If you are reading this then you must be considering adding an Australian shepherd to your family. And you must be contemplating raising one from a puppy.
Being a pet owner is a big responsibility no matter what kind of pet you favor. Pets, especially dogs, don’t take care of themselves. So time, money, patience, and love are all needed for a puppy to be a well-mannered, obedient, but loving dog.
With the question, “what can I expect from an Australian shepherd puppy?” rolling around in your head, this article will touch upon the breed’s temperament and personality along with all that is an Australian shepherd puppy!
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Australian Shepherd – The Breed
Your dog’s puppyhood is probably the most important time of its life when they learn and develop its unique personality. But, this time is short-lived and before getting an Australian shepherd puppy you should know what your dog will be like as an adult to see if this is truly the breed for you.
Australian shepherds own this Australian name but are not an Australian breed. They are descendants of The Pyrenean shepherd, a herding dog, who was raised by the Basques in the Pyrenes Mountains.
The Basques, along with their dogs, sailed to Australia looking for herding work. And while there, these shepherds were bred with collies and border collies from England.
The Australian shepherd was first bred in Australia but not with an Australian breed. Today they are still used as herding dogs and are widely well-known as loving family dogs.
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog that can range anywhere from thirty to seventy pounds, with males being larger than females.
They have a double-layered long coat that can be a wide variety of color combinations of white, blue, black, and red. They are most often recognized by their mottled colors known as red or blue merle, resembling a patchwork quilt.
The Aussie’s eyes will be either brown, blue, or one of each color. Sometimes they may have one eye that is split into two different colors or bi-colored.
To check your shepherds’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet website for all the help you may need.
Australian Shepherd Temperament and Personality
When considering an Australian shepherd, their temperament and personality play a big role in how they will fit into your home and your lifestyle.
The Australian Shepherd is energetic, intelligent, loyal, and devoted with a warm and loving personality. These dogs make wonderful family pets, especially with an active, outdoorsy family or a single person or couple.
They are comfortable and engaging with their family pack but can sometimes be a bit aloof or timid around strangers and newcomers until they warm up.
Socializing your shepherd at an early age goes a long way in helping them be the outgoing dog they are meant to be. This breed is rarely aggressive and leans more on the docile side.
The Aussie is a quick learner with plenty of smarts. It takes no time at all for them to pick things up and remember. Since they are herding dogs and they love to work, giving them jobs to perform is very helpful.
They easily learn tricks and excel at obedience training, which is not only good for them, by teaching them manners but gives them a purpose, like work.
Because this shepherd is so intelligent, they can easily become bored if left to their own devices. Exercise and training are recommended to keep this tendency at bay.
Preparing For Your Puppy
Before you bring your Australian shepherd puppy home there are a few things to be done. Make sure you or a family member has time to spend with your puppy while they are adjusting to their new home. Consider that this will be the first time your pup is away from its mother and littermates.
Use a crate or a baby gate to limit your shepherd’s area so it does not seem so vast until they become more acclimated to their surroundings.
This area will also be their safe spot for sleeping and feeling nurtured. Using a crate or this area, set up a comfortable bed, blankets, and some toys, along with your pup’s food and water.
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and perhaps a ticking clock also bundled can mimic their mother’s warm body and heartbeat to soothe them. All the comforts of home.
Puppy-proofing your home is very necessary to avoid accidents. Puppies are curious beings. They love to chew and have razor-sharp baby teeth, so removing anything you do not want to be damaged is imperative as well as hiding any dangling electrical cords.
Things that are dear to you or dangerous for the puppy are best concealed until your little Aussie learns the rules.
Training your Australian shepherd puppy should begin the moment their paws hit the floor in their new home. This training combines housebreaking with regular obedience training.
Housebreaking involves some patience but is actually quite easy, especially with this breed. Keep in mind that a puppy has a small bladder and bowels.
So taking them out at regular intervals, about every twenty or thirty minutes is necessary for your pup to get the idea and to avoid accidents. Using the same spot in your yard, they’ll quickly catch on, being so smart.
Don’t make a big deal if any accidents happen. Quickly take them out and clean up. Yelling does not help it and will just make matters worse.
Obedience training can begin once your pup has gotten the first of its rabies shots. Taking your pup to classes will help both you if you’re unsure of where to start with training, and your puppy, who will revel in the learning experience by satisfying their work instinct. They will also get to socialize by hanging out with other dogs and people.
Socialization is key to an all-around friendly, outgoing, and happy dog. Obedience classes will help by getting them accustomed to other people and dogs.
As puppies, expose them to a wide variety of experiences, sights, sounds, smells, people, places, things, and other animals. Your Aussie will grow up to be well-rounded, well-adjusted, and poised for anything that crosses their path, never timid, fearful, or aggressive.
Your Australian shepherd puppy and its future adult self needs plenty of exercise. As a puppy, keep exercise sessions for short periods because puppies, being so active, tire quickly and need their rest. You can lengthen the time, as they get older.
The exercise will help them spend all that high energy they have and keep them from becoming bored as well.
Keep in mind that these dogs fit in very well with an active family, especially one that spends time in the outdoors hiking, running, and playing hard.
Brushing and bathing are definitely needed and should begin as a pup to get them acclimated thus it will be a snap when they are older.
These dogs have long, thick coat that needs regular attention with brushing or they can become matted, which is not fun for you or your poor pup.
The Australian shepherd does shed some every day, but more so in spring and fall. This is a great reason to brush often.
Bathing is necessary depending on how active your puppy is and if they get into mud or anything sticky, etc. You don’t, yet.
Want to overdo the bathing as this can dry out their skin, removing necessary oils. A professional groomer is something to consider if it’s within your budget.
- Veterinarian Visits
Your Australian shepherd puppy should visit its veterinarian every month until about four months of age. They will need shots and be weighed and measured and possibly blood will be drawn to ensure they are growing properly and receiving the right nutrients.
Twice-a-year visits are acceptable until they are two or three and then you may cut it back to once a year if your vet gives the okay and there are no health issues.
Thus, what can you expect from an Australian shepherd puppy? You can expect an adorable, fluffy pup that will grow into a gorgeous adult dog with a temperament of intelligence, loyalty, energy, exuberance, obedience, and an easy-going, loving personality. Your little furball Aussie will grow into a loving companion and an exceptional member of your pack.