Blue Heeler Dogs: Aggressive yet Loyal
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We have always trained our own dogs, although Titan was the best because he became our best friend and mate.
Blue and Red Heelers
If you have ever seen a Blue Heeler work, you would know they throw their whole heart and soul into everything they do. They would die trying to do the job their master asks of them before giving up.
Their pace is either flat-out, or not at all, they don't know the words "steady" or "slow." They have a heart of gold. Even in play, it is full on and you need to use caution as their teeth are sharp. They do not mean to hurt anyone, they are just so quick.
Blue heelers are a very faithful and doting dog for their masters. I sometimes believe they know more than we do. They are so smart I believe that our Titan is one step ahead of us all the time and knows how to get around us mere humans.
Early Heritage of Blue Heelers
The early settlers coming to Australia brought both livestock and their dogs. Their dogs had no stamina to cope with the extreme conditions in Australia's outback; it was too harsh for them. Therefore, settlers tried breeding a tougher, more resilient type of dog.
They tried many breeds in this experiment; first they crossed the Smithfield with the Dingo. This was not completely successful. Then someone imported Blue Smooth Highland Collies and crossed these with the Dingo. They crossed the young again with a Dingo; these pups were born with speckled bluish or reddish fur. The next idea was to cross black and red Kelpies with these dogs. After years of trial and error, the Australian Cattle Dog, otherwise known as the Blue or Red Heeler, evolved.
Today's Blue and Red Heelers
The tenacity and willingness of these dogs to do anything for their master is quite incredible. Their eagerness to learn enables their masters to train them in all aspects of herding cattle. Their speed and ability to control and turn the cattle with a little nip or two saves the owners many hours of extra labour.
Heelers often work a herd following their master's instructions in the form of whistles and simple commands, without the master needing to otherwise intervene himself.
Caring for Your Dog
All dogs need correct feeding, proper veterinary care and vaccinations.
Because Blue Heelers are working dogs, they need to be given regular exercise. Take them to the park and throw a ball or frisbee for them to chase. Beware, never stand between the ball and the dog, or he will knock you flying to get to the ball. I have personally experienced this, ending up flat on my face on the ground. My husband thought it was funny at the time; actually it probably was, from where he was standing.
This is another reason why Heelers need obedience training, to keep them under control at all times while in the park. Remember to take the doggy-doo bags with you for those little emergencies. With the advent of climate change, they suggest we all use paper bags now.
Take good care of your dog. A dog that is loved will look after you and want to protect you. A dog ill-treated can react badly, to the owner or another person.
So remember, aggressive behavior has more than one possible cause; it may be that an aggressive dog was ill-treated by his master, but it may be that he loves his master and wants to protect him. Look after your dog and he will be loyal to you.
Obedience Training Is Essential for House Dogs
Training is the best way to control any dog in your home. You can learn the best techniques from an experienced trainer, or train him yourself.
Every dog needs to understand the rules in any home. How often have you seen a child run out onto the road? Dogs are no different. Therefore, if your dog is taught obedience, he will respond to the actions of stop, stay, sit, drop, and many more needed commands.
A few hours of training may save your dog's life. And it could prevent him from being an aggressive dog. Any dog will bite if provoked or ill-treated.
Choosing Your Blue Heeler Puppy
I would suggest you buy one of these dogs as a pup. That way you can see the temperament of the dog. Never buy one that shows no initiative or playfulness.
Check out the breeder's credentials; the better the breeder, the more likely you are to receive a healthy dog. Some dogs from back-yard breeders could have been mated with all types of dogs, and not be true Blue Heelers.
Blue Heelers have one of the worst reputations among any breed for biting people. In particular, it is well known that a Blue Heeler will let anyone into a house, yet not let him or her out. They will attack the person's heel, true to the name "heeler."
At the same time, I do not believe a dog is born aggressive. If a dog turns on you, it is usually because the dog has been ill-treated at some time in their life. It may have been either kicked or repeatedly hit. Something triggers a memory causing this aggression in a dog. Something as simple as you accidentally treading on its tail could set him off. Be honest, you would retaliate if someone jumped on you, or knocked you over.
A few other points about heelers:
- Noise is something else that will irritate a dog. Their hearing is so much better than man's. An ambulance or fire engine siren will cause them anxiety.
- Never ever trust any dog to behave, especially if you do not know the dog or its history.
But if treated right by their owners, these beautiful dogs will give you many years of faithful love and protection. They also love to play with toys, go for walks, and play in the parks.
Working Dogs Give Their All for Their Masters
I know from experience that working dogs like Australian Cattle dogs will give their all as they do everything they can to please their masters.
Jumping up and down on vehicles day after day will take their toll on their strong bodies, mainly their legs. It is as though they do not feel pain. I have seen my dog wrap himself around our clothes hoist while chasing a ball. Yet he did not give up the chase, nor did he show any pain.
Now he is suffering from all these little ventures. He limps from the pain, and we have tried all sorts of treatment. One vet actually wanted to cut off one of his toes 12 months ago. We were not convinced that was the problem. Instead we changed vets; the new one has him on medication which relieves the pain. It is not cheap, but he is so much happier, and that is the main thing. Money is not important when it comes to the health of our best friend and mate.
If you are not happy with a diagnosis, get a second opinion.
Teaching Dog Tricks
Questions & Answers
Question: We have a male blue heeler and 7 kids. We have never seen any aggression with him. But every female heeler we have had seems mean. Why is that?
Answer: Blue heelers are very protective of their masters and yes sometimes by protecting you they do show more aggression. I dont profess to know what goes on in their heads but with the right training they will protect you with their life. You can be sure of that.if you have any problems with this one take him for obedience training
Question: I have a blue heeler who is very attentive to me. Recently I started a new relationship and my dog acts very aggressive towards my partner when we are even just hugging in the kitchen as well as more active in the bedroom. I am afraid he will bite my partner. Anything I can do to stop this behavior?
Answer: Include your dog and your partner in playful activities together. I am sure if you do things together he will gradually accept them. Bear in mind he has had you all to himself, and now he has to share you.
Question: We have a blue heeler and he doesn’t listen to stop commands. How can we train him easily?
Answer: When training you need to try and have eye contact with your dog. Instead of using stop try sit and stay commands.
Question: My Blue heeler is 2 yrs old. She’s great off lead with the kids but we have to watch her in our house because she will snap at them even when they are petting her nicely. She will go from kissing them to snapping at them. We did just have our son so maybe she’s being protective. Any ideas to stop this behavior before we have our sons friends over when he is older?
Answer: Sounds like she is jealous. Show her special attention. But don't make a fuss of your baby so much in front of her. Maybe put her outside with toys while tending to her. She may grow out of it. Otherwise, have your dog obedience trained.
Question: I have a 1 year old blue heeler that we take to the farm store, Lowe’s etc. and he is very aggressive towards some people especially kids and other dogs. He lives with me and my wife in the country. He’s been obedience trained along with doing agility and dock diving so he’s been around other people and dogs. When we’re doing these classes he’s as good as gold but going to the stores he acts extremely vicious. What’s your thoughts?
