Australian Shepherds are terrific. They’re loyal, exuberant, loving, playful, and protective. The Aussie will play all roles, whether you need a working dog for your ranch or a pet for your house. However, they are clingy and highly dependable on their masters. Knowing this, many owners would ask can Australian Shepherds be left alone. So, let’s find out together.
Can Australian Shepherds be left alone?
The Australian Shepherd can be left alone, but only for a limited period and after a proper training. Puppies can be left alone for three hours, while adult Aussies can be unaccompanied for seven hours tops. As far as it goes for senior dogs, the recommended alone time is about five hours a day.
These dogs are owner-oriented, and they love the company of people. However, when left alone and unattended, Aussies get bored and destructive. Also, they suffer from separation anxiety, so don’t be surprised to come back home to some chewed furniture. However, your Aussie will learn how to stay alone with appropriate education.
Adult Australian Shepherds can spend most time alone. Once you train your dog, it will be safe to leave it alone for five to seven hours. First, however, make sure your dog has food, water, and access to a bathroom. Also, it is wise to give the dog some toys to occupy its time. If not, the Aussie will search for entertainment by itself, and believe me; you don’t want that.
Baby Aussies are the ones with the most needs. First, they still suffer from being separated from their biological family. Second, they are still adapting to the new home. Hence, never leave your puppy alone for more than three hours at a time. Third, puppies are known to misbehave, and you want to avoid destroyed shoes, carpets, and furniture. Also, bear in mind the baby Aussie has a tiny bladder.
Senior Australian Shepherds are the second most needy group. Once your Aussie reaches about nine years of age, it is officially an old dog. These pups need to use the bathroom more often than adult ones. Also, your senior Aussie might suffer from various diseases that come with time. So, I would recommend leaving your longstanding friend alone for five hours.
How to ready my Australian Shepherd to stay alone?
As I already mentioned, you should leave your Aussie alone only after preparing the dog. Leaving the dog unprepared will cause separation anxiety. The younger the dog, the harder it will be. However, Australian Shepherds are smart enough to learn how to be alone.
The first thing you need to do is prepare your home for a lone Aussie. Restrict the areas where your dog would move by locking some of the doors in your home. Hide all dear or dangerous items, such as jewelry, medicine, poisonous stuff, and sharp objects.
Next, provide your dog with enough food, drinking water, and, if possible, access to a bathroom. However, be careful. Australian Shepherds love food. If you leave a full bowl, you might find the bowl empty and your dog overweight. So, fill the bowl only with the amount needed for the period you will be away. If you cannot provide access to a bathroom, make sure you take your dog out before leaving the house.
You can now begin with the training. It is best to start the preparations while your Aussie is still a pup. Start slowly, with a couple of minutes. Leave the house and check the reaction of the dog. Increase the time gradually and give the dog time to adapt. When you are sure the Aussie can be left alone, it is safe to leave the house for a couple of hours.
How to make it easier for my Aussie to be alone?
Your Aussie is trained, and you are ready to leave it alone. However, bear in mind that this active breed needs something to do while alone. If you don’t provide entertainment, the dog will find its fun. This search for amusement might end with chewed furniture, destroyed carpets, scratched floors and doors. Also, the Aussie will bark a lot while alone. If you live in an apartment, the noise might cause problems with your neighbors.
So, to avoid this unwanted behavior, find your dog something to do. Australian Shepherds love to be mentally challenged. Their sharp minds enjoy playing with toys and solving puzzles. If you want to spend some money, you can always buy one of those fancy dog cameras with an integrated food dispenser. This item can be entertaining for both of you. You can watch your Aussie, talk to it, and reward it for being a good boy.
Also, make sure you take your dog for a run or a walk before you leave the house. Australian Shepherds have an almost endless amount of energy. Let’s assume that you don’t own a ranch with livestock for the Aussie to herd. Then, you will have to find ways for your dog to spend some of that energy. These pups require two to three hours of exercise per day. Tiring your dog before you leave home will lead to a well-behaved pup.
Lastly, think about investing in a dog crate. Australian Shepherds love having a personal space to relax and feel safe. You can also use the crate as a sleeping place for your pup. However, you will have to crate train your Aussie too. Read my full article on crate training an Australian Shepherd for more instructions.
So, as you see, leaving your Australian Shepherd alone is entirely possible. While being unaccompanied might cause anxiety, it can also be good for the pup. Aussies are overly dependable on their owners. You will make your dog a little more undependable by leaving it alone.
Your return home will be the day’s highlight for your Australian Shepherd. So, try and make it memorable. Be happy to see your dog as the Aussie is happy to see you, even if you’re in a bad mood. Play with your pup, cuddle with it, rub its belly, reward it with a treat. Your good boy deserves it.