Are Mini Aussies Hyperactive?May 27, 2021 2021-05-27 4:20
Are Mini Aussies Hyperactive?
Are Mini Aussies Hyperactive?
Mini Australian Shepherds are beautiful, good-natured, fun-loving dogs. They are well known for their abundant energy, so prospective owners may be wondering: Are Mini Aussies really that hyperactive?
Yes – but don’t let that scare you away! A hyperactive dog is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you can meet their needs. For the right owners, high-energy dogs make the best companions. Ask any Aussie owner and they will tell you that the craziness is what they love the most! So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know, including exactly how to expend all of that energy.
Table of Contents
Why are Mini Aussies hyper?
Mini Australian Shepherds, recognized as Mini American Shepherds by the American Kennel Club, are smaller versions of the popular Australian Shepherds. Like all shepherd dogs, they are extremely active, playful, and very intelligent.
These traits are quite literally in their DNA because of the farm work that they were originally bred to do. This is why, nowadays, Aussies are regular competitors in dog sports such as flyball and agility trials.
Are Mini Aussies always hyper?
Mini Aussie dogs are active dogs for life, often well into old age. However, owners will notice a decrease in activity level in their dogs’ older years. Their puppyhood will be extremely hyperactive until they are around two years old.
At two years old, Mini Aussies are considered fully grown and mentally developed and will be better at regulating their energy levels. This is a little older than most other breeds, as most dogs begin to calm down around the age of one. However, shepherd breeds, despite their high intelligence, take a little longer to mature emotionally.
That said, the crazy puppy period winds down gradually and gets less “naughty” as they learn about the world around them, and Mini Aussies are quick learners. So don’t worry – the bad behaviors won’t last the full two years!
How much exercise does a Mini Aussie need?
It is essential that prospective owners know exactly what they are taking on, as an underworked Aussie can become unhappy and badly behaved.
An adult Mini Aussie needs at least one hour of exercise every day, but preferably closer to two. Their daily exercise should ideally be split into two walks per day. To keep walks interesting, you should try to vary the location and incorporate different things into the walks, such as running, swimming, and playing fetch.
It’s also a good idea to let your Aussie interact with as many people and dogs as possible along the way, as they are a very social breed.
Owners should be mindful, however, not to overexercise their dogs, especially in their developmental and elderly years, as joint and bone issues are common in the breed. If you’re unsure of exactly how much to exercise your dog every day, ask your vet for advice.
Hyperactivity & mental stimulation
Like all shepherd dogs, mental stimulation is just as important, if not more important, than physical exercise for Mini Aussies. Because of their high intelligence, Aussies have an extremely low tolerance for boredom. Exercising their mind will tire them out just as easily as going for a walk or run. It also enriches their quality of life and prevents them from getting bored.
Boredom can result in separation anxiety and destructive behaviors out of frustration. This can include excessive barking, self-biting, house soiling, destroying furniture and possessions, and in extreme cases, aggression towards other dogs.
These behaviors are especially likely to occur in shepherd dogs like Mini Aussies because they are naturally intense and have a tendency to create compulsive behaviors when stressed.
How to mentally stimulate your Mini Aussie
For these brainy dogs, a few squeaky toys just aren’t going to cut it. To avoid boredom, owners should provide mentally stimulating toys and engage in fun, challenging games with their dogs.
Mini Aussies are also happiest when they have a job to do. To keep them engaged, owners should involve them in family life wherever they can. They will likely want to follow you around when you do housework and gardening activities and join in with any playing children. As long as it is safe to do so – you should let them!
Puzzle toys, puzzle feeders, slow feeders, treat-dispensing balls, and snuffle mats are ideal toys for clever dogs like Mini Aussies. They challenge and entertain the mind, whilst providing a mental workout and exercising natural instincts.
Toys that stimulate the senses by lighting up or making noises are also great. They are perfect for young Aussie puppies who may find puzzle toys too advanced and those that have sensory impairments.
Mentally stimulating games for dogs include hide and seek and brain games. To play hide and seek with your Aussie, ask them to sit and stay while you hide somewhere in the house. Then, call them to find you. You could also hide a toy or some treats.
A popular brain game among owners of brainy breeds is the cup game. To play the cup game, place two empty cups upside-down on the floor in front of your dog, and put a treat underneath one of them. Then, switch the cups around and ask the dog to find the treat. This is a very challenging and rewarding game for dogs and wares them out quite quickly.
Dogs also love games that exercise their natural instincts and abilities. For Mini Aussies, this means games like fetch and chase are firm favorites. You could even set up an obstacle course around the home or in the garden to test their agility skills.
Pro tip: Due to the obsessive nature of shepherd dogs, you will know when you find an Aussie’s favorite game… They will never want to stop playing it!
Another great way to keep your Aussie’s brain engaged is by teaching them new things, such as tricks and the names of their toys. If you’re struggling with ideas, take a look at our training courses for dogs.
Does hyperactivity make Mini Aussies hard to train?
Mini Aussies are clever and highly trainable, but that doesn’t mean that training is always easy. With high energy and high intelligence comes independence and a low tolerance for boredom.
This means Mini Aussies have to want to do as they are told. Although Aussie pups are likely taking in everything that you are teaching them, they may well choose to ignore you if they do not want to please you. To avoid this, make sure you build a bond first. If you use their hyperactive nature to your advantage and set aside plenty of time each day for fun and affection, they will want to please you.
Training sessions should be clear, concise, consistent, and fun to match your Aussie’s energy. Otherwise, they could lose interest. Positive reinforcement should always be the dominant force, negative reinforcement should be non-physical, and the use of a signal or marker for good behavior will speed up the learning process.
Because of the habitual nature of shepherd dogs, bad behaviors should be tackled quickly and training should start as early as possible. Do it right, and these brainy dogs can learn to do almost anything!
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Mini Aussies aren’t for everyone. They need a certain kind of family that is patient, fun-loving, and willing to put in a lot of time and effort to meet their needs. However, for the right owners, it will mean a bond like no other. If you are able to take on a Mini Aussie, you will not regret it!