Answer: I am not sure but do you think he may actually be in protection mode. Not wanting anyone near you and your property.
Question: Why have you listed them as one of the most aggressive dogs? Chihuahuas bite more people and are more aggressive. A nip on the heel is not a sign of aggression something is triggering its natural drive to herd often triggered with little kids.
Answer: At time of writing that was what the stats said.
Question: We have a Heeler mix. She is approximately 7 months old and very difficult to train. Would you have any suggestions to get around this? We use treats for training.
Answer: Always keep eye contact with your dog and use simple stay sit commands repetitively. Reward with a treat when one does well.
Gabriel Wymyczak on August 31, 2020:
I have a blue heeler who is about 5 months old and is aggressive towards new dogs but is fine with the dogs at our house
Lisa gaines on August 21, 2020:
My girlygirl rose is awsome exsept i can not get her to do collar or even a harnus and leash !
Exsample getting ready for a trip out in car tell her go straight to her door before i open house she goes and sets till i arive to open get to say grandmas i tell her go to door straight to gramas door out she goes running hard as she can i come around corner she setting waiting for me thats fine and dandy but she wants to go apsalutly every where i go and i cant judt not have her on leash i realy am at witts end with this help please
Dawn on August 19, 2020:
I have a Texas healer my question is he gets along with the dogs I have on my property but when people come close to my property with dogs he will run across the property line and attack their dogs what can I do to stop this
Chloe on August 11, 2020:
I have a 3 month old blue heeler and I can’t get him to obey me! He ran out into the road luckily no car was coming but when I would walk towards him or call his name he would run! Any ideas on how to fix this? For his wellbeing I could handle losing him especially this young!
chas on August 07, 2020:
We have a 3 year old blue heeler and a house full of kids. Our dog has recently become aggressive compared to his former self. My husband is his main care taker and he has recently gone back to work; i think this may be the problem. how do i remedy it? also will fixing him remedy the issue?
Lori spearin on July 28, 2020:
Hi I have a Deaf blue heeler..female named Lucy. We do asl with her but very difficult and very aggressive towards everyone. I'm still trying to figure out how to make her understand that my friends and family are not the bad guys..so I have to kennel her when we have company..any advice would be so helpful. Ty
Jenny on July 24, 2020:
We have a 5 year old male border heeler mix. He is loyal to whom he likes but gets jealous and is nippy. Very unpredictable around new people we get nervous. Especially bringing a baby into its life for the first time, we are extremely nervous how he will react day to day. We have cats and there's never been an aggressive issue there. But with toddlers and people there have been spiteful and jealous behavior. We plan to get many gates for the baby as we live in an apartment but what else can we do to prepare?
Liz Cassamassino on July 13, 2020:
I’m so sorry Cathy. He knows your love was always there for him. May he be happy and running all day in Heaven!
Tracy on June 23, 2020:
I just had to my healer put to sleep today not due to being agressive he had bone cancer he was blind loosing control of his bladder and his bowels. He had spots on his heart and his lungs. He was never agressive towards anyone. He was the best. A loveable gentle dog. My best friend
Kathy on May 04, 2020:
I have a Blue Heeler and he breathes very fast as trr doing anything. Is that normal.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on August 07, 2019:
Separate the dogs and give them individual attention. Sounds l i me he may be jealous.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on August 07, 2019:
Get him into some obedience training. Does he hsve any toys to keep him activated outside on his own
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on August 07, 2019:
Sounds like he has really attached himself you too much. Is anything unusual happened recently to cause this change. Maybe take him to obedience training. Also buy him some toys thst he can play eith outside to keep him occupied.
Chris on August 05, 2019:
We just got a new kitten and my heeler is fixated on her even when the cat is not moving. Is there anything u can do to help them get along?
Barbara Power on July 11, 2019:
Please help! I have a Blue Heeler/Choc lab mix that I rescued. He is an intact 15 month old. Initially he was very receptive to training&other than normal puppy chewing events, he WAS awesome. He is great with my small grandkids&other dogs. My issue lately is he has become aggresive(even snapped at me) and extremely obstinate(not listening to commands he has known for a year!) He also has started chewing again, tearing up my bed when i left the house for 15 minutes! I have a huge fenced in yard that he gets tons of exercise in. I really am getting concerned and at a loss for what do to after tonight he tried biting me going out the door to take the trash out. I am retired so i am almost always home&if i leave for longer times I take the dogs with me. Any advice please!
crystal on April 30, 2019:
hello, i have a blue heeler that is almost a year old. we had rescued him and then a lab pup. he started attacking the lab pup. then started attacking other dogs randomly. we also had a problem when he is around others. he growls and tries to nip them. or bite them. we are not sure what to do and we really don't want to have him put down because when he is with me or my partner he is a sweetheart. and very playful. we have been patient until today when he got lose and a woman claimed he bit her kid. i don't want to believe it but i know i need to do something about it. i am really scared to lose my baby bear due to the way he acts. i just want to help make my little heeler a sweetheart like he was before he started acting like this
samkidd88 on April 08, 2019:
I have a 2 year old blue heeler that iv had since he was a puppy. He learns super quick and i have had no problems with him til i took in a rescue dog. They both get along pretty well but i have just brought another dog home and for some reason he has started randomly attacking the first rescue. The rescue is a old English bulldog that is probably 30 pounds bigger then him but he attacks him almost 3 times a day. Im getting the bulldog neutered in a few weeks and im hoping it will help but i have no idea whats going on with him. He has never attacked anyone or any other dogs. And he is totally fine with the other dog in the house. I know he is super attached to me and doesn't like when i love on other dogs but he doesn't attack them ever. What can i do??
Kate on February 24, 2019:
I adopted an 8 year old blue heeler/Aussie shepherd cross 9 months ago from a man who said he had to give him up because he nipped his girlfriends kid who jumped on him while sleeping. I was worried but thought it wasn’t a sign of aggression just that he was startled. Since I’ve had him, he’s nipped quite aggressively at my face 4 times over the last 9 months when petting him and at 3 other people. Every time was seemingly out of the blue with no sign of annoyance or aggression to give us warning. I redirect him, don’t give him attention and scold him. I am quite worried, because he is such a loveable dog and really loves snuggling but these seemingly random aggressive moments really scare me. I am unsure what to do.
Sherry Pineda on January 30, 2019:
I have owned heeler since the 80”s. These dogs respond well to positive re-enforcement and will shut down when trained with frustration and anger. I have never had one that doesn’t love children, but are a rough and tumble dog. Requirements: an assertive owner, tasks to do, obedience training, and an owner at least intelligent as the dog...no, really! There is a saying; If you don’t think dogs talk; you have never had an argument with a heeler!
