised and to use his own initiative. The Kelpie seems to like to think for himself and understand the things that need to be accomplished.
While these are desirable traits, it does pose a challenge in training the Australian Kelpie. It is imperative that you keep their minds challenged and interested. The Kelpie can become very bored quite easily.
Training should begin when the Kelpie is a puppy. It is far easier to train a puppy than an adult Kelpie. Generally, basic obedience training is what is needed. The Kelpie will catch on quickly and will waste no time performing almost anything you ask of it.
The Kelpie must be trained with firm but fair training methods. The Kelpie must learn to respect his handler. He must know that the handler is the Alpha Dog or leader. If the Kelpie does not learn to respect his leader, he will then assume the role of Alpha Dog and will always be disobedient to the handler. Once the Kelpie respects his handler, then he is usually very obedient and will learn well.
Advanced Training - Once the Kelpie has mastered basic obedience, there are many different things that the Kelpie can be properly trained to do. If your dog is a Working Kelpie, he can be properly trained to herd animals. While they are naturally inclined to "gather up", some dogs need a little more instruction on how to herd correctly. Some Kelpies become overly excited and instead of nipping at the legs, they will bite the animals in their middles. This is definitely a bad habit that must be broken if your Kelpie is to do their job properly. Do not yell at the Kelpie. Instead, firmly correct the undesired behavior and be free with praise for the positive behaviors. The Kelpie is eager to please and responds best to praise.
Show Kelpies can be trained to compete in many different areas. They generally excel at obedience due to their eagerness to please and utmost intelligence. Obedience competition provides an opportunity for the handler and the Kelpie to work together as a team.
Another sport in which the show Kelpie can be trained is in agility. This is basically an obstacle course that the handler directs the Kelpie through off of its leash. The handler must not touch the Kelpie or the equipment. Kelpies will excel at this sport.
The Show Kelpie can also be trained to perform Lure Coursing. This generally involves the Kelpie chasing a mechanically operated lure. The Kelpie must be taught to focus on the sport, however, as some will stop and try to herd the lure!
Whether your dog is a Working Kelpie or a Show Kelpie, continual training will stimulate its mind and keep your Kelpie out of trouble. Proper training will ensure that your Kelpie remains your best friend!