Yes, Australian Shepherds do like to cuddle with their owners. If this is a breed that you are considering buying or adopting, here is your guide to their loving behaviors and tendencies.
Are Australian Shepherds Affectionate?
On average, Australian Shepherds are a loving and loyal breed. They love being around people and nothing is more important to them than their family.
They will often follow people from one room to another. One of the easiest ways to keep your Australian Shepherd happy is to pet them and give them attention. These dogs don’t do well when they are left alone for hours on end.
That being said, each Australian Shepherd is a uniquely different dog. Therefore, their personality can vary quite a bit from one pooch to another. Some may love people and cuddling and others may want to be left alone.
In addition to their independent nature, you also have to consider early upbringing. This is especially important for adopted Australian Shepherds or ones in shelters.
In many ways, your dog’s personality can be shaped by how they were treated. If they were given love and attention, they will be happy, outgoing dogs who continue to crave such affection.
On the other hand, if they were abandoned or abused in any way, they may not seek any kind of comfort from humans. In fact, they may be nervous or even aggressive around people.
Different Ways Australian Shepherds Show Affection
Cuddling is a relative term when it comes to dogs, even Australian Shepherds. After all, they aren’t able to cuddle you in the strictest sense of the word. Not to mention, your Australian Shepherd may have numerous different ways to show you that they care.
Here are some of the top indications:
Following You Around
As mentioned, Australian Shepherds do have a tendency to follow you around when you are at home. It doesn’t matter how much you are moving around your pooch will be right there by your side. This is a form of affection.
It is your dog’s way of telling you that there is nowhere else that they would rather be than right next to you!
Rubbing Their Noses Against You
When your dog rubs their wet nose on you, this isn’t just them sniffing you out. It is a way of showing you that they love you. They may “sniff” you all over, but what they are really looking for is a positive reaction from you.
Therefore, you should make it a point to reciprocate with pets, cuddles, and plenty of compliments. This will show your pup that their love and affection is well-received.
Exposing Their Bellies
A dog’s stomach is the most vulnerable part of their body. This is why they will take measures to protect it from people or animals that they don’t know. Thus, if your pup chooses to expose his belly to you, then it is a sign of trust and affection.
Of course, your pooch is most likely rolling over because they would like their belly scratched. Make sure that you indulge them and pay attention to them when they are being vulnerable.
Sitting On You
If you have ever noticed that your dog uses you as a pillow, it is a good sign! It means that he or she has picked you as their human. Not only are they comfortable enough to be so near you, this is their way of showing you that they have specifically chosen you.
Bringing You Toys
Yes, dogs understand the concept of presents. This is why one of the ways they will show you affection is to bring you their toys or their favorite object. Of course, there may be no rhyme or reason to what your pup brings you, just appreciate the gesture.
Pet them and talk to them lovingly and show them just how much you are enjoying their present.
Understanding Your Dog’s Specific Behaviors
As mentioned, every Australian Shepherd is different. Due to this, it is only natural that their affectionate behavior can vary from one pup to another.
At the end of the day, you know your dog better than anyone else. Watch their behavior and you will figure out how they choose to show you that they love you or trust you.
Do Australian Shepherds Get Attached to One Person?
Yes, Australian Shepherds can get very attached to one person. This person can be considered their “favorite”. Your dog will often pay more attention to their favorite human, often following them around. They may also be more interested in playing and interacting with this individual than anyone else.
The idea of this favorite person can seem cute, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing. If your dog bonds to just one person, they may ignore the commands of other members of the family. In extreme cases, they may become aggressive towards these people.
There is also the fact that having just one favorite means that your dog is unduly dependent on that person. When they aren’t around they may feel anxious, depressed, or nervous. If they are gone for extended periods, they may act out negatively.
Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of situation that anyone wants. To ensure that this doesn’t happen with your pup, you can take the steps mentioned below.
How to Get Your Australian Shepherd to Bond with Many People
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure that the bonding experience is shared by all:
Have Everyone Take Turns Feeding Your Dog
Dogs will more readily bond with the person who feeds them – after all, this is a basic need and one that they can’t tackle by themselves. Therefore, make sure that everyone in the family takes turns feeding your pooch.
This is a habit that you should start particularly when your dog is young. This way, they will not associate food with just one person. Rather, they will understand that everyone in the family will be just as likely to feed them.
