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Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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The Australian Shepherd is a fantastic pet. These dogs are loving, affectionate, playful, and protective. The average Aussie loves being around humans and pleasing them. However, the downside to all this is the neediness of the Australian Shepherd. Can Australian Shepherds be left alone?

They are typical Velcro dogs that follow their owners at all times. So, if you’re thinking about getting an Aussie, prepare yourself to have a second shadow. However, there are times when you will eventually have to leave the house and leave the dog alone.

Can you do this? Let’s find out together.

Key Takeaway

  • Australian Shepherds, typically do not fare well when left alone for prolonged periods, with experts recommending not to leave them alone for more than 3-6 hours at a time due to their tendency to experience separation anxiety.
  • Crate training an Australian Shepherd involves gradually introducing the dog to the crate, feeding them inside it, starting to close the door, leaving for short periods, and extending the duration over time, while always ensuring the crate experience is positive and rewarding.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone

Experts recommend leaving the Australian Shepherd alone for one hour for every month of their age, but no longer than six hours.

These dogs thrive in human company. As such, they don’t do well when left alone and unattended. If left alone for a long time, this energetic dog gets bored. When jaded, the Aussie gets anxious, restless, and destructive.

When the Australian Shepherd gets bored, they tend to look for fun. This means running around the house, barking, or chewing and ruining household items. Aussies are overly active dogs that require both physical and mental stimulation.

These pups need to be exercised for at least two to three hours per day. And that’s not only letting them run in the yard. They need to be socialized and challenged with puzzle toys or other activities.

If you wear off your dog correctly, it will be easier to leave it alone. Although it will be sad and anxious, it won’t damage the home. Also, make sure you leave fresh water and bathroom access available anytime you leave the house.

Nobody wants a dog that will do its physiological needs on the carpet. However, if you plan to leave your Aussie alone, the most important thing you need to do is get a crate and train your dog to utilize it.

How To Crate Train an Australian Shepherd?

Even though very intelligent, the Aussie still needs to be crate-trained. Remember: do not rush, be patient, and give your dog time to adjust.

1. Choose the right size crate for your Australian Shepherd

The crate is the perfect spot for your dog to retreat and rest. Although Aussies don’t want to be alone, they still need a secret place for themselves. When choosing a container, the most important thing is the size.

For the regular-sized Australian Shepherd, a 42-inch crate will do perfectly. Miniature and Toy Aussies will typically require a smaller box. Also, make sure you opt for a sturdy, high-quality container. This is something you won’t buy many times, so make sure you get the right one.

2. Use positive reinforcement and treats

Use positive reinforcement to teach your Australian Shepherd to love its new crate. Also, you can use food rewards to bring your pup near to the crate. Next, throw in some treats in the box itself. Do not push the dog inside. It has to enter the container by itself.

3. Start with short sessions

Separation anxiety is a big issue for Australian Shepherds. Let the dog be by itself for a while. Disregard the whining and crying. However, do not leave the room. Remember, you are not trying to punish or scare the dog, but to make it easier to be alone. Slowly increase your pup’s daily time in the crate.

Remember, you shouldn’t leave your Australian Shepherd in a crate longer than eight hours at a time because they will need to go potty.

4. Make the crate comfortable and a safe place

Place a blanket and a toy in the box to make it more comfortable. When the Aussie starts enjoying it, you can leave it there for more extended periods.

So, the next time you plan to leave your Aussie alone, send it to its crate. It will ease the dog’s separation anxiety. However, if you plan to be outside for more than 6 hours, you better get a dog sitter.

The Best Crate For Australian Shepherds

The Best Crate For Australian Shepherds

There are two ways you can go about choosing the best crate for your Australian Shepherd. You can either buy a small crate for your puppy and then a large one once the Aussie is fully grown. Or, you can get a 42-inch crate which is the correct size for a fully grown Australian Shepherd, and use a divider to adjust the size as your puppy grows.

A crate is your Aussie’s home while you are at work. It is important that you choose the correct size. A too-large or too-small crate can only confuse your Australian Shepherd and cause discomfort. The thing is that you shouldn’t leave a lot of room for your dog to roam into the crate.

The size should be enough so it can fit and lay in the crate. If you get a larger crate without a divider, your puppy will start using the crate for potty.

The best crate for Australian Shepherds is made from Midwest Homes. It weighs 35 pounds and is made out of metal. The dimensions of the crate are 42 length x 28 width x 30 height inches. Plus, it has a divider that you can use to adjust the size of the crate for the best comfort.

Are Australian Shepherds Clingy?

The Australian Shepherd is a very clingy dog. Aussies belong to the group of Velcro dogs. These second shadows tend to be around their humans 24 hours a day. Your Aussie will be pleased if it goes with you everywhere.

Are you in the kitchen? Then, expect a wiggling tail to knock on the cabinets. Are you going outside? Even better. Two bright, intelligent eyes will follow every step you take.

