Leaving our Aussies home alone is something we don’t want to do, but often have to. It’s important to know how long is too long, but unfortunately, it’s not so obvious! I’ve worried about this a lot myself, so it’s finally time I created an article on it.
In general, Australian Shepherds should not be left home alone for more than three to four hours at a time. Aussies crave having human company and quickly become anxious, frustrated, and stressed if left alone for more than a few hours.
Everything will be explained in more detail below.
Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?
Of course, there are times when you will have to leave your Australian Shepherd home alone, and that’s fine. After all, our dogs can’t come with us everywhere. But it’s important to limit how long and often she is left alone.
Dogs are social animals and crave interaction from both humans and other canines, but some breeds require more social interaction and attention than others.
Australian Shepherds are one of the breeds that crave a lot of interaction and do not cope well when left alone.
How Long Can I Leave My Australian Shepherd Alone?
The next logical question many owners ask is how long can their Aussie be left alone.
The truth is that all Aussie Shepherds are individual and their own tolerance that can vary drastically.
Your Australian Shepherd may be fine for only 30 minutes, and another Aussie may be ok for 2-3 hours. In order for you to find out, it’s necessary to observe your Aussie every time you come home. After a while, you’ll get a sense of how long is too long.
When you come home, the first thing to do is to carefully assess your Aussie and how she is reacting. How does she look? Does she look like she’s just woken up from a nice nap, or is she overly anxious with evidence of destructive behavior?
⭐ Signs to look out for that indicate you were gone too long:
● Destruction, chewing items she shouldn’t have been, scratches around the door or windows
● Hearing howling or whining as you approach your home
● When you arrive she’s very erratic and anxious (but not happy) this means cowering, shivering, and generally nervous
● There’s urine on the floor despite eliminating before you went out
Recommended Read: Are Seizures Common In Australian Shepherds? Safety Advice
Negative Effects of Leaving Dogs Alone Too Often
So what can happen if you leave your Australian Shepherd home alone for too long too often? There is a range of negative side effects to be aware of.
● Isolation distress
● Separation anxiety – (Hard to cure once developed)
● Destructive behavior
● Understimulation and boredom
● Stress and depression
There’s no way to tell which issue will set in first, but they are all very undesirable and will contribute to an Aussie that isn’t happy.
It’s quite sobering to realize the negative effects of leaving your dog home alone, and for many households, it’s a common occurrence.
But at the same time, it’s understandable that most of us have busy lives that require us to be out of the house. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent your Aussie from being alone for too long, which will be covered further below.
Related Read: Do Australian Shepherds Need a Companion?
How To Deal With Leaving Your Aussie Home Alone
Here are several ways to help keep your Aussie feeling comfortable and content while you’re at work, college, or running errands. Take a look below!
1. Get a dog sitter or ask friends and family ⭐
The best way to keep your Australian Shepherd happy is to keep the time he spends alone within his tolerance. This is by far the most effective and important tip on the list.
If you know he’s okay up to 2 hours, but you’re going to be gone for more than that, hire a dog sitter to come round and keep him company, or ask a friend or family member to visit him.
Nothing beats having human company. This is the best thing you can do for your Aussie and will prevent all of the negative health issues associated with being left alone.
2. Create a dedicated space for your Aussie ⭐
It’s highly recommended to develop a dedicated space that your Aussie goes to when home alone. A dedicated space with his crate, blankets, toys, and water will act like his “den” and will allow him to feel safe, secure, and comfortable.
Make this a space that’s as far away as possible from outside noises and anything that may spook him.
A good way to develop a new “area” for him, is it to frequently play with your Aussie only in that space. Bring his crate, toys, and a blanket there to signify that this is his area.
Recommended Read: Why Isn’t My Australian Shepherd Eating? And How To Help
3. Leave him a comfort item (your old t-shirt) ⭐
An unwashed t-shirt of yours that you don’t mind sacrificing will be the ultimate comfort item.
