Australian Shepherds are known for their distinctly spotted fur, marbled eyes, and a sweet tail wag that sets their whole body wiggling. When trained well, they’re fiercely loyal dogs, but bringing one home can be more complicated than you’d imagine, and you’ll need some preparation before you get it home. When trained well, they’re fiercely loyal dogs
Here are 9 things you’ll need before bringing home an Australian Shepherd puppy:
- Free time
- Stable environment
- Puppy-proof your home
- Buy some chew toys
- Ample space
- Other Dogs
- Willingness to take charge
- Constant vigilance
- Sleeping crate
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to prepare yourself and your home before welcoming an Australian Shepherd puppy into your life.
1. Free Time
Puppies spend a few days (if not weeks) around their mothers and siblings. They eat, play, sleep, and receive affection in a certain way before being moved to a new home.
It’s only natural that your Aussie puppy will feel a little lost or frightened in its new home, and it’s your job to make the transition easier.
So before you take the puppy in, ensure you’ve freed up a significant chunk of your time, every day, to spend with the puppy. Freeing up your day may mean asking for extended time away from work, or changing your schedule to accommodate this new puppy into your busy life.
Being in an unfamiliar space is a life-changing adjustment when you’re barely a few weeks old. Your constant presence can help reassure the puppy and help them feel safe and secure amid so much change.
Spending extended periods of time with your puppy in the initial weeks is the first step to building a sacred bond that will last a lifetime.
2. Stable Environment
Before bringing your puppy home from the adoption center or breeder, do your best to create a stable home environment. Ideally, you should avoid hosting large gatherings at home where too many inquisitive guests are sure to interact with your puppy.
At least for the first few weeks, it’s best to avoid calling people over so your puppy isn’t bombarded by too much external stimulus.
You also want to regularize your schedule and ensure you’re entering and leaving your home at around the same time every day. Providing a controlled, calm environment with you at its center is the most effective way to get your pup to acclimatize to the new environment.
Creating this safe space will help your puppy relax and feel less stressed about the monumental changes in its life. And relaxed puppies are quite inquisitive and will familiarize themselves with their new home, making your job easier.
3. Puppy-Proof Your Home
All puppies, especially Aussies, are highly curious and will explore every nook and corner of their new living space.
Puppies explore by sniffing and by putting things in their mouths, so you want to remove harmful items, like insect repellent or medicines from the vicinity. You also want to tie or cover up any loose electrical wiring to prevent your pup from chomping down on it.
Keep valuable items and footwear out of reach so they don’t get damaged. And just like toddlers need baby gates to keep them out of specific spaces in the house, a new puppy should be kept within safe reach where you can monitor them constantly. I recommend using baby gate from Amazon.com if you need help picking one out. This gate is easy to set up and allows you to open the gate and walk through, whereas the models you are forced to walk over it.
You can use baby fences to cordon off certain sections of your home to ensure your pup doesn’t stray too far or disappear in hard-to-reach spaces, like under the bed or behind the refrigerator.
4. Buy Some Chew Toys
If you want your valuables and furniture to remain intact, you better get your puppy a few different chew toys to play with. Puppies start teething within the first few months, and this stage in their growth causes sore gums.
By getting them a few chew toys, you can help alleviate the pain and soreness that comes with teething. Getting a variety of chew toys will also give them more options to play with and provide them with the necessary mental stimulation to keep them engaged in a healthy manner. I purchased the chew toy below from Amazon.com and my dogs loved it. It comes in different flavors and you can freeze it.
Chewing can also help dissipate a lot of that excess puppy energy, allowing them to relax and stay calm in a new home environment.
5. Ample Space
Australian Shepherds need enough space to run around, so before you get a puppy, take stock of your living arrangement and consider whether it’s fair to bring home an Aussie.
If you live in an apartment, your Australian Shepherd will be miserable for most of its life, no matter how large the living space.
This breed is hyperactive, and they need an abundance of physical activity to soothe their nerves. Aussies were bred exclusively to herd cattle and made to run vast distances throughout the day.
You don’t need a herd of cattle or a large field to bring home an Australian Shepherd. But it’s essential to have a moderately large backyard or outdoor space for your puppy to run around and play. This space is necessary for when they get larger.
6. Other Dogs
While bringing another breed into a home with an Australian Shepherd can get tricky, it’s an effective strategy to keep your Aussie happy, active, and comforted.
As mentioned earlier, Aussies demand high levels of physical activity, which can be exhausting even as a loving owner. Playing with another dog can help disperse most of this energy in a healthy, wholesome way.
While it’s complicated to train another breed with an Australian pup, you can acclimatize both puppies with the help of an experienced dog trainer.
However, it’s imperative that you have no other pets when bringing home an Australian Shepherd puppy. These dogs are highly territorial and tend to have a strong predatory instinct. Aussies will chase anything that happens to be moving across their field of vision.
They can be highly aggressive and even violent with smaller animals, so ensure you have no rabbits, cats, or small animals at home before getting an Aussie.
7. Willingness To Take Charge
Australian Shepherds are lovable and loyal dogs once they understand who’s in charge of the house. Like most other alpha-breed dogs, Aussies operate well in a pack, with a hierarchy and an alpha on top.
It’s crucial to establish your position as the overarching leader of the household when your dog is still a puppy. To do this, you need to be firm and bold when issuing commands or reprimanding your dog when they do something out of place.
