Common Reasons for Surrender
Just like their human counterparts, Australian Shepherds go through the painful stage of adolescence. Adolescence proves worse for some (not all) Australian Shepherds as they get emotional, go a little “crazy,” have bursts of energy, destroy things when left alone, and even go through a fearful stage. The good news is the Australian Shepherd usually outgrows these phases. However, sometimes that rough adolescence patch is more than a family can take, and the dog finds himself in a shelter or a rescue.
Australian Shepherds fit the definition of man’s best friend and will stick to you like glue. If you don’t mind going to the bathroom with your dog tagging along, an Aussie, as they are affectionately called, might be your perfect match.
Highly intelligent and willing to please, Australian Shepherds are protective of their owners. They have a friendly disposition and typically love everyone.
Australian Shepherds know how to use their intelligence to their advantage and can often be manipulative to get what they want. They will try to coerce you to sit beside them and pet them all day. The Aussie wants to do things her own way, so her family needs to reinforce the rules, or she will rule the house.
A good diet will keep your Aussie strong and healthy. If you opt to feed a raw diet, fully investigate it to ensure it is right for you and for your dog. For those who opt for a dry kibble diet, choose a premium brand.
Like people, every Aussie has his own preferences when it comes to treats. Find out what he likes best and feed him the treats in moderation. You may find he likes dog biscuits, or he comes running for a piece of orange, a carrot, or green beans.
Aussies require a lot of exercise to keep them happy. If you have an Australian Shepherd under the age of two, forget walking him to tire him out. Young Aussies need plenty of time and space to run around to expend their energy. A tired Aussie is a happy Aussie.
Possible Health Issues
An overall hardy breed, Australian Shepherds may be susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia.
The Australian Shepherd needs to be brushed thoroughly once a week. Every Aussie is double coated, yet the length of the coat varies from one dog to the next. The longer the coat, the more grooming will be required. When an Aussie starts shedding his undercoat, you may want to take him to a groomer to make sure you get all of the excess fur out. If you’ve never had an Aussie before, you can also have a groomer show you how to properly groom the undercoat, which you can then do on your own.
Australian Shepherds learn very quickly, but do not like repetitious training. Repetitive training only bores an Aussie. Keep your training sessions shorter—several ten-minute sessions throughout the day instead of a half an hour session at one time, for example—and be clear in what you expect your Aussie to do. If your dog makes a mistake, correct him but do so without being negative. Always use positive reinforcement and keep training sessions fun and upbeat. Depending on your Aussie’s personality, positive reinforcement may mean that you give him a treat or simply praise him.
To keep your Australian Shepherd happy, you must keep him physically and mentally stimulated. Having a friend for your Aussie is ideal, but if adopting a companion isn’t an option, many towns have local dog parks that allow dogs to play and to socialize. In addition to a good run, Aussies typically enjoy agility training, which keeps both their mind and their bodies active.
We want to thank Aussie Rescue SoCal, Inc. for help with this profile.