Australian shepherds and apartments- terrible idea?
So, I've been really wanting to get a dog for a while and I think I'm in a place in my life I could take care of one. Is is absolute insanity to consider a miniature Australian shepherd in an apartment? I don't want a puppy. I've been looking at rescues and the like and would like to get one I could try agility with. I'm partial to the breed just because I've been around a few aussies that were/are really cool dogs.
I have several friends that have the "regular" ones, and they need a *ton* of exercise. Do you live near a dog park or other suitable place you could take a dog out to run? If no one on COTH has a mineature shepherd, you may want to consider contacting a breeder to get more information on the personality type. Even if you don't buy from a breeder, they may be able to help you figure out if that breed is suitable for your lifestyle.
Of all the aussies I've owned, I only had one who grew up in an apartment. in downtown St Louis. Well it was the top floor of a house which had been turned into apartments by its owner who had moved to one of the many cities surrounding St Louis.
Coze ate a stuffed chair. She was not hyperactive (I've only had one hyperactive aussie over the decades.) She torn down clothes out of the closet. And dug into plant containers. If I hadn't had a siamese kitten as well, and my boyfriend's english cocker in there, I'm sure she would have done a lot more.
And I had to walk Coze and the cocker and my kitten (who thought she was an aussie) since my boyfriend did not think animals needed all that walking. In St Louis. Back when we were mugged at 8am and noon. I never got mugged after I bought Coze. And we never got burglarized after we got the dogs. But midnight on the streets of downtown St Louis was spooky.
Was it worth it? Oh yes. Aussies are the best dogs ever. I'd do it all again if I had to. However, I did learn from that experience that a yard, like the one where I grew up and we had dogs, including my first aussie Boo, was the way to go. So after I left St Louis, I made sure Coze and my other aussies all had a fenced yard to play in.
Check out www.lasrocosa.com. All my aussies except Boo and Binkie have been las rocosa aussies. And buy the Hartnagle's books.
Correction: Boo and Ashley were my 2 aussies who were not Las Rocosa aussies. Binkie was Las Rocosa. And 3/4 sister to another of my aussies.
Last edited by cloudyandcallie; Jan. 1, 2013 at 06:18 AM.
The size of your house doesn't matter as much as how much you are home, if you work full time, and how active you are.
Exactly Except having room to run around the house will give your aussie some exercise during the day. And having other animals to play with while you are at work will help curb that puppy energy.. When you come home from work, be ready to walk or go to a park. And be ready to walk a puppy a lot, as they don't have as much control over their bladders when they are young. I have never crated a dog.
Once your aussie grows up, he or she will be lying up in bed with the air conditioning blasting during the day while you are at work. Oh yes, you must keep the AC running full blast for aussies.
If you're a runner, they are the BEST running partner ever. I had a knee injury that prevented me from continuing to run and we had to get another dog to keep the Aussie energy level manageable. He was happy being that energetic, but we have a farm and he could entertain himself outside all day long. However, without running every day with me, having another high energy dog around made him a LOT happier. He also LOVES the dog park. In fact, he got to the point when we were running that if he saw dogs in a chain link fence, he thought we were at the dog park and would go ballistic barking and jumping and acting like a lunatic because he thought he was going to play. He is also the smartest breathing creature (humans included) on our property.
In an apartment? Maybe...if you have a treadmill, a small herd of sheep, a tennis ball cannon, etc.
If you're honestly planning on taking it out and running it long and ragged 2x per day, every single day, then it could work.
If you tend to plan these things but then let it slide over a while, I'd suggest a different breed. The dog will be miserable and destroy your place and you will be miserable too.
Aussies are fantastic animals. However they definitely require hard work and engaging their minds every single day. They have the combo of high energy and extreme smarts. If both aren't given a chance to be exercised constantly...they use the energy and brain for evil. Or they develop neurotic behaviors.
There are a bunch of great agility dogs that are less work and have a better apartment temperament.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
I currently own a Aussie and they are great dogs. But that being said I have a farm with 11 acres and a big backyard for him. I don't let him roam the farm without supervision because he does slip under gates and goes in horse fields to explore and I have a horse in each field that would kill him. He is neutered and was done at a young age but still has the boy tendecies to roam.
They are a herding breed which means they like to have a job!! I am lucky in that he is a mix from a herding line on his mom's side and conformation line on dad's which gives him good energy without being "nuts". That being said he does get antsy if been kept in for weather(rain) and tries to herd the cats(much to their chagrin). But he can also be a couch potato in the summer.
If you were to get one I reccomend talking with a good breeder and telling them what your situation is so that maybe they could evaluate a lower level energy pup for you. I do however reccomend staying away from "minis" in this breed as the ones I have had contact with have been extremely high energy and to be honest are really not that great in that it is a fad and gets away from what these dogs standards are supposed to be.(not saying that they haven't been sweet dogs and I'm sure there are people out there who will disagree).
