We get asked often what we mean when we use the term off switch so I will try and explain what that means.
Aussies are not a hyper breed. When we think hyper we think of a dog who is always pacing and running around, barking, getting into things and doesn't know how to lay down and relax. This is a trait often seen in Border Collies who are in homes not suited to such an active breed.
Aussies are supposed to be active, they are not lap dogs or couch potatoes. They need to get out for regular physical exercise, they love to run and chase a ball or a disc. They excel at sports and have endless stamina. They can go for hours at a time without getting tired. This is not hyper, this is active and willing to work and it is not only normal for an aussie, it is a behaviour we strive to produce as it makes the aussie who he is.
The off switch is the ability to lay down and relax when in the house as long as their needs have been met before hand. If it is a rainy day, if your busy and you just can't get to your regular exercise routine for the day, the aussie should be able to adjust for the short term and not destroy the house. They are as comfortable laying on the couch for one day as they are doing a day of organized sports or working in a field with sheep or cattle. As long as their needs overall are met.
The off switch is what makes Aussies more suited to family lifestyles than other breeds who do not settle and rest in the house and there are many breeds who do not settle and makes very trying house pets.
If your sick, your aussie should be more than willing to accept that today is a lazy day. Going out in the yard for a quick potty break a few times should be all the exercise he needs for today.
That off switch doesn't last forever, it's more of a temporary pause button. This isn't a lazy breed, after a day or two of having lazy time, the aussie will need to get out and do some serious exercise and mental stimulation. After a good run, some ball or disc throwing, and some serious training to work the brain, he will be happy to come home and once again chill out.
If you take advantage of their ability to be chill and get lazy in working with your aussie it is only fair to mention they can be extremely destructive. We have seen toys destroyed, furniture with the stuffing removed, drywall disassembled, hardwood/laminate floors
pulled up, carpet shredded etc.
The Off Switch often needs to be taught. As owners we seem to focus so much on getting them out to run and play that we forget to encourage the ability to just chill out. I highly recommend making staying on a dog bed for longer periods of time part of their regular day to day training.