When your dog is older, it is fine to relegate this duty to just one person. Make sure to switch it up on a regular basis, though, or your pooch may begin to fixate on only that family member.
Everyone Should Be Involved in the Training Process
No one person should be involved in the training – this is something everyone should do. Keep the commands and the lessons the same, but everyone should alternate training sessions. Always use positive reinforcement during this period and don’t use punishment as a learning tool.
When everyone trains the dog, he or she learns to follow the commands of each person in the family. As such, they won’t just think of one person as the leader.
Everyone Should Have Equal Play Time
Your dog should learn to love being in the presence of everyone in the family. This means that everyone should engage in playtime. You can all play with your pooch together or swap out days. Either way, your pup should see everyone as being fun.
This includes giving them pets and attention as well. Australian Shepherds love attention so showing them that they are loved and wanted will guarantee to help you bond with them.
Are Australian Shepherds Clingy?
By nature, Australian Shepherds have a tendency to be shy. So, if they decide that you or another family member are their favorite person, this can cause clinginess. Once again, this isn’t good. It can cause separation anxiety or even aggression in your pup.
The best way to get your Australian Shepherd to stop feeling so shy is to begin socializing them at a young age.
From the time you bring them home, they should be introduced to as many people as possible. These people should be of all sizes, ages, and ethnicities. Have them wear various articles of clothing as well such as hats, glasses, scarves, etc.
When your pooch is fully vaccinated, it is time to introduce them to other dogs and animals. The more people your pup is exposed to, the less likely that they will revert back to clingy behavior when they are older and in a new environment.
Remember, it isn’t enough to just socialize your dog as a puppy. They should continue to meet people and dogs all throughout their life. This way, they will continue to see these as positive experiences.
How to Get Your Australian Shepherd to Be More Affectionate
What if your Australian Shepherd isn’t all that interested in cuddling? How can you get your dog to be more affectionate? Well, you could try the following tips and tricks:
Don’t Force Affection on Them
This is the most important thing to remember. If your Australian Shepherd doesn’t like to cuddle with you, you shouldn’t force your attention on them. This will only serve to make them more uncomfortable and to shy away from you.
Instead, wait for your dog to come to you. Or, if this doesn’t seem likely, you can interact with your pup. However, the moment that you notice that they are uncomfortable, stop. By respecting their boundaries, you may unwittingly make your pup more likely to spend time with you.
Build Up Their Trust
Australian Shepherds will only be truly affectionate with people that they trust. If your dog is adopted, if you have come back from a long trip, or if they have undergone recent trauma, then you have to build this trust back up.
It is important to do this slowly, over an extended period of time. Otherwise, you may cause your pup to regress.
In the beginning, it is as simple as being in the same space as them without getting too close. Once they have gotten used to having you around, you can begin to move closer. For instance, sit close to where they are laying or sleeping, but don’t make an attempt to touch them.
You can gradually build up to this. Don’t make eye contact with your pup right off the bat as this can be a form of intimidation. Instead, let them come to you and start nuzzling you before you do this.
After your pooch gets more used to you, take over duties such as feeding, playing, brushing, etc. Use lots of positive reinforcement so that it becomes an enjoyable activity for them.
Reward Them for Affection
When your dog begins to show you affection, it is important to reward even the smallest of actions. Even if they are just standing next to you or choose to sit beside you can use treats or playtime as a reward.
Get into the habit of doing this every time your dog shows any display of affection. They will then begin to associate these with positive feelings and memories.
Break Away Contact First
As odd as it sounds, when your dog does interact with you finally, always break away first. Of course, you should make sure to reciprocate the attention, but don’t let it go on for too long – certainly not until your pup is bored.
After a decent amount of time, move away first. In doing so, you will leave your pooch wanting more. Once again, this is all about creating a positive association with your dog. If you move away on a high note, they are going to want to seek out your attention more often.
Yes, Australian Shepherds certainly like to cuddle, but this behavior may not be true across the board. Your pup’s nature and their earlier experiences can often determine just how affectionate they may be. You should also be aware that your dog has their own way of showing love and affection as well, so make sure to watch out for this.
The good news is that you can train your pup to be more affectionate with you or other family members. It will take time, effort, and patience, but you should be able to win them over in the end.