The Australian Cattle Dog, also commonly known as Blue Heeler Dog, are very popular dogs today than they have ever been. Their markings, intellect, and lively character never fail to impress us. But, are Australian cattle dogs easy to train?
The Australian cattle dog is an easy dog breed to train as Aussie Cattle dogs are smart, eager to please, loyal, and intelligent herding dog breed turned-family-pet. Naturally, Australian cattle dog breed can be quite stubborn, and the key is to socially condition from when they are puppies by providing them with plenty of training and socialization from when Aussie cattle dogs are at a puppy stage.
Australian Cattle Dogs actually came as a result of cross-breeding the Blue Merle and the Australian Dingo by British settlers sometime during the late 1800s.
Originally bred as herding dogs, the Australian Cattle dogs can be a handful to calm down as they are adolescent puppies but are well-loved for being very good, energetic, and hyperactive traits vital for their herding purpose. Because if that trait, these working dogs have plenty of energy and love to run.
In their homes, they’re devoted to their people and can be good for families, especially those that have children. Are you planning on getting yourself an Australian Cattle dog? Not sure if you can be able to train it? This post will help.
So What Makes Australian Cattle Dogs Easy To Train?
Australian Cattle dogs are some of the easiest dogs to train, and this comes from the fact that the dogs are very eager to please their owners. These dogs are very intelligent in nature and they can learn commands faster with just a few tries.
Though the Australian dog breed is a naturally resilient dog, Australian cattle dogs are not good when left alone. Certain bad behaviors with Aussie cattle dog breeds is down to anxiety and lack of quality time with your dog. Instead of keeping your dog busy apart from providing the dog training, most pet owners often stray and use abusive or intimidating voice tone. Aussie cattle dogs respond well to calm and positive measured voice tone along with rewarding him with treats as positive reinforcement and avoid applying any hard methods of training.
The way of ensuring that your cattle dog is well-trained as an adult is to start training him while he is still young. Socialize him with as many people and other pets as possible. In the long run, your dog will be less of a problem, especially during training.
When it comes to Australian Cattle dogs, it can be very hard to find a tougher dog that is able to drive cattle in rough terrains or high temperatures.
Tips on training your Australian Cattle dog
While the Australian Cattle dogs are relatively easy to train, it still helps if you have some cattle dog training tricks up your sleeve. Here’s a look at the tips that you can use to train your dog better.
1) Understand your dog’s history and temperament
Before you plan on getting welcoming an Australian cattle dog (or any other dog) into your home, it is important that you should do a research on the breed.
This breed will allow you to know about the dog’s history. Researching the breed’s history, you will have knowledge about where it came from and how its characteristics have evolved over the years. You will also have a better appreciation of the breed.
You will also know about the breed’s temperament in order to decide on whether or not you can handle it. Also, once you understand the temperament of the breeds, you can use its strong sides during training. It’s not enough just to learn how much to feed them.
If you haven’t already looked into it, here’s a short summary: Australian Cattle dogs are very energetic animals, and they can run all day without getting tired, especially when they are doing what they do best: herding
That being said, these dogs aren’t couch potatoes, and they shouldn’t be treated in that way. They love to be given something to do.
So if you are not active, this is probably not the dog for you. On the other hand, these dogs are loyal and protective of their family.
Though they are excellent family dogs, they usually bond closely with a single person. If they are left alone for an extended period of time, they might develop separation anxiety.
2) Socialize your puppy to children and animals
Australian Cattle dogs are usually suspicious of strangers. Being a herding dog means that they had to be alert in order to announce thieves as well as any predators in sight.
Besides that they have a high prey drive. With that, they tend to regard cats and other small animals as prey. As such, the first step in your Cattle dog training has to be socialization.
Luckily, there are so many ways that you can socialize your dog. While so, the most important thing is to make the whole experience positive.
You should never use any form of punishment or harsh treatment. Any of these methods might shape your dog’s behavior, causing it to become aggressive and fearful.
If your dog seems uncomfortable or afraid of something in their immediate environment, it will be a lot harder to socialize.
Instead of forcing them, work slowly on overcoming any fears first. Don’t forget to praise and reward them along the way.
It’s important to expose your cattle dog to children, especially while it is still a puppy. If your dog hasn’t been socialized with kids, he won’t know how to treat them and hurt them by accident. They can also consider children to be a threat. In regards to cats and other pets, allow them to grow up
3) Use positive reinforcement
Since these are herding dogs, they are used to working and interacting with humans regularly. This has shaped the typical Australian cattle dog to become attached to humans, and this is one of the factors that makes the dogs easy to train.
When you want your cattle dog to do something repeatedly, consider using a lot of positive reinforcement.
In this way, your dog will make a connection between the reward and the preformed action.
When is the right time to train your dog?
You should start training your Australian Cattle dog when it is as young as eight weeks of age. Some essential training commands include:
- Responding to their name,
- Come when called
- Sit on command
This brings us to our next point.
4) Set rules and boundaries
While Australian Cattle dogs are easy to train, they still tend to be overbearing and stubborn, especially if they have an inexperienced owner.
They are rule breakers and they will constantly do so if they know (or if you show them) that they can get away with it.
How can you solve this? Simple. Be consistent in how you treat the puppy. Don’t set rules today and change them tomorrow as this can confuse your dog. As such, it is important to think about what rules you’re going to enforce long before you welcome the puppy into your home.
Besides setting rules and reinforcing them, it is also important to set boundaries, especially for this herding breed since they’re naturally adventurous.
5) Nip biting early
Australian Cattle dogs love to bite and nip. This is because they are herding dogs and nipping is part of the job. And I must say, their bites/nips aren’t that gentle.
Fortunately, there are so many ways that you can get your dog to stop biting you. Some common methods, such as ignoring your puppy or acting hurt are not very effective in minimizing, let alone stopping the nipping behavior.
Instead, they can only cause the dog to become more excited, and they might end up playing tougher.
In order to avoid over stimulating your puppy, you should try redirecting their attention to a suitable sturdy toy. And while you are at it, teach your puppy to drop things on command. Take advantage of puppy obedience classes.
6) Keep your Australian Cattle dog busy
As we mentioned earlier, these dogs are so energetic and shouldn’t be treated like coach potatoes. Also, they don’t do very well in apartments.
They always have to be given something to do. If you’re a shepherd or a farmer, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this dog as you can give it a herd.
But, if you aren’t a farmer, then consider canine sports. You can go for agility course and Treibball, which involves herding balls.
Do you like to go out hiking or running? Then bring your dog along, but only when they mature and their growth plate are closed.
On top of that, you can keep your Australian Cattle puppy busy with interactive toys, obedience training, learning tricks, tug-of-war and many other puppy-friendly games.
7) End all your lessons positively
Training a puppy can be exhausting every so often. However, it is important that you should maintain a kind but firm approach every single time.
Don’t shout at your dog during your training sessions as this can cause the dog to develop stress, become shy or withdraw altogether.
Make sure that all the training sessions end in a fun way. By doing so, your puppy will be looking forward to the next training session.
To sum up, an Australian Cattle dog is very easy to train. But it is very important that you start the training while he is still a puppy. Training an adult cattle dog is a bit more challenging, though not impossible.
When you are training your dog, make sure that you don’t use any hard methods or punishments as that can cause your dog to become aggressive and even bite you in the name of “fear”. Instead, training should involve the use of positive reinforcements, such as the use of treats.
Since your dog has so much energy, make sure that you also engage in activities that will burn away some of that excess energy. For instance, you could take your dog for walks or sign up for training classes- the list is endless.