Its only natural to fall in love with the Australian Shepherd. This is a most endearing fellow who is highly intelligent and eager to please his owner. The Aussie is a truly joyful animal who loves to play, run and have fun with his humans. When raised with children, the Aussie is a devoted family member who is loving and protective of his young family members. The Aussie is a perfect addition to a busy household where he can share in everyday activities. If the canine job opening is couch potato, the Aussie usually will not qualify.
As a farm and ranch dog, the Australian Shepherd is intensely focused on his job, whether herding a flock or rounding up a stray calf. He works with a boundless energy that colors everything he does. Although he is highly trainable, he is also highly energetic, with a play-until-you-drop exuberance. An Aussie owner must be committed to giving his dog the time and attention required to properly channel that energy and enthusiasm. Without activity and constructive obedience training, the Aussie may become bored and destructive, and may develop undesirable behaviors like digging and chewing out of sheer frustration.
The Aussies ancestors were bred for their unique ability to out-think livestock, to assess a situation and to take action, as with wayward or rambunctious sheep or cattle. Aussies today still think ahead of the pack and easily can outsmart an unsuspecting owner. Obedience training is the best way to redirect the Aussies thinking and teach appropriate behaviors. He is highly intelligent and learns quickly, so lessons should be structured to prevent boredom and loss of interest.
The Aussie doesn’t need a huge yard or lots of room to run. Rather, he just needs to run and play in the space at hand. He is not content to just hang around. He needs to be with his owners, whatever they are doing, and getting lots of attention. An Aussie owner should be prepared for 24-hour companionship! A bored or lonely Aussie will be unhappy and become destructive, which is certainly no fault of the dog. Australian Shepherd rescue groups state that the main reason that owners give up their Aussies is because the owners underestimated the dogs energy and demanding personalities.
The Aussie owners yard should be fenced, given the breeds tendency to herd most moving objects, such as dogs, kids and cars. All walks should be on leash. A loose Aussie is at risk for the dog to injure himself. Although they are generally friendly with everyone, Aussies can be reserved with strangers. They also tend to be territorial and protective of their families and property. Such traits can lead to aggressive behavior in an untrained or poorly socialized Aussie. Proper socialization at an early age will help him grow up to be less wary of new people. Obedience training will teach the dog appropriate behavior, give the owner a measure of control and form a bond of trust.
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