The sense of smell is incredibly powerful for dogs, in fact, it can be anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more powerful than our sense of smell.
Giving your Aussie an unwashed t-shirt of yours will be very comforting for him, as he’ll be able to smell you when you’re not there.
This is a well-known tactic often used when taking puppies away from their canine mothers for the first time.
Important side note: If your Aussie is a big chewer and likely to rip your t-shirt, then do not try this tip for safety reasons.
4. Leave the radio on or a recording of your voice playing ⭐
If you have the required equipment, leaving a short recording of your voice playing on loop in the background will be an excellent way to reduce anxiety and nerves when you leave.
This is such a powerful technique that it has often been used to cure separation anxiety in dogs who can’t handle their owners leaving for even a few minutes!
If you don’t have a recording device, then leaving the radio on will still have some benefits. Although the voices will not be familiar, it will help drown out noises coming from outside. Hearing cars, strangers walking by and other animals will be unsettling for most dogs when left home alone.
5. Provide interactive dog toys ⭐
Interactive dog toys or otherwise known as puzzle toys are great at keeping dogs occupied for prolonged periods of time.
A toy like the StarMark Bob-a-Lot is simple, yet interesting and can in some cases keep a dog occupied for up to 1 hour straight.
Puzzle toys come in many different styles and some will require you to be there, but others can be left with your dog without worry.
Our favorite interactive dog toys: StarMark Bob-a-Lot
6. Get a two-way camera with audio ⭐
If you’re into gadgets, this one is definitely for you!
Two-way cameras with audio capability will allow you to see your dog and him see you, plus you’ll be able to speak to him, all from your smartphone wherever you are.
There’s a little bit of setting up required and you’ll need to fix the camera and screen in a safe position, but after that, you’ll have eyes and ears on your Aussie at all times.
The benefit of being able to view your Aussie in real-time will allow you to see if he’s ok or if he’s panicking and you’ll be able to act accordingly. Maybe you can acquire a short break, or call a friend.
Plus, it doubles up as an indoor CCTV camera.
Our favorite two-way camera with audio: Kamtron Two Way 1080p Pet Camera
Getting Another Dog Won’t Solve This Problem!
Dog’s are happier in pairs, we know that for sure. But getting a second dog is not the solution to this problem.
It’s understandable that many owners think getting another dog will keep the first dog company. And to some extent that is true.
But dogs don’t replace us, and what you will have is two dogs that are both just waiting for their owner to come back.
So the problem has now doubled…
If you want another dog then it’s only fair that this issue is properly resolved beforehand.
Other Australian Shepherd Articles on The Puppy Mag:
Australian Shepherds in Cold Weather: Safety Advice
Why Your Australian Shepherd Isn’t Fluffy
When Do Australian Shepherds Go Into Heat?
So you now know that Australian Shepherds do not cope well when left alone and are a breed that craves having human company.
How long your Aussie can tolerate will be different from other Aussies, so you’ll need to follow the steps outlined above to find out. Once you do find out, you’ll be able to put in place certain measures to keep your Aussie from suffering any negative side effects commonly seen in dogs that are left alone for too long.
View more Australian Shepherd articles >>
Most Recommended For Australian Shepherds
Best Brushes For Shedding ⭐
No matter how much you brush your Aussie, if you aren’t using the correct brushes, you’re not getting the most out of each session! A simple Undercoat Rake and a Slicker Brush are by far the two best brushes to handle shedding.
Best Online Training Program⭐
Brain Training For Dogs has become increasingly popular with Australian Shepherds in the last few years. It’s now recognized as perhaps the best way to train your Aussie in the most stress-free, positive way.
Best Low-Calorie Treats ⭐
Switch out the calorie-dense dog treats and opt for something healthier. Zuke’s Mini Naturals contain only 2 calories per treat and made from natural ingredients, making these some of the healthiest treats on the market.