First thing if you have decided you would like a Koolie, - if you have ideas it will be some in-ornate object to help decorate your back yard forget it, they need plenty of mental stimulation as well as physical, they like to have plenty to occupy there brain, or they will finish up yard crazy, then off to the pound or worse still the collar is removed and they are shown the gate.

We still want a koolie, o.k. before we go on I would like to say when I refer to the dog it is referring to either sex unless otherwise stated, the best age to purchase your pup is 7 to 8 weeks, no younger, enquire around for a reputable breeder, not the local pet shop, if possible have a look at the litter, their parents too if you can or a photo is better than nothing, when you  look at the litter, if you have kids leave them home, it is best to leave your heart home as well. This pup is going to be a family member for the next 12 or 14 years may be more so it needs a lot of thought, I might add that if you don't take to the pup don't buy it, look to other breeders.

When you take your pup home give him time to settle in this sometimes takes a couple of weeks, get him used to his name, the breeder would have told you what they have been feeding the pups on. If you are going to change things do it gradually over several days even a week is not too long, if your pup hasn't been immunised get that done as soon as possible.


I would suggest that about now you make up your mind to start as you mean to continue.  Now he has had his needles a light collar and lead or line if you don't have a lead, now find a nice clean park take the little one on to the oval if you can, let him follow you about keep changing directions as you go so he has to watch you, use his name and call him to you as you go, plenty of praise, when he is running to wards you and when he catches up a treat is in order, the main thing to achieve this way is teaching the pup to watch you, follow, and to respond to his name, I believe in the positive reinforcement method of handling your dog, so when he is doing things right let him know plenty of praise and your  pup will respond, remember your dog can't understand English, it will take a while till he works out what it is you want from him, keep him involved with  the family and soon you will see they appear to know every thing that's going on, in fact my last Koolie dog was nick named "the dog in charge of every thing".


One other point I would like to make about now, don't over do the exercise he also needs lots of sleep.  When he can manage to drag the light lead or line around at the park let him have it on at home for short periods around the yard when there is someone there to watch he doesn't get himself tangled, it is surprising just what they can manage to get caught up in, the idea of doing this is to get him used to the collar and lead, also if you need to tie him up when he is older this will help him get used to the pull of the collar on his neck.  Remember if you brought your pup home at 8 weeks you really have only another 8 weeks to have reasonable control over him, and I must say at this period he will be growing like lightning. It is a steep learning curve for him and his brain will be developing very fast, your pup will be learning to read your body language, and there is a need for you to learn his.  So might I suggest when training the pup, be happy, smile, talk to the little fella, you are his leader, and always with the dog part of the body language is your facial expressions, remember soft eyes when things are going fine, hard eyes only when you growl at him, don't scowl only when you are cranky with what he is doing, don't bear grudges either.  Once you have corrected him carry on like nothing had happened (be happy).


There will be times when he may be able to do an exercise very well, then you try the same thing the very next day and it is like he was never shown what was required of him. That happens to all of us, I would suggest training sessions be kept short to 10 minutes twice a day should be plenty, twenty minutes once a day is pushing him for my way of thinking it takes a little while for information to transfer in to the long term memory.


Another thing I have found with our koolie dogs is they don't train well on choker chains, the best results have been achieved with training on a leather buckle up collar.


The other point I must mention is when you finish your 10 minutes training it is play time for you and your pup, this is a good time to play fetch, a soft toy is most probably the best. However what ever happens to be his favourite at the time will do.  Remember, be happy, if he won't bring the toy back just hook on a light line and encourage him to return with it.  What ever you do don't growl at him, if you yell at him he thinks that he is not allowed to have it even though you had told him to fetch it, confusing isn't it? But I must say I have seen a number of dogs that chucked it in just for that reason so long as he brings it in to you is all that's needed at this time.  Why suggest starting the fetch at this time as well as a game after training?  There are a lot of things that branch off from this later, such as, seek and find, sniffer dogs, tracking, even herding.


One other point to make at this time try not to bend over your pup, to him this is a very threatening position as far as dogs are concerned far better to go down to your dogs level to show what you are after.


Happy training,

Yours Geoff.