With Australian Shepherds gaining rapid popularity, it’s more crucial than ever before for prospective owners to know exactly what to expect!
Aussies are a wonderful breed, but they’re not for everyone… This article explains the 10 most crucial things to know BEFORE you get your Aussie. Let’s get into it!
What You Should Know BEFORE Getting an Australian Shepherd
Let’s run through the 10 most important things to be aware of before getting your Australian shepherd. This list will provide valuable insight for both new and experienced dog owners.
- Australian shepherds crave mental stimulation
- Australian shepherds have A LOT of energy
- Australian shepherds shed significantly
- Australian shepherds can be very mouthy
- Australian shepherds do not like being left alone
- Australian shepherds need firm and consistent training
- Australian shepherds need to be socialized
- Australian shepherds can be quite protective and territorial
- Australian shepherd can be rather vocal
- Australian shepherds are AWESOME dogs!
1. Australian shepherds crave mental stimulation
If there’s one thing that matters the most when it comes to Australian shepherds, it’s mental stimulation.
- Aussies have both brains and brawn and are true hard-working dogs who crave a task or job to fulfill.
Without sufficient training, mental stimulation, and activity, it’s typical for Aussies to become unruly, disobedient, anxious, and generally unsatisfied with life.
One thing that new owners must be ready for is to set aside plenty of time for training, activity, and games to facilitate this fundamental need that your Aussie will definitely have.
2. Australian shepherds have A LOT of energy
Aussies have a lot of energy and need ample daily exercise. Ideally, around 2 hours split up into 1-hour sessions at the start and end of the day. Not including additional playtime and training…
Most will already be aware of their exercise needs, but one thing that’s necessary to highlight is that this isn’t just a one-time deal! It’s a lifestyle-type thing…
Healthy Australian shepherds will need this amount of exercise and activity (if not more) every single day, for several years while they are in their prime.
This is why Aussies are best suited to those that already have a very active lifestyle and enjoy being outdoors.
This way, the Aussie’s extensive exercise requirement won’t be a burden but instead will fit in easily with the owner’s current routine.
3. Australian shepherds shed significantly
One thing future owners must be prepared for, is a lot of dog hair, everywhere…
While Aussie don’t shed as much as other double-coated breeds like huskies, they are still way up there on the shedding list!
Australian shepherds shed year-round with a potential coat “blowout” during spring as the weather gets warmer. Shedding is mostly consistent, but that varies from Aussie to Aussie and is impacted by the climate where you live.
Fortunately, with a solid brushing routine and healthy grooming habits, shedding is not actually that difficult to keep on top of. But just know, it will be a constant task.
4. Australian shepherds can be very mouthy
Aussies like a lot of herding breeds, tend to be particularly mouthy. Granted, most puppies are mouthy, but with the herding breeds, it seems to be an instinctual behavior that’s more prevalent.
Being mouthy means they LOVE to use their mouth. It’s nothing malicious, but if this behavior isn’t corrected right from the start, then those little innocent nibbles and nips can progress into something quite painful and intolerable.
You’ll have teething to deal with which happens with every breed and comes with an influx of chewing and biting activity. This is unavoidable and is when redirecting their chewing becomes super important…
This isn’t something to worry about, but it’s certainly something to factor in, especially if you have young children. As long as firm and consistent training is put into place early on, this will be manageable.
5. Australian shepherds do not like being left alone
Another crucial point that all future owners need to know, is that Australian shepherds don’t cope well when left alone.
Of course, let’s be honest here, leaving our dogs home alone is inevitable and will need to happen at some point.
A few hours here and there is fine, but several hours a day, every day, is not.
Aussies, like most working breeds, get extremely attached to their human family and crave having constant companions. When they are left alone, they get anxious and very stressed. Over time this can develop into severe behavioral issues, separation anxiety, or isolation distress, and just isn’t good for their overall quality of life.
Avoiding this is important, and truthfully, for those who have full-time jobs with long work hours, an Australian shepherd is not an ideal breed.
6. Australian shepherds need firm and consistent training
Australian shepherds need a firm owner who is willing to put in the time with training and general leadership.
Despite the Aussie’s high intelligence, they need guidance, plenty of training, to be corrected when they get things wrong, and to have someone who is a constant for them.
It goes without saying that Aussies certainly test their owners and push boundaries, and although they are smart, they have it in them to be very defiant.
An Australian shepherd that has a clear leader, will be much more content than one who doesn’t really know who’s in charge OR who they should be listening to.
This little point is often overlooked, but it’s incredible important for their overall behavior and happiness.
7. Australian shepherds need to be socialized
Australian shepherds are generally friendly, but to avoid aloofness and aggressive tendencies towards other dogs and people, they MUST be socialized early on.
Socializing your Aussie means putting in the time to facilitate meet-ups, play dates, and to expose your Aussie to new dogs and people frequently.
Having the time to do this is crucial.
An Australian shepherd that doesn’t receive ample socialization could grow to become afraid, hesitant, and aloof to dogs and strangers. This can be extremely hard to train against and will cause the owner a lot of extra stress and worry for years to come.
8. Australian shepherds can be quite protective and territorial
Aussies quickly become very territorial and protective over their turf and family.
Some owners might actually want this trait, and that’s fine, but it’s imperative that their behavior is controllable and that they are highly trained…
This falls hand in hand with receiving firm training and socialization.
The last thing you want to deal with is an Aussie that’s uncontrollably aggressive whenever you have guests around, or when you need to open the door to the postman… Little things like that, make a big difference.
9. Australian shepherd can be rather vocal ⭐
Something that comes naturally to all herding breeds, is barking, and well, being vocal in general
Barking in particular is a communication tool that Aussies know how to use well, and they aren’t afraid to express their feelings and emotions whenever they feel they need to…
This can quickly turn into an issue if owners are not prompt in correcting excessive barking. This will be another part of your Aussie’s overall training and is something to be ready for.
While this isn’t a cause for big concern. It should be something that future owners are aware of in advance.
10. Australian shepherds are AWESOME dogs!
Lets end by clarifying that Australian shepherds are freakin awesome!
There’s a reason they’re becoming more popular every year… And it’s not just their breathtaking looks. They are truly lovely dogs, and make excellent family pets.
This list was not intended to put anyone off… Just simply inform and be honest of what Australian shepherds bring to the table.
The truth is, owning any dog requires a lot of work and there will be many things to overcome and deal with along the way.
Are Australian Shepherd Puppies Easy to Train?
What All Of This Comes Down To…
Raising your Australian shepherd to be a well-behaved, friendly and happy dog all comes down to two things…
● Your available time.
● Your consistency.
For those that work long hours and regularly leave their household empty, admittedly, the odds of this working out are not favorable.
Because at the end of the day, it takes a lot of TIME to raise such a breed. They require a lot of you, all of the time… And the more time you have to give and prioritize your Aussie, the more chance you have of getting it right!
Secondly, and just as importantly, it comes down to your consistency. Consistency is EVERYTHING for a dog. From consistency with training, to exercise, to mental stimulation, your routine, and just being a good leader…
Raising an Aussie (or any dog) isn’t just something you need to do sporadically, it’s a 24/7/365 commitment.
Not to be dramatic… Just honest! 🙂
Do you think list was informative? or a little bit “yikes!” Let me know!
If you have any more questions feel free to contact me!
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Thank you for reading!
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