The Australian Shepherd, also known as the “Aussie”, is a very active and intelligent dog breed. They are good-natured and affectionate dogs who love to be in the company of their family.
But despite being very active dogs, are Australian Shepherds good apartment dogs?
Australian Shepherds are not the ideal dogs for apartment living. But Aussies can adapt well to apartment life with an active person or family who can provide high physical activity and mental stimulation they need.
But to answer this question well, you need to know the Australian Shepherds, their needs, and what it means to live with one.
What You Should Know About Living with an Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are playful and active dogs being known for being one of the smartest dog breeds out there.
They are kind, loving, and devoted dogs with their owner and family. An Aussie is extremely loyal and protective of his owners as long as he is treated well.
Is an Australian Shepherd a Good Family Dog?
Australian Shepherds are good family pets. They are loyal and loving dogs that need human company and always want to participate in all family activities.
Aussies are working dogs that require a lot of physical activity. They are perfectly suited to families that enjoy sports and outdoor activities such as running, walking, or hiking.
They are dogs that can be good companions for families with children. They like to play rough and have a lot of energy which makes them good playmates with big kids.
But Australian Shepherds are herding dogs, and some may consider children to be part of their herd. If they are taught from an early age not to persecute and herd the children, they get along very well.
Do Australian Shepherds Need a Lot of Exercise?
Australian Shepherds are high energy dogs that need a lot of physical and mental activity for them to be satisfied.
The Aussies need a couple of exercise sessions of around 40 to 60 minutes daily. These should be high-energy activities like running or chasing a ball or a frisbee.
Australian Shepherds not only require physical activity. They are very intelligent dogs that need and love to be challenged intellectually.
They are dogs that need to be constantly stimulated mentally and develop well learning new things. They are happy as long as they have some work to do.
If Australian Shepherds do not have enough exercise or a task to indulge in, they are easily bored and can manifest destructive behavior and excessive barking.
But if the owner or family can meet their physical and mental needs, they are calm and well-behaved dogs.
Australian Shepherds Need a Lot of Grooming?
Because Australian Shepherds have a lot of hair, it’s common to think that they need a lot of grooming. But it really isn’t much work.
Normally you have to brush their coat regularly to remove dead hair and prevent it from ending up everywhere. Also, they only need to bathe them when they get messy.
Australian Shepherds tend to shed throughout the year, although they tend to shed more during spring and fall.
To keep under control the hair that gets loose, it will be necessary to brush and bathe them frequently during these seasons.
In addition to this care, they need basic care. In case they don’t wear them naturally, you have to cut their nails so that they don’t hurt them. You should also brush their teeth frequently to avoid bad breath and that they develop a mouth disease.
Are Australian Shepherds Easy to Train?
Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs that develop very well through training. They are obedient dogs who love to learn new things and who listen to their owners.
The fact that the Aussies are very intelligent dogs has its advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage is that they learn quickly, easily, and are always willing to learn more. But the downside is that if you are not consistent and establish yourself as the pack leader since the start, an Aussie can take advantage of you and constantly challenge you to see what things can they get away with.
To train them successfully you have to be consistent in training and make the dog see you as the leader of the pack.
When training an Australian Shepherd, one of the keys to success is keeping him physically and mentally active.
If you start training them at an early age and you are consistent with discipline, the results are amazing.
Are Australian Shepherds Hard to Potty Train?
Australian Shepherds are generally easy to housetrain. They are very intelligent dogs and with perseverance and patience, you can have results quickly.
The peculiarity of potty training a dog in an apartment is that he will not have free access to a garden to go every time he needs to go to the bathroom. When living in an apartment you have to establish a routine and take the dog out so that he can do his things outside the apartment.
To potty train an Australian Shepherd you have to start from the moment he arrives at your home. It’s recommended to dedicate yourself completely to training for at least a couple of weeks.
First, you have to establish a potty area outside the apartment, preferably a grass area that is not far away from the apartment.
The most important thing at the beginning of the training is to provide the dog with opportunities to do his things in the designated place and to congratulate and reward him every time he does it successfully.
