Tips For Caring For Your Australian Shepherd

We’ve had two Australian shepherds. These dogs are meant to be working dogs, though they make excellent pets as well.  So, if you want your dog to work, it is important to start training immediately, or have a qualified trainer do it for you.

Living Quarters

Our Australian shepherds preferred living outdoors. We have always lived out in the country so having running room was not a problem. However, they need comfortable housing where they can get out of the sun in the summer and stay warm in the winter, so if you cannot put their doghouse (or kennel) under a tree, you will need to provide covering to get you dog out of the weather or an insulated dog house.

You will also need to provide so sort of bedding, whether it be a weatherproof dog mattress or straw or wood chips. If you use the straw or wood chips, they will need to be replaced often as it gets matted with mud and dirt and stray hair. A mattress will need to be cleaned periodically also. The bedding, regardless of the type can become infested with fleas and ticks, so you will need to spray the area with a quality flea and tick control product following manufacturer’s instructions as to frequency and when to let your pet back into the area.

Provide plenty of clean water and food at all times. If the food gets wet from rain or snow, change the food out with fresh. Empty the wet food where your dog will not get to it later. Wet, moldy food can make your dog ill.

Special Considerations

Australian shepherds are long-haired dogs. Should you decide yours will live inside your home or will be riding in your vehicle, you should be prepared to clean a lot of hair out of the furniture (even if they are trained not to get on the furniture).

Their hair mats up because of the rapid growth and the undercoat and they get itchy, which is a good reason to groom them and wash them often. Using a good flea and tick preventative is necessary not just for their protection, but yours as the hair hides pests.

Start getting them used to being brushed as soon as you get him and trim his coat in the summertime. Our first one would let us brush him and trim his hair so he wasn’t so hot in the summer, but our second one for some reason would not have anything to do with either brushing or trimming his hair and I often had to get him slightly sedated to trim his hair. He had a heat stroke because he would not let me groom him. After his heat stroke, he went mostly blind and deaf so the grooming and habitat are vital.

Get your dog regular check-ups and keep their shots up to date. As they age, they develop joint stiffness so plan accordingly with your vet for medications.

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