CAN AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS LIVE IN APARTMENTS?
Do you live in an apartment? Are you thinking about adopting an Australian Shepherd but wondering whether your lifestyle will suit this lively, athletic dog? While it's true that Australian Shepherds need large, open spaces to be happy, this does not necessarily mean that life in an apartment is out of the question.
What are the Ideal Living Conditions for an Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds are shepherd dogs, accustomed to herding flocks in the great outdoors. As such, they will naturally feel more at ease in a house with a large garden, ideally in the countryside where they can move about freely.
However, having a large plot of land is far from the most important factor for owning this breed. Australian Shepherds are very loyal and develop a close bond with their master. They can't stand being alone, and should not be left to their own devices for hours on end just because they have a garden to run around in. Left alone, Australian Shepherds often sink into depression, which can result in behavioural problems.
Can I Live in an Apartment with an Australian Shepherd?
So, should you give up on your dream of adopting an Australian Shepherd if you live in an apartment? The answer is not as clear-cut as one might think. While on paper apartment living is discouraged, in practice, your dog's happiness and wellbeing depend on a lot of other criteria.
Affectionate by nature, an Australian Shepherd would much prefer to live in an apartment, but be with their master all day long and enjoy a long, 2-hour walk each day, than spend all their time alone at the bottom of a big garden. If you live in an apartment and are out at work all day, do not adopt this breed. But this statement also rings true if you live in a house. A garden will never compensate for daily walks.
For your dog to thrive in an apartment, they must be able to exercise regularly. Plan for at least one long walk of 1.5 to 2 hours each day during the week, and try to do an outdoor activity with your Australian Shepherd on the weekends. In addition to the long walk, also take your Australian Shepherd out regularly for shorter periods so that they can relieve themselves.
Australian Shepherds have a sociable temperament and get on well with other dogs and other animals. If you have the budget and the time, you may want to consider adopting another dog, or even a cat, so that your Australian Shepherd has a friend to play with.
How Do I Make My Apartment Dog Friendly?
Living in an apartment with a dog requires some adaptations. Make sure you have enough toys and games to keep your dog busy while you're out of the house. As the Australian Shepherd is not a barker, you shouldn't have too much trouble with your neighbours, but you still need to teach your four-legged friend to moderate their emotions, especially when you return.
If you have to go out, be sure to leave different types of toys available: Kong’s, brain games, etc. Opt for toys that your Australian Shepherd isn't used to. You can even reserve some of them, especially for your absences. Before leaving the house, take your dog out so that they can get some exercise. This will make them more likely to rest while you're gone. Like all shepherd dogs, Australian Shepherds need to expend a lot of energy every day. You can also compensate by participating in activities with your dog on the days when you're not working. For example, why not try an agility class; Australian Shepherds excel at this type of activity.
Another option if you don't want to leave your dog alone at all: hire a dog sitter. However, your Australian Shepherd needs to learn how to be alone sometimes. If you're worried about your dog, why not invest in a smart camera? There are many affordable options available online.
Another great way to calm your dog down is to buy them a crate. Contrary to what one might think, dog crates are not cruel, provided, of course, that they are used correctly. Dog crates offer several advantages for your dog: a feeling of security, helping to calm them when they're excited, channelling destructive behaviour, etc. You should of course not leave your dog locked up for hours in their crate. But, when used well, it can quickly become a refuge for them.
If you're going to use this option, it's important to select the right crate for your Australian Shepherd. The dimensions of the crate should correspond to the size of your dog, who must be able to stand up properly with several centimetres of space above its head. For Australian Shepherds under 31kg, opt for a cage with the following dimensions: 91 x 56 x 54 cm. For Australian Shepherds over 32kg, choose a 122 x 76 x 81 cm crate instead.
Potty Training Your Australian Shepherd Puppy in an Apartment
Having an Australian Shepherd in your apartment will require some adjustments for everyone. When you first welcome your new puppy into your home, one of your first jobs is to teach them where to go to do their business. This task is more difficult if you live in an apartment unless you live on the ground floor. However, it is an essential step for living in harmony with your Australian Shepherd and avoiding any major damage to your home.
Make sure to take your pooch out often to relieve themselves and congratulate your Australian Shepherd puppy whenever they poop outside. You can also purchase pee pads or dog litter boxes to allow your pup to do their business inside. However, in the long term, this solution may cause your Australian Shepherd to relieve themselves in your home rather than outside. It should therefore be avoided, although it can be used occasionally if you need to go out.
Never scold a puppy when they poop in the house, especially if the accident happened while you were out. Your Australian Shepherd puppy wouldn't understand why you're cross with them. Don't clean up the mess with bleach either: dogs like the smell and may return to poop in the same place. Be patient: training your dog takes time. Take your Australian Shepherd puppy out after every meal and praise them when they pee or poop outside. Your dog is very intelligent and will quickly understand what you want from them.
Change more than just your pet food,
change your philosophy
Discover our food
Understand the concept
Better and cheaper than your favourite premium brand, compare now