Rebecca on January 24, 2019:
Hey LFWhite, my two year old heeler has similar tendencies. He is generally fine with other animals but snaps on occasion. Over time we have figured out the common denominator of his aggression is me. He will hang out with my sister and her dogs all day with no issues and then I come home and he is much more likely to snap at the other dogs and start a fight. He is very obedient otherwise. Keeping him mentally and physically tired is essential. I have also found some things that have helped (well pursuing training) is not to touch or interact with other animals around him. I also keep him out of my intimate space when meeting new people or animals. If he is sitting at my feet he is much more likely to get jealous and to guard me. He also growls and is a lot of talk so when I sense he is getting possessive I redirect him with an activity (peanut butter Kong, fetch, etc) I hope that helps. Good luck with your training!
ACD Lover on December 18, 2018:
LFWhite, you either need to hire a professional trainer, or rehome her to someone with experience with cattle dogs. There is no quick fix for your problem except training. In the meantime, you need to keep the cats and dogs separate from your puppy.
Also, don't allow the man you live with to beat her. It will only make her aggressive towards humans. If you can't kick the man out of the house, then you might consider moving yourself out of the house.
LFWhite on December 14, 2018:
I have an 8 month old ACD. She is a wonderful dog except for her fighting with the cats and other dogs. One minute everything is fine then the next she is trying to tear them apart. I'm at my wits end. The man I live with has threatened to beat her with his cane if she doesn't stop. I don't want that to happen and he claims that she only does this when I'm home. I need advice and or suggestions.
Pam Miears-Ennis on December 06, 2018:
Our Koda came to us in a very roundabout way. First he was gifted to a teenaged girl and lived with her and her dad, then he lived with her and our son after they married. Then with our son, after the divorce. Then with us. All in under three years. I'm happy to say we were his last home, we had our boyo for over 9 years. He wasn't just a good boy, he was the best of the good boys....if you don't count biting through the leather of snow boots rendering them useless. ..or opening doors and going wherever he wanted too...or eating all of the cat food ( see opening doors)...or learning to pick up his toe nails so they didn't click on the wood floors, giving away his position in the house (see opening doors)....
He was the bravest of dogs... if you don't count being afraid of the dark ( he knew there be monsters there, which was true we live in coyote And mountain lion country)...or dog fights ( he was a lover not a fighter)...
The best of guard dogs...unless you wanted to keep people out of the house...
He loved opening Christmas gifts, barking at the last of the leaves to fall off of the trees at the end of fall, burying his sister ( he would dig huge holes, wait for her to fall in and begin shoving the dirt back in), children, even a strangers child on the trail ( he moved away from me to her and stood between her and the danger that was growling from the bushes, we had met her exactly 60 seconds before), ...
He didn’t learn to swim until he was 2.5 years old, and had a swim so ugly that our Golden retriever would hide her head in embarrassment. But he would end up saving not one but two lives before he passed, one was our own puppy that fell off a cliff into rapids, he didn't hesitate, and ignored commands to stop, to jump in and save her. The other was another strangers child. They were all swimming in a large swimming hole in the river, when Koda suddenly jumped in, swam across to a group of kids, and dove under in about 12 feet of water. At the moment that he dove under someone asked where Maria was, people began looking around , my husband just dove in and swam to Koda. By the time he got there Koda had the girl already, and all my husband had to do was bring her to shore.
You wrote about their protective tendencies. All it took was the code word and he would attack the threat, he learned that when he hung out at the Navy Seal Barracks with our son.
We lost him last year. He was bit by a rattlesnake, and had a bad reaction to the anti-venom. He fought back. And almost recovered, but not enough. Two months later he just failed and passed within a few days. During those final days he took phone calls from the people he lived that couldn't fly home. He was nearly paralyzed but at every call he perked up, smiled, and talked to them a bit.
We' ll get another heeler some day, just aren't ready yet.
hannah from bryan texas on December 01, 2018:
I wrote the one underneath this one
Sam on November 30, 2018:
My ACD has been having issues lately with biting and it seems to be getting worse. He will run from across the room and put himself between me and the person and try to bite the person. He will also jump up and bite me when we are playing fetch. Tonight, he bit my mom for no reason at all when it was time for bed. It seems to be getting worse and I do not know what to do. I’m stuck and can’t find a way to help him get past this
Karin on October 28, 2018:
I have a red heeler chained up out the front for a few hours at a time, but spends the rest of the day on my bed beside me. She is a tremendous guard dog as I live in a sus area. My problem , which isn’t a problem to me just my kids is that she won’t let anyone get close to me as in a cuddle and she will snap if you take anything off the bed, but never at me. Is she over protective?
ACD26 on September 27, 2018:
Do you have any suggestions about feeding? We have tried to correct our ACD to leave our Lab alone when eating but it wasn't working so we started to feed them in separate rooms to avoid a fight. It's the ACD who gets weird with food and our Lab lets the ACD rule the house, he's a big marshmallow lol
ACD26 on September 27, 2018:
My husband brought home a ACD after I said no, I know these dogs are a lot of work. Who does the ACD love and follow? Me of course lol...anyway reading comments he is definitely moody but we just work around it. I know not to disturb him when he sleeps, he doesn't like his face petted for too long or he'll let you know. We have a 10 yr old intact lab and our ACD is 13 months also intact. They get along about 99% of the time..again we work around the ACD I can not feed them in the same room and when giving treats it needs to be at the same time. Jake our ACD is great but I have noticed if he is overtired he gets nippy he looks scary but he is not mean (if he wanted to break skin he could, he doesn't)and I correct this behavior. I find mental stimulation works better than hikes sometimes. He is great and loyal and very time consuming ( we have begun agility in backyard)if you don't have the time I suggest you get a different breed. He begins sheep herding this wk, I hope it goes well! Also I don't let strangers pet him, and I do socialize him, I hope I'm doing everything right, h has definitely grown on me!!!
Tyler on August 31, 2018:
I can promise he will most definitely bite someone if he feels that person is a threat to you or himself. They are incredibly loyal to THEIR family, and I agree with most everything in this, but I have seen very very few Heelers who will not nip the random hand without an OK from their master that the person is of no threat. If you dont introduce them to people there is a likely chance that person may get nipped, normally once as a warning and then incredibly aggressive if pushed.
My advice, keep him on a leash, if he does nip a stranger who reaches down to pet him you have a stronger ability to fight any fault and prevent a loyal dog doing its job from needing to be put down.
One more thing, find something he will do anything to get to, balls like stated in the article are excellent options. Then spend as much time as neccessary throwing it then immediately tell him leave it or stay or your choice of commands. Once he leaves it be give him a treat and repeat until he does it every time.
Doing this ive taught every Heeler or Australian shepherd ive owned to ignore everything if told including strangers. Ive stopped one of my heelers mid nip with a command. Learn to read your dog, ears back usually mean submissive, untrusting, cautious, ect......if your dog does that near a stranger stop the dog before he nips. Remember Heelers are instinctively pack animals. Do not let your dog be the Alpha or you will see why they can be known as stubborn dogs. They need to know your the boss each and everytime.
Hope this helps, and for what its worth I have had heelers for 16 years, and trained a few for agility and for service purposes, they are incredible animals.
