Your Australian shepherd is likely to get bored if they don’t have a task to complete. Bored Aussies can be destructive and become depressed.
If you want to keep your dog happy and your furniture intact, try giving your Aussie a special ‘job’ like the ones listed below.
Great jobs for your Australian shepherd include picking up their toys, finding hidden treats, and obstacle courses. If available, try to enroll your Aussie in agility training. They are bred to excel at this type of ‘work’. But those aren’t the only tasks that can keep your Aussie busy.
No one wants to come home to find their house destroyed. Australian shepherds are good dogs, but they will find something to do if you don’t give them anything to occupy their time.
The following jobs can help keep your Aussie on their toes.
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Do Australian Shepherds Need a Job?
Australian shepherds are extremely intelligent. They get bored easily, and the only way to combat their boredom is constant stimulation. From exercise to mind games and everything in between, Aussies need the attention.
According to the ASF, Aussies see everything as a challenge. Rather than wait for you to address their needs, they’ll find a way to get what they want.
This is where a job comes in handy. A job doesn’t necessarily mean a highly trained, professional position. When it comes to your Aussie, giving them a job might just be teaching them a new trick!
Every Aussie needs some way to vent their energy, lest they become bored.
Consequences of a Bored Australian Shepherd
A bored Australian shepherd can be a hazard.
These charming dogs can immediately become destructive when they don’t have the proper stimulation. If their minds and bodies aren’t occupied, be prepared for destroyed furniture, chewed shoes, and a host of other damages.
To keep your Aussie busy, they must be occupied. Too much free reign and they end up defiant and using your expensive shoes as a chew toy.
That’s why giving them a ‘job’ or task to complete is extremely important for an Aussie.
Read Next:10 Typical Australian Shepherd Habits
The Benefits of Giving Your Australian Shepherd a Job
Giving any dog a job can be beneficial for them. They’ll be worn out at the end of the day. They will often be less destructive, more obedient, and form a deeper bond with the person who teaches them their ‘job’.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to put your dog through special training for this. Most of the time, a challenging toy or a new command can be all your dog needs.
20 Stimulating Jobs for Australian Shepherds
These 20 jobs or activities can help keep your Australian Shepherd busy.
Backyard Activities for your Australian Shepherd
1. Build an obstacle course.
Australian Shepherds are built for agility training. They love the challenge of an obstacle course, especially one that changes often.
To satisfy this need, use boxes, cones, and tunnels to build your dog an obstacle course in your backyard. Reward them for going through it quickly. You can even time them!
This is especially important if you are enrolling your dog in agility training in the future, or you want to keep up with training they’ve already had.
Aussies love nothing more than this type of challenge, so make sure to keep it fresh and exciting for them.
2. Ball herding.
Some pet stores sell large playground balls specifically for large dogs. Australian shepherds aren’t particularly large, but they do have a habit of nipping.
Assemble a few of these larger, tougher balls and allow your Aussie to herd them to a location of your choice. It’s perfect for stimulating their herding instinct.
It is very important that you choose tougher balls, however. Aussies aren’t typically biting dogs, but they can play a little rough with their toys.
Plus, they have strong chewing instincts!
3. Cleaning up sticks.
If you have trees in your yard, you’ll often find shed sticks and fallen branches. Teach your Aussie to clean them up and drop them in a specific location.
If you train them consistently, they might clean up sticks in the yard on their own!
4. Frozen treats.
Aussies love a puzzle, especially those that take a while to solve. Place a treat or toy inside a bowl of tasty broth.
The treat must not dissolve in water, so choose something crunchy. Freeze it for a few hours, then take it outside and encourage your dog to get to the treat inside.
Fun Activities for the Park
5. Advanced fetch.
Some Australian Shepherd owners note that their pups are bored by regular fetch. To avoid this, take a basket and several balls to the park.
Throw the balls separately, at various distances and locations. Encourage your Aussie to pick up the balls and place them all back in the basket.
They’ll love searching for them and bringing them back.
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If you know other well-trained dogs, you can set up small playdates with your Aussie. These dogs get bored on their own and having a playmate can help wear them down.
Just be careful of the mischief they can get in together! Make sure that the other dogs are up to date on vaccines!
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Mental Stimulation for your Australian Shepherd
7. Teach new tricks.
Australian Shepherds pick up tricks easily. Outside of ‘sit’, ‘shake’, and ‘roll over’, you can get creative with your Aussie’s tricks.
Always give them positive reinforcement when they do it correctly. You can even use a clicker to communicate when you want a certain action performed.
8. Combine commands.
Chances are that your Aussie knows a few commands already. Combine them to teach them all-new activities! Try to teach them to come and then sit, or shake and then rollover.
The command combinations are endless, and your Aussie is sure to enjoy the challenge.
