They’re adorable, fluffy, and fun but before adopting any breed, you should know if they’re going to be right for your family. With our recent adoption of an Australian Shepherd, I wanted to provide you with some insight on the questions you should ask before you adopt an Aussie and things to consider before you make that step.
Are you prepared for an Australian Shepherd?
8 Tips Before Adopting an Australian Shepherd Puppy
First and foremost, please adopt, don’t shop. There are tons of Aussies in the system that would love a home. You may not get everything you’re looking for in the breed line or color but you’ll still be getting an amazing family member. Whether you adopt from a shelter or a breeder this post contains valuable information that you should consider before moving forward with welcoming an Australian Shepherd into your home.
1. Know Your Australian Shepherd Line
If you’re adopting from a breeder, it’s so important you do your homework first. Ask a lot of questions and if you feel weird about anything, follow your gut and walk away. Any reputable breeder will be more than happy to answer all your questions and they should also have just as many questions for you.
Make sure you know the line from which you’re getting your Australian Shepherd. If you have children or other pets, it’s best your pup does not
2. Australian Shepherd Training
Australian Shepherds require A LOT of training. Aussies like to be dominant and in control so you have to shape who’s boss from Day 1. All dogs should have some kind of training but with an Aussie be sure you the earlier the better. When looking for a training ask if they specialize in training Australian Shepherds. If you cannot get to a trainer right away, start with basic commands at home like “sit”, “stay”, “lay down”, “come”. Using a dog training clicker is one of the best and quickest ways to train.
3. Australian Shepherd Energy
This breed was created to run (and herd animals) and that is still part of their temperament today. Make sure you’re able to walk them and take them to the dog park often and make sure you bring a couple of their favorite dog toys. If your pup doesn’t get enough exercise, you will find their demeanor change and they could start taking their energy out on your home and belongings.
Boy oh boy, do they shed a lot. Aussies have a double coat, which helps keep them warm but that also means they will require regular trimming and brushing. A good quality slicker brush and metal comb will do the trick for a healthy coat. We were told we only needed to brush 2 times a week but I found that wasn’t enough. I brush once a day with this dog brush and it has kept the hair balls from collecting in the corners of my flooring at bay. Since my kids are able to get themselves ready in the morning I can usually give Remmi, our Aussie, a good brushing while sipping my coffee.
5. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize
I cannot stress this enough! Your Aussie needs to be socialized from day one. Getting your dog used to all kinds of people and situations in and out of your house is key for her while she’s young. Otherwise, you’ll have a dog that’s wary of people and new situations, or worse. Your Aussie is a very protective herding dog my nature so if she doesn’t receive enough socialization, you will start to see behavior like not allowing people onto your property or even biting (including “herding nip” which is considered a bite by law) at anyone she is unfamiliar with or that she finds suspicious.
Great environments to get your dog used to:
- People coming and leaving your home
- People petting her
- People being loud
- People moving quickly around her
- People with umbrellas
- Funny/floppy hats
- People wearing sunglasses
- People flapping their arms
- Going around other dogs
- A noisy downtown street
It may seem like overkill but I’m telling you. A simple walk at the dog park once or twice a week will not be enough for your Aussie. They need to be put in the above situations (and more) to prevent any herding/aggressive tendencies.
6. Velcro Dog
Aussies get very attached to their family so be prepared for the most loving animal you own. Remi could be dead asleep but the second I move, she’ll move and follow wherever I go. What you should know is that while this is adorable, you have to be careful as you walk because the dog tends to walk almost directly under you. They’re called “Velcro dogs” for a reason – they’re always attached to you. If you have stairs, are unsteady on your feet, or have young children it is best to be cautious.
7. Australian Shepherd Medical Needs
Besides the initial adoption costs, you of course have regular expenses like food, grooming, and veterinarian costs. Regular vet visits for check-ups and shots are needed. Additionally, if you decide to have them professionally trained you will see those costs add up as well. Australian Shepherds are also prone to many diseases including but not limited to the following. Before adopting an Aussie, be sure you can afford the potential medical needs.
- hip dysplasia
- various eye diseases
- sensitivity to certain drugs
- … and more
8. Loves Family Time
If you have a busy life then an Aussie is unfortunately not for you at this time. Being alone all day is hard on any dog but especially Australian Shepherds. These dogs are extremely intelligent so if you leave them to their own devices they will think up things to do to fill the long lonely hours.
In short, Australian Shepherd are trainable, active working dogs who need a job to do and lots of