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Many people love the idea of adding an australian shepherd to their family but are concerned about whether they’re high maintenance or not.
On the surface australian shepherds look like they’d bring so much happiness to a home, but are they high maintenance?
Are Australian Shepherds High Maintenance:
When it comes to what’s considered bare minimum care requirements for a dog, australian shepherds would be considered high maintenance. They’re a high energy breed that requires a lot of exercise, grooming, mental stimulation and attention. If they don’t get their needs met they can become destructive.
In this post you’ll discover:
- 5 reasons why australian shepherds would be considered high maintenance
- How they compare to other dogs in terms of maintenance
- What’s required when taking care of an australian shepherd (to ensure they don’t develop bad habits)
- And much, much more
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Are Considered High Maintenance
1) Grooming Needs
Just like all other double coated breeds, australian shepherds shed year-round with higher than usual shedding happening twice a year when the seasons change.
This means that they require regular brushing (at least once a week, several times a week is more ideal) to prevent mats and tangles from forming in their fur.
As well as preventing your home from becoming one big fur ball.
Additionally, australian shepherds require occasional baths (every 2-3 months) to keep their coat clean and healthy.
They’ll also need their nails clipped at least once a month and teeth brushed a few times a week (daily is best) to ensure they don’t get any oral health issues.
While this may sound like a lot, it’s pretty standard for most dogs.
So it makes australian shepherds appear high maintenance to someone not used to living with a dog but normal maintenance for someone who’s used to a dog’s grooming needs.
2) Physical And Mental Stimulation
Australian shepherds are high energy dogs that require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become destructive (chewing on furniture, digging holes in the yard, etc.) or start developing behavior issues (such as barking incessantly, jumping on people, etc.).
This is not to say that all australian shepherds require hours of exercise every day, but they do need a good amount of exercise (at least 60 minutes per day) and plenty of opportunities for mental stimulation (such as interactive toys, puzzles, training, etc.).
When it comes to an australian shepherd’s physical and mental stimulation needs, they’re definitely more high maintenance than other breeds.
Related Reading: 12 Best Harnesses For Australian Shepherds
3) Attention Needs
Australian Shepherds are bred to work alongside their humans and as such, they thrive on human interaction and attention.
This means that they don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time and can become anxious or destructive if not given enough attention.
For this reason, australian shepherds aren’t recommended for people who work long hours or travel often.
They can be, however, great for people who are home most of the day and will enjoy spending time with their dog.
Paired with their stimulation needs, australian shepherds can be quite demanding when it comes to getting attention which can make them higher maintenance.
Related Reading: Are Australian Shepherds Dramatic? Reasons Why + Tips
4) Training And Socialization
Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs that require a lot of training and socialization from a young age to ensure they grow up into well-behaved adults.
This means if you’re not willing or able to put in the time and effort needed to train and socialize them, an australian shepherd may not be the right breed for you.
While all dogs need some training and socialization, australian shepherds require more of it than most other breeds which makes them high maintenance.
Not in the sense that they take a long time to learn new tricks or behaviors, but because they need frequent tasks/jobs/challenges to keep them from developing destructive habits.
5) Health Needs
Australian shepherds, while aren’t known for having many serious health conditions, still have a few problems that are more common with the breed.
Things like hip & elbow dysplasia, eye problems, epilepsy, tumors or cancers, and autoimmune conditions.
Many, if not all, of these can be avoided with a good diet and plenty of exercise.
So when it comes to an australian shepherd’s health needs, they aren’t as high maintenance as other breeds who have common, known health conditions.
Like brachycephalic breeds for example.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Are Good Dogs + Tips
Taking Care Of An Australian Shepherd
Grooming Your Australian Shepherd
Brushing your australian shepherd on a regular basis is essential to keeping their coat healthy and free of mats.
Not only does brushing help keep their coat neat and tidy, it helps you collect any dead/loose fur before it finds its way all over your home and spreads their natural skin oils.
This keeps their skin and coat healthy and prevents excessive shedding from unhealthy skin.
Daily brushing is great for their coat as well as your relationship with them as it’s adding bonding time each day.
If daily brushing isn’t realistic for you, making sure you brush them at least a few times each week can help keep their shedding under control.