9. Specific retrieval games.
Teach your Australian Shepherd a name or designation for each of their toys. Then, once she has them down, have her bring you a specific toy.
Hide it somewhere in the house so she has to work to bring it to you.
Exercise Jobs for your Australian Shepherd
10. Agility training.
Agility training will take a little bit of professional work, but your Australian Shepherd will take to it like a fish to water.
If there is a local training center that specialized in agility courses, this can be the best way to entertain your Aussie.
Make sure to keep the training up at home!
11. Backpacking with your Australian Shepherd.
You’ve seen that some dogs carry their backpacks on hiking trips. You can get your Aussie to do the same! Australian shepherds are the perfect backpacking and hiking companions.
If your family loves getting outdoors, train your dog to carry their treats and camping gear!
You can even take your Australian shepherd on your morning jog with you!
Keep them on a long, slack leash, and teach them to keep pace with you. It won’t be the full-out run that they want, but it can keep them occupied. Keeping to your speed can also be a challenge.
Need more exercise ideas for your Australian Shepherd? Click here to read our article about exercising your Australian Shepherd.
Toy-Related Jobs for your Australian Shepherd
13. Buy a hidden food toy.
There are plenty of puzzle toys on the market specifically for intelligent dogs. Try a toy that hides a treat under a series of doors or compartments.
Your Aussie will love finding the treats each time you hide them.
14. Peanut butter and a Kong.
Kongs are a tried-and-true way of keeping your dog entertained. You place treat paste or peanut butter inside the Kong, and your dog must work at the toy to get the food out.
This is great for Australian Shepherds because it can keep them occupied for a while – they’ll have to work hard at licking and chewing on the toy to get the peanut butter out. Kongs are also available in a variety of sizes and shapes.
15. Spinning food toys.
Some dog food toys require your dog to perform some manual action to release kibble. While these toys can be great for treats, their ideal use is for mealtimes.
Stock these toys with as much food as you’d regularly give your dog for a meal. This can extend mealtime and help stimulate them at the same time.
Jobs at Home for your Australian Shepherd
16. Have them clean up.
Australian shepherds can clean up their messes if they are trained properly! For this to work, you need an open basket or toy box.
After they are done playing and spreading their toys all over the living room, train them to put them all back. It helps you out and keeps them from becoming bored!
17. Toy searching.
Aussies love games where they must find things and bring them to you. Consider hiding their toys in strategic places around the house. Have your Australian shepherd go and find her toys and bring them back to you.
It helps if you switch out the hiding location each time. It can be amusing to see your dog return to the same spots to find their toys after playing multiple times.
18. Learning specific commands.
Time spent at home is perfect for teaching your dog new commands. Of course, even intelligent dogs like the Australian Shepherd aren’t going to pick up new commands right away.
You must teach them what you want. Repetition is key to teaching a dog of any age a new trick or command.
So take the time at home to teach your dog what you want from them. Reward your Aussie with lots of treats and positive reinforcement.
Be patient and avoid frustration for either you or your dog. With time, your Aussie will be able to take those commands and put them to use.
Is your Australian Shepherd still struggling with basic commands? Click here to check out my favorite dog training course that helped my dog master ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and so much more.
19. Opening and closing doors.
Some Australian Shepherd owners have taught their dogs to open and close doors. This can be great if you need help with tasks like this.
Even if you don’t, your Australian shepherd will love the stimulation of opening and closing the doors around your home. Just make sure you don’t teach them to unlock your doors, or you might have a problem when you’re away from home.
This activity might not be for everyone. If you think you might be bothered by your dog playing with the doors on their own, it’s probably best not to teach them this trick.
20. Rescue games for your Australian Shepherd.
Rescue games and ‘hide and seek’ are perfect bonding times with your dog. For hide and seek, simply find a clever place to hide and call your dog. He’ll enjoy the process of looking for you – particularly if you give him a treat when he finds you!
Rescue games can also be a lot of fun for both of you. Hide under a blanket and see how long it takes for your dog to find you. He might even crawl under the blankets with you!
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- How to Entertain your Australian Shepherd – 11 Fun Activities for you and your Aussie
To avoid the consequences of your Australian shepherd becoming bored, make sure to keep them occupied with special jobs and tasks throughout the day. It’s not enough to exercise your Aussie – you’ll need to stimulate their mind, too. These jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things your Aussie can help you with.
How Do I Keep my Australian Shepherd Busy?
Keep your Australian Shepherd busy with puzzle toys, plenty of exercise, training, and jobs. Australian Shepherds need constant stimulation to avoid becoming destructive, so try to keep their minds and bodies occupied.
How Do You Stimulate an Australian Shepherd?
You can stimulate an Australian Shepherd by giving them plenty of exercise, allowing them to play with dogs they know, and giving them a problem to solve. This can be a hidden treat toy or a puzzle toy.