4 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Wiggle

Despite the misleading name, Australian Shepherds are a distinctly American dog breed and are known for their jolly disposition and intense loyalty to their owner. Most importantly, this breed is famous for its ability to wiggle its entire body, a behavior unique to Australian Shepherds alone. But why do they wiggle?

Here are 4 reasons why Australian Shepherds wiggle:

  1. Shepherds wiggle when it’s time to walk.
  2. Australian Shepherds wiggle when it’s time to eat.
  3. They want to play.
  4. They might want time with you.  

Their signature wiggle is nothing but an exaggerated tail wag. An Australian Shepherd will wag its entire rear side along with its tail, making its body writhe as the excitement builds.

In this article we’ll take a look at why these dogs wiggle so hard and how to encourage this endearing behavior.

1. Shepherds Wiggle When It’s Time to Walk

Sometimes, even the mere mention of the word “walk” can set off an Australian Shepherd’s wiggle, especially when they’ve been around long enough to know what the word means. They will definitely know when it’s time to walk if you hold their leash.

Walking is your dog’s opportunity to explore the world through the various smells and sights that it encounters. Just like humans, dogs get bored of the same route, so remember to switch things up when you’re taking your dog out.

Aside from the act of walking itself, Australian Shepherds need exercise to maintain their cardiovascular health. A healthy dog is a happy dog, which translates to more wiggles. If you need recommendations for leashes or a harness, you can review the products I use my pups by clicking here. Each product has a link to Amazon if you want to check reviews or price.

If you want to keep your dog wiggling, take it for walks often.

2. Australian Shepherds Wiggle When It’s Time to Eat

You may notice your Aussie wiggle particularly hard during certain times of the day, and it’s usually around when you feed them. Sometimes, even hearing the clink of its food bowl can set off a few wiggles.

Supplying your dog with the right nutrition is crucial to keep them healthy and energetic, both of which are essential to your dog’s happiness.

When an Australian Shepherd is given the right kind of food, it’s sure to be active throughout the day. A wholesome diet will prevent nutritional deficits which can lead to mood swings throughout.

By giving your Aussie the optimal diet, you can prevent mood swings and keep them happy, ensuring regularity in the endearing behavior we all love. When choosing what to feed your pet, you’re free to do your own research to decide what’s best for it. However, I’ve done mine and I highly recommend Taste of the Wild High Prairie (available on Amazon.com) due to the quality ingredients and safety protocols. This specific bag uses buffalo as the main ingredient. My dogs also love Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, which contains Salmon.

3. They Want to Play

While all dogs enjoy exercise, Australian Shepherds have a particular inclination for play and require a great deal of it to stay happy. So any activity that gets your dog moving by engaging it mentally and physically is sure to produce wiggles.

Humans brought this breed into existence to act as herders, helping farmers herd cattle and sheep. They were trained to run all day and keep the herd intact without commands from their owners.

As such, Aussies are fiercely intelligent dogs with a love for intense physical activity. 

When they are brought up in urban households, it’s impossible to recreate that physical and mental stimulation without playing an active role.

It’s best to set aside an hour for intense physical activity so your dog can explore its natural tendency for movement, and stay happy. You’ll also need to design games that will test their mental prowess and keep them entertained.

I recommend the Sport 14S Ball Launcher, which is listed on Amazon here. If you decide to get this launcher, make sure you grab some sport balls. Yan throw the ball significantly further, which will provide your Aussie with more intense activity. To help with mental stimulation, throw the ball in woods, trees or bushes and have your dog search for the ball. They will not disappoint.

While finding suitable games can be complicated, it’s worth the effort. Regular play stimulates your dog and gives them a reason to stay happy and satisfied. A pleased Australian Shepherd will provide you with plenty of wiggles throughout the day!

4. They Might Want Time With You

While Australian Shepherds are known to be aggressive with other animals in the house, they are fiercely loyal and loving to their owners.

One of the most common reasons an Australian Shepherd wiggles is when they see their owner or sense their presence in the house. This is especially evident in households where the owner regularly leaves the house for work. 

An Australian Shepherd is extremely pleased to have its owner back in the house and can be seen wiggling, sometimes for hours, after its owner walks through the front door.

Spending time with your Aussie can lead to increased wiggles through the day. This breed loves to bask in its owner’s presence and just sitting on the floor with your dog can work wonders on its mood.

Australian Shepherds brought up in stress-free home environments are also more likely to display this wiggling behavior.

Homes, where the food bowl is in a secure location and where guests enter and leave in an orderly manner, are the kind of living environments crucial to your dog’s emotional health. 

A haphazard home environment is likely to stress your dog, making them unhappy and less likely to wiggle.

Why Australian Shepherds Wiggle

A wagging tail is a sign of pleasure, happiness, and excitement, and this behavior is common across all dog breeds. But what makes the Australian Shepherd so endearing is that it shakes its entire body when it’s happy or excited. 

Let’s now talk about some of the questions you might have about your Australian Shepherd and why it wiggles so much.


Q: Is wiggling a normal behavior in Australian Shepherds?

A: Wiggling is a normal behavior in Australian Shepherds and is unique to this breed alone. However, all dogs wag their tails, which can be misconstrued as wiggling. Pure wiggling doesn’t happen in all dog breeds.

Q: Why do Australian Shepherds wiggle?

A: Australian Shepherds wiggle when they are happy or excited about something. They also wiggle when they want something from you, such as cuddle time.

Q: Do all Australian Shepherds have stubby tails?

A: Breeders have been tail docking Australian Shepherds ever since the breed was first recognized, which is why some dogs are born with stubby tails. However, not all Australian Shepherds have bobbed tails, and most are born with regular tails. 

Q: Is it easy to train an Australian Shepherd?

A: Training an Australian Shepherd is not as straightforward as training other dog breeds. 

Australian Shepherds are highly active and require hours of physical activity to stay in shape both mentally and physically. You will need to devise games and set aside time to spend with your dog daily.

These dogs tend to get easily depressed and needy without adequate physical activity, which can be difficult to deal with.

Another reason Australian Shepherds can be challenging to train is that they tend to be aggressive towards other animals in the house. Unlike most other pets, which can be socialized easily, Australian Shepherds take time to warm up to other animals.

However, if you train the dog from puppyhood, it should be a lot easier to get them to socialize. If you want the best bang for your buck, Brain Training For Dogs by Adrienne Farricelli is perfect. She is a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer and has over 10 years experience. She has been featured in worldwide publications for her outstanding work. Her training expertise has helped thousands of families! She also does training for service and military dogs, too!


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