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5 Things to Know Before Bringing An Australian Shepherd Home

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A red merle Australian Shepherd puppy with a harness

Whether buying or adopting an Australian Shepherd, you must keep certain things in mind. Like most dogs, an Australian Shepherd needs plenty of time and space, patience, and understanding to adjust to a new home. For every dog, the first few days in their new environment are very important. 

Your new Australian Shepherd will get confused about where they are and what you expect of them. To ensure a seamless transition, it is recommended that you set up a framework for your dog. Prior to bringing your Australian Shepherd home, here are five things to know:

1. Research

In the United States, Australian Shepherds are among the top 15 most popular breeds. Aussies' popularity is unfortunately based largely on their gorgeous looks and smarts. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a new pet owner is selecting a dog solely based on its popularity or cuteness.

If you bring home an Australian Shepherd for its cute appearance, you may end up surrendering the dog because it is too energetic, dependent, or high-maintenance. If you are interested in the Aussie, get to know the breed. And if it doesn't match your capacity to care for it, be willing to change your mind. Ask the breeder or people who put the Aussie up for adoption plenty of questions. 

There are pet Aussie breeders and herding/working Aussie breeders. Unless you intend to use your dog for herding, don't get an Aussie from the working line. Generally, Australian Shepherds are a high-energy breed. However, working-bred Aussies tend to be more energetic than their pet-bred counterparts. Plus, they tend to possess stronger herding instincts.

Aussies are cute and intelligent and are deemed high-maintenance due to their extensive exercise requirements. Plus, they aren't always child-friendly, as most Aussies try to herd children by nipping at their heels. That is one of the reasons why early socialization and obedience training are a must for this breed. 

That said, make sure the Australian Shepherd breed reflects your personality and lifestyle. Then, based on your research, make a decision informedly.

2. Dog Proofing Your Home

Aussies are known for being curious. To keep your new dog safe, it is crucial to dog-proof your home. Dog-proofing your home involves getting out of the way or out of the house any items that can potentially choke or injure your dog. These items can, for example, be:
  • Medications
  • Laundry supplies
  • Electric cables
  • Children’s toys and games
  • Chemicals
  • House plants that may be poisonous
  • Sharp objects
  • Body lotions
  • Paper clips
  • Rubber bands
The place where your Australian Shepherd spends the majority of its life is going to be your house. So you must take precautions to make sure the environment is safe.

Aussie puppies are curious and full of energy, so you must be thorough when dog-proofing your home.  What one little Australian Shepherd can get into is incredible. By dog-proofing your home, you’re trying to keep your dog safe and prevent it from accessing harmful items.

3. Stock Up On Essential Australian Shepherd Supplies

Albeit Aussies are deemed high-maintenance, they can be easy to care for with the right supplies. Buy some essential items beforehand so that your Australian Shepherd can settle in nicely. Plus, you don't have to make too many trips to the shop. Every Aussie pup needs a crate, leash and collar, dog brush, food and water bowl, dog food, and a dog bed. These are just to give you ideas on what to stock up on before you bring home an Australian Shepherd.

4. Finding a Good Veterinarian

In addition to providing you with valuable information, a vet can help you in selecting the right dog. It is important to look for a veterinarian that best fits your and your dog's needs. In addition, it is crucial to make the right decision, as this will be a lifelong partnership. You can ask a fellow Australian Shepherd owner about vets they've had good experiences with.

5. Consider Neutering or Spaying Your Aussie

Spaying or neutering your dog is one of the best decisions you can make about their behavior and well-being. In most cases, aggression in male dogs decreases drastically with neutering. Still, your Australian Shepherd will be protective of you. Your female Australian Shepherd will also feel better. Spayed dogs no longer go into heat and are less likely to develop mammary and ovarian cancers. You can talk to your vet about the age at which you should spay or neuter your Australian Shepherd.

Final Thoughts

When you bring home an Aussie puppy, you'll find that your dog needs more than just food to thrive. Australian Shepherds also require continual love and attention. For both you and your new puppy, the first couple of months may be difficult. However, it will be well worth the effort in the long run. In those initial weeks, it is crucial to establish healthy behaviors as the foundation for your and your dog's happiness. If you've read this article, you might also be interested in reading my previous article about crate training your Australian Shepherd puppy.

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