Australian Shepherds are very social and love spending time around their owners and other dogs. If you currently own a single Australian Shepherd, you might be wondering if he or she needs a constant companion. Let’s explain everything below.
Australian Shepherds do need companions. They are highly social dogs and love to be around their owners or other dogs. Whether it’s you or another dog, your Aussie will be better off having company most of the time.
Do Australian Shepherds Need a Companion?
Australian Shepherds are among some of the most social dog breeds we know of. It goes without saying that Aussies prefer having company, whether this is from another doggy friend, you, or a family member. And yes, Aussies are usually great with other dogs. (Check this out after: Top 10 Companion Breeds For Aussies)
Why is this the case?
Australian Shepherds were bred for herding throughout the 19th century, but as the breed grew in popularity, it soon became apparent they are excellent family dogs. They are loyal, naturally kind, and love giving and receiving attention from their owners.
And nothing has changed. Australian shepherds are still considered great family dogs that are affectionate and child-friendly (despite their well-known tendency to start herding children).
These qualities mean that Aussies need to have company and a lot of interaction. Social dogs like Aussies never do well when left alone and the effects can be quite severe in some cases.
When social dogs spend too much time alone, the following issues are common:
● Can develop forms of anxiety including separation anxiety or isolation distress
● Can become destructive when left alone
● Can become more aloof to strangers and even aggressive
● Can become hard to train and increasingly disobedient
● Can become depressed
Does Your Aussie Need Another Dog? Or Are We Enough
Dog behavioral experts do come to the conclusion that some breeds are better off in pairs, or at least with a similar breed. Australian shepherds fit into this category.
But having said that, it’s not completely necessary to have another dog. As long as you and your family members are able to fill that companionship gap, your Australian shepherd will live a happy life without another canine buddy in the house.
It’s important to think about your situation and daily routine, do you and your family all leave the house to go to work, school, college, etc. Does this leave your Aussie home alone? And for how long?
If the answer is something like 5 or 6 hours at least every day, then getting another dog would certainly be appreciated by your Australian shepherd. This leads me to the next section.
Recommended article: How To Know If Your Australian Shepherd Loves You
4 Ways Aussies Benefit From Having a Canine Companion
There are many benefits of getting a second dog, but there’s an important point to make first.
Getting another dog shouldn’t be seen as a quick fix to an existing dog’s loneliness or boredom, especially if they are left alone for too long every day. Ultimately, you’ll have two dogs longing for their owner to come back…
Let’s get into the positives!
1. Reduce loneliness, anxiety, and isolation distress
Having a constant buddy may not completely solve separation anxiety issues (if present) but it will help isolation distress, which is caused by being alone.
Having a buddy will help reduce loneliness and they’ll act as a support mechanism for each other pretty much instantly. Just having a friend around is considerably better than being alone. Although this shouldn’t be seen as an excuse to be out of the house longer, it will put your mind at ease if you have a pair.
2. Training the second puppy will be easier
The first dog, as long as he’s house trained and obedient, will show the new puppy how it’s done. A new puppy will consider him as an immediate role model and will copy him.
For this reason, it’s best to wait until your first dog is around 1 year old and sufficiently trained before getting a second. Or you may have double trouble to deal with!
3. Mental and physical exercise will skyrocket
When two dogs are together not only are they constantly receiving mental stimulation from each other when they interact and play, but they’ll keep each other physically fit too.
Physical and mental exercise are both fundamental to good health and behavior. Two dogs make your life A LOT easier in this respect. Although this doesn’t mean you get to exercise them any less!
4. A life long bond
One of the undeniable benefits of getting a second dog is that they will have each other for the rest of their lives. An emotional bond like this is invaluable and it’s proven that dogs are happier when they’ve got another canine buddy beside them.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag: www.thepuppymag.com
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What Breeds Do Australian Shepherds Get Along With?
If you are considering getting a second dog, it’s crucial to choose a suitable breed.
It’s the same with people, sometimes, different characteristics and personalities just don’t work well with others. This would no doubt lead to an explosive household and it just wouldn’t work (to say the least)!
So what breeds work best for Australian Shepherds? Here’s the top 10:
1. Golden Retriever
4. Springer Spaniel
5. German Shepherd
6. Jack Russell
7. Irish Setter
9. Siberian Husky
10. Border Collie
Related article: When Do Australian Shepherds Stop Growing? (Full Timeline)
Why do these breeds that work well with Australian Shepherds?
There are still many more breeds but these are top in terms of their separate popularity. So what is it that makes these breeds more suitable than others?
1. Energetic and playful
All of the recommended breeds are considered high-energy breeds that match the exercise requirements of an Australian Shepherd.
This is important because your Aussie needs to have a playmate that actually wants to play.
Dog’s who prefer to lounge around and be lazy will not want to join in and if your Aussie is feeling extra playful, all it takes is a little too much taunting and you’ll have a little fight on your hands.
2. Rough play
Australian shepherds have a tendency to partake in rough play. And a little rough play is perfectly fine and healthy, so long as each dog can hold their own, and it remains playful.
The issue though is that not all dogs like rough play, and it’s a really bad match-up when one dog tries to play rough with another dog who just doesn’t like that. The relationship will not work and fights will break out all the time.
3. Physical size
Although it’s not necessary, it helps for the other dog to be at a similar size.
Smaller dogs may find it harder to hold their own against an Australian shepherd. Not in terms of fighting, but in activities and general life. And of course, this relates closely to rough play.
A small dog that constantly gets trampled on by an Aussie will soon become frustrated and could even become aggressive. This isn’t to say smaller dogs can’t work, but it will likely be harder in the beginning.
Australian shepherds are great workers and they are also very intelligent, so it helps that their buddy is as smart as them.
Their desire to work and obey commands is an important part of an Australian shepherd’s life. When it comes to dogs, it’s best to keep them similar in their abilities.
Having said all of that; It is possible for your Aussie to develop a wonderful relationship with ANY breed. I have friends who own both Husky and Jack Russell together, which on paper shouldn’t work. But it does, and they’re a great match.
Nothing is impossible, but it helps to choose a breed with similar personality traits.
What’s Your Situation?
Before making big decisions like getting a second dog it’s good to step back and think about your situation.
Are you sensing that your Aussie is lacking something? If so, why is that? Do you have an empty household during the day due to work and school? Is getting a second dog the right thing to do? Is your Aussie already trained and ready for another dog?
These are all really important questions to ask and think about…
If you realize that your Aussie spends too much time alone, maybe you can adjust your work hours, or hire a dog sitter to walk him every day while you are out. There are many possibilities aside from getting another dog.
Remember that you are enough for your dog, but he needs your presence. If he longs for you, then getting another dog will not completely fix that. So it’s important to really think about your situation and how you can adjust it for the better.
Simply put, Australian Shepherds are better off having a companion. Preferably another dog, even better, another Australian Shepherd. If you are not in a position to get another dog, that’s okay! You just need to make sure that YOU are giving your Aussie the attention he needs.
Check out more Australian shepherd articles!