Whether you are a fan of small or large dog breeds, getting a new dog is a very big decision. You always have to feed, groom and of course be available for your dog. An Australian Cattle dog is one breed that can be a wonderful companion and an excellent family dog, if the conditions are right.
However, the dog is very active, a factor which comes with its advantage and disadvantage. The pro is that an active dog can play with you all day, and it can always keep up to the activities that you have in store for him.
The disadvantage is that, due to this excessive energy, they always have to be busy, and sometimes you may not know what to do, especially if it’s your first time owning this breed. If you are not sure how you can keep your dog occupied, this article will help.
How can you keep your dog busy?
In order to keep your dog occupied, you can play games with him. Making him fetch the Frisbee will be his favorite game.
Besides this, you can have him keep you company on your morning run, or you can sign up for agility contests, which will be a fun experience for both you and your dog. And if you have cattle that they can herd, the better.
Either way you decide to go, make sure you have the time to dedicate to your dog’s training, and ensure that your dog is socialized well. Also, keep your pet healthy and fit both mentally and physically.
Overall, you need to make sure that you’re fully prepared to give your dog attention. Whatever you do, try as much as you can to always have jobs lined up for your dog. This should keep it from being bored, which will also prevent a standoffish behavior.
Want to know how you can keep your dog from boredom?
1 Play games at a local park with your Australian cattle dog
Games are a great way to help your cattle dog get rid of their excess energy. When you are selecting what games you will be playing with your dog, make sure that they are interactive. These type of games increase the bond between you and your dog.
Some of the interactive games that you can play with your dog are:
- Hide and seek
- Catch, with a Frisbee
2 Go for long walks with your dog
As said, Cattle dogs have a lot of energy. Because of this, they need to be taken on walks. Keep in mind that this is not the typical “walk around the block” breed. Australian cattle dogs need long walks at least once or twice a day.
This is go a long way in preventing them from getting bored. If you are a runner, you might consider taking your cattle dog on a run with you. This is a great way to get the proper amount of exercise for your dog.
3 Let them run off the leash
Most local parks near you are dog friendly and will let you as a local resident have your dog off the leash to run as he pleases under your supervision. I know this point may seem counterintuitive to the whole purpose of having a leash. Generally, leashes are important. But sometimes it is good to let your cattle dog run off the leash to let off the energy buildup and lack of ample exercise as most working dogs demand.
But, if your local community has no dog-friendly parks, you can still do this in a fenced yard, and let them play as much as you can afford to tire them up. However, you should not try this if you know that your dog hasn’t yet be socialized well.
4) Take them to an agility class
Agility classes are another way to drain some of your dog’s energy, especially for this highly energetic.
These classes offer structured games, activities, and so many fun obstacle courses.
There are so many places where you can find classes. Check for any available classes online, through your vet, or your obedience training school.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Blue Heeler
In this section, we will be looking at some of the pros and cons of the cattle dog.
The blue heeler is a very intelligent breed, and this makes it a very easy dog to train.
- Fiercely loyal and protective
As I mentioned before, the Australian cattle dog has so much love for its family, and because of this, he will always make sure that his family is kept out of danger. This is the dog that will drive away intruders, to shield its family and all the property in your compound.
- Prone to nipping
Nipping is a very common behavior that these breeds seem to have, and it can be very exhausting to handle.
After going into the breed’s history, we learned that the blue heeler was originally raised as a herding breed. It would spend its lifetime driving cattle across the toughest terrains.
In order to herd properly, the dog has to bite the feet of the cattle. This is where the nipping comes from. However, it can be trained out of them.
- Require a lot of exercise
Just as any working breed, the Australian cattle dog requires a lot of exercise in order to stay fit, as well as to pass the time.
- Suspicious of Strangers
While this is the main characteristic that enables them to be genuine watchdogs, the suspicious behavior can make socializing very difficult.
What breeds are similar to the Australian Cattle dog?
Are you starting to feel like this is not the dog for you? Then you may consider going for a breed that is, in some way, similar to it. Luckily, there are many other choices. Below are the dog breeds that are similar to the Australian Cattle dog
The Australian Shepherd is a very good choice, especially of you have kids around the house. Compared to the Cattle dog, the Australian shepherd is less energetic, less stubborn and it doesn’t nip.
Parallel to the Australian Cattle dog, the Border collie sheds less, though it requires more brushing because of its longer coat. But, on the other side, it is just as energetic as the Australian Cattle dog.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is praised for its ability to get along well with other dogs. The breed also sheds less than the Australian Cattle dog, though is just as energetic.
German Shepherd Dog
The German shepherd dog has gained so much popularity for its sweet natured character. Since it is very gentle, the German shepherd is great with kids and demands less energy. However, it sheds heavily.
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The other alternative to the Australian cattle dog is the Belgian Tervuren. The dog is easily trained. However, if you are looking for an easy dog that you can keep happy effortlessly, Tervuren dogs are not your best choice as this dog breed is a high maintenance type of breed, due to its long coat.
Finding a Healthy Puppy
While choosing a cattle dog is easier, finding a healthy puppy is a completely different story. Luckily, there DNA tests available for over 80 different diseases that commonly affect dogs. The number, still, continues to climb in time.
On the other hand, there are also many diseases in dogs for which there are no tests available. As such, you have to ensure that you find a responsible breeder who has selected their breeding stock with care, and know what tests apply.
Also, check with the American Kennel Club on the latest health tests that are available for your breed, preferably long before you even start searching for a puppy.
Australian Cattle Dog Breed Rescue Societies
There are quite a number of associations out there. Some of the common ones are:
- Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue
- Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association
- Carolina ACD Rescue and Rebound
- Pacific Northwest Cattle Dog Rescue
Can you go for a cattle dog mixed breed?
Due to the popularity of the Australian Cattle Dogs, we aren’t surprised that breeders have become creative and busy. I mean, who doesn’t love mixed breeds?
Having such dogs is a great way to own different colored or sized Australian Cattle Dogs.
However, one thing you have to keep in mind about mixed breeds is that they can inherit health problems from either of the parent breeds.
This means you need to look into the breed’s parents to determine what health conditions will likely be present in the puppy.
Do cattle dogs make good family pets?
Australian Cattle Dogs can make great pets if they are given the exercise and mental stimulation they need.
Also, these dogs are very loving, loyal and full of personality. On top of that, they get along well with children as well as other pets, if they have been socialized well. You should, however, always keep an eye on them if they are playing with children.
An Australian cattle dog is full of energy, with which it can play with its beloved owners on a daily basis. However, this can be a bit of a factor, since they need to be exercised and always given something to do.
Luckily, there are some many tips in this post that you can use to keep your dog from being idle, which can prevent a destructive behavior. You may consider playing games with your dog, going on long walks or runs every day, and let them play with other dog at the park.