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How To Care for An Australian Shepherd Puppy

Taking care of any puppy is always challenging. Raising an Australian shepherd puppy is no different. Aussie puppies have particular needs, from what you feed them to how you groom them. Correctly taking care of an Aussie puppy takes a significant amount of time and effort. 

There are a lot of things to worry about when it comes to caring for an Aussie puppy. But if they are cared for and trained correctly, they are very well-behaved and fun dogs to own. The following article is a more in-depth guide on how to care for an Aussie puppy. It also includes a few tips and tricks that can be useful when training your puppy. 

How Do You Take Care of An Aussie Puppy? 

The first step to properly caring for an Aussie puppy is to make sure you have the right environment and lifestyle for them. Every dog breed thrives best when they are in a certain environment and live a specific type of lifestyle. This set of rules applies to Australian puppies as much as any other breed. So, it’s important to make sure you have the right type of environment and lifestyle before you purchase one. 

What Kind of Environment is Best For Aussie Puppies? 

Australian shepherd puppies are one of the most energetic dog breeds in the world. They were primarily bred for herding sheep and cattle on farms and ranches. Because of this, high energy levels were necessary to keep up with the large herds and make sure none of them wandered off. 

The best type of environment for an Aussie puppy is anywhere they can exert their energy. They love to keep their minds and bodies busy and thus need somewhere to get their physical and mental energy out. If an Aussie puppy isn’t in the right environment, it can take a toll on their mental and physical health, resulting in bad behavior. 

For example, if an Aussie puppy is cooped up in one environment for a long time, it can start getting restless and depressed. Restlessness can cause them to have trouble sleeping at night, which can negatively affect their brain and immune system development. They might also start barking excessively and exhibit destructive behaviors. 

If an Aussie puppy doesn’t get enough to eat in its early life, it can negatively affect its growth and body composition. They can become underweight at an early age and have severe health problems as they get older. 

Losing interest in activities, such as playing or socializing with their owners, can negatively affect a puppy’s relationship with their owner and other dogs. The less bonding time you have with your puppy, the less likely they are to trust you and enjoy your company. This makes it harder for you to teach them tricks or teach them to use the bathroom. 

As long as you keep your puppy busy with mental and physical exercise, you won’t have to worry about these issues affecting your puppy. 

Exercising an Aussie Puppy Physically 

When it comes to their physical energy, the best method is to let them run around freely, as long as they have proper off-leash training recall when summoned. If you live near any wide open fields or parks, taking them there and letting them run free is a great way for them to get their energy out. However, make sure they are vaccinated before you take them to the park so they don’t catch anything from other dogs. 

If you don’t have access to large fields or parks but do have a large backyard, playing with them outside is also a great way to get their energy out. You have to supervise them at all times to make sure they stay safe while having fun. 

Exercising an Aussie Puppy Mentally  

If you live somewhere that doesn’t have wide-open fields or you don’t have a backyard, there are still some ways to help your Aussie puppy get its energy out. The mind of an Aussie puppy is just as energetic as its body. They are very intelligent dogs that love to be challenged and solve problems. 

If you live in a more closed-off environment, you’ll have to mentally exercise your Aussie puppy more to make up for the lack of physical exercise. A few popular methods of doing so include food puzzles and indoor training. For example, teaching your puppy a few simple tricks will help them exercise their mind. 

If you’re looking for a relaxed dog that doesn’t need much mental and physical exertion to remain happy and healthy, then an Australian shepherd puppy might not be the best option for you. 

How Much Food Should I Give My Aussie Puppy? 

The amount of food you give your puppy depends on how old they are. If you give them too much food, they can gain weight faster and become overweight as they get older. But giving them too little food can also be detrimental to their health. Giving just the right amount of food for their age will ensure they maintain a healthy weight all through their growth. It is highly recommended to consult with your Veterinarian for the right amount of food for your Aussie based on their height and weight.

Young Puppy Age: About 3 to 6 Weeks Old 

You will need to start feeding your Aussie puppy when they are around three and a half weeks old. This is the age when they start weaning off their mother since their teeth are starting to develop. They will still need their mother’s milk for another week or so, but feeding them a special puppy formula from a bottle will help with the weaning process. 

At about four weeks old, the puppy should be completely weaned off its mother and start needing more solid food. A good way to start getting them used to solid food is by putting small, crumpled-up pieces of puppy kibble into saucers. 

Mix the puppy kibble pieces with some of their puppy formula, and let it soak, so the food is soft and easily chewable. Giving them the saucers that have both the milk and the kibble will ensure they get all of the nutrients they need while still introducing them to the next stage of feeding. 

When they reach the age of six weeks old, they should be completely weaned off their mother. They also won’t need the puppy formula and can start only eating puppy food. You should feed them at least one full cup of puppy food mixed with milk once a day. 

How Much To Feed Your Growing Aussie Puppy

When your Aussie puppy has reached eight weeks of age, this is when they start to grow rapidly. Because of this, they will need to be fed two to three times a day, preferably at the same time every day. For example, feeding your puppy at the same time you eat will help them get into an eating routine.

