How to Train an Australian Terrier

how to train an australian terrier

Introduction: Understanding the Australian Terrier Personality

The Australian Terrier, with its keen gaze and rough coat, is a reflection of the rugged Australian landscape from where it hails. This small yet spirited breed is known for its tenacity, intelligence, and alert nature. Often described as being brave, affectionate, and self-assured, these dogs possess a renowned reputation for being fiercely independent. Their intelligence is remarkable, and while they’re enthusiastic learners, their independent streak can sometimes make training an adventure. Additionally, they are deeply loyal and tend to form strong bonds with their families. Recognizing these traits is pivotal in understanding how best to approach training your Australian Terrier.

The Importance of Early Socialization

Early socialization is as essential for Australian Terriers as it is for any breed. Given their inherent protective nature and their predisposition to chase, introducing them to a myriad of people, animals, and environments during their initial months is vital. This ensures they mature into balanced and sociable adults.

Begin by acquainting your Australian Terrier with calm and friendly individuals and pets. Positive exposures to varied stimuli, including different sounds, textures, and sights, can mitigate potential fear-based reactions in the future. Puppy training classes serve as an outstanding platform for structured socialization. These classes offer not just a framework for learning basic commands but also provide opportunities for puppies to interact with diverse dogs and humans, fostering beneficial interactions.

Regular excursions, like trips to parks, drives, or brief visits to pet-friendly locales, can also hone their adaptability. Always prioritize making all experiences positive. Commend your Australian Terrier for displaying calm behavior, and be prepared to extract them from overly intense or stressful scenarios.

Basic Command Training

Australian Terriers, with their eager-to-please attitude, respond most effectively to positive reinforcement training methods.

  • Sit: Holding a treat near your terrier’s nose, gently move your hand up. As they lift their head to follow the treat, they should naturally sit. Once they do, voice the command “Sit,” reward them with the treat, and offer abundant praise.
  • Stay: With your terrier seated, extend an open palm towards them and say “Stay.” Gradually distance yourself. If they remain seated, reward with a treat and affection. Over time, you can increase the distance and duration.
  • Come: Using a leash, stoop to your terrier’s level and command “Come” while mildly tugging the leash towards you. When they approach, celebrate their compliance with a treat and kind words.
  • Heel: When walking your terrier on a leash, the moment they surge ahead or fall behind, halt your pace. Walking should only proceed when they align themselves by your side. Through consistency, they’ll deduce that maintaining pace ensures continued exploration.

Concluding training sessions on a triumphant note, possibly by reiterating a command they’ve mastered, ensures your Australian Terrier stays enthusiastic for upcoming sessions, linking training to pleasant memories.

Potty Training Tips for Australian Terriers

Potty training an Australian Terrier demands consistency and patience. Their alert nature often means they catch on quickly, but there will always be a learning curve.

  • Establish a Routine: Australian Terriers benefit from routine. Regular feeding times can predictably dictate their potty schedule. Puppies typically need to relieve themselves upon waking, post meals, and before sleeping.
  • Designate a Potty Area: Choose a specific spot in the yard or a pee pad indoors and consistently guide your terrier there. Soon, they’ll identify this spot with their bathroom breaks.
  • Handle Accidents Gracefully: Mishaps are part and parcel of potty training. If you catch them midway, a gentle “Oops!” and guiding them to the designated spot suffices. Negative reactions can prolong the training phase.
  • Celebrate the Little Wins: Whenever your terrier uses the designated area, reward them with a treat, verbal praise, or a brief play session.

Addressing Common Behavioral Issues

Australian Terriers, being terriers, can exhibit certain behavioral challenges.

  • Digging: Their terrier lineage means they have a natural inclination to dig. Offering them a designated digging spot or providing ample toys can deter them from turning your garden upside down.
  • Chasing: Their prey drive is strong, so they might be inclined to chase smaller animals. Early socialization and recall training can help manage this instinct.
  • Barking: As alert watchdogs, Australian Terriers can be vocal. Training them with a “Quiet” command and ensuring they’re mentally stimulated can mitigate excessive barking.

Harness and Leash Training

Considering the Australian Terrier’s propensity to chase, secure leash walking is imperative.

  • Acquaintance with the Harness: Allow your terrier to inspect the harness, rewarding their curiosity.
  • Gradual Familiarization: Initially, let them don the harness indoors for brief periods, rewarding their calmness.
  • Introducing the Leash: When they’re at ease with the harness, attach the leash, allowing them to wander indoors, familiarizing themselves with the tether.
  • Guided Walks: Commence with short strolls, ensuring they maintain position by your side. If they divert, halt. They’ll soon learn that disciplined walking equates to exploration.

With persistence and positive reinforcement, your Australian Terrier will come to view the harness and leash as precursors to exhilarating outdoor ventures.

Enrichment and Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is vital for an active and intelligent breed like the Australian Terrier.

  • Interactive Toys: Toys that challenge their intellect, dispensing treats, or demanding problem-solving can keep them engrossed.
  • Training Exercises: Imparting new tricks or commands can mentally engage them. Consistent short sessions are beneficial.
  • New Surroundings: Exploring different locales offers fresh stimuli, keeping their minds sharp.

Establishing and Maintaining Boundaries

Australian Terriers, with their independent spirit, require distinct boundaries.

  • Consistency: All household members should adhere to consistent rules.
  • Ongoing Training: Reiteration of commands ensures they remain ingrained.
  • Reward-Driven Discipline: Redirect and reward desired behaviors, making them more appealing than undesirable actions.


Training an Australian Terrier offers moments of challenge interspersed with joy. Their spirited and independent nature, combined with their keen intelligence, makes for an interesting training journey. With dedication, consistency, and boundless affection, you can ensure your Australian Terrier is not only well-trained but also a contented and integral family member.

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