Pikaia on June 14, 2018:
Khaleesi- I am having the same issue with our 1.5 year old male cattledog mix. He is what they call a Texas Heeler- mix of aust shep and cattledog. He is a great dog, but he does bite. He never broke the skin, but he has snapped quite a few times at people going to pet him. He has bit me before - it's always while I am petting him. He also has resource guarding issues- but that has been less of an issue. I never bother him with a bone or etc. He is just fine with my fiancé and I (we have no kids) and I manage him just fine. He loves to play and run- I walk him at least 1.5 hours a day and we play a bunch. He loves to go hiking in the woods- so we do that a lot on the weekends. I am just afraid he will snap/bite the wrong person one day. I keep people informed not to try and pet him- just ignore him. He will come and greet- but doesn't really want bothered after that. As long as you don't touch- you are fine. I am muzzle training him just in case. Funny thing is he started getting like this in the last 6 months maybe.... I am worried...
Maggie on June 04, 2018:
I have had my blue healer for six years. Over the six years he has been the most obedient loyal dog ever. About four years ago he bit and 11-year-old girl. He was laying calmly on the ground beside me and she asked if she could pet him I said yes. He did fine for a while and then she kind a grab the sides of his head and started shaking him and he bit. He did not attack but he bit. Now years later he bit a. Four-year-old girl. I am really struggling about what to do about it. The family demands he be put down or I’m sure they’re going to file charges. My heart is torn. This dog has been around many people in my family and mostly teenagers. Never been around the erratic movements of little children and honestly I did not know the little girl was out there or he would’ve been put up. I can already tell that a legal battle will occur if I do not put him down and that will tear apart
Khaleesi on May 13, 2018:
I have a 7 month old blue Heeler pup. She is with me or my husband 95 percent of the time. We have never abused her in any manner. She is well fed, worked, we have graduated dog training top of her class. She is happy but can be moody. She is my best buddy and very loyal. Over the past few weeks though she has started to aggressively bit me.
She has always freaked out when clipping her toe nails. I have to muzzle her when we need to do this. My husband holds her and I clip her nails. We talk calmly to her and she seems to be calming down on these occasions.
She was the runt of the her litter. She was born outside and lived outside until I brought her home at 10 weeks old. She lives in the house with my husband and I. She sleeps in our room on the bed sometimes or on her doggie bed. She travels with us. I work out of my home so she is rarely alone.
She has begun to bit at the oddest times. I will be talking to her and petting her then all of a sudden she bits my face. This has now happened four times in the past month. She breaks the skin. The first time this occurred I was shocked. I told her no bitting but I didn’t really do anything. I was definitely in shock. I thought I may have scared her or maybe a bug bit her or something rattled her. Since then she has done it three more times. Now when this occurres I muzzle her and put her outside. For a time out ( approximately 10 minutes) and I tell her No biting.
I don’t think fear is her trigger. I think it may be her trying to be the alpha female, or maybe she knows she can bite and likes the power of it. I really don’t know.
I have raised 3 Rottweilers, a Pointer, 4 Chihuahuas, and a Golden retriever. I have never ever experienced this before. All my dogs have been loved and have loved me back.
She is an only dog. We also have a cat. I am lost on what to do.
I’m not afraid of her. At first I thought she will learn easily that this is not ok because she has learned everything . But it seems to be getting worse not better. Any advise please.
Diamond on May 06, 2018:
Look my dog is well cared for he knows he's my baby he goes everywhere with me,and hes awesome unless you mess with me then he bites arms and legs. But other then that he's good, now at home when people come around he's different he will let you in but leaving is different if your an older teen or an adult. Even if he's known you the almost 8 years I've had him, like last year my boyfriends cousin came in sat down my boy has known bill for 3 years. The dog sat at my feet the whole time for over an hour we talked had a few beers like we do once a month, and every time bill goes to leave the dog bites him and every adult that tries to leave. Why does he do that he's a blue heeler border collie mix ????
matthew escamilla on March 19, 2018:
march 17th 2018 i got bit by a heeler but it wasn't on my heel it was my thigh and took a chunk of meat with it
kalli on March 12, 2018:
We rescued a heeler mix. She's about 35 pounds and probably nota year old yet, from my parents who have cats in the country. She was a drop off and wandered up in our parent's yard. I wish the dog could've stayed in the country. But she was scaring my mom's cats and she couldn't have that. While my husband and I love her, we work, and she's in a backyard. It breaks my heart. I've never had a dog in a fence (always roam in the country) and while she was at my folks house she never strayed. Our backyard is good sized, about 1/4 an acre maybe. (1/2 lot?) and we just started taking her on walks on a harness. Just want some advice on what to do. She jumps or torpedos herself, she is starved for attention. I wouldn't mind having an inside outside dog but not sure if she's the one (she is a big time chewer of anything and everything). She's very playful but doesn't listen well. I've considered getting another dog for her to play with as well but not sure how that would work, our neighbors have dogs and they are literally up to the fence with her and she is cordial to them. (They are hunting dogs who no longer hunt). I don't want to be a bad pet parent. I love animals but want whats best for our dog Spaz.
Shelly on February 18, 2018:
I have a blue heeler she is 5 years old. My boyfriend and I got her when she was a baby. We split up but stayed friends and shared our baby(dog). One of my kids actually picked her out. On Jan 10th he passed away. I dropped her off the Sunday before that so she was with him. She has been with me full time ever since. And she is so so clingy. It’s ok but is that why? Is she scared to loose mommy to? I also drive truck, some times I will go out for 1-2 nights. I took her a couple times but I made concerned that it’s too much cooped up time for her. I left her home a couple times and I get home and my kids say mom will you just take her. She just lays on the couch won’t play or anything when you are gone. Do I take her with or leave her where she can run if she wants?
Miranda on January 15, 2018:
We have a female blue heeler that is about 3 yrs old. We bought her for our 16(at the time we bought her) ur old daughter. We love on 180 acers and have cattle so she was also trained as a cattle dog and she is one hell of a working dog and has saved my husbands life many of times. But in the lAst yr we have had issues with her attacking little dogs. Infact she has attacked our middle daughters mini wenni dog twice for no known reason and has hurt her bad enuff she had to be take. To the emergency vet she has also attached my daughters boyfriends little dog and almost killed him. We are not sure why this is happening or how to break it. We have other dogs infact we have another female mini heeler In our house with her. We are wanting to get another puppy due to having to put one of ours down but we are scarred that our heeler (Annie) will attack her and kill her so I need some advice or ideas. We do t want to get rid of her or put her down she is not aggressive unless provoked. She has bit one little girl but this little girl ( she is 8) is very mean to dogs and deserved it. If anyone could help I would greatly appreciate it
Lex on January 12, 2018:
are blue healer males better behaved? I'm getting one.......maybe
Mike on December 29, 2017:
I have a blue heeled and he is my buddy. He followed me home one day about a year ago and has shown no sign of wanting to leave. I think he was abused. I can tell because he still lays his ears back when I talk to him. He has shown me he is very smart and does defend the house and yard.
The only problem we have is his paws. He doesn’t realize that he can hurt with them. That is the only time we have a problem. I slap his paw and say no, but I also give him a lot of affection all the time. He has a routine and laugh I better stick with it.
