Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone? Follow THIS

So, you’re thinking about getting an Australian Shepherd, or maybe you already have one. Either way, you’re probably wondering how your Aussie will handle being alone. After all, life gets busy, and sometimes leaving your dog at home is unavoidable. But can Australian Shepherds be left alone without turning your house into a disaster zone or suffering from separation anxiety?

Australian Shepherds are smart, energetic, and incredibly loyal—traits that make them fantastic companions but also raise questions about how they cope with solitude. In this article, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about leaving your Aussie alone, from the general guidelines to the nitty-gritty details.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?

Australian Shepherds can be left alone for moderate periods of time, but they do not do well when left alone for long stretches on a regular basis. How long isn’t one-size-fits-all; it varies depending on their age and other factors. Let’s break it down.

For Australian Shepherd Puppies

Puppies are like toddlers; they need constant attention and care.

Puppy Age Matters

If your Australian Shepherd is still a puppy, around 2 to 3 months old, it’s best to not leave them alone for more than an hour or two. Their tiny bladders can’t hold on for long, and they’re still in the crucial phase of socialization and training.

Crate Training

Consider crate training your puppy if you absolutely have to step out. This can be a safe space for them and can also help with housebreaking. Just make sure the crate isn’t too big or too small, and that there are some toys to keep them occupied.

For Adult Australian Shepherds

Adult Aussies are a bit more independent, but that doesn’t mean they love being alone.

Alone Time Duration

Generally, an adult Australian Shepherd can be left alone for about 3 to 6 hours. They’re usually okay with this timeframe, especially if they’ve had some good exercise beforehand.

Exercise Before Leaving

A tired Aussie is a happy Aussie. Make sure to engage in some playtime or a brisk walk before you leave. This will help them rest while you’re away and lessen any anxiety they might feel.

For Senior Australian Shepherds

Older dogs have different needs, and yes, they can be left alone, but there are some things to consider.

Health Considerations

Senior Australian Shepherds might have health issues like arthritis or incontinence that require more frequent attention. Generally, they shouldn’t be left alone for more than 2 to 5 hours.

Comfort is Key

Make sure their resting area is comfortable. Older dogs often appreciate a softer surface to lie on and might need more frequent access to water.

Factors Affecting the Time Australian Shepherds Can Be Left Alone

We’ve talked about the general rules, but let’s get real—every dog is unique. Here are some other things that can affect how long your Aussie is comfortable being alone.


We touched on this a bit, but let’s go into more detail.

Puppyhood to Adulthood

Younger Australian Shepherds, especially puppies, have a lot of energy and need more attention. As they grow into adults, their tolerance for being alone gradually increases. But remember, even as adults, they’re a breed that loves company.

The Golden Years

Senior Aussies, on the other hand, may be more comfortable being alone, but they also might need special care. Always consider any health issues or mobility limitations when planning your time away.

Training Level

Training plays a big role in how well your Aussie will handle alone time.

Basic Commands and House Rules

If your dog knows basic commands like “stay” and “quiet,” and understands house rules, you’ll likely have an easier time leaving them alone. Training helps them understand what’s expected, which can reduce anxiety for both of you.

Advanced Training

Some Aussies even enjoy puzzle toys that engage their brains. If you’ve trained your dog to use these, it can make alone time more enjoyable for them.

Individual Personality

Last but not least, your dog’s own personality plays a huge role.

Social Butterflies vs. Lone Wolves

Some Australian Shepherds are social butterflies who get anxious when alone, while others are more independent. Knowing your dog’s personality can help you gauge how they’ll handle solitude.

Signs of Stress or Anxiety

Keep an eye out for signs of stress or anxiety when you return home. Excessive barking, chewing, or even accidents can be signs your Aussie didn’t enjoy their alone time. If you notice these behaviors, you might want to consider other options like a dog sitter or daycare.

The Risks of Leaving Australian Shepherds Alone

Leaving your Aussie alone isn’t just about counting the hours; there are some risks involved that you should be aware of. Let’s dig into those.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common issue among Australian Shepherds.

