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How Do I Keep My Australian Shepherd Busy?

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A blue merle Australian Shepherd playing in the water

Australian Shepherds are smart, energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise and stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Most Australian Shepherds tend to get easily bored and frustrated when they don't have enough activity to do. In other words, when they are not kept busy. A bored or frustrated Australian Shepherd is an aggressive or destructive Australian Shepherd. To avoid this, you need to channel your Aussie's energy through various physical activities.

Take your Australian Shepherd for long walks or runs daily

Australian Shepherds love accompanying their owners on long walks, runs, better yet, hikes. These high-energy, athletic dogs need at least 1 to 2 hours of exercise daily to stay happy. If you can't take your Aussie for long walks or runs daily, make sure you provide them with a large, fenced-in yard to run around in for at least two hours daily.

Teach your Aussie to catch houseflies

Most Aussies have strong levels of prey drive and instinctively love chasing and nipping at small moving objects. Flies trigger dogs' hunting instincts. So teaching your Australian Shepherd to chase and catch flies on command can be a form of entertainment and enrichment for them. Plus, it will keep them busy, as your Aussie won’t stop until they catch the fly.

Get your Aussie a herding ball

An Australian Shepherd playing with a herding ball

Designed specifically for dogs with strong herding instincts, a herding ball is a clever way to keep your Aussie busy, while simultaneously satisfying their herding instinct. In addition, it provides your dog with both physical and mental stimulation. It is advisable to introduce the ball to your Aussie in a controlled environment, such as a large, fenced yard or a dog park.

Keep your Australian Shepherd busy with a frozen treat

Most Australian Shepherds love peanut butter. As a result, I recommend mixing it with dog food and then filling a KONG Classic rubber toy with it. Then freeze it and give it to your Aussie. It will keep your Australian Shepherd busy for hours while they try to lick it all out. Additionally, it is a great way to keep your dog physically and mentally engaged while you're busy or away.

Get your Aussie an Automatic Ball Launcher

This is an interactive toy machine that lets your Australian Shepherd play fetch to their heart's content. Plus, it satisfies your Aussie's physical and mental exercise needs. The auto ball launcher effortlessly plays ball-picking games with your dog, providing them with hours of fun, although your supervision is recommended. Though these toys are definitely not cheap, the benefits they provide make them worthwhile.

Play Hide and Seek (with items) with your Aussie

Dogs like to sniff and explore and Australian Shepherds are no exception. So a game of hide and seek, with various items, can help satisfy this instinctual behavior. The game involves putting your Aussie in a separate room and then hiding their favorite toy or treats in accessible areas. Then let your Aussie out and tell them to, "Find the toy or treats!" You can also do this outside by simply spreading out your dog's food or snacks in your grass. This allows your Australian Shepherd to use their nose as nature intended. 

However, when you first introduce this game, you may have to give your Australian Shepherd hints before they eventually start finding all the hidden items on their own. Fortunately, Australian Shepherd's keen intelligence and biddability make them quick learners.

Give your Aussie jobs to do at home

Australian Shepherds were originally bred to perform specific jobs. As a result, some Aussies can become bored and resort to destructive behaviors when these instincts aren’t used. If you have an active Australian Shepherd at home, the best course is to give them "jobs" or "responsibilities" around the house. You can train your Australian Shepherd to:
  • Clean up their toys
  • Hold and carry things around the house
  • Close the door behind you
  • Do a parameter search of your home
  • Help load laundry into the machine
  • Throw garbage out
  • Fetch items for you
  • Turn on/off light
  • Deliver written notes to house members
As I mentioned before, Australian Shepherds are very smart and can be easily trained to perform various tasks around the house.


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