Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Tiny Urban Living, Big Herding Needs


Tiny Urban Living, Big Herding Needs


As someone who lives in an urban area, I often hear the question, “Can you have a herding breed and live in an apartment?” The short answer is, “It depends.”

The real question isn't if you can own a herding breed while living in an apartment, but rather, "Can you consistently meet the basic exercise requirements of your dog?” The important thing to remember about herding breeds is that their size is not directly correlated to their energy requirements. For example, a male Pembroke Welsh Corgi averages about 24 pounds, which puts them in a small-medium classification. However, this breed has a history of working long days on the farm. Even though my Corgi has never seen a cow (to my knowledge), it doesn't mean that he is happy sitting on the couch all day. Rooney needs at least a walk and 30-40 minutes of play every day to be happy and rested.

So how do I determine my dog's energy requirements? Dr. Marty Becker recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for your dog every day. Please keep in mind that this is a baseline for all dogs. Certain herding breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are often considered high-energy and 30 minutes might not be enough for them; they might need an hour or more every day.

What happens if you don't meet your dog’s minimum exercise requirements? Well then you can't blame them when they destroy your shoes, or stir up some trouble at home. When your dog is misbehaving, and you aren't sure why, it's always a good idea to take a look inside. I mean a look inside you ... are you really providing them with the exercise they need? Be honest with yourself. This is among the first questions a trainer will ask, according to fellow Evangelist Kris Crestejo, in her article discussing Frustrations in herding breeds.

If you feel that you are indeed providing your dog with an excellent amount of exercise and they are still struggling with behavior issues, it might be a good idea to start working with a professional dog trainer. However, if you don't think you are providing your dog with the right amount of exercise, you need to make it happen. Here are six easy ways to meet your herding breed’s exercise needs.

Living in an apartment, townhouse, or condo, in an urban area, doesn't provide your dog with their own yard to burn their pent up energy. Therefore, you may need to think outside the box to give your dog the exercise he or she needs. Many people include their dog in their own exercise routines, while other urban-dwellers turn to doggy daycare and dog walkers. If the weather is too cold, try our favorite indoor activities to keep your dog active and happy.

No matter your outlet, just promise us that you won't keep your herding breed contained to a small apartment without exercise, okay? Additionally, if you have a yard where your dog can exercise, don't let the yard itself do all the work. Bonding with your dog is an important part of their emotional well-being.

Article By:
Rachel Sheppard
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