Recognizing the Signs

If your dog starts pacing, whining, or barking the moment you pick up your keys, they might be struggling with separation anxiety. Other signs include excessive drooling or attempts to escape.

Coping Mechanisms

Interactive toys or a piece of clothing with your scent can sometimes help ease their anxiety. Some pet owners also find that leaving the TV or radio on can provide some comfort to their dogs.

Destructive Behavior

A bored or anxious Aussie can become a destructive one.

Common Targets

Furniture, shoes, and even walls can become the target of your dog’s pent-up energy or anxiety. If you come home to a mess, it’s a sign that your dog needs more mental or physical stimulation.

Preventive Measures

Consider dog-proofing the area where your Aussie will spend time alone. Provide toys that challenge them mentally and physically. A treat-dispensing toy can keep them busy for hours.

Physical Health Concerns

Your dog’s physical well-being can also be at risk if left alone for too long.

Bathroom Breaks

Aussies, like all dogs, need regular bathroom breaks. Holding it in for too long can lead to urinary tract infections or other health issues.

Food and Water

Make sure fresh water is available, and if you’re going to be gone for an extended period, ensure they have access to their food. Automatic feeders can be a good solution for this.

Precautions to Take Before Leaving Your Aussie Alone

Before you head out the door, there are some steps you can take to make your Aussie’s alone time safer and more comfortable. Let’s go over those.

Proper Training

Training is more than just teaching tricks; it’s about setting your dog up for success when you’re not around.

Basic Obedience

Commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” are not just for show. They can help your dog navigate situations when you’re not there to guide them.

Crate Training

A crate can serve as a safe haven for your Aussie when you’re away. Make it a cozy space with a blanket and a toy, and your dog will start to associate it with comfort rather than isolation.

Creating a Safe Environment

Your home should be a safe space for your Aussie, especially when they’re alone.

Remove Hazards

Make sure there are no electrical cords, sharp objects, or small items that your dog could swallow. A quick sweep of the area can prevent a lot of potential problems.

Secure Outdoor Spaces

If you have a yard where your Aussie can roam, make sure it’s secure. Check for any gaps in the fence and ensure that the gate latches properly.

Mental and Physical Stimulation

Keeping your Aussie’s brain and body active is important, especially when you’re not there to entertain them.

Toys and Puzzles

Interactive toys can keep your Aussie engaged. Treat-dispensing toys or puzzle feeders are great for this.

Exercise Before You Leave

A quick game of fetch or a brisk walk can tire your Aussie out, making them more likely to rest while you’re gone.

How to Make Your Australian Shepherd Less Lonely

Being alone can be tough on your Aussie, but there are ways to make it easier for them. Here’s how you can help your dog feel less lonely when you’re away.

Hiring a Dog Walking Company

Sometimes a little company and a walk can make all the difference for your Aussie.

Finding the Right Fit

Not all dog walking services are created equal. Look for a company or individual who is insured, and check reviews or ask for recommendations.

Frequency and Duration

Depending on how long you’ll be away, you might opt for a single 30-minute walk or multiple visits throughout the day. Tailor the service to fit your dog’s needs.

Doggy Daycare

Daycare isn’t just for kids; it’s a great option for social dogs too.

What to Look For

Choose a daycare that has experience with Australian Shepherds or similar breeds. Make sure they have plenty of space to run around and that they separate dogs based on size and temperament.

Trial Run

Before committing, do a trial day to see how your Aussie reacts. If they come home happy and tired, it’s a good sign.

Getting a Second Dog

Another dog can provide companionship, but it’s a big decision.


If you’re considering this option, think about your Aussie’s personality. Are they social or more of a lone wolf? Choose a second dog that complements their temperament.

Financial and Time Commitment

Remember, another dog means double the responsibility. Make sure you’re prepared for the additional time and financial commitment.

Certainly, let’s discuss how different living conditions can impact your Australian Shepherd’s experience when left alone.

