Have you just got an Australian Shepherd puppy and want to find out how much exercise they need? Maybe you’re considering getting an Australian Shepherd and want to be prepared for when they arrive. Here’s everything you need to know about how much exercise Australian Shepherds need!
How Much Exercise Does An Australian Shepherd Need? Adult Australian Shepherds need at least 2 hours exercise a day. Bred as herding dogs, Australian Shepherds are known to be tireless workaholics, so it takes dedication and commitment to keep them properly exercised, both physically and mentally.
Read on to find out how much exercise an Australian Shepherd puppy needs, how much exercise a Senior Australian Shepherd needs, what problems can happen if you over or under exercise them, and what kinds of exercise keep them both physically and mentally stimulated!
Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years.
How Much Exercise Does An Australian Shepherd Puppy Need?
Australian Shepherd puppies need 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice daily.
So, a 4-month-old Australian Shepherd pup would be allowed 20 minutes of formal exercise, once or twice a day.
In addition to this, they’re allowed unlimited playtime sessions too! Play isn’t classed as a formal physical activity like leash walking is.
When your Australian Shepherd is a puppy, they’re going through a vital stage of growth and development.
Their bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still forming and strengthening. So, too much exercise could cause them severe problems as they age.
It can be tempting to let your Aussie puppy do more exercise than they should, but it’s crucial you don’t let them do too much.
Although they’ve got lots of energy and may want to do more, it’s best to gradually increase their activity level as they grow.
Once they’re fully grown and matured at around 12-18 months old, you can let them do much more exercise!
It’s essential your Australian Shepherd puppy is getting structured exercise out of the house alongside their playtime at home.
This gives them a chance to explore the outside world and socialize with other people and dogs too.
How Much Exercise Does An Adult Australian Shepherd Need?
Adult Australian Shepherds need at least 2 hours of daily exercise. They’re a very energetic breed with lots of stamina, so it’s important they’re getting plenty of exercise every day.
If your Aussie is physically fit, they’re likely to be able to do much more than the recommended 2 hours of exercise, so you’ll need to adjust this amount to suit your own dog’s needs.
Bred as herding dogs, Australian Shepherds are known to be tireless workaholics, so it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to keep them properly exercised, both physically and mentally.
Even when they’re adults, Australian Shepherds still love to play! So, they can play with toys as much as they like during the day.
However, try to avoid repetitive chase games, though, as these can be very addictive for your Aussie and put extra stress on their joints.
How Much Exercise Does A Senior Australian Shepherd Need?
Senior Australian Shepherds may naturally need less exercise than when they were adults.
However, if their fitness levels are still high and their mobility is good, many can keep up with the recommended 2 hours per day , just as they did before.
Take note if your Aussie seems to get tired more quickly than they did or if they seem stiff after exercising.
This would suggest they’re doing too much and need to take it easier!
he problem is, it’s likely your Australian Shepherd’s mind will still want to do more, even if their body is not up to it anymore.
However, you mustn’t stop exercising your Aussie altogether when they reach their senior years.
This can make their mobility deteriorate rapidly and impact their mental health.
Instead, adjust their exercise to better suit their current needs.
Try splitting their walks into shorter ones throughout the day, giving them time to rest in-between.
Or try swimming, which can help tire them out without putting too much strain on their joints.
What Happens If You Over Exercise Your Australian Shepherd?
These are the problems too much exercise can cause for Australian Shepherds:
This is especially common if your Australian Shepherd has been frequently over-exercised when they were a puppy.
The extra stress and pressure placed on their developing joints can cause joint conditions like Arthritis to develop from a younger age.
Damaged Muscles or Tendons
If you let your Australian Shepherd do excessive amounts of high-intensity exercise, they can easily damage their muscles, tendons or ligaments.
Cruciate ligament injuries are relatively common for Aussies if they repetitively jump up to catch a ball and land awkwardly.
This then needs surgery or extensive rest and rehabilitation to recover.
Australian Shepherds are one of several breeds who can suffer from exercise-induced collapse.
It’s a genetically inherited condition that causes exercise intolerance in otherwise healthy Aussies.
It’s especially common in hot or humid weather and if they’re doing intense or exciting exercise.
Thankfully, there’s a DNA test available to determine if your Australian Shepherd’s affected by this condition.
What Happens If You Under Exercise Your Australian Shepherd?
These are the problems too little exercise can cause for Australian Shepherds:
Because Australian Shepherds are such a high-energy breed, they can quickly develop behavior problems if they’re not getting enough exercise.
They might start barking, digging, chewing, howling or showing other destructive, obsessive or hyperactive behaviors.
Making sure your Aussie’s getting plenty of daily exercise is the best way to ensure these behaviors don’t become an issue for them.
Australian Shepherds can be greedy and can quickly gain weight if they’re not exercised enough.
Being overweight reduces your Aussie’s overall fitness levels and puts extra stress on their joints and organs.
This can make injuries and strains much more likely than if they’re a healthy weight.
Overweight Australian Shepherds are at a higher risk of developing health issues, so make sure they’re getting out to exercise daily!
What Kinds Of Exercise Do Australian Shepherds Enjoy?
Here are the kinds of exercises Australian Shepherds enjoy:
The simplest way to exercise your Australian Shepherd is to take them for a walk!
They’ve got lots of stamina, so they can walk for hours, even over tough terrain.
Chances are you’ll be tired before them!
Australian Shepherds love to run! They enjoy being off lead so they can explore at their own pace.
If you’re fit enough, you could try running with your Aussie to give you both a workout!
Many Australian Shepherds are naturally good swimmers.
It’s a great form of exercise for them because it doesn’t strain their bodies, yet it still gives them a good workout.
Naturally gifted livestock herders, Australian Shepherds are the perfect choice for herding.
Although they may not be herding cattle or sheep in a pet home, they’ll be sure to enjoy herding your other dogs or members of the family!
A combination of high intelligence, trainability and stamina make Australian Shepherds great at different dog sports.
They’ll enjoy agility, flyball, flying disk, rally, hoopers and many more if they’re trained how to do them correctly.
Australian Shepherds love to play fetch! It’s a great way to use up some of their energy quickly but be careful not to overdo it.
Try to avoid throwing the ball up into the air, as this can cause them to land awkwardly when they jump to catch it.
Parkour can be a great choice if you live in the city with your Australian Shepherd.
It makes use of your surroundings and encourages your Aussie to explore.
Get them weaving in and out of bollards in the street, walking along low walls or putting their front paws onto different things.
Mental stimulation is vital for Australian Shepherds of any age.
Activities such as puzzle toys, lickmats, snuffle mats, and searching for hidden treats, give your Aussie’s brain a much-needed workout and also gets their body moving too!
So there you have it! Adult Australian Shepherds need at least 2 hours exercise each day, and puppies should be limited until they’re fully grown. They’re an extremely energetic breed with lots of stamina and energy to burn. So encourage them to run around and give them lots of training and enrichment activities to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated.
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