Activities For Australian Shepherds

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Introduction

The Australian Shepherd is a small to medium sized dog that has a cheerful, hard working, and affectionate personality. Their high intelligence level is what makes them paw-sitively amazing at their job; herding livestock! Now of course, the Aussie is talented at many other things as well besides herding, such as obedience, agility courses, and being a down right fantastic companion dog. The only thing that can get them into trouble from time to time is their high energy level that must be met in order to ward off any lurking destructive tendencies. If you are an Aussie owner, you know how important energy burning activities are for this breed and that's why we have gathered together a few great ideas for how you and your beloved furr-iend can spend the day destruction free!

101 Things to Do with a Box

Popular
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Any Day
Free
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Clicker
Box (any size)
Treats
Activity description
This is a great clicker game that can help your dog beat those boredom blues! If you are looking for a free, yet effective, activity to do with your dog that encourages the natural love of learning that Australian Shepherds (and many other breeds of dogs) tend to have. You only need a few props for this game and once you and your dog master it, there will always be a fun game to play on any kind of day.
Step
1
Get a box
The size or type of box does not matter at all when it comes to this game. All you need is a box that will fit your pet well, whether it's a cardboard box left over from moving or a storage bin that you have lying around the garage.
Step
2
Start small
The whole point of this game is to be creative. Begin by putting the box down on the floor. This will capture your dog's interest and the game begins. Whenever your dog does some kind of interaction with the box (no matter what it is) you can click and reward. Whether this is just looking at the box, taking a step towards the box, nudging it, and more, you can click and reward your pet with a yummy treat.
Step
3
Have fun with it
Your dog will slowly figure out that if they do something with the box, they are going to get a reward. This will encourage them to try out new things with the box in order to get a treat. They may hop into the box or simply look at it each time. Encourage your dog to try different interactions with the box if they just get stuck on one specific motion. This will help them to expand their minds and use creative thinking in order to get what they want.
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Frisbee

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
Frisbee (rubber, cloth, plastic)
Activity description
When it comes to an Australian Shepherd, you can't go wrong with a good game of Frisbee. Whether you want to train in order to enter competitions or if you just like watching your dog chase the disc around, Frisbee is an excellent way to burn off your dog's extra energy and spend some quality time with them. This is an activity that can be done outdoors or indoors, depending on the size of your home.
Step
1
Pick your Frisbee
There are many different kinds of Frisbees that vary in size and material. Some are made out of a soft and bendable rubber that makes a great chew toy for your dog. Then of course there is the classic, plastic Frisbee that can either be very small or quite large, and these are excellent for tossing around at the park where you don't need to worry about it (or anything else getting damaged). Then, there are the long distance Frisbees that have a large hole in the middle. For an Aussie, this may be a great choice as it goes a long distance (which will cause your dog to run farther for it). If the weather is bad and you need to play inside, softer Frisbees that don't go as far will be your best friend as throwing them won't break anything, yet your dog can still have a blast!
Step
2
Location, location
As mentioned above, where you decide to play with your dog will determine what type of Frisbee you may want to play with. Aussie's honestly do great in all types of weather, so if you aren't worried about getting a little wet or cold, you can even play Frisbee in the snow. But, sometimes it's nice to just play in the house without needing to drive anywhere. So just choose a location that works best for you and your pet, then get out there and play!
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Barn Hunt

Popular
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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Activity description
Barn hunt is an activity that was originally created for dogs there were used to hunt vermin, such as Terriers and Dachshunds. Over time, it slowly developed into a sport that can be for any breed of dog that has the desire to hunt down some critters. Responsible breeders wanted some way to test whether dogs that they were planning to breed had the desired traits that were specific to that breed (such as how Australian Shepherds are supposed to be very good at catching vermin above ground on farms). And so, barn hunt is used as a determinent for the breeders. Valuable information can be gathered through barn hunts about a dog's specific work drive, but even if you are not interested in breeding your dog, you can still earn a certification in barn hunting for your pet if they participate and perform very well.
Step
1
Training
The first step to any competitive performance is training. You and your dog will need to understand the rules of barn hunt and what you need to do in order to prepare for it. Rules can be found online and provide a great resource for those who want to partake in the event. It is important to understand the inner workings of barn hunt before entering your dog, so that your Aussie can have the best shot possible at performing well. Since this breed already has a natural inclination towards catching vermin, the most training needed will be listening to your commands in order for your dog to understand what to do next.
Step
2
Choose a method
The whole point of a barn hunt it to find live rats that are hiding inside tubes. So, to train for this, there are several different methods you can approach. 1) focus on your dogs agility, 2) use tubes with live rats inside hidden in the yard 3) use boxes with specific treats or goodies inside to encourage your dog to sniff them out. Each of these methods will improve your dog's overall ability when it comes to an actual barn hunt. Whichever you decide to do, you can learn more about the steps and processes of training your dog in the barn hunt on our site, in the training guides section.
Step
3
Find an event
Once you feel that your dog is ready to take part in an actual barn find event, it is time to locate the nearest event! There are a lot of great resources on Google. There are even calendars that break down all the barn hunt events that are happening with specific Barn Hunt Associations. All you need to do is pick one and sign up through a website, then you'll be good to go! You and your dog can bond through performing one of the activities your Aussie is best at; sniffing down and capturing intruding rodents.
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More Fun Ideas...

Clicker Training

Due to the Australian Shepherd's impressive intelligence level, training is typically quite easy; especially if you have lots of treats on hand! A clicker is an excellent tool to use with training as it helps to cue the dog once they perform a desired behavior. If you are just starting out with a puppy (or new Aussie) a great trick to begin with is "sit". All you need to do is have your clicker in one hand and a treat in the other. Capture your dog's attention with the treat and bring it near the nose. Move the treat over the head and back towards the tail, having your dog follow the scent of the treat. This should trigger a natural sitting action and once your dog's butt touches the ground, click and treat. Repeat this until your Aussie is sitting like a pro! Harder tricks can be performed as you wish (this breed is certainly clever enough to handle it).

Hiking

This activity is a great (and free) way to burn off your Aussie's pent up energy. All that is required is some dedication, water, hiking boots, and a plan. Once you have all that in place, simply grab your fluffy friend and hit the trail! You'll both be able to enjoy nature and move at your own pace while performing an excellent bonding activity.

Kongs

While a Kong may seem like a rather odd contraption, it is actually a brilliant toy that can keep your dog occupied for quite some time (hours even). Whether you just want to let the dog play with the rubber toy or you fill it with treats, there is no doubt that your Aussie will love getting their paws onto a Kong. There are tons of great recipes that you can try online for stuffing your Kong with healthy treats for your dog. You can even freeze them to make your dog an excellent summer treat that will keep them cool and occupied. These toys can be purchased on Amazon, at PetSmart, and other pet stores like it.

Conclusion

Although this is a small list of activities, the amount of things that you can do with your Australian Shepherd is endless! This breed absolutely loves to be on the move and whether it's hiking, biking, or playing fetch, the Aussie is definitely going to put their all into it. So let your imagination run wild and maybe teach your dog that trick you've been dreaming about, or perhaps even hit the streets and let that adorable face and sweet personality brings smiles to everyone you happen to meet. No matter what you decide to do, just be sure to give your Aussie plenty of chances to burn off all that stored up energy so that your dog can live a fulfilling and happy life.