He likes to be close to me most of the time. He will crash into me wanting me scrubbing his body.
We are close and I will never give him up. I would like to get my hands on the jerk who abused him. I don’t scold him when he barks at people. He has only bitten one person and that man knew he shouldn’t have come through the gate without me being there. There is a sign on the gate. The man knew he did wrong and wasn’t hurt so we both let it go. And no I didn’t punish max for doing what he did. I have found that our relation ship is built on trust and caring for one another.
Kim on October 25, 2017:
We have 2, 5 month old blue heeler males, brothers, who are totally different. They are such good dogs. One is the barker and the other doesn't hardly say a word. We have had them since they were 6 weeks old and raised them with 2 cats. The only aggression I see out of these dogs are toward each other when one does something to the other. The are finding a love for fishing and walking the woods. They also really love the water. We have friends over and never had any of the problems I have read from some people.
Tim Hethcox on October 19, 2017:
I had a blue healer for 14 years, great dog but had a tendency to be aggressive
Now I have another one,2 years old totally different from the 1st one,this one loves to play,run and jump,trys to please me all the time,not agressive at all,super friendly, would rather lay at my feet then sit in my lap,loves to sit in the wife's lap
marissa on September 16, 2017:
I have a nine month blue heeler, boarder collie, black lab mixed puppy. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. I am having a hard time with his aggression. He does not let anyone in our house, I have to put him away, he goes after my feet, I feel like I can not give him the proper exercise out doors because i can not trust him not to attack someone. When he is in that state of mind he does not listen to me. The older he gets the worse this behavior gets. I am afraid he will hurt someone or someone is going to hurt him. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I do not have the time or money to have a proper trainer come in and work for him. I have looked into rescues for aggressive does in my state but I am not getting any luck. I do not want to have to get rid of him because I am very attached to him as he is attached to me, he is very loyal and VERY protective of me. Please help !
Anthony on May 16, 2017:
Hey good looking dog
Anthony on May 16, 2017:
Best dog ever
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on April 17, 2017:
He sounds like a beautiful faithful blue Heeler. Like many Heeler owners, your dog loves you and u return his love. Enjoy and appreciate that love while you can. I lost my beautiful boy nearly 12 months ago and still miss him everyday.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on March 30, 2017:
Yes Peggy, I know what you mean they sure know how to keep us under their control.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 29, 2017:
I loved seeing your photos of Titan especially with your cat. So cute! It was interesting learning about the history of Blue Heelers. All dogs as pets need training. Ours have trained us well. Haha!
Dw on December 25, 2016:
These dogs are aggressive , it hasn't anything to do with how they are treated , their genetics are of such , yeah they may lay in your lap and be all cute but get highly aggetated with noise or quick movements , I would recommend a pit bull for a family dog
Michael on August 02, 2016:
Our family adopted a male Blue Heeler puppy 3 years ago. He is so full of energy ! We have a big back yard for him to run in. We didnt leash train him so it's almost impossible to get him in one. e has a really bad habit....He will growl & sometimes nip at my wife & I which is very unsettling. I'd like to get him neutered as I'm sure that would calm him down. Maybe I can get a knock out pill from the vet so I can get him in for the proceedure. Hopefully it will bring peace to our relationship.
CoopersNonna on August 01, 2016:
Hi Eileen ~ My daughter recently became the momma of a male Red Heeler named Cooper. He is now 22 wks. old (she got him just over 6 wks. old). She is home from college for the summer and I "puppysit" daily while she works. My husband & I have totally enjoyed this amazing little guy. He is the sweetest, smartest pup we have yet to encounter, yet at the same time he is bull-headed and can be a handful. We have always had Chocolate Labs and there definitely is no comparison in the breeds. My daughter has done an amazing job in training him so far - he knows many commands - sit, lay down, shake, roll over, etc. and recognizes words associated to objects and will retrieve these items. We all have one concern about Cooper and that is his aggression and dislike of small children (toddlers up to pre-teens). From what I have read this breed can be leery of strangers until they are formally introduced which he is in some cases. Other people he has never met he warms to instantly. But, according to my daughter he has NEVER liked small children. He was not aggressive towards them as a very small pup, but did show his dislike. His dislike has only become more apparent as the months pass. He has no problem w/little people as long as they are at a distance and no closer than about 3 ft. If any closer; at this point he lunges w/his hair standing on end and snarls and snaps at them. Our yard is fenced and our neighbor has grandchildren that come to the fence to see him and we have to hold him back. My daughter has tried several times to introduce him to a good friend of her's 2 yr. old daughter in our home w/treats and showing him that we welcome her and her mother in by having him answer the door w/us when they arrive. He is on a leash during this time, so he can be controlled. To no avail has any of these visits put him at ease w/small children. He does not show this aggression towards any of the parents of these little ones. None of the small children that he has been aggressive towards are afraid of him even after he shows his dislike. They call him by name and still want to pet him. My daughter is very upset about this behavior and does not understand what could have caused what we seem to think is fear towards small children. I asked her if there were small children on the farm where she got Cooper and she stated she did not see any children both times she was there. I have read all the threads that everyone have posted to you and your answers and I have learned a lot of valuable info from your comments. I was hoping maybe you could give us some insight on what you may think could be his problem w/small children. Keep all your great advice coming, as I check frequently to see if any new posts have popped up.
JensACDs on May 14, 2016:
I found the title startling, but the full story endearing. I have had the pleasure of parenting well, now 4, ACDs, 2 blue, 2 red. They each have had their own personalities, and drastic differences with some traits. I have found no other dogs that fit me to a TEE. My last ACD ripped my heart out when he crossed over on April 20, 2016. I had spent everyday with him for the last 6 years, yes, EVERY DAY. He was my constant, when nothing else was. He was a fat boy, love muffin, grumpy, don't touch me, I love you like my own breath, leave me alone...perfect ball of chubby lovins. One day he just wasn't him. I could touch him in his don't touch me spot, so to the vet we went. He ended up in the large vet hospital, in the ICU, hooked up to Jugular IVs, tons of meds, tests, prayers to GOD to not take my boy. And it didn't work. I whispered in his ear that I would love him forever, that he had to find his way back to me, somehow, and he had to hurry. I gave him his ultimate peace, and a huge part of me died right along with him. He had DKA, and it progressed so quickly, due to me feeding him subpar food "Beneful" and that reacted badly with his diabetes. DKA is fast moving, and fatal in my Smokes case. Saturday, thru tears and a badly broken heart, something made me look online, at the ACD rescues. There was a little girl, possibly 5 yrs old, a state away. I called, filled out an app, drove 500 miles, and brought her home. I knew Smoke sent her to me. She is the sweetest, kindest, most gentle dog. Nothing like Smoke, as she has never growled nor bit me like he did. Shes been here for 5 days, and she has SHOWN us how abused she was. Cowering, shaking, laying in a heap as we walk towards her. Bags of treats, nothing but low baby talk, kind, gentle approaches, lots of confidence building. Whoa, why do folks even TRY to parent these sweet things if they can't handle them? These dogs have got to be the smartest dogs, along with the collies, you dont need to strike them. But I guess mean people are just asses all the way around, and there is no excuse. I will continue to love all of my ACDs, and have found that I only take TO this breed. Just the way they are, their quirks, make them, pretty much, little 4 legged furry humans, but MUCH COOLER. =D Thanks for this good read. Its nice to read most of the posts, and learn about everyone elses pups =) Good for the soul.
