Finding yourself needing to leave the house longer than before? If so, you may be wondering if your Australian Shepherd can cope. Well, here is your guide to how long you can leave your dog alone as well as a few tricks you can try to help them relax during this time.
Can You Leave Australian Shepherds Alone?
This breed is incredibly people-oriented and will bond with their human family quickly. Many people will take note of how Australian Shepherds seem to happily follow them from one room to another, just so that they can be near their humans.
Due to this, Australian Shepherds don’t do well alone. If you are someone who works long hours or has to be away from home for an extended period of time, then this isn’t the breed for you. These dogs are happiest when they have people around them for most of the day.
Do Australian Shepherds Have Separation Anxiety?
Yes, Australian Shepherds can develop separation anxiety if you aren’t careful. This has to do with the fact that they form deep bonds with their humans. So, if you aren’t nearby they may act out, become nervous, or even be aggressive towards others.
Fortunately, this can be avoided by socializing your dog at a young age. This allows them to be comfortable around other besides you and your family.
At the same time, it is a good idea to get your pooch used to you being away from the house for short periods of time. This way, when you do go away when they are older, they will not react negatively.
How Long Can You Leave Australian Shepherds Alone For?
If you train your Australian Shepherd properly, you can leave them alone for a few hours. On average, it is best not to leave them unsupervised for longer than 4 to 6 hours at a time.
This can depend on various factors such as age, personality, and health.
Minimize Alone Time for Puppies and Senior Dogs
When it comes to Australian Shepherd puppies, you shouldn’t leave them alone for too long. When they are younger than 6 months, don’t leave them alone for more than one hour per month of their age.
This isn’t so much do with loneliness as their bladders. As puppies have smaller bladders, they can’t hold their urine for as long and will relieve themselves indoors if you aren’t there to let them out.
With older dogs, the same rules may apply. Your pooch may lose bladder control as they age and may relieve themselves during shorter intervals.
Of course, in this case it isn’t easy to know the exact interval. If you monitor your dog, you can figure out the maximum amount of time that they can wait without being left out.
Hyper or Bonded Dogs Will Not Do Well Alone
If your pooch is a bundle of energy – as most Australian Shepherds are – there is a chance that they will only last a few hours by themselves.
After this, they will work out their excess energy by being destructive and leaving your home in shambles.
There are also some dogs that are naturally closer to their humans than others. They may end up feeling anxious or lonely after only a short period of time.
Sick Dogs Need More Supervision
If your dog is ill, they need more supervision than usual. This is true for passing illnesses as well as chronic medical conditions.
Under these circumstances, you will need to monitor your pooch and make sure that they aren’t taking a turn for the worse. You will also have to check that they are given their medication on time.
How to Prepare Your Australian Shepherd for Long Stretches
Naturally, there will be times that you need to leave your dog by themselves for extended periods. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try to ensure that your dog isn’t negatively affected:
Tire Them Out Beforehand
Try to get a good workout in before you have to leave the house. Exercise your dog for at least an hour before you take off.
While a nice, long walk will do, opt for something a bit more strenuous if possible. Try a brisk run and alternate it with some play. Fetch and Frisbee is a great way to tire out your pooch while engaging with them at the same time.
The benefit of this is that your dog will not have as much energy to engage in destructive behaviors when they are left alone.
What’s more, if your dog has gotten their daily recommended amount of exercise, they will be satisfied and happy to relax for a few hours.
Let Your Dog Roam Free
You should never restrict your dog to just one room of the house. It is a good idea to let them roam a bit as this gives them something to do while they are away. What’s more, having this freedom will be less anxiety inducing.
If there are some rooms that you want to keep your dog away from, lock these. Want them to avoid a certain area instead? Then, set up a doggy gate that they can’t get over.
In case you have a puppy, then letting them roam free really isn’t a good idea. They may accidentally hurt themselves or eat something that they shouldn’t.
If you want to avoid this, consider setting up a doggy pen in an area of the house where there is plenty of space. This way, they have plenty of room to move around, but are still safeguarded.
Use Toys and Interactive Puzzles to Occupy Them
Toys can help your dog to stay distracted until you come back. Look for ones that are engaging, but that they can also play with by themselves.
It is a good idea to train your dog to play with certain toys by themselves. This way, when they are alone, they can still keep themselves occupied.
Interactive food puzzles are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated as well. Even better, they come equipped with treats at the end, which will make your dog more eager to engage with them.
Another thing to try is food puzzles that can be frozen or stuffed with frozen doggy treats. This requires a bit more work and effort on your dog’s part and they will not be able to finish off the treat as quickly. Due to this, they will be occupied for longer.
Consider a Pet Camera
Pet cams are a new breed of dog toy. These allow you to see your dog and there are models that allow you to speak to your pooch as well. The more sophisticated ones will even give you the option of giving your dog a treat.
It is important to figure out whether these cams work for your dog or not. Some dogs may be comforted by the sound of their owners while they are away. Others may get more upset and you could just end up aggravating the situation.
Due to this, it is a good idea to test out the pet cam when you are away from the house for a short period of time. This will let you know how your dog responds.
Even if it is a positive response, remember to train them to get used to the pet cam rather than suddenly springing it on them while you are away.
What to Do If You Have to Be Away for Long Periods Frequently?
There are limits to how much control you have over your daily schedule. You may suddenly need to work longer hours or have to spend a greater amount of time away from home. What should you do then?
Well, the simplest option would be to have a family member, friend, or neighbor look in on your dog every few hours. It isn’t enough for them to just check on your pup, a little attention and even some exercise will serve them better.
Another option is to hire a pet sitter or dog walker. This can help to break up the time from when you have left home to when you return.
Remember to always get your dog used to the person who will be visiting your home ahead of time. This way, you can cut down on any anxiety or confusion.
You may want to check out doggy daycares as well. This way, you can guarantee that your dog is always surrounded by people and animals. Due to this, they won’t miss you as much and you don’t have to worry about leaving them alone for extended periods of time.
Once again, this solution may not be right for all dogs. Your pooch will need to be well-socialized and enjoy hanging out with other dogs and people for this to work.
Australian Shepherds can’t be left alone for too long. Fortunately, if the need arises, there are some tricks and tips you can use to ensure that your pooch is comfortable with the situation.