While this might make australian shepherds seem high maintenance it’s what’s necessary to maintain a double coated doggo.
Bathing an australian shepherd isn’t necessary very often, but should be done when they start to get a little too stinky or if they get covered in something sticky or dirty.
How often you need to bathe them will depend on their activities and how much dirt/grass they’re rolling around in.
But generally once every 2-3 months is a good rule of thumb.
This way you can stay on top of their smells and ensure you don’t have any times when your aussie smells too bad throughout the year.
Again, this might seem high maintenance to some people, but it’s what helps keep their coat healthy and free from bacteria and fungus.
Related Reading: 12 Best Shampoos For Australian Shepherds: Top-Tier List
Brushing Your Australian Shepherd’s Teeth
Just like brushing your own teeth, it’s important to brush your australian shepherd’s teeth on a regular basis.
Dental disease is one of the most common health problems in dogs and can lead to all sorts of other health problems down the line without an oral care routine.
Recent studies have found that roughly 90% of all dogs will develop some form of periodontal disease by the age of 2!
Simply because they don’t receive daily/frequent oral care from their owner.
A good way to help prevent dental disease in your aussie is to brush their teeth at least once a day.
This can be done with a toothbrush and water or special dog toothpaste.
If you’re not able to brush their teeth every day, try brushing them at least a few times each week.
Along with brushing their teeth, you can also give them dental chews and treats to keep their mouth clean in between brushings.
Keep Your Aussie’s Ears Clean
Just like their teeth, it’s important to keep your australian shepherd’s ears clean and free from bacteria and fungus.
A buildup of wax and dirt in their ears can lead to infection, pain, and hearing loss if not treated.
To prevent this from happening you should be cleaning your aussie’s ears on a regular basis.
This can be done with a cotton ball and some gentle ear cleaner or just warm water.
If your dog is resistant to you cleaning their ears, try doing it when they’re sleeping or have them stand in the bathtub so you can easily clean them.
Clipping Your Australian Shepherd’s Nails
Just like people’s will, australian shepherd’s nails tend to grow quite long if not trimmed on a regular basis.
If you let their nails get too long they can start to curve and grow into the pads of their feet, which is both painful and can cause them to walk abnormally.
To avoid this it’s important to clip their nails on a regular basis (roughly once a month), which can be done with nail clippers designed for dogs.
Many people complain about how fidgety their aussie becomes when trimming their nails but if you get them used to it while they’re a pup it makes it that much easier as they get older.
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, most groomers or veterinarians will be able to do it for you.
Exercise & Play
An australian shepherd’s exercise and playtime requirements are one of their more high maintenance traits.
They need plenty of physical activity every day otherwise they’ll develop bad habits and likely bug you a lot for attention.
Ideally, they should get at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day.
This can be a combination of walks, runs, fetch, and playing in the park.
If you don’t have enough time to devote one hour to your dog’s exercise needs, try breaking it up into several shorter sessions throughout the day.
Training & Socialization
Training and socialization are another high maintenance requirement for australian shepherds.
They need to be constantly learning new things and meeting new people/dogs if they’re going to be happy, well-adjusted members of your family.
Their herding background can make them more protective than other breeds which is why socialization when they’re young is super important.
They also need plenty of jobs and tasks to be mentally healthy because they’re a breed that’s used to always performing a job/task.
Addressing Separation Anxiety
Another high maintenance trait of australian shepherds is their propensity for separation anxiety.
This means that they can become very anxious and destructive when left alone for extended periods of time.
To help avoid this you can crate train them while giving them plenty of structure/routine if their day-to-day environment changes abruptly.
For example, if you moved to a new home, a new person is living in your home full time, or if a loved one recently passed away.
Provide Proper Nutrition
Thankfully, australian shepherds aren’t a breed that’s known for having a sensitive stomach.
Which means they shouldn’t have many problems with their kibble.
Your aussie should always get 90% of their daily calorie intake from their dog food and only 10% from treats.
This will help keep them healthy and limit health complications that come from too much variety in their diet.
Overall, australian shepherds would definitely be considered a high maintenance breed.
They need plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, grooming and training in order to be happy and well-adjusted.
If you can provide all of these things for them then they’ll be loyal companions for life.
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