People often ask me if a Blue Heeler dog would be the right dog for them. The first thing I tell them is how much exercise this dog breed needs to be happy…and well behaved. This usually answers their question quickly. If you do not have sufficient room to play with your Heeler. do not intend to work this dog or are not willing to fit lots of exercise time into your schedule, this is not the dog for you. If you have or want a Blue Heeler, you can create an abundance and variety of exercise fun with a cattle dog.
The most ideal situation wherein a cattle dog can naturally and effortlessly get lots of exercise is in life on a farm. Heelers love having a job to do as they were bred to be working cattle dogs. They will not be content lying on the couch all day. If you live on a farm, a Heeler will be a welcome addition when doing farm work. They will be eager to accompany you while both looking to you for work they can participate in, and disappearing into the woods for a good romp on their own. While you may only cover a few miles of walking, this dog will cover ten times that while walking with you. Heelers are very good with horses so will eagerly join you while riding your horse on the farm. If you are picking up sticks to clear fields, you can count on help from your Heeler. And when you return home tired after a good days work, this dog will not show no signs of fatigue.
Blue Heelers make exceptional frisbee dogs. Their quickness and agility is surpassed by few other dogs, not to mention their keen focus and enthusiasm. These dogs are pure delight to play with, to train and watch as they strive to excel in all they do. They will give catching the frisbee all they have until they master it. Once they catch on to how this game is played, you simply cannot tire them out. Have plenty of frisbees on hand for it’s a game, and a job, they will want to do every day.
Some Heelers love the water and some will not go near the water for anything. If you have a Heeler who loves water, more exercise fun awaits you. A floating ball in the lake will keep this dog occupied for hours while a floating frisbee can be retrieved in the ocean where your Heeler can also catch a few waves. Need a partner for kayaking or canoeing? Just strap your cattle dog into a doggie life vest and off you go. Your smart Blue Heeler will quickly learn how to balance and ride the water and love the buoyancy of their life vest.
You do not have to worry when planning a long, adventurous hike that your dog may not keep up. Your Heeler will cover far more terrain than you walk, rarely need a drink of water and never seem to tire. Blue Heelers will alternate between hiking along on your heels, or disappearing ahead of you while always running back to make sure you are still there. When you stop for a rest, make it quick cause your Heeler will be ready to go. If you encounter other dogs along the trail, this Aussie dog will be cordial, unless nipped at first, and then manners go out the window. If there is snow on the ground, this dog will be in heaven, stopping frequently for a good roll. You will have a good protector all along the way.
I know several Blue Heeler dog owners who lived in neighborhoods, and set up an obstacle course in their backyard for their dog’s exercise. It was amazing to watch. They had obstacles to go over, under, through and around. Some of the obstacles were interactive where the dog had to pull a rope to get over the obstacle or push an object to get through the obstacle. Obstacle courses were made for the cattle dog with their keen intelligence, focus, speed and agility. They are hard to beat. Check out this short video to prove my point!
There are actually some sheep farms where you can take your Aussie dog to participate in herding sheep. I did this once with Tapa in New Mexico and she so loved it. The sheep farm owners want to train the sheep to be herded, and open the training to people with herding dogs. If you have never seen your Heeler as a working cattle dog, it is amazing to see the power of their instinctual breeding at work. Herding comes to them naturally and effortlessly. But beware, this sheep herding fun awakens in them those under used, hidden instincts, and you might find yourself being herded round the house more than usual.
No matter what exercise you choose for your Blue Heeler dog, lots of exercise will serve to keep this dog happy and healthy. And since exercise keeps us humans happy and healthy, too, you might as well join the exercise fun with a cattle dog. When you celebrate your 95th birthday, you can thank your Blue Heeler for keeping you fit.