Living Conditions

Your living situation can greatly influence how well your Australian Shepherd adapts to spending time alone. Whether you’re in an apartment or a house with a yard, there are things to consider.

Living in an Apartment

Apartment living comes with its own set of challenges for dog owners.

Space Constraints

Australian Shepherds are active dogs, so if you’re in an apartment, you’ll need to get creative with exercise. Indoor fetch or tug-of-war games can help burn off some energy.

Noise Levels

Aussies can be vocal, especially when they’re bored or anxious. If you live in an apartment, this could be a concern for your neighbors. Training your dog to be quiet on command can help mitigate this issue.

Living in a House with a Yard

Having a yard can be a game-changer for an Australian Shepherd owner.

Fenced-In Freedom

A secure fence allows your Aussie to roam freely, which can be a great way for them to burn off energy when you’re not around. Just make sure the fence is high enough and secure to prevent any escape attempts.

Outdoor Entertainment

Consider adding some outdoor toys or an agility course to keep your Aussie engaged. A digging pit or a water feature can also add some extra fun for your dog.

What to Do If You Work Full-Time

Working full-time doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy and well-adjusted Australian Shepherd. It just means you’ll need to plan a bit more. Here are some options to consider.

Work from Home Options

The pandemic has made remote work more common, and that’s good news for pet owners.

Flexibility in Scheduling

If your job allows for it, try to arrange your schedule so you can take short breaks to play with or walk your Aussie. These breaks are not just good for your dog; they’re good for you too.

Creating a Pet-Friendly Workspace

Set up a cozy corner near your workspace where your Aussie can nap or play. This way, they’ll feel close to you even when you’re busy.

Friends or Family Check-ins

If working from home isn’t an option, having someone check in on your Aussie is the next best thing.

Trusted Contacts

Ask a friend or family member who is familiar with your dog to stop by for a quick walk or play session. Make sure this person knows your dog’s routine and any commands you use.

Setting Up a Schedule

Try to coordinate these visits around the times your Aussie would typically be most active. For instance, a midday visit could break up the day nicely and help stave off boredom for your pet.

Alternative Solutions

When traditional methods aren’t enough or you’re looking for an extra layer of reassurance, technology can come to the rescue. Here are some tech-savvy options to consider.

Pet Cameras

Pet cameras have become increasingly popular for pet owners who spend time away from home. There are various models available, from simple video feeds to cameras that allow you to interact with your pet. Some even let you dispense treats or have two-way audio so you can talk to your Aussie.

Having a pet camera can offer peace of mind, allowing you to check in on your dog throughout the day. It’s also a great way to monitor any potential destructive behavior or signs of distress.

Sound-Activated Dog Training Collars

These collars can be a useful tool for managing excessive barking. Sound-activated collars emit a sound, vibration, or a mild shock as a deterrent when your dog barks. The idea is to associate barking with an unpleasant experience.

If you’re considering this option, consult with your vet first to make sure it’s appropriate for your dog. Always start with the least invasive option, like sound or vibration, before moving on to anything more intense.

Frequently Asked Questions

People have a lot of questions when it comes to Australian Shepherds and alone time. Let’s address some of the most common ones.

Are Australian Shepherds Inside Dogs?

Australian Shepherds are versatile and can adapt to both indoor and outdoor living. However, they do thrive on human interaction.

Do Australian Shepherds Enjoy Alone Time?

Generally, no. They are social dogs that prefer company.

Can Australian Shepherds Develop Separation Anxiety?

Yes, they are prone to separation anxiety if not properly trained or socialized.


In the end, Australian Shepherds are wonderful companions that thrive on interaction and activity. While they can manage some alone time, it’s clear that a little planning and consideration can go a long way in making those solitary hours more comfortable for them.

Whether you’re working full-time or just stepping out for a bit, there are plenty of ways to ensure your Aussie is safe, happy, and maybe even a little spoiled while you’re away. Thanks for reading, and here’s to happy times ahead with your Aussie!

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