Australian Shepherds are very active dogs. They come equipped with some serious stamina packages. These dogs are great companions for all kinds of activities, as long they’re with their humans. So, you can take your dog hiking, cycling, running, walking, or even swimming. The Aussie will do everything it takes to be with you. Isn’t this adorable?

However, an unattended and bored Australian Shepherd is a bad thing.

Misbehaving and destructiveness are expected when the Aussie is left alone for a longer period. The dog will get anxious and distressed says Spirit Dog Training. Therefore, there will be a lot of barking, whining, chewing furniture, and all other signs of disagreement. You can solve some of these issues with proper training and socialization. However, the Australian Shepherd will always want to be surrounded by people.

However, the Aussie is not the only dog that’s clingy. Other known Velcro dogs are the Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Golden Retrievers. All of these breeds are extremely popular and in high demand. So, as you see, clinginess is not a bad thing, after all.

Do Australian Shepherds Get Attached To One Person?

The Australian Shepherd attaches to one person. That’s a fact. Although these dogs get along with the entire family, the Aussie will always have one valid owner. This person will be a subject of adoration and endless love.

The Australian Shepherd will follow its favorite person everywhere and anytime. This may sound adorable for a person who lives alone. However, it might be frustrating for someone with a family.

Aussies need to be socialized in the early years. It will help with their aloofness with strangers, but it will also decrease the dog’s attachment to one person. The dog needs to get along and spend time with every family member. It might help with the attachment issue if everybody in the house pays equal attention to the Aussie. If the dog bonds with one person only, it will get upset and anxious when that special someone is not around.

Generally speaking, Australian shepherds do form close bonds with certain people in their families. They may be hesitant to warm up to newcomers, and may even act protective of their human “pack”. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t show affection to other members of the family.


Q: How long can Australian Shepherds be left alone?

A: While every dog is different, as a general guideline, it is not recommended to leave an Australian Shepherd alone for more than 4-6 hours at a time. They require mental stimulation and exercise, and leaving them alone for too long can lead to boredom, separation anxiety, and destructive behaviors.

Q: Can Australian Shepherds adjust to being left alone?

A: Australian Shepherds can adjust to being left alone to some extent, but it takes time and training. Gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them alone and providing them with engaging toys and activities can help them become more comfortable with being alone.

Q: Do Australian Shepherds suffer from separation anxiety?

A: Yes, Australian Shepherds are prone to developing separation anxiety. They form strong bonds with their owners and can become anxious and stressed when left alone for extended periods. This can manifest through destructive behavior, excessive barking, or even self-harm.

Q: How can I prevent separation anxiety in my Australian Shepherd?

A: To prevent separation anxiety, it is important to gradually get your Australian Shepherd used to being alone. Start with short periods of time and gradually increase it. Provide them with stimulating toys, create a comfortable and secure environment, and consider crate training them to help them feel safe when alone.

Q: Should I leave my Australian Shepherd in a crate when I’m not at home?

A: Crate training can be beneficial for Australian Shepherds, as it creates a safe and secure space for them. However, it should not be used as a long-term solution for keeping them confined when you’re away. They still need regular exercise and mental stimulation when not in the crate.

Q: What are some signs that my Australian Shepherd is not coping well with being left alone?

A: Signs that your Australian Shepherd may not be coping well with being left alone include excessive barking, destructive chewing, toileting in the house, pacing, drooling, or other signs of anxiety or stress. If you notice these behaviors, it’s important to address the issue and seek professional help if needed.

Q: Can I leave my Australian Shepherd alone if they have a companion?

A: Having a companion, such as another dog, can help alleviate some of the separation anxiety that Australian Shepherds may experience when left alone. However, it is still important to provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as well as gradually introducing periods of being alone.

Q: Can I hire a dog sitter or walker to look after my Australian Shepherd when I’m away?

A: Hiring a dog sitter or walker can be a great solution to provide companionship and exercise for your Australian Shepherd when you are away. Make sure to choose a reputable and trustworthy individual or service that has experience with the breed and can meet their needs.

Q: How can I ensure my Australian Shepherd is happy when I have to leave them alone?

A: To ensure your Australian Shepherd is happy when you have to leave them alone, provide them with plenty of exercise before you go, leave them with mentally stimulating toys or puzzles, create a comfortable and secure environment, and consider providing them with a companion if possible. Regular training and positive reinforcement can also help build their confidence and reduce anxiety.

In Conclusion

Even though the Australian Shepherds sound too hard to handle, they’re still adorable and worth every minute you spend with them. You will hardly find a dog that will be more loyal and affectionate towards you. These dogs are great with children and other animals too.

Also, your Aussie will always try to protect you. So, what if the dog wants to be with you at all times? Be lucky you’re its favorite person, and enjoy that status as much as you can.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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