I have seen many comments on my Blue Heeler Dog Facebook fan page lately expressing concerns about aggression problems with these dogs. Some of the problems have been so acute that the owners are considering finding their Heeler a new home, especially where children are a consideration. While I so understand these owners concerns, it is important to fully understand a Blue Heeler dog temperament before giving up on your dog. Most of these aggressive issues tend to be in Heeler puppies who are in need of solid training to alter their aggressive and mischievous behavior.
Like many animals, dogs are social creatures. After all, they chose to tame their wild side to become our domesticated companions. I recall, when first taking my Heeler pup to the vet, how much she stressed the need to well socialize my puppy in order to prevent her from becoming overly aggressive. This is absolutely key when it comes to Blue Heeler puppies. It is vital to expose your Heeler puppy to other dogs, other people and a variety of social situations very early on. This high level of socialization will instill at the beginning a much needed level of comfort for Heelers to adapt to social environments. It will also afford you the opportunity to train them as to expected and acceptable behaviors.
Cattle dogs are incredibly intelligent. They are eager and quick to learn, but it is best that they look to only one master from whom they receive their training. If a Heeler pup is not clear about who their master is, they will test and get away with unacceptable behavior. The key to all puppy training is consistency and patience. If you are not willing to be there and follow through, you cannot expect your Heeler to succeed at their training. In essence, you will be depriving this dog of putting their keen intelligence to work. For when a Blue Heeler is rewarded for their capacity to learn and display the appropriate behavior, they will continue to do so in their desire to please.
Blue Heeler dogs are exceptionally loyal, and often referred to as “Velcro” dogs. They will follow you everywhere with a desire to be constantly by your side. Heelers clearly want to bond, primarily with one master. Use this endearing characteristic to your advantage by continuously demanding of them your expected behavior in all situations and under all circumstances. Their deep loyalty translates into a yearning to please and supports their enthusiasm to learn.
Few canines display the high level of protective tendencies as those of the cattle dog breed. In fact, they can be fiercely protective at times. Training is important for these dogs to discern the appropriate protective behavior, and must be instilled in them at an early age. One can quickly train a Heeler to know who your friends are. The challenge becomes the stranger, and these dogs will look to you for the understanding of their expected behavior around stingers. Otherwise, they will be quick to nip at the UPS man and unexpected guests.
Need A Job
Remember that Blue Heelers are bred to be working cattle dogs. Their natural instincts are to herd so do not be surprised when they are zipping about and nipping the heels in a group of people, or herding you into the shower. These dogs need a job to do, and it is up to you as their master to determine what jobs are acceptable and available for them to do. You will find your determination equally matched by your Heeler’s determination to do what comes naturally to them. Thus, you will need to be very clear about acceptable jobs and give them ample opportunities to fulfill these jobs.
A Blue Heeler dog requires more exercise than most dogs since they were bred as working dogs. Their stamina is enormous! As cattle dogs, they can endure miles of rugged terrain in extreme climates without much water, food or fatigue. Daily exercise routines are a must, and something your Heeler will look forward to with great enthusiasm and anticipation. Depriving this dog of exercise will lead to mischievous behavior! With regular exercise, your Blue Heeler will be calmer, more content and more receptive to obedience and learning.
Perhaps the most significant tool in successfully training and overcoming aggression issues is your ability to effectively communicate with your dog. It is vital to understand that dogs, and most animals, operate on a different brain wave frequency than humans. Attempts to train your dog when you are feeling stressed and impatient will prove futile. The more calm, collected and present you are, the better for both of you. It is common for dog owners to unknowingly project their emotions onto their dog just as they do onto other people. The result will be equally frustrating with your dog, especially with a keenly sensitive and smart Heeler. The more you can appreciate this dog’s deep desire to please and learn, the more your Heeler will respond. Everything is energy and vibration, and dogs have a better grasp on this than most people.
If you can embrace and put to practice these seven temperament traits and tips, you will find your Blue Heeler displaying their true sweet and gentle disposition most of the time. Aggressive issues need to be singled out as to what is the main cause. Meeting your dog’s aggression with your own aggression is not productive nor advisable. A stern, disciplined, Alpha energy on your part is needed to subdue and correct ongoing aggressive behavior by your dog. Your Blue Heeler will not want to keep disappointing you so make it clear when they do, and reward them kindly when they show positive signs of learning. While finding solutions to dog problems can involve much time and effort, it will be well worth it when it comes to a Blue Heeler dog temperament whose good qualities far outweigh the bad.