Australian Shepards (aka Aussies) are known for their athleticism, boundless energy, and high intelligence, so a lot of people often wonder whether Aussies make good house dogs or not. What makes this question tough to answer is that Aussies are also known to strongly differ from one individual dog to the next. So, some Aussies have a higher maintenance and energy level than others.
Australian Shepherds usually require more maintenance, engagement and care than many other dog breeds, but they can do well as house dogs under the right conditions. This will come down to an Aussie’s living environment and the commitment from the owner.
Every dog is different, and that applies to Aussies as well. There are some situations where it may or may not be the best idea to have an Aussie as a house dog, and the rest of this article will explain these situations so you can make the best choice.
Are Australian Shepherds Easy to Train?
One of the main reasons Australian Shepherds can become good house dogs is because they’re very easy to train.
Because Aussies are generally very intelligent, they can be trained to do a variety of different tasks:
- They don’t require a lot of effort to train, but they do need positive reinforcement.
- Trainers typically perform positive reinforcement by rewarding them with snacks, toys or praise.
- They can learn a lot of basic tricks, but they can also learn more difficult tasks.
Keep in mind that this can vary from dog to dog, and even though it’s usually pretty simple to train an Australian Shepherd, this doesn’t mean that it won’t take time and patience. It shouldn’t take too long in most cases, and it won’t take much actual effort to train Aussies because of their intelligence, but that’s just for the initial training period.
Because Australian Shepherds are so energetic, many owners actually play and train their dogs regularly. If you’re going to own and properly take care of an Aussie, you’re going to need to find a way to give the dog regular mental and physical exercise. Many Aussie owners use training as a structured activity because it also provides the benefit of the dog learning a new skill or trick.
In fact, many Australian Shepherds need some sort of activity to do every day for about 30 to 60 minutes. So if you have a busy schedule or you feel like you won’t have the energy to train or play with your dog on a regular basis, this is an important factor you have to consider if you’re considering whether to get an Australian Shepherd or not.
Can Aussies Stay at Home Alone?
Generally, an Australian Shepherd isn’t very comfortable when it’s left alone at home.
This issue can become more significant depending on the dog’s personality and the situation:
- If left alone for long durations, Aussies can develop separation anxiety and/or annoying barking behavior.
- If the dog is confined to a small area for long periods, it can become destructive.
- The problem can worsen if the dog is close with its owner because it becomes more likely to worry or panic.
For these reasons, you typically want your Aussie to have company, either it’s people or other animals. This is why many say that Aussies are best suited to live in the country. That doesn’t mean you can’t live in the city or any other place; it’s just that you shouldn’t really leave your Aussie alone for long, and you should have a schedule that can accommodate their need to socialize.
Like we mentioned before, if you leave your Aussie alone for long periods of time, the dog can start developing separation anxiety and even excessive barking. There are some ways to prevent this with some training, but it’s best to avoid the situation entirely. Australian Shepherds are simply just not suited to be alone all day, so you need to keep that in mind.
If the owner can’t be the one that stays at home with the dog, they can consider finding another family member or close friend to be in the dog’s presence. You can even possibly use a dog sitter or a local dog day care. Aussie separation anxiety can become so bad that some owners have found ways to bring dogs along with them to work.
Can Aussies Be Apartment Dogs?
Aussies don’t serve well as apartment dogs because of the reasons mentioned above such as their need for physical activity, mental stimulation and socialization.
Even though Aussies are known to be able to function in cities, they just simply aren’t meant to live in a confined apartment:
- They’re very high energy, so you would need to find a way to allow them to expend their energy.
- If you’re living in a relatively small area, you want to make sure that you have at least some sort of small yard to burn up excess energy.
- You also have to keep in mind that Aussies’ high energy level may disturb nearby apartment residents.
The issue doesn’t come from the apartment itself; it’s the fact that apartments are so confined that it’s too small for an Aussie. We mentioned earlier how the best environment for an Aussie is the countryside. Wide open areas, hiking trails and parks help these Aussies get the exercise they need.
Space is essentially required for an Australian Shepherd, and it won’t get that in an apartment. That’s not to say that situation can’t work at all, in fact, some owners find apartment living with an Aussie to be ideal. By taking their Aussies outside more frequently and making sure they get the dog’s exercise as conveniently as possible.
Other factors come into play if you decide to bring an Aussie inside an apartment, which is mainly the potential for disturbance and damage. Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy. Being cooped up inside an apartment can become a burden to you and your nearby neighbors if your Aussie ever becomes loud and rowdy, which is a legitimate possibility, especially if you don’t make sure to give your dog its daily exercise.
With the right kind of care and effort, Australian Shepherds can easily make great house dogs. It just depends on the dedication and commitment from the owner and the living situation for the dog.