Adopting a dog, especially an Australian Shepherd, comes with a set number of challenges you will have to be prepared to handle, and even before you adopt one, you should understand some of these challenges to see if you are up to them.
Some of these challenges are rather easy to manage while others make the adventure of owning an Australian Shepherd a little complicated. Things like the Australian shepherd dog health issues, its temperament, how it handles other dogs and family members, as well as its diet and how you will have to handle its physical needs, will certainly play an important role in your experience.
That is why, in this article, we will teach you how to prepare for it, and some of the things you have to know about the Australian Shepherd breed so you can decide whether it is suitable for your lifestyle or not.
The Australian Shepherd’s Size and Coat
They are considered medium-sized dogs by the community and have long curly, straight, or wavy fur that can have different patterns and colors. Because of this, they do need spacious areas to live on, since they can get very anxious inside of tiny places, and their fur might become a problem in smaller areas.
Their fur might require some grooming as well since it is rather delicate. When bathing them, it is recommended to use products for sensitive skin since they can have skin-related complications if bathed too frequently.
Grooming by yourself might require an investment, but at times, it is better than relying on professionals as long as you take your time to learn how to do it, so consider that as well.
Physical Needs of the Shepherd
Shepherds are generally energetic and vigorous dogs. They like to move a lot and enjoy having things to do. It is very important for Shepherds to engage in regular physical activities, just because they can get mentally and physically ill if they don’t.
Without exercise, the chances of them suffering from overweight also increase, because they store so much unspent energy. Ideally, the owner of the Shepherd should be a person that is capable of training them and playing with them daily, at least 40 minutes per day. That is why it is better for families since the task can be divided among the members of the household.
They can eat dry and wet food just fine, but it would be wise to give them dry food often and wet food every now and then, just because dry food keeps their teeth and gums healthy. Of course, there’s also the fact that dry food is much more affordable, but make sure to pick a brand of good quality.
The Australian Shepherd’s Personality
They tend to be very friendly dogs with a lot of charisma and care for the people they love, and since they are capable of bonding relatively easily, they are great family-oriented dogs. They do require some attention, though, and without it, and without enough exercise, they can turn disastrous calamities that will bite your furniture and make messes around your house.
They are non-aggressive as long as they are not threatened and can get along with other animals just fine, so if you have another pet and you are worried about them having conflicts, you shouldn’t worry about that too much. Of course, take your other pet’s personality into consideration before making any decision.
Another important thing to note is that they are highly intelligent dogs that can be trained, so if you are interested in training them, you might want to check this article. The key to training a dog for the first time is both patience and empathy, so make sure to take things slowly.
Back in the day, Australian Shepherds were used to leading and protecting sheep and goats, thanks to their high intelligence and learning capabilities. Although they are not aggressive, they are brave and can face up challenges, and they are usually willing to risk themselves to protect their family and fulfill their duties, so this makes them great guards and service dogs.
How to Prepare for Adopting a Shepherd
Because Australian Shepherds do have specific needs and particular characteristics, as we previously showcased, you should be assessing your situation carefully…
How much time do you spend in your house and how much of this time can you dedicate to your dog? Do you live by yourself, or live with friends or family? Are you physically active and can handle exercising on a regular basis? Or are you leading a sedentary life? Is your house big enough for a medium-sized dog? Are you willing to learn how to groom, or will you rely on professional groomers instead?
You should be asking yourself all of these questions since they will come in handy. As long as you have an answer for them, making the choice of whether you should be adopting an Australian Shepherd or not, will be much easy to handle.
Now, if it is your first time adopting a dog, you might want to check this guide over here for some guidance on the matter: https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/pet-adoption-checklist/.
Ideally, you should at least get your hands on specific things to make your dog’s life much more comfortable and happier. Some of the things we recommend getting, at least in the beginning, are:
- Water and food bowls
- Dry and canned food
- A collar and a leash
- A dog tag
- A bed, if possible
- Nail clippers
- A brush or comb
- Absorbent paper towels