Have you just adopted an Australian Shepherd? Are you wondering how much exercise your Australian Shepherd needs? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve put together an overview of Australian Shepherds, how much exercise they need, and put together a list of fun activities you and your dog can enjoy together! Let’s get started!
What is an Australian Shepherd?
An Australian Shepherd is a dog that originated in Europe, in the Basque region of Spain. It was in these mountainous areas the dogs were bred as herding dogs. Then in the 1800s, the dogs were taken, with Basque emigres, to Australia.
There, the dogs were used by sheepherders. During this time, the dogs were bred with Border Collies and Collies. Once more, the Basque people traveled to a new area, this time in the US. They left Australia for California, taking their dogs with them.
Once in California, the dogs were highly prized by the ranchers in the area, who named them Australian Shepherd dogs. From there, the dogs became a part of the cowboy culture of the American West, where they continue to work and live with their pet parents.
Australian Shepherd Personality
Australian Shepherds are intelligent working dogs who are devoted to their pet parents. It’s been said these dogs are so smart they may just outsmart their pet parents! They want nothing more than to be with their family, which means this is not an outdoor dog. This is a dog that needs to be kept indoors with the rest of the family.
Because of this strong devotion, Australian Shepherds may develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods.
This is a dog that’s always on the alert. Expect your Aussie to let you know when there’s someone or something hanging around the house. Aussies tend to be protective and wary of strangers. This is a dog that’s devoted to his family and will not let his guard down to strangers.
These dogs are great with older kids; however, they do have a tendency to “herd” kids by nipping their heels or hands. Aussies may also try to herd cats or other pets. Even so, they generally seem to get along with everyone.
Australian Shepherds are working dogs who need a job to do, with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They’re highly energetic and adaptable and can live almost anywhere. These dogs also thrive on routine and consistency.
Your Aussie will also thrive on plenty of training. You can even train him to help around the house! Train your dog to bring the paper, take dirty clothes to the laundry basket, pull a cart in the garden, and more. This is a dog who will be happiest with a job to do.
For these reasons, it’s essential to begin training an Aussie from the time they’re a puppy. They need consistent training and socialization to keep them from becoming problem barkers, overly protective, and more.
How Much Exercise Does an Australian Shepherd Need?
As you can guess, most working dogs have high levels of energy. The same is true for Australian Shepherds. They need at least 1-2 hours of exercise a day. This is best broken up into two daily walks—one in the morning and one in the evening.
When these dogs don’t get enough exercise, they can become restless, agitated, and bored. A bored Aussie can develop unwanted behavioral problems such as becoming destructive, barking or even nipping excessively. They may also try to herd other pets, kids, or even adults!
So, to keep your fur baby happy and well-balanced, you’ll need to commit to about 2 hours of exercise every day.
Fun Activities for You and Your Australian Shepherd
Here are some fun activities you and your Aussie can enjoy together while wearing off excess energy!
Walking your Australian Shepherd is an excellent way to ensure he receives enough daily exercise. Remember you’ll need to walk him about 1-2 hours a day (2 hours is best). The more exercise your fur baby has, the better since he’s a very intelligent working dog who needs something to do.
You could do two walks a day—one in the morning and one in the evening, to make sure your canine companion has plenty of exercise. This way, he’ll release all that pent-up energy that builds up overnight or during the day.
You may also want to consider walking your Aussie using a harness rather than a collar. With a harness, you’ll have more control of the dog’s upper body. This can come in handy if your canine companion decides he’d like to go see something and pulls you along!
Here’s a harness that you might consider:
Unho Dog Body Harness: this is a soft, durable harness made from nylon. It’s padded with breathable cotton covered by nylon, making this a strong, durable harness. The harness is also washable, so if your fur baby gets it all dirty, just pop it in the washer! The harness also includes a no-pull handle on the back, which allows you to gain more control over your dog.
2). Herding Balls
This is the perfect activity for an Australian Shepherd! Rather than herding cattle, your fur aby can herd balls instead! Not only does this wear off energy, but this activity also provides the mental stimulation your fur baby needs.
You can try this herding ball:
Jolly Pets Push-n-Play Ball Dog Toy: this is a great ball that can be used for herding. It comes in different sizes—you’ll need to make sure the is about shoulder height and not taller. This ball is made in the US of non-toxic materials. The ball is difficult for a dog to hold or get his teeth into; however, it’s still a good idea to only let your dog play with this toy when you’re supervising him.
Another great way to ensure your Aussie gets plenty of exercise is with a frisbee. Most dogs love chasing after frisbees. Some will even try to catch the disk in the air! As with other games, it may take your dog a little bit to get the hang of how this one works. But once he does, watch out!
Here’s a frisbee made especially for dogs:
here’s a dog frisbee that would be perfect for your Aussie! Throw this frisbee and watch it soar high and fast! What a great way to play fetch with your fur baby! And you won’t have to worry about the disk damaging your dog’s mouth or teeth. The frisbee is made with rubber-reinforced edges. It also floats! The disk is made of multilayer polyester canvas, which is durable. And it’s a bright color, making it easy to find in the grass!
4). Tug a War
This is another classic dog game your fur baby is sure to enjoy! This is activity wears off excess energy and provides your dog with the mental stimulation he needs. It’s also a great way to build muscle.
Here’s a toy your Australian Shepherd is sure to enjoy for tug a war:
Chuckit! Ultra Tug: this is a tug and throw toy, which means you can also use it to play fetch with your dog. This is a toy that’s built for rough handling. And its bright colors are easy to find in the grass! The ball is made of smooth rubber, which is easy to clean.
Your Aussie may just love to learn how to swim! And this is a great activity for burning off excess energy. Plus, it uses all the major muscle groups, which means your fur baby gets a whole-body workout. This is also a low-impact activity that won’t cause strain on tendons and joints.
You may need to teach your dog how to swim if he’s not yet learned. In this case, you may want to purchase a swimming vest for your dog:
Paws Aboard Dog Life Jacket Vest: this vest comes in various sizes, and it’s a great way to keep your dog safe as he learns how to swim. The vest can also be used when you go boating. The vest is made of vibrant colors, which are easy to spot in the water. It also includes a rescue handle on top, making it easy to grab your dog if he gets into trouble in the water. The life jacket is made with neoprene fabrics that are lightweight and keep your dog buoyant in the water.
If your dog’s learning how to swim, be sure to go slowly with this process. You don’t want to scare him. The goal is for him to have fun and learn to swim. It can help to start in a pool or in a lake in calm waters, in a shallow place to start with.
Before you know it, your dog will be a swimming pro! And he’ll wear off tons of energy at the same time!
6). Agility Training
Australian Shepherds excel at agility training! Not only is this an activity where the dog wears off energy, but it’s also one where he needs to use his mind, as well.
Agility training can be done at home for fun, or you can hire a trainer to help you and your dog learn how to compete in agility competitions. Not only that, but agility training is a great way to bond with your dog.
Agility courses include a wide range of obstacles on a course. You can build a course in your backyard or find an agility course in a nearby park. Another option is to join an agility club; they may have their own obstacle course.
The main thing is that this is an activity you and your Aussie can enjoy together. Training will be great exercise, but it will also deepen that special bond between you and your fur baby.
There you have it! We hope these exercises and activities will be fun for you and your dog!