You have wanted a dog for awhile now. You know that you can handle the responsibility that having a dog brings, along with the love that this animal deserves. An Australian Shepherd dog is the breed you have your heart set on because of it’s beautiful coat, and the fact that your friend has one and you have found them to be good dogs. The only flaw to your plan is that you live in an apartment and you begin to wonder an important question. Can Australian Shepherd dogs live in an apartment?
Can Australian Shepherd Dogs live in an apartment? An Australian Shepherd is a dog breed that has a ton of energy that they need to burn daily. They are also in need activities that will stimulant them mentally. Because of these factors, raising an Australian Shepherd in an apartment would be much more difficult than other dog breeds. However, if you have your heart set on an Australian Shepherd, you as the owner can commit to doing activities on a daily basis to satisfy these traits. These activities may include a daily exercise routine, visiting the local dog park, and games to keep this breed mentally satisfied.
What traits do Australian Shepherd possess?
Australian Shepherd are very bright and intelligent dogs. They are able to learn and grow at a very quick rate. Aussies are family oriented and are extremely affectionate towards all of the members within your family. Because of this you may find them following you around every which way you go, maybe even more than you might like.
One of the great traits that this dog possesses is that it is patient. If your family has children, patience in a pet is a trait that is very valuable to have. Australian Shepherds are also highly adaptable. In apartment living, they would need to adapt to many different situations that are not always convenient or ideal.
Australian Shepherds are very eager to please their owner or their “master”. This makes this breed very trainable. When you mix this with their traits of being very bright and intelligent, then you get a dog breed that you will be able to train at an accelerated rate.
This is something that will be important with living in an apartment for they will quickly need to learn what they can and cannot do. Positive behaviors can be rewarded and therefore turned into quicker training results with the use of dog training treats for positive reinforcement.
What type of exercise is needed for Australian Shepherds?
Australian Shepherds are very hard-working dogs who you can characterize as workaholics. They get this reputation from their ancestors where this breed was used to herd livestock on farms or ranches. This behavior is still ingrained in them today where you will still find them playfully biting at the feet of other small pets or your children in an effort to herd them.
Aussies also have a ton of energy. This energy needs to be burned each and every day. Because Aussies are workaholics, they are always in need of performing a job. If you as the owner don’t give them a job to perform, then they will often find their own jobs to perform. I am sure I don’t have to tell you everything that can go wrong with your Australian Shepherd creating their own job for themselves.
A daily exercise routine for your Aussie is going to be essential. When living in an apartment, it would be even more important to set them up on a schedule that will allow them to get the exercise that they need.
The start of your schedule would be to take them for a walk in the morning before you go to work. This would allow them to burn off a good bit of their energy before you go off to your job for the day. Then when you come home, take your Aussie out for another walk making this one a little longer. This is a good practice and will allow for a good night’s sleep for you and your Aussie.
Dog park for exercise and socialization
When you first get your Australian Shepherd, not only is it exercise that is important but also socialization for your dog. One of the ways that you can accomplish both is to take your Aussie to a dog park.
Socialization will help your dog not be so protective over children or family members. Nobody wants a dog that is so protective that people are afraid to come around you because they are fearful of how your Aussie will react.
By introducing your Australian Shepherd to a wealth of different people, they will become accustomed to having people around other than their owner or other family members. This will allow them to be put into an environment where their overly protective behaviors will turn into the loving and patient behaviors that we all want our Australian Shepherds to have.
A visit to the near by dog park will also give your Aussie a whole lot of room to move around them which is something that they will be missing at your apartment. Just think of all the room they will have to run around at the dog park compared to the tiny little apartment that they are accustomed to. Each visit to the dog park will be like a dog’s day in heaven!
There are many activities that you could play in this wide open space that your dog would surely love. These activities may include:
- Playing fetch with a ball
- Playing catch with a frisbee
- Walking around the park
- Running around the park
- Playing with other dogs
- Agility course training
How to keep your Australian Shepherd mentally stimulated
Being able to keep your Australian Shepherd mentally stimulated so that their mind is occupied with a job will prove to be very beneficial. If their mind is not stimulated, your Aussie will become bored and begin to find its own job. This would be devastating if your dog was to pick a job for itself that is something you wouldn’t want your dog to get into.
