So you are either looking to getting an Australian Shepherd or have one and want to know how much am I going to have to keep them occupied and running around. Well it really can be a lot of fun exercising them with certain activities and you can make those activities as productive as you want even picking up their own toys.
So how much exercise does an Australian Shepherd Need?
Australian Shepherds should be highly active and getting higher intensity exercise around 30-60 minutes a day. That can be broken up into blocks or all at once. Outside of that most Aussies will adapt to their owners level of activity. This is why a lot of people have two Australian Shepherds instead of one to keep themselves active.
Now if you can’t get the 2 hours in everyday does that mean your Aussie is going to get overweight or be a bad dog? Of course not most people honestly don’t have the time in this day and age to get 2 hours into exercising a dog especially year around. What about those winter months when it is below freezing or even zero degrees outside?
Well we will show you some easy tactics and ways to keep your Aussie busy below along with some Real Aussie Owners chiming in with their opinions on this matter.
Simple Easy Exercises For Your Australian Shepherd
So we love our Aussies but we don’t want you to take our word for it. We have gone out and gotten information from Real Australian Shepherds.
Here’s what these Aussie Owners had to say about exercising and training their Australian Shepherd:
Real Owners Opinions
1. PatsFanBoston “Break up the two hours into different activities” – So, to summarize, you are proposing two (2) 30-minute jogs
per day, one (1) hour of fetch or Frisbee per day, one (1) hour-long walk, and two (2) hours of obedience training per normal weekday, plus
more active weekends?
First of all, how much hands-on interaction do you have with your current dog (the retriever)?
Secondly, a two hour chunk of obedience training is not likely to go well. Dogs do best when they have shorter training sessions sprinkled
throughout the day; the ASPCA recommends keeping training sessions to 15 minutes (Training Your Dog | ASPCA).
Depending on the age of the dog, one total hour of fast-paced jogging plus one hour of fetch/Frisbee, a one-hour walk (in addition to other
potty walks), and a couple of obedience sessions throughout the day with an additional lengthy (more than an hour) fetch/frisbee game in
the evening (in lieu of the hugely long training session) should be adequate, especially if you change things up — swap out one of the
fetch/frisbee games for a challenging hike or bicycling with the dog running alongside every once in a while, teach indoor games like “find it”
or hide and seek and mix those in, etc.
If you are intending to get an Australian Shepherd puppy, be advised first of all that young puppies (ask your vet what age they think is OK to
start!!!!) should not be jogging partners. Additionally, puppies have intense bursts of energy, so the puppy may seem to be worn out after one
activity and might even fall asleep as soon as you get home, but 1-2 hours later s/he’ll be back up and rearin’ to go.
It sounds like you lead an active lifestyle. I’d just recommend doing a trial run of your exercise/training plans either with your retriever (if
she is healthy enough) or by yourself to see whether you’ll be able to handle that level of activity seven days a week.
It’s also good that you plan to give your dog a job. I’d recommend planning to train him/her to do things like bring you the mail, close the
fridge door, etc. — herding dogs LOVE to have a job and it keeps their minds busy.
Finally, be aware that having access to a yard does not mean a dog will play in the yard. In fact, most dogs, left to their own devices, will not
do much of anything in a yard.
And just one last consideration – you could foster an Australian shepherd for a rescue group to get a better idea of the breed and its needs
without a permanent commitment, although fostering is still a commitment (and can last anywhere from a few weeks to over a year).
2. Dashdog “Wear them down mentally as well as physically” – Having had a Border collie X cattle dog and a border collie X
springer spaniel I can say once you have taught it obedience and some tricks you can use them to your advantage to mentally stimulate the
dog as that does wear them out faster then just exercise alone. I am talking about when you go walking or are playing something like fetch do
lots of ‘drills” where you give a command as you walk or play . I would put the dog on a stay toss her ball release her tell her to spin then
release her to go get the ball and when she got near the ball ask for a sit or a down with perhaps a rollover then get the ball. On walks as we
were walking I would suddenly ask for a sit, a down maybe a spin or some other trick walk some more then ask for something else over and
over on the walks. If we were out where there were things to jump over I would have them jump over them, trees on their side or low stone
walls became dog walks to walk across.Mine did agility so we used things we found on walks as makeshift agility equipment.My dogs came
home TIRED if I just played fetch or just walked they never came home as tired. Mental stimulation is very important . I do live in a condo
that has a fenced patio that they have a dog door too, I do work 3- 12 hr night shifts a week and I do have several dog parks and off leash
beaches and even off leash wilderness areas near by. I never had a problems with those two yes I had them at the same time so they had each
other, my neighbors never complained about any barking, they never destroyed my house or belongings ( after puppy hood that is as the
cattle dog mix was a puppy that loved to get into things and chew books). They were healthy happy dogs so I am sure if you really make a
commitment that you can do well with an Aussie just look for one that is not working stock as it may be more laid back. I know several that
are not the hyper non stop dogs that they can be and one even belongs to someone that is not that active.
I also agree dogs do much better with training when it is short and fun, make a game out of training and keep it all positive. If your golden is
obedience trained use it to help train the dog . Mine had a favorite game that we often played with my parents two dogs . I would have them
all standing in front of me and give a command the first dog to do it got a treat and the others would be watching so then the next command
they would all be much quicker and yet only the first one got the treat .Because the cattle dog mix was quicker and smarter she often won so
to keep interest I would every now and then give each dogs its own command then a treat kept them interested. They all seemed to love to
play the game.
