Before you choose to add a new canine companion to your family, you need to make sure he's going to be a good fit. Australian shepherds are working dogs who were bred to be on the go all day. While it's not particularly fair or accurate to call them hyper, they certainly are active dogs.
Meet the Breed
As their name suggests, Australian shepherds were originally bred in Australia, where they were used as herding dogs. They're generally between 18 and 23 inches tall and weigh 35 to 65 pounds, with males larger than females. Their smooth, medium-length coats can come in a range of colors: red, red merle, blue merle and black, and may be with or without white markings. The American Kennel Club describes them as both intelligent and active.
Australian shepherds are "not content to be couch potatoes," as the Australian Shepherd Club of America put it. If you choose to bring an Aussie into your home, he'll need at least two hour-long walks each day, although he'll be happy to run for much longer. If you don't give him enough exercise, he'll have to channel his energy elsewhere and it often manifests as destructive or nuisance behaviors, such as barking, digging or chewing.
Another way to stop your Australian shepherd from acting out is to participate in regular obedience training sessions. The breed is highly intelligent and eager to please, so it's important to keep your pup's brain stimulated, as well as his body. Ideally, you should attend some organized obedience classes, so you can learn how to effectively train your dog. However, you can also do obedience training at home -- just find a good book or other resource that will show you how to train your dog using positive reinforcement methods.
A range of other activities exist to help keep your Australian shepherd active and happy. Regular play sessions indoors or in the yard will entertain your dog -- games such as fetch or tug-of-war are ideal. You could also try participating in activities such as agility, herding, heelwork to music or flyball, whether competitively or just for fun. Consider whether you're willing to put this extra effort in to keep your dog on the go before you decide to bring home an Aussie.
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