Monday, February 11, 2013

What does "high energy" mean and entail for an Aussie?

A lot of people told me before I got an Aussie, "Be careful, they are HIGH energy!" I heard this over and over again, but truthfully didn't really know what people meant.  High energy in what way? Like they never settle down and are like Tasmanian devils bouncing around, tearing up the house?  Well, I will do my best to tell you what I think based on my experience thus far with Indie.  Indie is now 2.5 years old.  When I originally posted this article, he was 4 months old.  And luckily, Indie was never a Tasmanian devil!

For us, "high energy" turns out to mean "very smart, needs to be challenged"!

So here's the deal: Indie is not tearing up our house running around like a crazy chicken with it's head chopped off. He's totally able to relax and chill out. That's the good news.

But, he does need to be tired out and he does need to be challenged in order to settle down. When these little guys are young puppies they are avidly exploring their surroundings.  They are also tenacious about wanting to lick your nostrils and mouth and they have the energy and stubbornness to keep trying even when you are pushing them away each time.  They are cattle doggies! They're meant to get back up and keep trying if they get thrown down. Indie was pretty nuts about wanting to constantly lick and bite my face and hands when he was about 8 weeks-10 weeks.  He still wants to lick, but he's not so crazy about it now that he's an older puppy.  As an older puppy he wants to play and needs longer walks in order to be tired.  To me, high energy means they wont tire out for about an hour to an hour and a half.  They need to be busy playing or doing something active and engaging during that whole time!
Here's Indie looking up me, "So, what's next Ma!?"
So, How do You Tire out your Aussie?
You NEED to spend at least 1 hour per play session (and you'll have 3 or 4 per day) ACTIVELY playing with your puppy or taking them out for short walks. This means throwing balls or stuffed toys for them to chase, dragging a toy on the ground for them to chase, playing tug, doing some come and sit training, or letting them explore outside.  When you are throwing things, try to throw them in different directions, not the same way each time.  You need to create new and interesting play to keep them engaged, so maybe bounce instead of a long throw; make them wait; throw it short, then far; change directions.  When you are dragging a toy for them to chase, do some zig-zags, or between the legs or go back and forth real quick.  You get the idea now.  This is not the kind of puppy you want entertaining themselves, they will go and chew on something they're not supposed to or try to get into something they're not supposed to.  

Can they sit on the floor and play by themselves?

After you play with them or tire them out they can definitely sit there on the floor playing with some toys or stuffed kongs, etc on their own, but you need to play them first before that stage.  As I write this Indie is happily chewing a toy (an unstuffed rabbit toy to be exact).

Relaxing with a stuffed kong
But just now, as I was in the middle of writing this post, I had to take a break to toss around a  frisbee and play tug for 10 minutes in the living room since he started to ger restless. This breed requires a lot of mental effort on your part when they're puppies since they require shorter, but more frequent periods of play.  You have to constantly be thinking of fun things to keep them interested and challenged.  Don't expect to have lots of free time to read or knit like you used to!  You need to watch them, watch them, watch them!  It's very mentally challenging.

Don't worry....they'll get tired out eventually! :) Then you can take cute pics of them as sleep!


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