3. DogMomDeb “Taking for multiple walks should be enough” – Back in the day before the internet and abundance of books on the
subject, I raised an Aussie in an apartment. She got 1 walk in the am, another at lunchtime (it was a bit of a drive back and forth work to
home to do it) and then a final one in the evening. I only had two episodes of extreme boredom leading to destructive chewing (a cushion on
a couch was destroyed and she ate the head off a decoy duck phone – it was a gift albeit an odd one) but otherwise no problems.
All in all I managed to wear her out (tired dog = good dog) with walks and interactive play time. I think you should be ok. For the 2nd Aussie
(this one a rescue double Merle – deaf and mostly blind) I got her interactive toys like kongs and the puzzle ones that you can put treats in for
when I was gone. They are a very smart breed and love a challenge. Be prepared though if you have kids – they love to herd.
There is some good information there from people that have lived in apartments to those with agility training. So you can make this as simple or complex as you want.
Taking for walks your Aussie will love that and you can also work on training them in something like agility if you want to. We have an article that goes over getting started with your shepherd with some easy/cheap training here.
Toys can be an option they even have a stand that automatically throws balls for you and your Australian Shepherd can bring back and drop it in the stand to have it throw again crazy.
So with the right tools it makes it more possible in these busy times to keep your dog happy. Of course you can always go with the option to get another dog, but that doesn’t always work especially if they are at different ages and different sexes.
Walking was mentioned and working out a routine for that walking is a great way to stick to it.
How Long Should I Walk My Australian Shepherd?
You should take your Aussie for a walk of around 60 minutes if possible as this will help them get their daily dose of exercise in. Even 30 minutes is great. Best case would be something like a 15 minute walk to a dog park, play there for 30 minutes, then 15 minute walk back to wind down a bit.
Walking your Australian Shepherd is a time for you two to bond and maybe even bond with other people and dogs. We live on a back road here so we take our dogs for walks on the road with leashes and in the trails without leashes so they can get that sense of freedom.
We also have neighbors that we walk other breeds of dogs with helps them to get out of their comfort zone and socialize a bit.
How Do I keep My Australian Shepherd Busy?
There are numerous ways to keep your Australian Shepherd Busy but we will hit on a few easy ones then go into depth with them as well.
- Long Walks
- Playing Fetch
- Chew Toy
- Agility Training
- Dog Park
1. Long Walks – if you are taking your Aussie for a walk make it at least 30 minutes if possible and keep moving the whole time they will enjoy it more as it gives them a reason when moving in a direction. Jogs and running they will enjoy even more as it gets there heart rate going and attention even more.
2. Playing Fetch – using a frisbee or ball or even a stick will work. Throw it out there and help persuade them go come back and drop it with some healthy treats. You can also get them to fetch multiple balls at once and bring them back one at a time. This will help get their exercise in quicker. Of course you can also get an automatic thrower for the balls where the Aussie fetches and drops in it for it to be automatically thrown again. So you can sit back with a glass of wine or beer after a long day in the back yard while your Aussie is getting their exercise in.
3. Chew Toys – chew toys are great for the teeth and all dogs do need them. It helps with tartar and tooth decay. We have had problems with our older female Toy Aussie as she has an underbite so she had to have some teeth pulled. So let them chew on toys as much as they can. You can also teach your Aussie to pick up their toys when they are done using healthy treats you can read about it here.
4. Agility Training – you can start very simple with a agility training with just a hula hoop and have your dog jump through it of course you will have to perform the jump first to show them how it is done. You can also just have them jumping off of things into water or jumping over sticks. This action you will want to wait until they are over a year old.
5. Dog Park – if you live in an apartment this is the perfect place to get your dogs exercising in. Hopefully the fence is over 4 feet tall to keep your Australian Shepherd in so I would start with a leash until they get used to the other dogs. Most Australian Shepherds have great temperaments with dogs. Just watch out for them around a group of puppies they will herd them right up lol.
How Much Exercise Does An Australian Shepherd Puppy Need?
When Aussies are puppies pretty much anything goes for activity levels. They will be eating and moving or sleeping all day long in short bursts. Just make sure they are moving around on the ground and not jumping up and down off things or falling off objects as this can hurt them causing injuries and problems with their bones at a young age.
Just them let run around in the house or outside in an enclosed yard. Keep them well fed and watered and they will be just fine. If they do fall or hurt themselves it is more likely they will heal quickly, but feel free to give your vet a quick call to ask their opinion that is what they are there for.
Our oldest female Aussie was running around like a maniac when she was a pup and ran into a parked bike and hurt her front shoulder pretty bad or at least it seemed. So we called the vet they said to watch her close for a couple days if still bad then bring her in. So we did and miraculously she healed quickly so they can act like they are more hurt then they are.
How Much Exercise Does A Toy Australian Shepherd Need?
Toy Australian Shepherds need about the same exercise as regular sized Australian Shepherds so at least 30-60 minutes a day. With Toys however you can do this in less space of course. If you have a small backyard get out there and throw them small tennis balls around or take them for a nice long walk they will love you for it.
You can also get Toy Aussies going with agility training as well. Just need to keep the jumps a little lower, but again you don’t need as big of a setup as you do with regular sized Australian Shepherds.
So getting 30-60 minutes of exercise in a day for your Australian Shepherd can be as easy as taking a nice long walk to playing fetch with them for 30 minutes.
We would highly suggest you break that hour up if possible to some training as well. But you can get some automatic toy launchers or use a frisbee once they get going they won’t want to stop until they are completely exhausted as well.
You don’t need much space to do this either. If they have to be leashed taking a walk is fine maybe try to increase that walk to a jog sometimes and even a nice short sprint.
Doing some interval training is a great workout for both you and your dog to get into or keep in shape. Plus interval training you can do in less time.