When they are puppies they usually need to go to the bathroom every hour or two approximately. This means that at the beginning you have to take him to the designated place every hour and reward him every time he does it there.
It’s also necessary to take him immediately when he wakes up in the morning, after a nap, after he eats, and before going to sleep.
You need to learn to recognize his body language and be attentive for any sign that your dog wants to do his things.
In case there are accidents inside the apartment, just clean the area well with an enzymatic pet cleaner so that there are no traces of odor.
It’s important to avoid scolding him since it doesn’t help at all and only makes your dog fear you and lose confidence in you.
If an Australian Shepherd has enough opportunities to go to the bathroom successfully and is rewarded for it, in no time he will be letting you know when he wants to go out to the bathroom.
Do Australian Shepherds Bark a Lot?
Australian Shepherds generally tend to bark a lot.
Originally bred to herd livestock and one way to control the herd was through their loud bark.
Some of the reasons an Aussie often barks are:
- To warn that there is something nearby that he considers a threat, be they strangers or other animals.
- Some loud sound or something else that surprises or startles him.
- When they feel neglected or bored.
- When they don’t have enough physical and mental activity. It’s a way to release his high energy.
When you live in an apartment, the constant barking of your dog can cause you problems with the neighbors and your landlord. When living in an apartment with an Australian Shepherd it’s important to be careful that he doesn’t bark excessively.
Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?
Australian Shepherds are intelligent and very active dogs who do better when they have a task to do and are around their family.
They are dogs that need a lot of physical activity and to be mentally stimulated and busy, if not, they tend to get bored easily.
These characteristics make it difficult for an Australian Shepherd to handle being alone for a long time and even tends to develop severe cases of separation anxiety.
When an Australian Shepherd is left for long periods, he will find a way to entertain itself. Most commonly, he directs his energy and the need for stimulation through destructive behavior and excessive barking.
Is an Australian Shepherd a Good Apartment Dog?
An Australian Shepherd is not the ideal dog to live in an apartment. But an Aussie can adapt to apartment life as long as he has plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation.
It’s not an easy dog breed and isn’t recommended for first-time owners. But if you are an active person or family and can devote the time and attention that an Australian Shepherd needs, he can be a great companion and a loyal and loving member of your family.
Tips for Raising an Australian Shepherds in an Apartment
Provide Plenty of Physical Activity
Australian Shepards are extremely active dogs. They are playful and hyperactive pets that are ideal for individuals and families who enjoy high energy activities.
Enough daily exercise is essential for an Aussie to stay physically and mentally healthy. When an Australian Shepherd does not have enough daily exercise, he tends to display destructive behavior and excessive barking.
Australian Shepherds need approximately two hours of exercise daily, preferably high energy activities.
Some ways to keep an Australian Shepherd active are:
Daily walks are essential for any dog. Not only do they provide a physical activity that allows them to release their energy, but they also allow them to be mentally stimulated with the smells, sounds, and sights of the environment.
But keep in mind that a gentle walk around the block is not enough for an Aussie. They need at least a couple of high energy walks a day.
A good tip is to add some extra resistance to the walk using a dog backpack.
Running or Biking
Like good working dogs, Australian Shepherds are dogs that never seem to tire. They can travel long distances since they have enough stamina.
Aussies enjoy high energy activities like running and biking in addition to being ideal forms of exercise for them.
You just have to try to gradually increase the distances and intensity to prevent any injury.
Australian Shepherds need to be able to run and play freely regularly.
When you live in an apartment and don’t have access to a backyard, dog parks are a good alternative.
In Dog Parks, an Aussie can play and run freely with other dogs. Also, since the Australian Shepherds love chasing and fetching, the Dog Park is a place where you can play fetch with either a ball or a frisbee.
Keep Your Australian Shepherd Mentally Stimulated
For a dog as smart as the Australian Shepherd, mental stimulation is just as important and necessary as physical activity.
Mental activity can tire a dog as much as physical activity. Actually, for an Australian Shepherd physical exercise is not enough to tire him, it’s also necessary to challenge them mentally.
There are several ways to keep a mentally stimulated Australian Shepherd.