As for how much you give them, the amount increases as they grow bigger. At eight weeks old, a cup and a half of kibble at each meal will suffice. At about ten to twelve weeks old, you will need to feed them two cups of puppy kibble at each mealtime. You might need to adjust how much food you give them, depending on their size and growth rate.

What Kind of Food Should I Feed My Aussie Puppy? 

You’ll want to feed your Aussie puppy food that’s high in these specific nutrients: 

  • Protein 
  • Antioxidants
  • DHA 

Protein will help your puppy with its muscle growth and development. Since they are an active breed, consuming enough protein will also ensure they replenish the energy they’ve exerted throughout the day. 

Antioxidants will help your puppy develop a strong immune system, especially during its first year of life. Lastly, DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, which is a fatty acid that’s high in omega-3. This nutrient will help your puppy develop good eyesight and a strong brain, which will be instrumental in their intellectual development. 

How Much Water Does My Aussie Puppy Need? 

Making sure your Aussie puppy is consuming enough water is just as important as making sure they get enough to eat. Aussie puppies need to drink more water than adult Aussies since they are at greater risk of dehydration. Dehydration in Aussie puppies can cause them to get diarrhea or cause them to vomit. 

Aussie puppies need between ten and twenty ounces of water each day. This can vary depending upon their activity level. Giving them water during their mealtimes is a great way to make sure they get enough water. If they have had an active day or spent the day outside, they will probably need additional water. 

If you keep their water bowl always filled, washing it daily will ensure their water stays fresh and clean. If your puppy consumes water that has bacteria in it, it can negatively affect the health of its digestive tract. This can cause them to get diarrhea or vomit, both of which can decrease the number of nutrients they get from their food and water. 

How Much Exercise Should I Give my Aussie Puppy? 

As previously discussed, Australian shepherd puppies have a lot of energy that needs to be exerted. Taking them to run in open fields and playing games with them are great ways to physically and mentally exercise them. But exercising them too much or too little can have a negative impact on their physical and mental health. 

The standard amount of exercise that an Aussie puppy needs each day is about one full hour. During this time, you can do any form of exercise that requires them to exert themselves physically. This does not include taking a short, relaxed walk around the neighborhood.

Exercising A Young Aussie Puppy

The best ways to exercise your Aussie puppy depend on how old they are. Overly strenuous activities aren’t good for young puppies, usually about four to eight weeks old. The best way to exercise puppies of this age is to play with them using age-appropriate toys. 

Some good toys for young Aussie puppies to play with are squeaky toys and chew toys. Squeaky toys are great at entertaining your Aussie puppy for hours. They will help them get the mental and physical exercise they need, without overstraining them. Chew toys are also great for Aussie puppies since they will help them with teething, as well as exercising. 

Exercising Your Aussie Puppy as It Grows 

As your puppy gets older, they will be able to handle more strenuous exercise. When they reach ten to twelve weeks old, you can start playing fetch with your puppy and start teaching them a few simple tricks. 

Playing fetch with your puppy in the backyard or in an open field is a great way to get their energy out and help you bond with them. Teaching your puppy a few simple tricks, such as how to sit and to stay, will help exercise them mentally and help you get closer. The older they get, the more strenuous activities they can do. 

However, it’s important not to exercise your puppy too much. Tiring them out constantly can take a toll on their mental and physical health. Exercising your Aussie puppy extensively can cause damage to their joints and muscles that will negatively affect them down the road. Letting them take a nap and giving them some water and treats after exercising will prevent this from happening. 

Are Aussie Puppies Easy to Potty Train? 

Potty training an Aussie puppy is fairly easy. You just have to make sure that you stick to a consistent method and always reward them for good behavior. Potty training an Aussie puppy can be difficult if you live somewhere with bad weather or have a busier schedule. Fortunately, there are ways to work around it. 

You should start potty training your Aussie puppy between ten to sixteen weeks of age. Until then, keep them confined to one spot with a pee pad.

Using a pee pad will also make it easier to clean up after them. All you need to do is wrap up the pee pad when it’s been used enough and throw it away. Then you put down a fresh one in the same spot, so your puppy will know where to go. 

Tips To Potty Train an Aussie Puppy 

The amount of time it takes to train your Aussie puppy can depend on multiple factors. For example, if you have a busier schedule, it might take a little longer to train them since you won’t be around to guide them. If you live somewhere that has bad weather most of the time, convincing them to go outside might be more difficult. 

Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can use that will make it easier for you to train your Aussie puppy. These tips include: 

  • Watch what they eat and drink 
  • Crate train them 
  • Stick to a potty walk schedule 
  • Reward them for every instance of good behavior 

Following these tips can help make training your Aussie puppy easier and faster. 

Watch When They Eat and Drink 

Aussie puppies eat a lot of food and drink a lot of water as they grow. As a result, they also need to go to the bathroom a lot.

When they have finished eating and drinking, bring them outside and wait for them to go to the bathroom. Once they have finished their business, praise them for it with verbal encouragement and/or treats. This will let them know that going outside when they need to go is the right thing to do. Pretty soon, they’ll start doing it on their own. 

