How Long Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?


I work a lot of hours, but I recently adopted an Australian Shepherd. I am trying to adjust my schedule to spend more time with my dog, but I want to know how long it is appropriate to leave my dog home alone.

Trying to learn more about the dog I adopted, I dug up some information on my phone today that answers my questions and hopefully yours.

How Long Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?

Australian Shepherds can be left alone for up to six hours, but proper preparations must be made to not get into trouble or suffer emotionally or physically. Proper planning can make the process of leaving your Australian Shepherd home alone easier for them and the pet parent.

Like most dogs, this breed can spend time away from their owner or pet parents even though they likely won’t enjoy it. It is best that if a pet parent is to be away from home for whatever reason for longer than six hours, someone should come in and look after the Australian Shepherd.

This person should be someone that the pet parent and Australian Shepherd know and are comfortable with, so their presence doesn’t harm more than good.

This dog breed thrives best when they are in close proximately to their loving family or pet parent.

Historically they have been working dogs that herded animals while being beside their human “pack,” which brought them comfort and a very important connection that shaped their emotional and mental happiness.

At the same time, this breed can be left alone for up to six hours. The less time away, the better for their emotional health. Aside from emotions, leaving any dog at home alone for more than six hours can be hard on them physically.

Expecting the Australian Shepherd to hold their bladder longer than that time or not get bored and act up or get into trouble might be a bit much.

If they are to be left alone for any length of time, the home environment should be safe and free from potential hazards.

They should have a few treats or some food in case they get hungry. They should have plenty of water, a few surprises like hidden chew toys or toys that mentally stimulate their mind.

Hopefully, there is somewhere for them to look outside safely, and they should have a comfortable and safe place to rest while their pet parent is gone away.

While the Australian Shepherd can be left alone for up to six hours, their emotional needs must be considered, and should they seem to be struggling with this or acting out, other alternatives should be explored for their overall health.

Australian Shepherds are working dogs that historically thrived best when they were in close contact with their pet parent or owner while working and playing. Their owner or human companion was a member of their “pack” to whom they formed a close bond.

With that, they do best when they can keep and maintain this close connection. This doesn’t mean that their pet parent can never leave them behind so they can get things done when their dog simply cannot come with them.

In certain instances, like working, it is sometimes necessary to leave a furry companion home like a human child would be left behind too.

The home should be set up as dog-friendly and comfortable where the potential for accidents or injuries is reduced. They should have food, treats, water, a comfortable bed, a nice view, and various toys so they can be as comfortable and as content as possible while the pet parent is away from home.

This may not be a cure all for all the Australian Shepherds issues for being alone but it can definitely reduce their stress and help create calm as best as possible.

What Should I Do Before I Leave My Australian Shepherd Alone?

It is a good idea to have a set schedule or routine that you and your dog follow before you leave so you can set expectations for your Australian Shepherd and not surprise them when you leave and so they can prepare themselves for being alone while you are away.

This routine can be simple or complex, depending on you and your dog. It can include a specific activity that the pate parent does when they are ready to leave, and other things like the last bathroom break outside followed by some treats and a snuggle before departing.

A routine can be a source of comfort for dogs who struggle with being away from their pet parent as it gives them something to depend upon and understand.

My mom or dad takes me for a walk, and then we play a game. I get treats, and they go away, but then they come back, and we play some more, and I get to go on a long walk and share some snuggle time after treats.

Knowing what is going to happen provides comfort and acceptance of what is happening because they come to know what the outcome will be; eventually, mom or dad will return.

The routine or schedule created should be workable and something that will fit into the pet parents’ lifestyle day after day. It should also be something that the pet parent will feel comfortable with, where they won’t get tired of performing the task or find themselves getting agitated with their Australian Shepherd because they have to do it.

There essentially should be a routine that includes steps that happen before the pet parent leaves, and again another one for when they return. 

What If My Australian Shepherd Misbehaves When I Leave Them Alone?

Suppose you can’t leave your Australian Shepherd home alone without them acting up. In that case, you can utilize a sitter or caregiver who comes to the house at periodic intervals to check on the Australian Shepherd.

If that doesn’t work, doggie daycare can be a great alternative as it will play into the Australian Shepherd’s thirst for fun, adventure, and activity. A doggie daycare can provide them with the opportunity to expel pent-up energy while their pet parent is away while making new friends and forming another family “pack.”

If this is the option chosen, the pet parent and their Australian Shepherd companion should visit the facility before taking the plunge. The pet parent should take a trial run to see how their Australian Shepherd likes the place and if they are comfortable with the staff and other animals.

These facilities can be a great alternative to an in-home caregiver. By taking the Australian Shepherd away from the home, the change of environment may keep them interested with new friends, new activities, and a new environment.

It may be possible that the Australian Shepherd doesn’t even mind going and temporarily forgets all about their pet parent while they are away.

Another benefit to this type of care, instead of leaving the Australian Shepherd home alone, is that there is always someone available to meet their needs at any time, and if anything should happen, someone is there to care for them.

This can give the pet parents comfort and peace of mind since they have to be away from their loving fur baby. Numerous opportunities are available in certain areas for selecting this type of facility, and it is best to check pricing and references prior to choosing a facility.

Veterinarians can also be a good source of information for how to manage an Australian Shepherd’s difficulties with their loved ones being away and how to handle this issue.

Leaving Your Australian Shepherd Alone

Leaving a pet at home can be challenging for any pet parent and even harder for the pet. For the Australian Shepherd, this can be hard since they thrive best when they are in close proximity to their loved ones.

If the Australian Shepherd is to be left home alone, proper planning must be done to ensure their safety and happiness while you are away.

When this is done, it is possible to leave them alone at home for up to six hours. While that may not seem like a long time, compared to a workday, it will likely seem like an eternity for your dog!

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer loves animals! Jennifer used to work in animal rescue but she brought too many of them home so she had to stop. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge for all kinds of pets. She has been part of the Embora Pets team since 2018.

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