Last Updated on August 3, 2021
Australian Shepherds are very active dogs that were bred to work hard and all day long. If you are not using your Australian Shepherd for herding, you’ll need to be willing to give them lots of exercise on a daily basis.
Australian Shepherds need between 1-2 hours of exercise daily according to The Kennel Club.
Keep in mind that this amount of exercise is recommended for a healthy, adult dog. Puppies and geriatric dogs will require different amounts of exercise and different activities to stay healthy. Australian Shepherds are considered geriatric or senior dogs around the age of 7. You will still need to keep them active, but the amount of exercise will decrease at this age.
When owners fail to provide their Australian Shepherd with the proper physical and mental stimulation, they get restless and agitated. This quickly leads to destructive behaviour that is difficult to handle.
There are several ways to keep your Australian Shepherd active.
Daily walks are a wonderful way to exercise your Australian Shepherd. Not only does it provide physical activity, your dog will be mentally stimulated by the sights, smells and sounds along the way. Ideally, daily walks should be at least be between 45 minutes to an hour. You can break this up into multiple walks if that is easier for your schedule.
Off-leash walking is ideal if you have a safe area to do this and your dog has good recall training. This gives your Australian Shepherd the ability to run, turn, jump and play. Try to take your walks at the same time each day, if possible. All dogs appreciate routine and your dog will start to look forward to the daily walk.
Other Exercise Ideas
Australian Shepherds are very intelligent, so incorporating fun activities will help stimulate them mentally. Look for activities that burn lots of energy in short periods of time and use those mental skills. As a herding dog, Australian Shepherds thrive in high-intensity games and strength training activities.
Many Australian Shepherds love herding balls. They are designed for herding dogs and cater to their natural herding instinct and let them burn off energy. Herding breeds are bred to chase and control moving objects (sheep, cattle and other livestock). These herding balls give your Australian Shepherd something to chase and control. This will reduce their desire to herd things they aren’t supposed to.
Frisbee requires a bit more skill, coordination, and timing than catching a ball. If your dog has not played with a frisbee before, slowly introduce the concept and you’ll be surprised how quickly they advance. You’ll want to start by rolling the frisbee on the ground and letting them grab it, then progress to low throws, building to higher and further throws. This is a fantastic energy burner for your dog and great if you are feeling a bit low on energy yourself.
Set up a simple obstacle course in the backyard. Include physical and mental obstacles for your Australian Shepherd. Some dogs really enjoy agility and can be quite skilled with practice.