Eileen on March 30, 2016:
Hi Joan, that is an unusual problem, to be honest I have never heard of a dog doing that before. Sounds like your dog has security issues. Do you give him things to do, like little jobs that keep him active and reward him when he does a good job.
Also give him toys that keep him active, like food treats that he has to work to get. Toys on an elastic rope so he can jump up and get and run around with but goes back when lets go. If he is kept more active he may stop doing this. Dogs get bored especially blue heelers as they are working dogs they need things to do. Our dog get the mail for us. Helps to carry shopping in from car, gets our shoes, it s little things like that which keep them active and doing something.
Joan nalley on March 25, 2016:
we have an almost Two yr old blue heeler who is great,smart,lots of fun. however one issue is he freaks out when I leave ,wrapping his paws around my ankles, barking and biting. he will be fine for days or weeks then the behavior reoccurs. I try to stop make him sit and stay but as soon as I walk away he lunges..,HELP
Pegasus78 on March 02, 2016:
Hoping to get some advise on our 18mnth red cattle who is now aggressive with other dogs. When younger she was fine. Since we have had neighbours move in beside and behind us with dogs that bark and charge at the fence whenevefr our Koda goes near it. She now will try n attack any dog. We cant to to dog parks anymore because she will attack or try n dominate every dog regardless of age . Any suggestions?
AShley on December 19, 2015:
I have an aggressive heeler and she's never been treated badly by me or her previous owner. I'm trying to find a way to correct her human/animal aggression. Articles sugar coating how aggressive they can be is very useless.
martu on December 02, 2015:
I've had a lot of dogs but heelers r the best dogs ever I'm a heeler man awesome dog
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on November 02, 2015:
I am glad you have such a lovely dog. Blue Heelers give their all to their owners if they are loved. Like us, dogs need love and care. If you look after them they will give you their undivided attention for as long as they live.
Our Titan let's us know when he wants something and is always looking for ways to please us, although I am sure he knows that it will get him more treats. Just like kids they can be very cunning. We love ours too.
Jamie taylor on October 21, 2015:
I love my girl she is obsessed with two things. Her ball and me. She gets very vocal if shes bored and wants to play but really she nust wants to please me. Shes so loved and can learn something new everyday. Shes such a baby kinda wimpey for a healer but tough when fetching or working. Hates thunderstorms and loud noices. Very gentle when nips at heals very soft with her mouth gentle taking food. I dont curve her when nips at kids heals as this is her instinct to heard and shes gentle. I adore her
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 21, 2015:
Don&Eva, I know exactly how you feel. We love our Blue Heeler. He has given us many years of pleasure, company, protection and a joy to have in our family.
I am glad you have found this beautiful dog, and hope he continues to be a faithful companion to you. cheers Eileen
Don&Eva on February 15, 2015:
we adopted a stray blue heeler and named him smoking Joe lee . I'm a heavy equipment operator in the oil fields of Texas Smokey Joe comes to work with me on a daily basis and as well mannered well-behaved absolute joy of a dog to be around his playfulness companionship and loyalty has been one that I've not seen in any other he is protective caring and for a stray dog we have taken him to the vet giving him all the medical attention that he is needed nursed him through malnutrition and bad health we look forward too many years of companionship from smoking Joe lee
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on November 27, 2014:
Thanks peachpurple. yes we love our dog, in fact I reckon he is really a four legged human. He is so clever and knows more than a dog should. He seems to sense things before they happen too. thanks for reading and commenting
peachy from Home Sweet Home on November 10, 2014:
i don't own a dog but an old stray cat. Cats are as clever as dogs. But I must say, you are a true dog lover. Knows your dog well
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on August 02, 2014:
Joe, At a guess it is obvious that you have no idea of owing a blue heeler dog. They would have to be the most loving and protective dog that I have ever had the pleasure to have as our best mate. Ours is an incredible and inteligent dog. Some people never take the time to train and care for them properly and if not trained well they may not return that same loving treatment. I have honestly never ever heard a bad word while traveling around Australia twice with ours. In fact just the reverse, people are always stopping us to talk to him and tell us about the beautiful heeler that they owned. So they can't all be wrong.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on January 11, 2014:
Stacie, I sympathise with your problem. Unless you can get him under control in an animal situation then I think the Vet may be right. I think steralizing him now is a bit late. Although having said that. If you can have it done and put him in a different environment then ....Sorry cannot help more.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on January 11, 2014:
Yes I know that problem too Chrys89. Although ours is nearly twelve years old now. But most of this problem is because we taught him to carry things like books and shopping or our wallet inside when we get home. I would use your hand signals hold palm down out in front of you and say no and sit. Reward him if he does. Never reward when he does not. Good luck
crys89 from Grants, New Mexico on December 30, 2013:
Hi! First off I LOVED your article. I have a 8 month old blue heeler mix. He is neutered and such a great dog. He is still a pup so he has his moments but overall he is amazing. Raider is one of four dogs in the house and the second to the youngest. Not to mention we have 2 cats. We have a huge backyard and he gets regular exercise. I take him to the park for an hour once a day and take him for walks daily as well. He is full of energy and LOVES being outside. He is fully potty trained and is great about telling me he needs to go outside. Raider knows how to sit and lay down. He will chase the ball for fetch however he will never bring it back. Raider also NEVER herds the other animals in the home--which is good. He used to nip at ankles when he was younger and no longer does so. He has an epic personality. He is very protective of the other dogs in the home and of myself. He has only once shown his protective side, when it comes to myself, only once when my boyfriend and his friends got rowdy during a football game and he felt threatened. He was easily calmed down by myself and didn't attempt to physically hurt anyone. Raider is great during car rides. He loves to sit behind me with his head out the window. At night he waits for me in the living room by my feet for bed and comes when he is called. He will lay in bed with me and actually enjoys to cuddle and show affection. I've always said he's such a loveable dog and much like my child. I have a problem with him being overly excited when he sees his family members after a long day and jumping on them to greet them. I have told everyone to ignore the jumping and only reward with a greeting when he is sitting down. However it is proving to be rather difficult. Do you have any suggestions to help out my little guy? He's good about coming on command and behaving in general however when it comes to jumping....Im having a hard time breaking him.
