So, you are planning to own your first dog, right? Congratulations! Dogs are amazing and friendly pets that will make your life happier. Now it’s time to choose the best breed for you. If you are thinking about an Australian Shepherd, first, you need to know if he meets your profile.
Are Australian Shepherds good for first-time owners? It depends. Australian Shepherds, in general, aren’t the best choice for first-time owners. They are very demanding. They require you to be a leader and a lot of exercises. You should get an Australian Shepherd only if you think he fits your profile.
You need to have these considerations in mind before choosing your first Australian Shepherd. If you don’t analyze everything with attention, having your first dog may not be an entirely pleasing experience for you.
Before making your decision, let’s talk about what makes a perfect dog for a first-time owner.
What Makes a Perfect First-Time Dog?
Since that’s your first substantial experience with a dog, you need something simple. Every knowledge starts with the most basic lessons, and only then it evolves. You should prioritize less demanding breeds as the choice for your first dog.
Need for attention
Dogs that are always on their owner’s side and demand care are cute. Even though it may sound heartbreaking, they are not ideal to be your first furry friend. You probably won’t have the required expertise to deal with the pressure.
Since you’re a beginner, you will struggle to identify his emotions and what exactly are his wishes. In addition to it, you may not know how to react if he insists on your attention every time. You might act either too aggressive or too calm in these moments.
Aussies are extremely outdoorsy dogs. This is one of the aspects that make them inadequate for first-time owners. You should avoid breeds that have these characteristics.
Of course, playing with your Australian Shepherd is a great feeling. However, when you’re new, you might not know how to handle him. The open-world is dangerous. You need to know what is doable and what is not to prevent accidents and not to lose him.
As time passes, you will acquire more experience and will be able to go out more often. However, in the first moments, you should avoid walking him excessively.
Less dominant breeds are advised for first-time owners. Dominant dogs aren’t likely to obey you easily. You need to impose your power. Since you don’t have much practice, you probably won’t be able to do it correctly.
That’s another downside of Australian Shepherds. They are really dominant pets. If your Aussie doesn’t feel that you’re his leader, it will be hard to control him. So, if you have the chance, choose a lighter breed.
Need to train
Another thing you need to focus on is to choose a dog that doesn’t require much training. Of course, any dog needs to be taught to do actions like sit, follow you or stay in a defined place. However, it isn’t right for you if you need to train more complex things like how to stop barking.
Australian Shepherds are incredibly easy to train. However, that might not be an excellent thing because you will have to teach him a lot of lessons. They are agitated and loud barkers. These and other aspects will require you to be a good teacher.
My Advice for First-Time Owners
My advice for first-time owners is to get a calmer dog. Choose one that doesn’t bark too much or don’t run a lot around the house. Even if a breed is more trainable than others, analyze the effort you will have in the first place.
All these considerations, however, can be ignored in some cases. If you really match certain characteristics, a specific dog breed can be better for you. In the Australian Shepherds’ case, if you are a really sporty person, an Aussie may actually be good for you!
Besides that, if you really love the breed, it can also be the perfect option. If you don’t qualify for its style but are still really into it, your desire will beat any restrictions. In this case, you are allowed to go for it.
To summarize everything with real examples, here are my top breed recommendations for first-time owners:
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Bichon Frise
What to Consider Before Getting an Australian Shepherd as Your First Dog?
If you think Australian Shepherds are the perfect fit and you are going to get one soon, there are some things you should know before making the final decision.
Find a veterinarian: One of the first things you want to do before bringing your Aussie home is to find a vet. This is extremely important to maintain good health. Before playing, training or any other thing, you need to submit your furry friend to a checkup.
If you procrastinate to find a veterinarian, it can be a problem. If you wait until you get the dog, you will have less time and will hurry to find the professional. This attitude can harm your Australian Shepherd’s health. The choice may not be the perfect one for him.
Choose the right dog food: Another critical attitude to control your Aussie’s health is a proper diet. There are a lot of options for dog food in the market. Due to that, you need to investigate them thoroughly and decide what you’re going to buy for your friend.
There is no universally good food for dogs. How you will feed him will depend on his characteristics. Search what are the Australian Shepherds’ nutrition needs and choose what you think will be better for him.
Buy extra supplies: Owning an Australian Shepherd require you to buy a lot of new stuff. Like expecting a human baby, a few weeks before you get your Aussie, you need to purchase his necessary objects, such as cage, bowls, toys, doghouse, and so on. In addition to it, make a food supply as well.
You need to be prepared when he arrives. Don’t dare to buy everything at the last minute! These items are crucial for the welfare of your furry friend and need to be ready the first time he arrives at your home.
Calculate additional costs: This is an obvious yet essential point. The first time you think about having a dog, you should have in mind the extra costs you will have. This is tricky. Even if you feel you are taking everything into consideration, you might still miss some things.
More experienced dog owners have more proficiency in this. If you have a friend who had or still has a dog, definitely ask him or her. They will provide you with information about usually hidden expenses like an increase in water and power bills and other essential costs.
Have You Already Had Any Pet Before? That’s Valuable!
Prior experience with other pets is valuable if you plan to have a dog. Cats are the most common example. They have a comparable size to dogs and require similar care. They are the best reference for you in owning a dog.
However, you can’t forget they aren’t the same animals. There are some crucial differences. Space is one of them. Cats require much less space than dogs do and can adapt to smaller houses easier.
Australian Shepherds, for example, are really demanding in this regard. You should live in a reasonable house with a yard to see him happy. On the other hand, it isn’t uncommon to see people comfortably living with cats in apartments.
Even though there are some distinctions between dogs and other pets, previous expertise is always welcome. More distant animals, such as birds, are a bit less valuable, but can still teach you responsibility concepts.
My Final Thoughts
If you plan to get your first dog, Australian Shepherds, unfortunately, aren’t the best fit. They are cute and reliable but still demand their owners a bit of advanced knowledge. If you are only wondering about them, it’s better to look for simpler breeds.
If you love Aussies and are really into getting one, however, it may be good to choose them. Passion usually outperforms any difficulty a person has. If you have an active and outdoorsy spirit like Australian Shepherds, it may be the right decision as well.
Before getting into any official procedure, know your responsibilities. Having a dog will be a life-changing experience. Just like having a human baby, your expenses will rise, and your schedule will be changed. You need to plan everything to be happy.
Are Australian Shepherds suitable for families?
Yes, they are! Australian Shepherds are amiable dogs. They will have a great time in any family, regardless of size. In addition to it, if someone that lives with you has experience with dogs, an Aussie can be a great choice.
Are Australian Shepherds expensive?
It depends a lot on the dog. Since they exercise a lot, they need to be fed a bit more than other breeds. In addition to it, there are a lot of variables that are impossible to predict precisely. On average, expect to spend around US$500 or more over time plus US$1,300 in the first year, due to medical costs and other first-time actions.