If you do get one I definitely reccomend starting training early with puppy class and basic obedience for socialization also this gives the pup a job right away. From there you could explore different options such as agility(which is what I do) or rally, or even herding if availible.
Apartment living is tough on most larger dogs but it can be done if you consider what that dogs needs-good luck in your search.
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."-Hunter S. Thompson
Mine are total couch potatoes in the house, so you'd be fine if you found one like them. They do love to run and play outside, and they get plenty of time for that with us, but they will also sleep all day if that is what we are up for on any given day. Mine have never had that frantic energy some people are describing - and mine have never, ever damaged anything in the house.
I have an Aussie and lived in an apartment for years with her. She's not a mini though. I do make a conscious effort to play with her, run or walk and throw the ball daily if we do not go to the barn. She did run around the apartment like a herd of buffalo reguraly dragging every toy she owned and insisted on being played with. My neighbors probably hated her. I find the minis to even be more hyper and active then the regular aussies. You can have one in an apartment but you have to exercise them for sure. They are fabulous pets though and I wouldnt trade my girl for nothing!
I think a "dud" aussie can work well in an apartment. I don't mean dud in a derogatory way. An aussie should have a lot of drive, work ethic, energy, etc. They are meant to go all day every day. However, I've met a handful of aussies that missed the drivey gene. They were fluffy precious couch potatoes who started to get bored and slow down after a mile walk and could be happy with 45 minutes of activity a day. If you can find an aussie "dud" then you might have a great match for an apartment. Then again, if you love aussies then you probably want a true aussie and the lack of drive and energy might not be appealing.
A standard aussie with a good work ethic would be difficult in an apartment unless you worked from home and were extremely active.
I housesit for two minis. I would not recommend them for an apartment. Even though the one lives on a farmette he does not get enough exercise and is just a total brat. He picks on the other two small dogs in the house and is on doggie Prozac.
At least every other time I housesit he nips at my leg trying to herd me and I have remind him that is not acceptable with me. He is really intense with playing fetch.
He almost got me hurt the last time I housesat because he was grabbing at the new horse's tail and nipping her hind legs while I was leading her. She almost came over top of me to get away. The owner has used a shock collar on him to make him stop herding the horses but it doesn't stick.
The other one I housesit is a female and a little less intense but she lives on 3.5 acres with a full size aussie and a Jack Russell. She also has her own agenda on life and will blow the owner off on a regular basis. She is active enough that I don't see her being happy in an apartment. I really like the full sized aussie and she is very obedient and laid back but she is more the exception than the norm with the ones I have met.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
Any dog can be kept in an apartment setting if sufficient exercise and mental stimulation is provided; in fact, a herding dog is probably going to be easier to keep in an apartment setting than many of the small terrier-types that are often suggested for such settings- herding dogs like to go do things with their owner, and then rest in between such outings, which works very well in an apartment setting; while terriers prefer to run busily around all day doing stuff on their own, which works well in a barn or farm setting but not so much in an apartment setting.
It doesn't really matter where you live- it's what you DO with the dog that matters. Many of the people I know who have fenced yards use the yards as an excuse to not-exercise their dogs, and as a consequence they have bored, badly behaved unhappy dogs vs. most of the people who live in places without fenced yards (such as apartments) actually realize they have to take their dog out for formal exercise, so their dogs are happier and better behaved. Of course the ideal is a fenced yard + taking the dog out for formal exercise, but it's not necessary.
With an aussie, mini or full sized it doesn't matter- the dog is going to need to be taken for a good hard exercise period at least twice a day, morning and evening, preferably more often; and the dog will need some kind of "work" to do to satisfy that herding instinct- advanced obedience, herding, agility, something.
I belonged to a full sized aussie for 14.5 years (rest in peace, sweet boy). We lived in different apartments for about half those years and he never had any trouble being destructive or hyperactive.
However, I had an office job during the day, and in the evening he would go to the barn with me and patrol the acreage, or go with me in the car running errands wherever I went. In short, he always had a "job". I think that's probably the key.
The only mini aussies I've ever met have been more hyper than the standard aussies I've known. Many of them have been quite mellow.
I second the suggestion to find an older rescue dog who is looking for someone to bond with.
I'm definitely biased, but I think they're the best dogs in the world.
aussies are very "split" right now- the more laid back ones come from the conformation lines, and they tend to be large. Traditional working aussies are smaller and have less coat than the conformation lines, and require much more exercise/work than conformation lines; minis were developed from the smaller working aussies. If you want an "aussie lite" don't look to the minis, in other words- just because they are smaller doesn't mean they require less exercise or work. In fact, a large conformation line aussie is more likely to be an "aussie lite" laid back type dog than is a mini.
I'd also suggest going to the rescues and look for an adult aussie that suits your particular lifestyle.