Allow Your Dog to Explore the Environment
When you go out with your Aussie for a walk, for a run, or a potty break, it’s a good opportunity to offer them some extra mental stimulation.
At these times we must take advantage and allow our dog to smell and explore the environment for a while.
A dog will be more tired after a walk where they can also smell and explore instead of just walking.
Provide Dog Puzzle Toys
Australian Shepherds love solving problems and being mentally challenged.
Dog puzzle toys are a great way to keep an Australian Shepherd focused and engaged indoors, especially in an apartment.
One of the most commonly recommended puzzle toys options are the Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle Game Toys. There are different models and they come with different levels of difficulty (for an Aussie you have to go for the Advanced and Expert Levels).
Train Your Australian Shepherd
Training an Australian Shepherd has several benefits. Training allows you to have an obedient, well-behaved dog and helps strengthen the ties between your dog and you.
Furthermore, training is one of the best ways to challenge and mentally stimulate an Australian Shepherd.
The best way to start training your Australian Shepherd is to enroll him in professional obedience classes. This allows you to start with solid foundations that will benefit you and your dog.
It also allows you to have the knowledge and guidance necessary to continue training your dog by yourself later.
Aussies always love to be learning new things. After learning the basic commands, your Aussie will love and be able to learn more complicated tasks.
Teach Your Dog to Control His Barking
Most Australian Shepherds can bark a lot and that can be a real problem when living in an apartment.
A dog’s bark cannot be eliminated, but it can be controlled.
Adequate mental stimulation and sufficient daily physical activity help decrease and prevent the excessive barking of an Australian Shepherd. In addition to this, it’s possible to teach your dog to control and stop his barking.
To teach an Aussie to stop barking you have to teach him the “Speak” and “Quiet commands:
- You have to do something to make your dog start barking.
- When he begins to bark, bring closer a treat and say “Speak” in a calm and firm voice and immediately give him the prize.
- Wait for him to stop barking and repeat the process until your Aussie has mastered the “Speak” command and starts barking on command.
- When you have mastered it, get your dog to start barking with the “Speak” command.
- While your dog is barking, bring closer a treat and say the “Quiet” command in a firm and calm voice.
- Wait for your Aussie to stop barking and when he stops completely give him the prize and repeat the process until your dog masters it.
- When your dog stops barking with the “Quiet” command, gradually increase the time between when he stops barking and when you give him the treat.
Seek Help If You Have to Leave Your Aussie Alone for Long Periods
Australian Shepherds are dogs that don’t handle being alone well. They are dogs that get bored easily if they have nothing to do and they also need to be around their people constantly.
There will always be occasions in which your dog will have to be alone. In these cases, there are some things you can do to help your dog.
- A long, high energy workout before he is left alone helps keep your dog calmer and rest the time he’s left alone.
- Leave him his puzzle and chewing toys so that he stays entertained and has something to direct his attention and energy to.
- When he is left alone for long periods you can request the help of a friend to take your Aussie for a walk to reduce the time he is alone and have some extra exercise.
- Seek the help of a professional service of Dog Walkers or Dog Sitters to take your dog for a walk and keep him company.
- Leaving your dog in a Doggie Daycares is an excellent option if you have to leave him alone often and for a long time.
Consider that if you are a person or family that is going to have to regularly leave your dog alone for long periods, the Australian Shepherd is not the right breed of dog for you.
Are Mini Australian Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs?
Due to their compact size, Miniature Australian Shepherds can be good dogs for apartment living. But they are dogs that need a lot of exercise so they are better roommates for energetic people who enjoy regular outdoor activities.
If you are an active person or family who has enough time to pay attention to your dog and meet his physical and mental needs, the Australian Shepherd can be a loyal and loving companion and a great medium-sized dog breed for apartment living.
It is important to note that the Australian Shepherd is not the ideal dog for everyone.
An Aussie needs an owner and family that suits his lifestyle. Someone who has an active lifestyle, who enjoys playing and having high energy activities with their dog.
- Australian Shepherd Temperament and Personality by Canna-Pet
- The Australian Shepherd Temperament Guide & Personality by The Smart Canine