Crate Training Your Aussie Puppy 

Another great way to motivate your puppy to go outside is to crate train them. You can find crates at your local pet supply store or at several online sites, like Pet Pro Supply Co. This site has some of the most durable and versatile dog crates including collapsable and car crates.

Before you start crate training them, make sure their crate is somewhere they’ll enjoy relaxing. Place a comfortable towel or blanket on the bottom, along with a few toys and a small bowl of food. The more comfortable the crate is, the less your puppy will want to ruin it.

Since their crate is somewhere safe and comfortable, your puppy won’t want to soil it. This will further prompt them to whine or bark, asking to be let outside. When you let them outside, this will solidify in their mind that asking to be let outside will prevent them from ruining their safe space. 

Stick To a Consistent Schedule 

Establishing a consistent schedule while your Aussie puppy is still young will ensure they go out on their own as they get older. When they’re puppies, they’ll probably have to be taken out once every two hours. As they get older, you’ll have to take them out less and less since they’ll be going outside by themselves. 

By the time your Aussie puppy is fully grown, they should need three to five outside visits or walks a day, at roughly the same time every day. The sooner you establish a set schedule, the quicker they will get into a potty routine themselves. 

Reward Them Constantly 

The more you reward your Aussie puppy for good behavior, the quicker they’ll get used to going outside. When you first start potty training them, give them a treat every time they go to the bathroom outside. Even if you are bringing them outside yourself, rewarding them helps them learn that going outside means they will get rewarded. Continue to reward your Aussie even when they’re fully grown will keep good bathroom habits consistent. 

There are many ways you can reward your puppy when they go to the bathroom outside. Giving them a small treat is the most popular way to reward them. But petting them and saying some encouraging words in an enthusiastic tone is also an effective way to reward and encourage them. 

Discipline Your Puppy Appropriately 

Potty training your Aussie puppy is going to involve some messes and accidents. Since this is to be expected, you will need to discipline them appropriately when they do have an accident. 

It’s understandable that you might be a bit annoyed when your puppy messes up. But yelling at them when they do isn’t going to solve the problem. Yelling at your puppy will actually make things worse since they won’t understand what you’re saying. All you’ll be doing is confusing them and stressing them out. Aussies respond best to redirecting the wrong behavior.

When your puppy messes up, the proper thing to do is to show them the accident and point to it while gently but firmly saying “No”. Then immediately bring them outside and let them go to the bathroom again. When they’ve done their business, give them a treat and some praise. 

It might take a few tries for them to understand, but once they do, your puppy will be going to the bathroom on their own in no time. 

Does an Aussie Puppy Need Grooming? 

The fur on an Aussie puppy is double-layered, meaning there’s a thick layer of fur underneath a thinner layer. Because of this, an Aussie puppy needs to be groomed more often than other dog breeds. They usually need to be groomed at least once a week, but they might need to be groomed more often, depending on where you live. 

For example, if you live somewhere that constantly has hot or humid weather, you’ll have to groom your Aussie puppy more often. Their thick coat causes them to get hot much faster, which can result in overheating and taking a toll on their physical health. 

If you live somewhere that has colder weather most of the time, you won’t have to groom them as much. The extra layer of fur helps to keep them warm in chilly conditions, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting rid of the extra fur. 

Grooming your Aussie puppy frequently is important because: 

  • It keeps the fur from getting matted 
  • It keeps their coat soft and shiny 
  • It gets rid of dead fur and debris 

Matting occurs when the fur gets so long, it gets tangled. This can result in the fur looking bunched up on your puppy’s body. They can be very painful for your puppy and must be removed or brushed out. Consistently grooming your puppy’s fur will prevent matting from occurring. 

When you groom your Aussie puppy, you spread natural oils throughout the entirety of their fur. This keeps their fur looking shiny and feeling soft and healthy. You also remove dead fur and any debris that might be in their fur, which will also keep their coat healthy. 

How To Groom an Aussie Puppy 

While you can take your Aussie to a professional groomer when they’re older, it’s recommended that you groom them yourself when they are young. Grooming them yourself helps them get used to the grooming process, and it strengthens the bond between you and your Aussie.

If you’re brushing your puppy, using a slicker brush and a metal comb is the best way to get all of the dead hair and debris off. A slicker brush will spread the oils and straighten out the hair, while a metal comb will remove the dead hair and undercoat. Always use the slicker brush first, and brush in the direction of your puppy’s hair. Remember to get their legs and stomach as well. 

Another popular grooming brush called the FURminator is a great all-in-one tool for combing and de-shedding. For more details on the FURminator, please see the related post, Is the Furminator Safe for Aussies.

Keeping your puppy calm during the grooming process will make the entire thing easier for you and them. Having someone hold your puppy and gently pet them can help keep them distracted while you brush them. You should also give them lots of treats throughout the grooming process. The positive reinforcement will make it easier to groom them in the future. 

Final Thoughts 

It might take some trial and error to figure out exactly what your puppy needs as they grow. As they start developing more and gain their own unique personality traits, you might have to adapt your training techniques or how you care for them. Caring for an Australian shepherd puppy is a learning experience, but it’s worth it to have a loyal and fun companion for life. 

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