Is training an Aussie more difficult in an apartment?
Training a dog can be more difficult in an apartment than in a house, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The biggest difference in dog training in an apartment vs a house is toilet training. It’s a lot harder when you can’t rush your dog out of the door and into a garden!
Make sure you get your Aussie into a good toilet routine, by feeding them and taking them outside around the same times every day.
Super young pups tend to need to go to the toilet every hour or two, so take them out every couple of hours at the most – and around 15 minutes after eating. This should decrease by roughly an hour for every month of their life until they are 4-6 months old, by which time they should only need to go 3-5 times per day.
When taking your pup out to go potty, say the associative words that you want them to learn when they do their business, and always praise them afterward. If a surprise toilet attempt does occur – try your best to get them outside, but don’t punish your pup if they have an accident indoors.
Invest in some pee pads for emergencies and start using a negative verbal signal, like the word “no”. Use it with a negative action, such as ignoring your pup and crossing your arms, to communicate that you are not happy with their behavior.
Another important area of apartment training is barking. Aussies tend to be vocal, communicative dogs, particularly when they’re having fun. This isn’t normally a problem unless it’s excessive, but if you live in an apartment, it can cause problems with the neighbors. To stop your Aussie from barking too much, quit playing whenever the barking starts, to show them that barking equals game over.
Unfortunately, hyper-intelligent breeds like Aussies are also more prone to experiencing separation anxiety, which can be even more difficult than usual when living in a smaller space. However, it can be prevented (and tackled) by gradually building their independence.
Encourage solo-play with treat-dispensing toys and practice being apart by leaving the apartment for small amounts of time. Slowly build up the time that you are gone each time, and never make a big deal about leaving, but always make a fuss of them when you come back.
Don’t react angrily to destructive behaviors, as the attention can encourage them. Instead, show them that this kind of behavior gets no attention and try confining them to a smaller, safe area of the home until it calms down. If their anxiety is severe, you could even invest in some anti-anxiety products to aid your training, like herbal supplements and plug-in diffusers.
The bottom line
If you live in an apartment, you may have to put in a little extra effort with your Aussie during training and playtime. However, every dog is a commitment, and Australian Shepherds make the best, brightest, most fun companions. If you are willing to put in the time, you will not regret it!