It’s not long before families start considering their first dog, but knowing which dog to go for isn’t straightforward. Are Australian shepherds good for families? What are they like in general? What about with kids? these are all great questions that parents ask. So let’s get into it.
Yes, Australian shepherds are great family dogs. Aussies suit families because they are naturally friendly, playful, and affectionate. That said, they must be sufficiently trained, exercised, and stimulated in order to be well-behaved.
I’ll explain this in further detail below, covering the pros and the cons of Aussie family life.
6 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Make Great Family Dogs
Ok, let’s get right into what you brought you here: Why Aussies are a great fit for most families.
1. Kind and friendly
To get started, Aussies are naturally kind and friendly. This might seem like a standard thing to say, but when it comes to having a “family” dog, this is pretty important. Aussies are always happy to see you and the kids, they are approachable and love to be a part of the family. There’s no doubt that an Australian shepherd will bond well with everyone.
One of the best things about Aussies when it comes to kids and young children is their desire to play. Aussies and kids get on well because both parties LOVE to play and be entertained. Of course, you do have to be careful with rambunctious play, but this is the same with any dog. A good family dog is always one that’s up for playtime, and you’ve certainly got that with an Aussie.
3. Affectionate and human orientated
Aussies have a lot of love to give, and they won’t hold back. This makes for the perfect family dog, especially in the eyes of young children. Having a dog that’s willing to engage in affection is something you definitely want as a parent. Aussies will enjoy all the attention and belly rubs they can get, which will of course lead to quicker, stronger bonds.
4. Intelligent and obedient
Australian shepherds are extremely intelligent, and with enough training and guidance, will be exceptionally obedient. This is a valuable trait that all parents should want their family dog to have. Not only does it make them “reliable” in sense, but the last thing you want to have to deal with (when dealing with kids as well) is a disobedient and unpredictable dog. A well-trained Aussie can even help keep the kids in line and act as a role model.
5. Protective (but not aggressive)
Another desirable trait that many families like is a certain amount of protectiveness, and Australian shepherds have that. Aussies are extremely alert and situationally aware, and the moment anything unusual happens around your property or family, an Aussie will be right there taking charge, looking and sounding intimidating. The bonus though, is that Aussies are not actually an aggressive breed so that’s something you won’t have to deal with. They are great watchdogs, but not guard dogs. This suits most families.
This can be both a good and a not-so-good thing, as I will explain in the next section! But for now, let’s keep it positive… Having such an active breed can keep the family on their toes, encouraging plenty of outside time as well as exercise. Spending days out at the beach or park with the family is perfect for breeds like Australian shepherds. Not only is it good for them, but it’s also good for us too!
What Families Should Know About Australian Shepherds
So let’s run through a few important aspects of owning an Australian shepherd that families need to know. The following things have a big impact on an Aussie’s behavior, temperament, and even health.
1. Australian shepherds need firm training
We’re not messing around with this one! Aussies need a firm trainer (the parent/s) that will consistently correct unwanted behavior, show them how to behave, use positive reinforcement, and be a good leader in general.
If training isn’t taken seriously, then bad behavior and disobedience are a given. And with a dog that has so much energy, this can be a problem.
Australian shepherds are not to be underestimated or considered “casual” dogs. They really need guidance, training, and leadership.
2. Australian shepherds need stimulation (physical & mental)
Aussies are a highly active breed and need plenty of exercise both physically and mentally. Physical exercise is fairly straightforward, and most adult Aussies need around 1-2 hours per day.
When it comes to mental exercise or more commonly known as mental stimulation, it’s crucial that the parents provide enough of it.
This comes in the form of training, socialization with other dogs and people, special games to get their brains working, and more.
Consider is another mandatory requirement for any owner that wants their Aussie to be calm, obedient, and well-behaved.
3. Australian shepherd do not like being left alone
Another common issue nowadays is when families get their first dog, only to leave them home alone almost instantly.
With the parents working and the kids going to school, the dog is left at home for many hours a day.
Australian shepherds, in particular, do not cope well with this setup, and it will be displayed through destructive behavior, anxiety, disobedience, and the opposite of what we all have as an ideal family dog.
It’s crucial to consider your family’s routine before getting an Aussie.
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Is Your Family Suitable For an Australian Shepherd?
Sometimes, it helps to flip the question around… Instead of it being whether an Australian shepherd is right for your family, is your family right for an Australian shepherd?
It’s important to consider the amount of time your family has to spare for all that goes into raising such a breed.
Getting an Aussie will require a lot of time: time for training, exercising, giving attention, socializing, and more…
Is your family an active, social, outdoorsy kind of family? If so, that’s perfect for an Aussie and the fit will be smooth.
Keeping up with such a breed is a difficult task if we aren’t already living the “ideal” lifestyle that works well with that breed. I hope that makes sense!
The reason I’m saying all of this is because Australian shepherds are not a casual breed to own, they really require your time, focus, and dedication in order to be happy, calm, well-behaved, and content.
Australian Shepherds Are Great Dogs In General
Make no mistake, Australian shepherds ARE fantastic family dogs. They just need plenty of work, time, guidance, and your focus to be the best dog they can be.
If anything is missing from their daily needs and requirements, it will eventually show through undesirable behavior or temperament.
I hope this was helpful and has made your decision easier!
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