Stacie on December 30, 2013:
I have a 3year old blue heeler. I've had him since he was a puppy. When we 1st got him he came everywhere with me and even learned how to potty train himself he was a good dog. In the past year I came into some financial trouble and lost my house so now Duke (my dog) is living with my parents on a large piece of property in Mississippi. he started killing and eating chickens 12 to be exact. Now recently he bit the lip off and killed a calf and a miniature horse. As you know that's a lot of money in livestock and that's how my parents make there living. I want to see duke more often and spend time with him but I'm working two jobs, going to school and live a state away. Do you think getting him neutered will help? The vet in mississippi told me he would have to be put down because once the taste blood they will never stop killing for sport. I Don't believe that at all he was a good dog And I know he can again I just need some guidance. I'm open to any suggestions please help
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on December 25, 2013:
Hi mrbullar, it is a bit hard to say without seeing the dogs. Is there a way to separate them so they meet through a fence and adjust to one another.
Or maybe you are giving the young dog more attention than the old dog this could make the old dog jealous.
mrbullar on December 19, 2013:
We have a 5yo blue healer who lives on the factory site, he is not aggressive towards people but will not tollerate his 6 month red/blue cross son who was brought to live at the worksite 3 months ago. Any advice on changing his attitude would be appreciated
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on August 13, 2013:
Going crazy, I can definitely sympathize with your problems. Our dog was a pain when he was young just wanted to play and chew every piece of furniture up.
I am just wondering, he is still just a puppy. Therefore I would get a kennel and keep him outside until you have gained more control over him.
My obedience trainer said half my problem was me. I would chastise him yet in the same breath laugh at the way he did things so that he did not understand my authority. Its no good saying no to him doing something and then letting him on your bed 10 minutes later.
You need to be firm with him. Because you are having problems do not give him a treat unless he does something good. If he does then reward him and ruffle his head saying good dog.
Be firm with your voice, dogs are not stupid you have to use a voice that says you are happy with him or a heavier voice if he does something wrong.
It is no good growling at him half an hour after the event. It has to be at time of wrong doing.
I would persevere, but keep him away from young children if he wants to bite, lets face it he is still a little puppy and even puppies have sharp teeth. Most dogs do not train well until at least six months old.
Hope that helps. good luck
Going crazy on August 09, 2013:
We have a female blue heeler puppy named lily who is just over six months. I have tried everything to train her, clicker training,mtreats no treats, tried to leash train her , and no luck. She is completely out of control. We have had her for over 4 months. I can not afford a trainer right now and I don't know what to do. The jumping, barking, biting is to much especially with my little one. She has urinated on my couch and my bed so now she is no longer allowed on them which is another difficult situation to break. She will sit and lay down but never ever stays and takes off out the door and runs to the neighbors. I know these dogs are smart but this one is not taking to any training and I don't know what else to do. I don't want to get rid of her but it is causing tremendous chaos in my home and frustration. Any advice would be great!!!!
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on July 18, 2013:
thanks heather, yes start training him or better still take him to an obedience school to train him. You will learn so much more. Also give him more toys that he can amuse himself with . Interactive ones. Food ones that he has to work to get the food from and things like a ball on an elastic string that he can run with and then when let go he can chase it again He needs to be kept amused. And tell him NO when he does something wrong with a deep voice.
Heather on July 09, 2013:
I have a Heeler pup who constantly nips at my hands if I try to pet him, my feet if my hands arent available or any piece of clothing reachable. If he has free moment, he has started sucking, knawing the knuckle of his paw..(without injury). It is maddening though. How do I get him to stop these things? He is approximately 6 months. Is this around the ideal age to begin training for commands?
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on June 04, 2013:
daisys momma, that is terrible. To be honest I cannot think of anything that will help you. Other than fence proofing your place and stop other dogs from entering.
If that was my dog and it killed another dog even though I loved it I think I would have it put down. As I would not take the risk of it hurting another human being. apart from that I really can not think of any other solution. I feel your pain that's for sure. I hope you can sort it out.
Daisy's Momma on May 29, 2013:
As a life long owner of heelers, I don't know what to do about my dogs aggression towards other dogs. My dogs are very well trained. I can introduce dogs of family members, little house dogs that have stayed as guests, they don't bother them. They know my neighbors adult dogs and they have no issues. The dogs even accept my and the neighbors cats or kittens. However, they'll kill a female dog they do not know. They attempt to kill the female dog of my neighbor they do know once the dog is expecting puppies. They'll eat any puppy that has crawled under the gate. My dogs are fenced but I live in an area with no leash law and dogs come looking for food or drink. My dogs try to kill them. My girls are perfect on leashes, prancing proudly until a puppy or female comes around then you'd think they're beasts. How does a dog go from knowing where her rug is and stay on it or 'go find daddy' to a killing machine??? I think there is a little something extra Dingo in some of our heelers. If you have any tips I'd appreciate learning them.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on May 01, 2013:
She should be ok if she was taken from her mum after about 8 weeks they usually are ok then. It may of course depend if the mum was taken away from her before given to you. They should be separated first or at least that's what I believe should happen. So the pup is completely independent.
You still need to watch blue heelers with children, simply because they are playful yes, but they do not know there own strength and their teeth are sharp. Hope all works out for you.
cvnjen76 from Ohio on May 01, 2013:
My 17 yr old son received a beautiful Blue heeler girl puppy for his birthday, from his father. Which means i have inherited her due to his busy schedule. In the begining as i read about the breeed i thought it was not a great pick for a dog. She is 11 weeks old and smart as a whip, i am so in love!!! I just happened to stumble across this blog and it has been great reading everyones stories. I have begain training her, and she is doing really well. I do notice she is more "playful" with my younger children and to try to heard them, while it is kind of amusing it is one of the big things we are working on. She is extreamly loving and very playful with our other animals. My only question would be She still is trying to suckle milk, but she is trying to do it from my 8 year old Black Lab. Could this mean she was taken away from her mom to early?? ( My lab has never been a mom)
Thanks look forward to reading more stories
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on April 11, 2013:
tahge133, Yes our blue heeler just gives people a little warning if they get to close. He does not have to do anything. They get the message. But having said that. He will always protect the person that is being threatened, even if like my husband I shiack about he still warns us to keep it cool. We just love him. We feel safe with him around that's for sure.
michael on April 10, 2013:
I just got Blue heeler/husky puppy name Oddie.. he is very friendly and playful. love him
Tahge133 on April 10, 2013:
He's only turned seven in dog yrs so he's one yro in our years I love him really much he my pal and I don't want him to be took away from me I'm only young and got him last year so I've got an unbreakable bond with him
Tahge133 on April 10, 2013:
Well my red x blue heeler x another blue heeler is only aggressive if anyone try's to hurt me and I need some train tips to tell him that he can,t do it any time someone is pretending to hurt me
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 27, 2013:
I honestly believe it is all about the way the dog is treated and trained. If you treat a dog or anyone properly and care and train them you wont have a problem.
