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Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone?

Australian Shepherds are social and affectionate dogs, often forming strong bonds with their families. While they thrive on human interaction, some Australian Shepherds can handle alone time better than others. However, prolonged periods of isolation can lead to separation anxiety, a common issue with this breed. Early training and appropriate strategies can help mitigate separation anxiety and ensure a well-adjusted Australian Shepherd.

Australian Shepherd Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a condition where dogs become distressed when left alone. For Australian Shepherds, this can manifest in destructive behavior, excessive barking, house soiling and even self-harm. It is essential to recognize the signs of separation anxiety early on to provide appropriate intervention and prevent further distress.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Australian Shepherds:

  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Attempts to escape or dig at doors and windows
  • Destructive chewing
  • Frequent barking or howling
  • House soiling, even in house-trained dogs

Factors Affecting an Australian Shepherd’s Ability to Be Left Alone

Several factors influence an Australian Shepherd’s capacity to handle alone time and reduce the risk of separation anxiety:


  • Puppies generally require more attention and cannot be left alone for extended periods.
  • Adult Australian Shepherds may handle alone time better, but proper training is still crucial.

Length of Time:

  • Gradually increase the time left alone to help them adjust and reduce anxiety.
  • Avoid leaving them alone for extended periods, especially during the early stages.

Type of House:

  • A spacious and stimulating environment can keep an Australian Shepherd engaged during alone time.
  • Create a designated space with their toys and bed to provide a sense of security.


  • Early socialization and obedience training can build confidence and independence.
  • Practice short absences to condition the dog to being alone without stress.

How Long Can You Leave Your Australian Shepherd at Home By Themselves?

The ideal duration an Australian Shepherd can be left alone varies based on age, training and individual temperament. As a general guideline:

  • Puppies (up to 6 months): Not more than 2-3 hours.
  • Adult dogs (6 months and older): 4-6 hours is the maximum duration.

Remember that these are rough estimates and some Australian Shepherds may be more comfortable with longer periods alone, while others may require more frequent attention.

Does it Make a Difference if it’s Day or Night Time?

Daytime vs. nighttime alone periods can affect Australian Shepherds differently:

  • Daytime: Being alone during the day may lead to restlessness and anxiety as they are naturally more active during daylight hours.
  • Nighttime: Australian Shepherds are generally more inclined to rest at night, making alone time less stressful during these hours.

Owners can adjust their schedules to provide more attention during the day and create a calm environment at night.

What About as Puppies?

As mentioned above, puppies have higher dependency needs and should not be left alone for extended periods. Tips for managing alone time with Australian Shepherd puppies include:

  • Gradual separation training: Start with short absences and gradually increase the time away.
  • Puppy-proofing: Ensure the area they’re left in is safe and free from potential hazards.
  • Interactive toys and puzzles: Provide mental stimulation to keep them engaged.

Tips & Tricks for When You Have to Leave Your Australian Shepherd Alone

Leaving your beloved Australian Shepherd alone doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for either of you. With careful planning and consideration, you can create a positive environment that promotes their well-being and reduces separation anxiety. Here are some valuable tips and tricks to help you navigate alone time for your Australian Shepherd:

  • Gradual Alone Time Introduction: Start by leaving your Australian Shepherd alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration. This gradual approach will help them get accustomed to being alone without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Interactive Toys and Puzzles: Provide your Australian Shepherd with interactive toys and puzzle games to keep them mentally engaged and prevent boredom during alone time. Toys that dispense treats or have hidden compartments will provide mental stimulation and reward their problem-solving abilities.
  • Calming and Familiar Scents: Leaving an item with your scent, such as a worn T-shirt, can provide comfort and reassurance to your Australian Shepherd during alone time. Additionally, consider using calming pheromone sprays or diffusers in their designated area to create a soothing atmosphere.
  • Establish a Safe and Comfortable Space: Create a designated area for your Australian Shepherd with their bed, toys and water bowl. This space will become their safe haven during alone time, providing a sense of security and ownership.
  • Leave Calmly and Return Calmly: Avoid making a fuss when leaving or returning home. Keeping departures and arrivals low-key will help your Australian Shepherd associate these times with less stress and anxiety.
  • Background Noise or Music: Playing soothing background music or leaving the television on at a low volume can help mask outside noises and provide a calming atmosphere for your Australian Shepherd.
  • Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Ensure your Australian Shepherd receives plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before leaving them alone. A tired and mentally satisfied dog is more likely to rest contentedly during your absence.
  • Hire a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter: If you have a busy schedule, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to visit your Australian Shepherd during the day. This additional social interaction can break up long periods of alone time and provide companionship.
  • Use Treat-Dispensing Toys Strategically: Stuff treat-dispensing toys with their favorite snacks before leaving. The challenge of getting the treats out will keep them occupied and distracted during alone time.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If your Australian Shepherd shows persistent signs of distress during alone time, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. They can provide tailored advice and strategies to manage separation anxiety effectively.

How Do Australian Shepherds Compare to Other Breeds?

Compared to some other breeds, Australian Shepherds may require more attention and mental stimulation due to their high energy levels and intelligence. However, each dog is unique and some Australian Shepherds can handle alone time better than others.

Australian Shepherds can be left alone for reasonable periods, but owners should be aware of the risk of separation anxiety. By considering individual factors, training and using appropriate strategies, you can ensure a positive alone-time experience for your Australian Shepherd while maintaining their overall well-being.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Left Alone – How Long & Separation Anxiety Tips