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 and exercise them. Proper care of an Aussie puppy takes a significant amount of time and effort.
The following offers a 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 home environment and lifestyle to suit their demanding needs.
What Kind of Environment is Best For Aussie Puppies?
Australian shepherd puppies are one of the most energetic dog breeds in the world. Aussies were primarily bred for herding sheep and cattle on farms and ranches.
The best type of environment for an Aussie puppy is pretty much anywhere they can safely exert energy. If an Aussie puppy doesn’t have space to play, it can take a toll on mental and physical health, and may result in bad behavior.
For example, if an Aussie puppy is cooped up in one place for a while, it can start getting restless. Restlessness can result in negative behavior such as barking excessively or chewing on shoes or furniture.
Ample bonding time with their humans is critical to your puppy’s development. 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 gain their trust, teach them tricks or to potty train them.
As long as you keep your puppy busy with helpful mental and physical exercise, you won’t have to worry about negative 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 or if the yard is fenced.
Before taking them to a dog park, ensure they are vaccinated so they don’t catch anything from other dogs or unknowingly transmit something.
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 should supervise them 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.
Mental exercise for your Aussie puppy can help to make up for the lack of physical exercise, although both are necessary for proper brain and body development.
How Much Food Should I Give My Aussie Puppy?
The amount of food you give your Aussie 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.
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 Aussie Puppy Age: About 3 to 6 Weeks Old
If you adopt an Aussie at a very young age, you may need to start feeding them when they are around three and a half weeks old. This is the age when they wean off their mother since their teeth are starting to develop.
At about four or five weeks old, the puppy should need more solid food. A good way to start getting them used to solid food is by putting small pieces of nutritious puppy food into saucers.
Mix the puppy food pieces with some of their puppy formula, and let it soak, so the food is soft and easily chewable.
When they reach the age of six weeks old, they should be completely weaned off their mother and ready for you to take over at feeding time.
It’s recommended to consult your veterinarian for the most nutritious Aussie puppy food brands and feeding amounts.
How Much To Feed Your Growing Aussie Puppy
When your Aussie puppy has reached 8 weeks of age, this is when they start to grow rapidly. Because of this, they will need to be fed 2 to 3 times a day, preferably at the same time every day. 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 8 weeks old, a cup and a half of food at each meal will suffice. At about 10 to 12 weeks old, you will need to feed them 2 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 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.
Aussie puppies need between 10 and 20 ounces of water each day. This can vary depending upon their activity level and their size. 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 likely need additional water.
If you keep their water bowl always filled, washing it daily will ensure their water stays fresh and clean.
How Much Exercise Should I Give my Aussie Puppy?
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.
The standard amount of exercise that an Aussie puppy needs each day is about 1 full hour. During this time, you can do any form of exercise that requires them to exert themselves physically.
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 4 to 8 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 and give the mental and physical exercise. 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 Aussie puppy grows up, they will be able to handle more strenuous exercise. When they reach 10 to 12 weeks old, you can start playing fetch with your puppy and start teaching them a few simple tricks.
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.
It’s important not to exercise your Aussie puppy too much. Tiring them out constantly can take a toll on their mental and physical health. Let them take a rest and drink some water after exercising.
Are Aussie Puppies Easy to Potty Train?
Potty training an Aussie puppy is fairly easy. You just have to make sure that you are consistent and always reward them for good behavior. Potty training an Aussie puppy can be challenging if you live somewhere with inclement weather or with a busy schedule. Fortunately, there are ways to work around it.
You should start potty training your Aussie puppy between 10 to 16 weeks of age. Until then, keep them confined to one area with a pee pad for any accidents.
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 Aussie pup 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 a result, they also need to go outside to relieve themselves a lot.
When they have finished eating and drinking, quickly 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. Pretty soon, they’ll start letting you know they have to go potty.
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. Here are some of the most durable and versatile dog crates including ones with dividers, folding crates 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 Often
The more you reward your Aussie puppy with praise and/or treats 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.
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. Aussies respond best to redirecting the wrong behavior.
When your Aussie pup makes a messes, 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 potty outside 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.
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.
It might take some trial and error to figure out exactly what your Aussie puppy needs as they grow, but the above guide is a great start! As your Aussie pup grows into its own unique personality, 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.