Aussies and Australian Shepherd puppies are very high energy dogs, which means they need a lot of stimulation to help keep them out of trouble. Here is my list of top 5 toys that will help tire them out, while ensuring their health and happiness (and your sanity).
1. YOU. That’s right. If you’re not prepared to devote yourself to your Aussie in the same way that she will devote herself to you, then you’re not ready for an Aussie. If you think I’m joking, please ask anyone who does Aussie Rescue work what is the #1 reason for relinquishment. Let me spare you the suspense–an owner who isn’t prepared for the high level of attachment and energy.
2. Another dog or puppy. As pack animals, dogs benefit from the company of another dog. If you’re not able to spend most of the day at home with your Aussie, please do consider adding another dog. In this instance, giving your Aussie dog company will actually make your life easier and your Aussie’s life substantially better. Aussies don’t do well alone for long stretches. They are called Velcro dogs for a reason.
3. Something to herd–yes, like sheep, goats, ducks, etc. But not kids. While they will be happy to herd kids if left to their own devices, this should absolutely be discouraged. A herding nip is considered a bite by the law.
4. An activity that lets them run, like agility, fly ball, or jogging with you. Aussies are built for stamina and love to go, go, go. As the saying goes, a tired Aussie is a happy Aussie.
5. Jobs around the house would be considered play for an Aussie. Train your dog to help with chores and not only will your Australian Shepherd benefit by having her mind challenged, but you’ll benefit from having a trusty helper. One of Kiera’s favorite jobs was to be guardian of the gardens, keeping all would-be thieves away. But, if truth be told, she was really just ensuring that nothing got to her beloved peas before she could scarf them down!
You were expecting a list of chew toys, Frisbees, balls and such?
Okay, so Kongs make good chew toys and they are very useful for teething, and a soft Frisbee can help you exercise a dog while you mostly get to stay stationary. But after a friend’s dog died from choking on a tennis ball, I won’t let balls anywhere near my dogs.
But, if that’s as far as you’re thinking, then probably an Aussie wouldn’t really be a good fit for you. These living beings really only care about their family of living beings. Inanimate objects can work as temporary distractions, but in the long run, they won’t cut it.
Once your Aussie properly finishes training you, you won’t be capable of offering less than yourself. That’s the ultimate Aussie magic. And there’s nothing else like it.
*Be mindful that Australian Shepherd puppies should not be engaged in any strenuous or prolonged athletic activities until their bone growth finishes–after about a year. Check with your vet to get clearance for your puppy before beginning agility, fly ball, distance running, etc.