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Will An Australian Shepherd Get Along With Other Dogs? 5 Socialization Tips

Written by: Chelsie Fraser

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Australian Shepherds snow

Will An Australian Shepherd Get Along With Other Dogs? 5 Socialization Tips

Australian Shepherds, commonly known as Aussies, are a popular dog breed known for their high energy and herding instincts. Due to their protective and loving nature, these highly intelligent dogs are easily trained and often used as service dogs. While the breed is known for being naturally friendly, not all breeds are similar. Whether Australian Shepherds get along with other dogs is directly tied to how well they are socialized as puppies and whether the two dogs are properly introduced. Well-trained Australian Shepherds will generally get along with other dogs.

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Are Australian Shepherds Friendly?

Australian Shepherds are generally known for being friendly dogs. They have an outgoing and affectionate nature, and most of the time, they enjoy being around other dogs. However, an Aussie’s behavior around both humans and other animals can vary greatly between individual dogs.

Some Australian Shepherds love to meet new humans and dogs, while others are shy and prefer to be on their own. They aren’t known for being aggressive, though, and will typically retreat from socialization when they aren’t interested rather than pick a fight. While they don’t look for trouble, Aussies are herding dogs with high energy levels. This means their personality can sometimes cause them to clash with humans and other dogs that they aren’t familiar with.

Cute australian shepherd dog at kitchen, modern interior
Image by: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock

Australian Shepherds and Other Dogs

While Australian Shepherds are usually good-natured dogs, they can be protective and require socialization at a young age. Their personality means they get along with some dog breeds better than others. Breeds that are more laidback than the Aussie, like the Labrador Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever, or Beagle, make great companions. Aussies can get along with other herding breeds, like other Aussies, Australian Cattle Dogs, or Border Collies, but it’s extremely important to introduce them properly and slowly. This will avoid any scuffles.

As herding dogs, Australian Shepherds are affectionate and loving to animals and people whom they consider part of their pack, but they aren’t always accepting of strangers. Their instincts make them a bit bossy of other dogs, as they are inclined to “herd” them into place. Some dogs have no problem with this behavior, but others are not as accommodating.

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How to Help an Aussie Get Along With Other Dogs

two australian shepherds
Image Credit: Nordwind, Pixabay

The best way to ensure that your Aussie gets along with other dogs is to socialize them at a young age. Puppies should start the socialization process between 3 and 12 weeks of age. If you have an older Aussie that wasn’t properly socialized as a pup, it will take extra time and patience to get them used to being around people and other dogs. It’s important to have realistic expectations. If you have a shy dog that doesn’t like strangers, you can improve their behavior, but they may never be overly affectionate to others.

If you have other dogs, socialization is fairly easy, as there is constant exposure to other animals. If your Australian Shepherd is the only pet in the home, you’ll need to put in more effort.

There are several things that you can do to socialize your Australian Shepherd and improve their acceptance of other dogs:

  • Walking — In addition to satisfying the need for exercise, walking your dog gives them the opportunity to come in contact with other people and other dogs.
  • Dog training — The controlled environment of a training class is a great opportunity to spend time in the company of other dogs.
  • Dog parks — Whether taking your Aussie to a dog park is suitable depends on both you and your dog. Some dogs don’t do well in dog parks because it requires interaction with other dogs with bad manners or poor training. Other dogs do quite well, and it gives them a chance to run and play with others.
  • Positive reinforcement of good manners and behavior — Aussies are intelligent dogs, and they respond well to being rewarded for good behavior. Make sure your dog knows that they have responded appropriately to another dog by praising and rewarding the interaction.
  • Know your dog — Australian Shepherds are sensitive dogs that shut down when they become overwhelmed. They can also be prone to anxiety if they are pushed before they are ready. Knowing when your dog has had enough, needs to retreat into a quiet space, or wants to be left alone can go a long way toward avoiding negative interactions in the future.

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Final Thoughts

For the most part, Australian Shepherds do get along with other dogs, but not always. They are often wary of strangers and strange dogs, more so if they were not socialized properly at a young age. Having realistic expectations of your dog and allowing them to set the pace of the interaction will help avoid negative social situations. Give them time and space to adjust, and reward positive behavior. Aussies are wonderful companions that are loyal and attentive, but they require you to be sensitive to their needs.

Featured Image Credit: Lightman Pic, Shutterstock

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