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Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone (and for How Long)?

Australian Shepherds are intelligent, energetic, and friendly dogs. They need plenty of interaction. Leaving them alone for too long may cause them to be lonely. They may develop anxiety or behavioral issues. Some turn to destructive behaviors and barking.
Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone

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Ideally, you should never leave your Aussie alone for more than four hours. If you must, prepare your space and your dog to ensure safety. This breed is known to be working dogs, so leave them something to do to keep them busy while you’re away.

How Long Can You Leave an Australian Shepherd Alone?

Based on your Australian Shepherd’s age, consider the following guidelines when leaving them on their own:

  • Puppies: About two to three hours
  • Adult: About three to six hours
  • Senior: About two to five hours

Can You Leave an Australian Shepherd Alone for 8 Hours?

Leaving your Australian Shepherd alone for eight hours might be too long. They crave interaction and don’t cope well when isolated. It isn’t ideal, but it can be done. Give the following tips a try:

  • Ensure that they have an ample amount of exercise before you leave them.
  • Spend quality time with them when you are home.
  • Leave an adequate number of toys and games they can use to entertain themselves.
  • Establish a routine so your Aussie understands and knows what to expect.

Are Australian Shepherds Ok to Be Left Alone?

Australian Shepherds don’t do well in isolation. They may develop anxiety and behavioral issues when they’re frequently left alone. If you happen to leave your pet alone for too long and too often, it can lead to the following adverse side effects:

  • Boredom
  • Destructive Behavior
  • Isolation Distress
  • Loneliness
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Stress and Depression

Do Australian Shepherds Bark When Left Alone?

Australian Shepherds have been bred to herd. In the 1900s, they authoritatively boss around flocks of livestock. They excel in competitive sports such as Frisbee and flyball with a high prey drive. They crave constant exercise and challenging training to keep them going.

Without these activities to spend their energy, Shepherds will likely display negative behaviors. Among these are obsessive barking, anxiety, and aggression. They bark at strangers, loud noises, and other animals to eliminate all that excess energy.

The same thing happens when they are bored or isolated. Aussies are intensely loyal and affectionate with the members of their human families. Without people around, they will likely express themselves in vigorous barking.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone With Another Dog?

Australian Shepherds are great family pets. They get along well with children and other pets. Because they crave interaction, they usually prefer to have company. Whether it is their people or another dog, they mostly do better in having company.

Spending alone time at home with another dog can do them good. They will be kept busy playing and burning pent-up energy. Boredom, loneliness, and anxiety will likely be prevented. Similarly, barking, escape, and aggression will be held at bay.

How to Train an Australian Shepherd to Be Alone

Australian Shepherds are intelligent and can be trained to do many things. Hence, they can be conditioned to cope while spending time on their own.

It’s recommended to give training before putting them in the actual alone situation. Doing this will prevent them from developing unwanted behaviors and other issues. Put the following in place:

Designate a Dedicated Space That Your Aussie Can Go to When Home Alone.

Put your pet’s water, crate, blankets, and toys in this space. It will serve as your fur ball’s den, giving them a sense of safety and security while you’re gone.

Position this space away from outside noises and anything that may spook your dog. Ensure that your Shepherd is comfortable in this space.

Incorporate a Strenuous Exercise in Their Routine.

Give your Shepherd a good workout before taking off. At least an hour of more strenuous exercise would be good. Try brisk running or playing fetch. These offer a great way to release their energy while bonding with them.

Having spent the energy, your dog will not have as much to engage in destructive behaviors while you’re away. They will tend to be content to relax for a few hours on their own.

Train Your Dog to Play on Their Own.

Get interactive toys, games, and puzzles that your Aussie can learn to play with. When you have to take off, leave these behind to occupy them.

Toys and games will serve as a distraction to your Shepherds until you come back. Ensure to choose the engaging ones they like and can play by themselves.

Puzzles keep your dog mentally stimulated. If these can be equipped with treats after your pup solves them, even better. Your pet will likely be more eager to engage with them.

Do Australian Shepherds Have Separation Anxiety?

Australian Shepherds love to be around their human families. They can get very attached to their owners and lonely when left alone. They are prone to suffer from separation anxiety. Coping with isolation is not their best asset.

Separation anxiety is a distress response of dogs when separated from their people. It also affects different dogs to varying degrees. Numerous factors can contribute to the development of this condition.

Lack of training and traumatic experiences can influence the onset of separation anxiety. Around 7 to 28 percent of companion dogs experience it to some degree.

Here are signs and specific examples to look out for if you suspect your Aussie might be suffering from separation anxiety:

  • Behavioral Depression: Lack of appetite, shaking, drooling, pacing, hiding, or panting
  • Destructive Behaviors: Breaking doors, windows, and other owner’s possessions, probably in attempts to escape
  • Toileting Accidents: Urinating or defecating indoors when they have been house-trained
  • Loud Vocalizations: Barking, whining, or howling
  • Self-Injurious Behaviors: Self-inflicted wounds from excessive licking

These signs may be observed within 30 minutes of their owners leaving the house.

Do Australian Shepherds Grow Out Of Separation Anxiety?

Not all cases of separation anxiety are the same. Each will have its individualities. Some are extreme cases that will be difficult to resolve on their own. Australian Shepherds with mild separation anxiety may outgrow it with minimal tweaks in their routine.

Essentially, keep in mind that punishment is never part of the solution. Separation anxiety is a serious medical condition. Your Aussie is far from just being stubborn and misbehaved. Seek the help of experts. Talk to the veterinarian and the professional trainers.

Based on your dog’s case, the professionals will help you to identify suitable approaches to discourage unwanted behaviors. They will offer you treatment options that suit you and your dog. Remember that most successful cases are achieved with proper training.

How Do You Train an Australian Shepherd With Separation Anxiety?

Instilling confidence and independence in your dog may prevent and overcome separation anxiety. Do this by initially leaving the house for a brief period. Gradually increase the length of time you are gone as your pet tolerates. Doing this teaches your furball that you always come back.

Never make a big deal when you leave. Instead, make a grand entrance when you return. Shower your Australian Shepherd with hugs, cuddles, and praises each time you return. This experience shows your dog that there’s something to look forward to each time you take off.

Train your pet to engage in solitary play. Interactive puzzle toys and treat-dispensing balls help build their confidence. It makes them believe that spending time alone can be fun and rewarding. Leave these types of toys with them when you go out. It can be a form of reward when you spend time apart.

For Aussies that respond well to crates, leaving them in their crates is a safe option. Since most dogs are denning animals, they will feel safe there.

Otherwise, you need to set up another safe space. Choose a small room without access to hazards such as electrical cords, plugins, etc. Throw in some blankets, a bed, water, and toys. This can be their alone den.

If your Aussie’s anxiety is severe, take baby steps. Practice being apart at small distances. If it is closing the door that makes them anxious, go outside and close the door. Your dog may start barking. Wait it out. As soon as the vocalizations stop, go back inside. Praise your Shepherd and give it a treat.

You can also try to change the value of your actions. If your Australian Shepherd has associated your keys with you going out, pick up your keys without leaving the house. Repeat this several times a day until your furball stops being anxious about it.

If you feel like you have tried everything to no avail, it’s time to consult a professional. Talk to your veterinarian to help you make the right treatment plan for your dog.

Although there are drug options for separation anxiety, they don’t usually work alone. Training is essential and, in most cases, enough.