What Age Do Mini Aussies Calm Down?August 2, 2021 2021-08-02 5:24
Miniature Australian Shepherds are good-natured, fun-loving, intelligent dogs, that are well known for their abundant energy. If you are a first-time owner, you’re probably wondering, at what age will my Mini Aussie calm down?!
All puppies and young dogs experience a period of extreme activity. In Aussies, it should stop at around 2-3 years of age. But don’t worry! It winds down gradually and gets less “naughty” as they grow and learn, and Mini Aussies are quick learners. Let’s take a deeper look into this period in their lives, and what to do with all of that energy.
Table of Contents
When do Mini Aussies calm down?
A Miniature Australian Shepherd will be fully grown at around one year old. However, despite their intelligence, they take a little longer to mature emotionally.
At 2-3 years of age, Mini Aussies are considered mentally developed and will be better at regulating their energy levels. In other words, they will start to calm down! That said, Aussies are naturally active dogs and will remain so into old age.
Why are Mini Aussies so hyper?
Mini Aussies are shepherd dogs. All shepherd breeds are naturally very active because of the herding work that they were originally bred for. That is why, today, Aussies are regular competitors in dog sports.
A lot of hyperactivity in Mini Aussies stems from not meeting their needs for physical and mental exercise. If you decide on this breed, you need to be ready to spend at least 1-2 hours working your dog’s body and mind daily.
How much exercise does a Mini Aussie need?
It’s essential that your dog receives enough exercise, and not just for their health. An underworked Aussie can become bored and destructive.
Mini Aussie pups need 5 minutes of exercise per month of their life per day. This may not seem like much because they are so hyper, but it’s important not to overwork a developing dog’s bones. This can cause malformations and life-long joint issues. You can go a little over the limit, but generally, you should try to tire out your Aussie in other ways, like with social activities and mental stimulation.
A fully grown Mini Aussie needs at least one hour of exercise every day, but preferably closer to two. This should be split into two walks every day. To keep walks interesting, try to vary the location and incorporate different things into them, such as running, swimming, and playing fetch. You should also stop to interact with as many friendly dogs as possible.
As mentioned above, Aussies remain active well into old age. However, they will naturally slow down and gradually require less exercise as they age. Your vet will let you know when it is time for this at annual check-ups.
The importance of mental stimulation in Mini Aussies
Mental stimulation is just as essential as physical exercise for Australian Shepherds, and it tires them out just as much, too. Because of their high energy and intelligence, Aussies get bored very easily. This can result in frustrated, destructive behaviors towards themselves and the home. In fact, these behaviors are especially likely to occur in shepherd breeds because they have a tendency to form compulsive behaviors when they feel stressed.
To avoid boredom, owners should involve their Aussie in family life as much as possible and engage in fun, mentally challenging games on a regular basis. Games like hide and seek and the cup game are firm favorites.
To play hide and seek, ask your dog to sit and stay while you hide somewhere in the house. Then, call them to find you. You can also play it with a toy or some treats, but be sure to show them the object before you hide it, so that they know what they’re looking for.
To play the cup game, put two empty cups upside-down on the floor in front of your Aussie, and put a treat underneath one of them. Then, switch the cups around and ask your dog to find the treat. This is a challenging and rewarding game and wares young dogs out very quickly.
Aussies also love to play games that exercise their natural instincts such as fetch and chase. You could even set up an obstacle course in your yard to test out those agility skills!
Owners will need to invest in some mentally stimulating toys for their Aussies too. Puzzle toys, puzzle feeders, slow feeders, snuffle mats, and treat dispensing balls are all ideal for this brainy breed. We highly recommend checking out pet brand Outward Hound’s puzzle toys and feeders for dogs.
Toys that stimulate the senses with different textures, sounds, and lights are also great, especially for young pups and Aussies with sensory impairments.
Another great way to engage your Aussie’s brain is by teaching them new tricks. Check out our training courses for dogs for ideas!
Training a hyperactive Mini Aussie
Before you attempt training, focus on building a bond with lots of quality time. It’s best to start training as early on in an Aussie’s life as possible, but be sure to start with the basics.
Although Mini Aussies are super intelligent, training a pup can be difficult because of their low tolerance for boredom. They’re also very independently-minded, which can result in stubbornness if they get confused. So, it’s best to keep training sessions short, simple, consistent, and fun.
Positive reinforcement, like praise and treats, should always be the dominant force. The use of a behavioral marker, such as a clicker, before the reinforcement, will speed up the learning process. Negative signals such as the word “no” need to be used consistently with a bad association, like being ignored, to be effective.
Habits die hard in the breed, so bad behaviors should be tackled quickly. Things that Aussie owners may have to focus on include chewing, nipping, excessive barking, and separation anxiety.
Puppyhood chewing (teething) is universal and your dog will naturally grow out of it. However, it’s essential that you teach your dog what is and isn’t theirs to chew by redirecting chewing and praising good behavior. Chewing itself is a very relaxing activity for dogs, and you will find that your Aussie calms down as he is chewing on appropriate chew items (such as bully sticks).
Issues like nipping and woofing are instinctive but can be curbed by stopping your interactions when the behaviors start. This way they learn that when the behaviors start, the fun stops.
Separation anxiety is also common in the breed. It can be tackled by providing sufficient exercise and mental stimulation and gradually building their independence. It’s also a good idea to encourage solo play to show them that time alone can be fun.
Practice being apart by leaving the house for short periods of time, and slowly build up the time that you are gone. This helps them to understand that you will always come back. Never make a big deal about leaving, but always make a big fuss of them when you return so that they know they have something to look forward to when you leave. It’s best to leave them with something fun to do, such as a treat dispenser, to occupy them and create a positive association with being apart. You could even invest in some anti-anxiety products to aid your training, such as herbal supplements or plug-in diffusers.
If your dog is destructive at first, try putting them in a crate or using a dog gate to keep them restricted to a safe area until the behavior calms down. Although it is frustrating, do not react angrily, as the attention can encourage them. Instead, show them that this kind of behavior gets no attention.
As with all breeds, socialization should also be a priority. It can be done by inviting close friends and family over to meet your pup and interacting with as many friendly dogs as possible on walks.
The bottom line
As long as you can meet their needs, there’s no reason to be afraid of a high-energy dog. For the right owners, Mini Aussies make the best, most loyal companions… and you will never be bored!