Getting an Australian Shepherd isn’t advisable if you’re a first-time dog owner, especially if you don’t know what it’s like to be firm and chastise your pet.
To help establish your position as a leader, you want to keep your Australian Shepherd puppy on a leash even when you’re at home. As mentioned earlier, you need to cordon off a section of your home so you can keep track of the puppy and its whereabouts at all times.
Spend time with your puppy in this environment and lead them about with the leash. Let your puppy do as it pleases, but gently tug on the leash from time to time, so your puppy is aware of who’s in command.
When you interact with your puppy, provide gentle yet firm commands while directing it with the leash to show them who’s in charge. If you looking for a leash that is easy to use and effective, check out this lead leash from Amazon.com.
You also want to reinstate your position as the alpha dog by adhering to certain norms followed by all alpha dogs in the pack. To demonstrate authority, you need to adhere to certain pack norms, like entering a room before your puppy and feeding them only after you’ve eaten.
These acts may seem insignificant to you, but they’ll firmly establish your leadership position in your puppy’s mind. And once your puppy knows who’s boss, further training will be a lot more straightforward and uncomplicated.
8. Constant Vigilance
It would be best if you were on constant guard to ensure your dog is house trained in the first few weeks of coming into its new home.
Ideally, puppies can’t hold their bladders for longer than two to three hours, especially in the first few months. Additionally, they may need to relieve themselves 20 minutes after every meal and immediately after waking up.
You want to ensure you’re around to take your dog outside the house and to the spot they should be using as a bathroom. By remaining vigilant, you can also learn your puppy’s cues for when they need to go and respond accordingly.
Aussies are intelligent dogs, and if you’re able to stay consistent with their potty training in the first week, they’ll learn not to relieve themselves inside the home.
Don’t reprimand them when they mess up your home, as this will imprint the wrong impression in their minds.
Instead of knowing they did something wrong, they’ll assume that relieving themselves in the presence of a human is wrong and will do so in secret spots that are harder to find.
Instead, praise them or give them treats when they use the right spots, to reinforce the positive behavior.
9. Sleeping Crate
When you first introduce a puppy to your home, it’s a healthy practice to tuck them into a crate before you sleep at night. Under my recommended product section, you’ll find the best crate for your dog. Trust me, save some time and avoid looking any further for the perfect crate. You found it here.
Just like a toddler shouldn’t be allowed to roam around at night, a pup needs to be restrained when you’re going to bed. By keeping them in a secure spot, you can ensure they don’t head out and injure themselves or eat something random, as puppies tend to do.
Before your Aussie is fully house trained, it’s best to tuck them into a comfy, padded sleeping crate before bedtime. This crate should have ample space for you to slip your hand in and provide a reassuring scratch behind the ears.
You can also leave some of your pup’s favorite chew toys in the crate to provide some familiarity and comfort.
Note: This sleeping crate shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be used as a punishment chamber or to sleep during the day. Your pup shouldn’t feel like they’re being restrained or put in a cage.
Instead, the crate needs to be a haven for your puppy to feel comfortable and rested.
How Long Does It Take To Train an Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds are a complex breed with tendencies and traits you won’t find in other dogs. You may need to commit anywhere between one and three years to train your dog and socialize them properly.
However, an Australian Shepherd is a highly social dog and will interact with everyone in its vicinity with adequate training.
Do You Need a Professional Trainer for an Australian Shepherd?
You don’t need a professional trainer to deal with an Australian Shepherd puppy. However, a trainer can help by giving you the right tips and techniques to raise your dog correctly.
As mentioned in the article, Aussies are pack dogs and follow a hierarchy. So hiring a trainer to do all the work may be detrimental to building a solid relationship with your dog. If you are looking for an effective and inexpensive option, check out Brain Training For Dogs. You can train your dog from the comfort of your home with the help of Adrienne Farricelli. She is a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer and has over 10 years experience. You will not find a better value anywhere else.
It’s best to learn how to handle an Australian Shepherd and establish yourself as the alpha.
Is It Possible To Raise an Australian Shepherd Puppy With Another Dog at Home?
Australian Shepherds are highly energetic, and having a canine companion can help them use up their energy in a healthy, wholesome way.
It’s possible to raise an Aussie puppy with other dogs in the house. However, older dogs tend to dislike the excessive energy that puppies bring into the house. They may not adjust suitably to your new Australian puppy.
Is It Safe To Bring Home an Australian Shepherd When You Have Children?
With the proper training and nurture, an Australian Shepherd will make a great playmate for your kids. Again, the importance of adequate training can’t be stressed enough here.
Are Australian Shepherds Loyal to One Person?
Australian Shepherds tend to develop intimate bonds with only one person in the household, so if you’re living alone, this breed makes the ideal companion.
- Karen Shanley: Bringing Home an Australian Shepherd Puppy – What You Need To Know
- Wag!: How to Prepare For An Australian Shepherd Puppy
- Rover: Australian Shepherd Puppies – The Ultimate Guide For New Dog Owners
- WikiHow: How to Train An Australian Shepherd
- Aussie University: Why Does my Australian Shepherd Sit On Me?
- Clicker Training: To Crate or Not to Crate?
- Hill’s Pet: 3 TIps for Avoiding Puppy teething Issues