The Australian Shepherd is considered a high energy herding dog. They are also know as velcro dogs as they are your shadow following you around everywhere. They are definitely not an independent breed and are constantly seeking out attention and love. It is also this devotion that makes them easy to train especially using positive reinforcement methods. Aussies are very food and play motivated! Aussies do require a good amount of exercise to keep them stimulated and prevent them from becoming destructive. Playing 15-20 minute games of fetch or Frisbee are great for aussies and will settle them down a lot. They also love to swim, hike anything that you participate together in they will enjoy. A quick walk around the block WILL NOT be enough! Their coat does require a weekly brushing to keep it healthy and their nails should be trimmed every two weeks. This is a great article on nail trimming that has great pictures and details.
Diet/ Supplements Just like vaccinations nutrition is very controversial. I do strongly believe that diet affects overall health and behavior. I truly feel that if you eat well you will feel well. I do spend a good amount of money on my dogs food as I think it will save me in their health. I feed the best that I can afford. This is a personal choice again and my recommendation is only a guide line. You need to do what is right for you and your lifestyle. People often ask what I feed and that answer is always changing as I believe in a rotation diet and feed a variety of dry foods, can foods and raw. I do not do anything abruptly and I often mix two different dry foods together. Some meals are dry some are raw. I don't feel any one particular diet is the best. Some of my dogs do great on raw others not so much. Some do well with certain foods and others I struggle with. I look at the overall health, coat, stools to see what is working. Puppies have important requirements nutritionally and if a food is not balanced correctly like a raw diet-it can cause more harm than good. For that reason I feed Royal Canin Puppy Food for the first 6 months. After that I have tried and liked: Venture (Pollock/Pumpkin), Nature's Logic, Honest Kitchen, Annamaet , Royal Canin, Purina Proplan Sport 30/20 formula only. I also highly recommend two supplements for any diet, but especially dry dog good-a good fish oil and probiotics (make sure they have at least 1 billion CFU) Purina Fortiflora has very good reviews. I also give a daily vitamin such as NuVet Plus as many of the vitamins and minerals are not present in enough quantities in some dog foods they can also be destroyed in the cooking process. I highly recommend group classes for all aussies for the 1st year of their life. Dogs go through many developmental phases and fear periods and a good trainer will be able to help you work through these phases and explain what is normal and what is not and how to prevent bad behaviors from occurring. I include discounted puppy classes and phone consults to all my puppy buyers!
Here are some great videos I highly recommend to help you prepare for your puppy!