Training a blue heeler puppy might sound like a tall order. This breed has a lot of energy, making pet owners work to keep up with them. If you've never trained a dog before, you might feel intimidated at the thought of tackling this job with one of the best cattle dogs out there. With a little work, you can stay ahead of this intelligent, energetic dog breed and help your puppy become a well-behaved and well-socialized dog.
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Understand the blue heeler personality
Before you start training a blue heeler puppy, it's important to understand this breed. Blue heelers have a different personality than other dog breeds, and their unique traits should inform how you approach training.
Blue heelers (also called Australian cattle dogs) were originally bred to work cattle. A blue heeler training book explains how the breed was created in the 1800s by Australians who needed help herding cattle. They bred an English drover's cur with a dingo to create the blue heeler.
Blue heelers are highly energetic and intelligent. As a blue heeler owner, you need to give your dog a job to do, or he will likely get in trouble. Your blue heeler wants to work. Don't be afraid to challenge him during training sessions with progressively harder commands. This dog breed is smart and alert.
Many blue heeler puppies are prone to nipping at kids or other animals. This is a natural instinct for a breed that was intended to be a herding dog. However, it's not what you want your pet to do.
To train blue heelers not to bite, expose your puppy to other people and animals from an early age, teaching her that others are friends and not prey. You should also provide lots of chew toys as an outlet for your puppy's mouthiness. Regular exercise is important too. Redirect any destructive energy to games and outdoor play.
Training a blue heeler puppy
As one of the most popular cattle dog breeds, blue heelers are very intelligent, and puppies will easily pick up on basic commands. Teach your puppy to come by calling his name and giving him a treat when he comes to you. You can teach "sit" by holding a treat above his head until his bottom touches the ground.
Make sure to only use positive reinforcement when training a blue heeler puppy. Give your dog lots of treats and praise when he correctly responds to a command. Never yell at your dog or hit him. Be patient and loving as you work to master obedience commands.
Bite training for blue heelers
Blue heelers are a protective dog breed that can sometimes be aggressive. However, they're also one of the best cattle dogs, acting as a loyal friend and watchdog to their family. It's your responsibility to train your blue heeler puppy to bring out her good traits and not the breed's weaknesses.
You can teach your blue heeler puppy not to bite by immediately putting a toy in her mouth when the puppy tries to bite you. If the dog does bite you, yelp as if you're hurt. You can also turn your back on your puppy and ignore her for a few seconds if she tries to bite you.
In addition to obedience commands, training a blue heeler puppy not to bite is the most important aspect of working with this breed.
- ABC News: The True Blue: Book Reveals the Real Origins of Australia's Famous Cattle Dog
- American Kennel Club: Australian Cattle Dog
- PetCareRX: Stop Australian Cattle Dog Nipping and Growling
- American Kennel Club: Teach Your Puppy These 5 Basic Cues
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association: Frequently Asked Questions