The Miniature American Shepherd, or Mini American as they are affectionately called, is a versatile herding breed that originated in the United States. The Mini American is very similar to the Australian Shepherd, the breed that they were derived from, and can do anything that the Aussie can, just in a smaller package. The Mini American is a very high energy dog that does require a job to keep them happy and from becoming a nuisance barker. This breed does best with an active family that is willing to provide them with the proper training and exercise needed to keep them content.
A therapy dog is not the same as a service dog, even though a Miniature American Shepherd can excel at both, it is generally easier to train your dog to perform therapy work and you can earn titles through the American Kennel Club (AKC). Dogs can earn their first therapy dog title after just ten qualifying therapy visits. The Mini American is a very enthusiastic dog, but when trained properly, is an obedient dog. They are also intuitive dogs and will be able to provide a calming presence. Most therapy dogs will perform their work in nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, and schools. Being a smaller dog, the Mini American is not an overwhelming dog when they provide comfort to those in need. Therapy dogs generally work indoors; the weather is not usually an issue. It is of moderate expense to have your dog become a therapy dog; you will need to join a dog club and pay those dues as well as take your dog through a basic obedience class in addition to courses on therapy training.
The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding breed that is a natural born herder. If you have children, you may notice that your Mini American tries to herd them around the house or yard. Herding trials are an excellent way for your dog to use their abilities in a productive nature. The Mini American is able to move stock of all sizes despite their smaller size. They are easy to train because they are extremely intelligent. Inexperienced handlers may need to find a dog club that offers training classes. Some dog clubs will also offer mentorships for those just starting out. Herding trials will be held in any weather, however, mild weather without any rain or snow is best. It can be moderately expensive to compete in herding trials. You will need to have a leash, flat buckle collar, training whistle, and a five-foot bamboo or PVC pole.
Miniature American Shepherds usually enjoy water and many will enjoy learning to swim. If you have a pool in your backyard and do not mind having a group of dogs enjoying the coolness of the water, then a pool party is ideal for your Mini American. The cost of a pool party should be pretty cheap if you already have doggy life vests and other pool toys for the dogs to enjoy and be safe. You will also want to have bowls of fresh water available for the dogs to stay hydrated while swimming and offer small treats throughout the party. A hot, sunny day is ideal for your pool party, but some cloud coverage would not put a damper on the party.
Australian Shepherds love leaping off docks and landing into the water so of course, the Miniature American Shepherd, the Aussie’s “mini me” also finds it exhilarating to leap off a dock splashing into the water below. Dock diving is an ideal sport for your dog. During dock diving competitions, your Mini American will race down a dock and leap into the air after a toy, landing with a splash into a pool of water. Dock diving is a relatively easy activity to learn but it can be costly to participate as each dock diving event does have entry fees.
Trick training can be a fun and mentally challenging activity for your Miniature American Shepherd. They are smart dogs that love to perform tasks for their owner. Take a few minutes each day and work with your dog, teaching them fun and useful tricks such as shaking hands or picking up their toys. It is easy and free to teach trick training to your dog. Remember to give them plenty of praise and treats to keep your Mini American interested in performing tricks for you.
The Miniature American Shepherd is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd but does have the same energy level. They are an intelligent herding breed that has a strong need to complete a job each day or they will become bored with life. When a Mini American becomes bored, they will find things that can easily get them in trouble and they can become nuisance barkers. The Mini American does best in a home where they have a specific job or with a family that is active and includes their dog in those activities. Take some time to research different ways to keep your Mini American from becoming overly bored so they can be a well adjusted member of the family.