There are many puzzles or games that will go a long way in mentally stimulating your Australian Shepherd. Give these few things a try:
Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Dog Toy: Your Aussie puppy will need a lot of exercise. Australian Shepherds love to play fetch, and this would be the perfect way to get their daily exercise in. This rubber ball is very tough, durable, and will be sure to last a very long time.
Kong Flyer Dog Toy: Australian Shepherd puppies love to chase and catch things. Why not get their exercise in by chasing the Kong Flyer? This flyer is pretty much indestructible, and I don’t really think you can say that about most other frisbees on the market.
Smart Pet Love Tender Tuff Brown Dog Stretchy Dog Toy: Besides chasing and fetching for exercise, there is another toy that can help build a stronger bond with your Australian Shepherd puppy. That is by playing tug-o-war with them! This toy was specifically designed for the dog owner and dog to play this fun and exciting game and will lead to hours of enjoyment for you and your puppy.
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy: How smart is your Australian Shepherd puppy? Well, pretty dog gone smart, but even they might have trouble figuring out how to get their treats out of this ball puzzle. This toy is a great way to intellectually stimulate your Aussie and give them a real challenge.
How to handle bathroom breaks in an apartment
Taking your Australian Shepherd outside to do their business will be one of the hardest things to commit to. This is much harder than if you lived in a house and only had to take your dog outside in your back yard to relieve themselves. This is really non-optional and failure to create a consistent schedule for potty breaks will lead to poor training practices and even your dog using the bathroom indoors.
Taking them on walks before and after work consistently is a great practice and will allow them to relieve themselves while they are being walked. You are really killing two birds with one stone when you commit to walking your Australian Shepherd on a schedule like this on a daily basis. Be considerate when your walking your dog, and carry bags to clean up after your pet.
Setting your Australian Shepherd up with a bathroom schedule can prove to be very beneficial so that your Aussie will know what to except on a daily basis. A good bathroom schedule to get in the habit of using would be at 7am, 3pm, and 9pm. This is by no means a set schedule, and you can alter to fit your needs.
This schedule provides a couple of benefits. It will lead to your Australian Shepherd to getting the exercise that they need, and it will allow them not to have to hold their bladder for too long of a period of time. Creating a bathroom schedule such as this creates a routine where your Aussie will know exactly what to expect on a daily basis.
Tip: When living in an apartment with an Aussie, it will be very beneficial to live in a unit on the bottom floor or which to a unit on the bottom floor. Imagine living on a third floor unit and how difficult that will be to manage your pet’s walking and bathroom schedule.
Dealing with the difficulty of going up and down stairs will cause you to want to skip out on these responsibilities. This will prove to be detrimental and unravel the training of your Aussie that you have worked so hard to put into place.
Hire a doggie daycare provider to come to your apartment
Most people feel bad about having to leave their pet at home the whole day while they are at work. One thing that you as an Aussie owner can do to combat this would be to hire a doggie daycare provider. This is someone that you would hire to come to your apartment and take your Australian Shepherd out for a walk and to use the bathroom while you are at work.
For those ages when your Aussie has more energy, hiring someone to give them a little more exercise may be exactly what they need. There is no doubt that the option of doggie daycare would be beneficial for you dog. However, as a dog owner you will have to weight whether the price of doggie daycare is going to be something that is affordable for your situation.
How do I keep an eye on my Aussie while away from my apartment?
If you want to try something that is fun for both you and your dog, you can get a pet camera. A very basic pet camera will allow you to check in on your Aussie throughout the day and talk to them through a speaker on the devise. Something fun is seeing how your dog responds to your voice without seeing you in person!
This will also allow you to see how your Aussie is responding to living in an apartment. If they seem fairly restless then hiring a doggie daycare provider may be the answer. Having your pet camera set up in your apartment will allow you to check in on the daycare provider to see if your dog is getting the care that you are expecting.
They also have models such as Petcube that have the added option of tossing your puppy a treat! Now you can continue training your Australian Shepherd puppy even when you are at work. This will take the bonding experience with your Aussie to a whole new level.
Summary: Can Australian Shepherds live in an apartment, the answer is yes. However, they are a dog breed whereas an owner you will have to commit to doing a few things on a daily basis. Once you have the routine in place of exercise, mental stimulation, and a bathroom schedule, you will be able to concentrate on bonding and loving your new family pet!