When it comes to picking a dog breed for your home, heelers are one particular breed that has become a very popular choice for many homes.
Heelers (commonly known as Australian Cattle Dogs) are very gorgeous dogs that have made a reputation for being some of the hardest working animals in the canine family.
This is the dog that likes to be given tasks to perform and work until the tasks is done. Heelers are very sweet and playful, especially when it comes to their owners.
Whether you are an inexperienced or you are an expert owner, this information has the essential info you will need on training heelers. Further, we will explore the best ways of taking care of your dog.
So Are The Heelers Easy To Train?
Contrary to popular beliefs, heelers are an easy dog breed to train. These breeds are very intelligent and quick to grasp instructions. However, they are known to be stubborn and wilful at times, which can make the training a bit challenging, so you always have to know what you are doing.
Training must always begin the dog is still a puppy. When training them, it is important to use positive reinforcements and various other ways that will keep your dog engaged and interested in the training.
With that said, you have to avoid any form of harsh treatment of acting aggressive to your dog as this may have adverse effects to the whole training process.
A guide to Heeler training
There are several ways of training your pet heeler. Here’s a look at the important tips that will ease your training.
1) Socialize your Dog to People and Animals early
Socializing your heeler is a very important factor when it comes to heelers. Typically, the more you socialize them the happier, they will be.
Dogs need time around other people outside of your family as well as other animals. This enables them to learn how to behave around them.
Once they get used to something or someone while they are still puppies, they likely won’t have a problem when they reach adulthood. Heeler puppies will not learn to behave around others if they are not allowed to spend time around them.
2) Be Consistency in Training
Because heelers are very smart dogs, it is suggested that you should be very consistent when it comes to your training sessions.
These are the kind of dogs that require a lot of consistency. Being consistent also means creating rules for your dog and sticking to those rules.
Don’t let them break a rule because heelers know that if you allow it to get away with breaking a rule; it will be able to get away with it again. Your puppy shouldn’t be able to get away with anything.
This can be a very challenging task for you as a dog owner, especially since these dogs are just so adorable. It’s really hard to say no to them.
And sometimes, you may be occupied with other day to day matters that might get in the way of the regular training (or lack thereof).
If you want your puppy to learn well, teach it well from the start and advance the training gradually. If your puppy doesn’t seem to learn fast or it has forgotten some commands, don’t be hesitant to fall back and restart. Don’t forget to use the treats as a positive reinforcement.
3) Create Boundaries
Boundaries are just as important as rules are, especially for the heelers and other herding dogs. Due to their adventurous and hardworking nature, heelers that love to explore, work and herd.
You have to make sure that you have set the right boundaries for your dog. If you don’t train the dog where to find the boundaries, he/she may end up wandering to wherever it wants to go.
On top of that, make it a habit to go places you do not want to the puppies to go and teach them to sit outside those rooms (or that fence etc.). In this way, your dog will learn that this is as far as they go and everything past that point is off limits to them.
4) Dominate your dog
A heeler can very quickly dominate you. In fact, a lot of Australian Cattle dogs find themselves in dog shelters because of this behavior.
When a dog dominates you, it can be hard to control it. Typically a dog that is dominant of its owner will be the boss of that owner. He will command you, he will be setting the rules and calling the shots. This another reason why they are not recommended for first time dog owners.
As we mentioned before, these dogs are highly intelligent. If they suspect that you are not going to stand up and be their boss at all times, they will take control. And trust me; you don’t want your dog to dominate you. It can be very disrespectful.
So, make sure that you are the alpha, and always show your dog that you are the boss. In the long run, your dog will learn to respect you more.
5) Be Kind but Firm
Just like all dogs, blue heelers need positive reinforcement during training. This active dog requires a lot of training and discipline along the way.
But when you are disciplining them, make sure not to use any hard methods because you will end up with an aggressive dog that you will eventually send to the shelter sometime down the road, especially if the aggression worsens.
If you dog is caught doing something he isn’t supposed to do, like let’s say “doing his business” on the bedroom floor, make sure he knows that this is unacceptable.
But, if your dog is caught stands by the door and asks to go out, uses the potty outside and then comes back in without wondering outside, reward the dog immediately.
This way, your puppy will keep doing it in that same way in order to get their reward. Sooner or later, you won’t have to reward him anymore.
6) Encourage Exercise
Since they are very energetic, heelers need to be exercised a lot. They love to run and play and they do very well with games of fetch. They like anything that can keep them busy.
You have to take the dog on daily walks and make regular visits to the park. While there, let them meet and interact with other dogs as a way of socializing them.
How To Care For A Heeler Puppy Dog?
Before you welcome a Heeler puppy dog into your home, it is important to have an in-depth knowledge of the amount of care this dog breed requires. In this section, we will be covering feeding as well as grooming.
Heelers must be fed twice a day. This is because they are very active dogs. Also, they need to be given the food that has the right amount of minerals and vitamins for their lively nature.
Look for a brand that does not contain many fillers, such as corn meal, bran, or brewer’s rice. A nutritious brand of dog food that caters to medium sized dogs would be perfect for a Cattle dog.
Cattle dogs like to work for everything. Take advantage of this and make your cattle dog work for their food. This will likely keep them busy while simultaneously providing stimulation.
Here, there are two ways you could take it. You can either:
- Hide your dog’s food around the house in order to make them hunt for it or
- You can put treats inside food puzzle toys, such as a Kong.
Besides their diet, heelers are heavy water drinkers, so you should probably have a water bowl set out for them. Make sure that there is always fresh water available. In fact, you have to change the water daily.
Just as with most breeds, heelers have to be groomed. Heelers are double-coated breed, and the coat can repel a lot of dirt so Cattle dogs only need to be bathed when the dirt on their coat becomes visible.
As such, you only need to brush your Australian Cattle dog once a week, preferably with a bristle or slicker brush.
Heelers shed twice a year. During the shedding season, brush him every day. During bath times, check your dog’s ears for any signs of ear wax.
The dogs are very prone to ear disease. So, if your dog is stroking at their ears or whining when you touch their ears, consider visiting a vet as soon as possible. The dog’s nails must also be trimmed down.
As a recap, heelers are very smart breeds, which makes them easy to train. But when it comes to training a heeler, there are several things that have to be involved, not to mention the herding instincts that have to be minimized along the way.
As such, the heeler is not recommended to first time dog owners. But, heelers are a great selection. If you are looking for puppies to add to your home, you should consider heelers. These dogs can play and interact with everyone in the family, particularly children.