Need Tips For An Extremely Active Australian Shepherd

by Drew
(Wisconsin)


One year ago my wife and I adopted an Australian Shepherd and named him Ace. We did quite a bit of research on the breed, and had a fairly good understanding of their behavior and need for exercise and engagement. This didn't seem overly daunting because we are dog people and enjoy spending time with them and also being outside exercising with them. Ace will turn one in three days and we have seen very little progress in his behavior and ability to curb his energy levels.

He gets a minimum of two hours a day exercise, and sometimes up to 3 hours. This consists of runs/walks, rollerblading, bike riding, and dog park—usually a combination of those things every day. We have tried frisbee and fetch with him as these come recommended, but he usually loses interest within a few minutes of playing. He also has been enrolled in several doggy day cares, but has gotten kennel cough twice, and in the winter months (when they are not outside), he always come home smelling like urine from rolling in the mats that the dogs openly pee on.

We have a fairly large kitchen, and he is currently penned inside when he is not outside. He has destroyed just about everything in the kitchen from the dining room table to the window sills, to the drywall on the walls. If we try and put a doggy bed down for him, he will destroy that too. If we leave anything inadvertently in the kitchen on the counter or on the floor, you guessed it, he will destroy it. He still exhibits this behavior after getting 7-10 miles of exercise, 2 or 3 times a day. When we let him into the main part of the house, he is an absolute wrecking ball. He knocks over lamps, shelves, plants, gets into EVERYTHING, and never calms down. We've tried letting him be in the house and we will follow him and correct him, sometimes for hours, and he never calms down. My wife and I joke that he has two speeds—tornado or sleep.

The kicker to the whole situation is that my wife is now 7 months pregnant and I don't know where we are going to afford more time in our day to cater to Ace after the baby comes. We love him, and we hope that as he grows out of this puppy phase so he may become the loving family dog we were hoping for.

Any thoughts on tips to help, or when you've noticed your Aussie mellow out a little would be greatly appreciated. We love him and are willing to try anything, we don't want to give up on him!

Comments for Need Tips For An Extremely Active Australian Shepherd

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Farm?
by: Anonymous

Do you guys live on a farm and/or have fenced in backyard. If no, then I would suggest you find a farmer with livestock that he could help run in the daytime. Another idea would be to get him to a pond or lake where he could swim. Swimming expends a lot of energy, if he will swim. A standard Aussie has an unlimited supply of energy. That’s why I prefer the Miniatures. Also, I had one similar to yours that had only one testicle that had descended, and he never got tired. We have 10 acres and a pond, and he would run and then swim 20 minutes nonstop at a time and still be wild and full of energy. If your dog has not been neutered, then as much as I hate for him, if he is that uncontrollable, then I would consider the neutering option. He may get jealous when the baby comes and become even more destructive. Hope something suggested here will help.

Too Active Aussie
by: Anonymous

Have you considered taking him to obedience school where she will learn manners and some self-control? It sounds like he might need a job (agility training) something to challenge his brain, along with the exercise. Have you tried crate training, he appears to be to destructive to be left out of a crate. Mine are crated until they become trustworthy dogs. Good luck

Engage the brain
by: Anonymous

I’ve been there with my Aussie. He’s 5yrs and still active but not destructively so. Aussies are also smart dogs so you need to engage the brain as well as the body to truly wear them out. Puzzle games, sniff mats, teaching them tricks all do the job. With mine, I would run with him or exercise him, then when he was worn down physically it was easier to get his attention mentally to teach tricks, etc. I also recommend the crate training since it also removes the external enticements and allows for them to be "off duty" and relax a bit. If he’s locked into anxiety/destructive mode and you can’t get him out of it, talk to your vet about calming treats to see if it helps with the training and exercise.

Hope some of that helps.

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