It is mixed instructions and training that will confuse your dog. Never allow a dog up on your bed then growl 5 minutes later because he has got back on your bed. That will confuse them.
cherylkiahsmom on February 19, 2013:
I foster for a shelter in Chicago and ended up falling for a blue heeler I was fostering and adopted her about 5 months ago - she is about 10 months now and just beautiful - so unique - I have never seen another dog like her. I had no knowledge of the breed and don't even think I have ever seen one before. I started reading up on the breed and have to say I was a little concerned about the tendency for agression I was reading about. The thing is she shows none at all - she is really one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met! She is 10 months and a ball of energy - so much so she goes to doggy daycare 4 times a week for 5 hours while I'm at work and loves it!! She plays well with all dogs and has never had a problem. - same with people - everyone is her best friend. I continued to foster and she has become the best helper! I have had two 6 week old pups for a month and I swear I was only around to operate the can opener! She took such good care of them and was always watching out for them. Right now I have a 3-1/2 month old foster who is a mix but bigger than her already! In the first 30 minutes Kiah turned a nervous, scared puppy into a happy, calm, playful one! She is truly an amazing dog and I am so lucky to have her. Would I have seen any agression issues yet or do they tend to develop the older they get?
LINDA on February 15, 2013:
Hi! I have an 8 yr.old blue heeler "Pawesome". We walk in very large field and sometimes 4-wheelers will come cruising along and irritate him and he wants to chase them and try to bite the tires. I have learned to keep alert and when I see them to whistle for him and call him to come if he doesn't respond to my whistle. He got wise to that and now scans the horizon for the cause of my concern before he comes back to me. He does come but it's like he searching for the reason.
So I decided to just call him back for "Kisses" by saying "Kisses" and putting my hand to my mouth every once in a while when nothing is out there in the field but just as a loving gesture . He comes on the run and I get on one knee so he doesn't knock me over and to get my kisses and give him hugs. It has worked several times when he has seen the 4 wheelers and is decidingwhether or not to give chase. It is like"Kisses" breaks the train of "CHASE" thoughts running through his mind. Maybe this will help someone. I have actually had the farmer who owns the field say that he wished his dogs behaved as well as mine because he has notice how well they mind. We walk about 3 miles every other day. Eddie, my deaf Jack Russell usually walks at my heel but once in a while will take off. I have discovered with him (also Pawesome too) that if I turn around and walk the other way they will follow.
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 15, 2012:
Nice article. I am not a heeler owner but you make a good case for them.
james chanin on June 04, 2012:
i have a 6 month blue heeler puppy how tall do you think she will grow ?
M. Beth G. on May 20, 2012:
I got my puppy when she was one year old. she is now four. :-). I was a kid myself (still am a kid...13)and we kinda have grown up together. I hated her energy but she has gotten calmer.(now I miss her energy.heehee) she is a runt. she likes to race our car. really dangerous. we got her up to thirty miles an hour.(strange because she stands about a foot tall) her little legs gave out once and my dad accidentally ran over her. she was in our garage laying down on some of my pillows and blankets for a few weeks. I remember sitting out there for hours petting her. and I remember when she first got up. I was very excited. I love her. I also remember getting the first day. played with her from 8 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. she outside the kitchen door looking at me right now! there will probab;y never be another dog that I will love as much as her!
DZO on May 18, 2012:
Hi, we have a female blue heeler she just turn 9 months and its going to her first heat, and started barking t everyone that passes thru de house or in teh house even when she goes runnig she will bark at people walking, is this normal? she still behaves the same with me my husband and my 5 and 2 yr old, she does bark at us or bites us. Im scare she will stay this way, because I with not unleash her to play ball. Any info on this?
Whitley on May 15, 2012:
Hey I just got a blue heeler puppy (actually showed up) I've always wanted one since i had a red that also was found on the streets. He his so great His Name is Levi's and love our other dogs witch are not mine my mom and stepdads.. I pay for him ect. But I was wondering what's the easiest way to cattle train him or herding I have cows and he knows what to do just does no commanders how to i tie one to the other?
jessiesmate on May 06, 2012:
we recently bought a red heeler cross and another dog from the pound, beautiful dogs they get on so well. We have 11/2 acres for them to run around and take them over the road to the beach for a walk daily but jessie the heeler runs away at night often when there is activity around (other people on their blocks)how can we stop her going we live rural and are concerned she may get bitten by snakes etc on one of these trips and we don't wont to lose her
lcraun on May 04, 2012:
I Have a wonderful blue heeler that i have had for almost two years, he is my everything, well i recently moved in with my boyfriend ( 6-7 months ago) and he has a female yellow lab. and he likes to nip at her, bite the back of her legs to get her going, so they can play is there anyway to stop him from doing that. i do get after him by telling him that its naughty and not to do that but his herding instinks are just getting the best of him. Im not looking to get rid of my dog, or the yellow lab i just don't want the blue heeler nipping. I know its not because he doesn't get enough attention because my boyfriend and myself give him way more attention than we do the yellow lab (she is just starting to come around and doesn't really understand what attention is) but the blue heeler sleeps with us, sits on the couch, cuddles with us.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 02, 2012:
Allysha, That is a very difficult decision to make for anyone. Personally I would not get another one, although you may be able to keep them separate. But dogs are just like kids they become very possesive and protective of their owners.
That's what causes many problems between dogs. Especially if one has had all the attention and then the new boy on the block gets it all.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 02, 2012:
Andrea, what a wonderful and positive story. I have suggested that the people who asked for help below this article to read your story and give it a try.
So many times people give up to easy as they dont have the time to put in to correct training. But you have succeeded where many others would have failed because of your perseverence. Good onya and You shoule be proud that you put so much effort into your wonderful dog and reaped the rewards of well behaved dogs. Thanks again Cheers Eileen
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 02, 2012:
Ashley, like I told Sharoeder You could try what Andrea did and use a muzzle. It worked for her so why not give it a go.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on February 02, 2012:
Saroader, I strongly you read the article above from Andrea. It may work for you like it did for her.
allysha on February 01, 2012:
Hi, I have been wanting an Australian Cattle Dog for years, ever since we had one when I was little (best dog ever). The problem is, I already have a little dog (maltese x) and I know that ACDs like to attack little animals and other dogs, so I was wondering if I bought one as a puppy and trained it would they get along? It would break my heart not to have one as I miss our old girl so much, but at the same time I don't want anything to happen to my dog I already own. Any opinions? (p.s this is a question for the future, I am not planing on buying one any time soon)
Andrea on January 30, 2012:
Hi, this is not a story about heelers but I wanted to share it with the people who are experiencing aggressive behaviour from their dogs. We took in an 8 year Ridgeback/Collie cross as she was going to be put down as the owner could not have her where he lived. The plan was to re house her somewhere else. All was fine for around 1 week and she/Sophie was getting on quite well with our existing 10 year old Female Spaniel/Heeler cross and then she started biting her on the head and bossing her around being quite aggressive on several occassions. The the worst thing happened we had a visitor at the door with a young child, Sophie barged out of the door with serious intent to attack the child. I stopped her and put her back inside, she then went out the back doggy door and came at the child from the back. She did not touch the child but her demeaner was frightening and the normally quite placid dog was no where to be seen. I can only think that she had a bad experience with children in the past as the child did nothing to provoke her. I spoke with Vets and dog trainers to find out what to do and they ALL gave me the same response, they said she was too old to retrain and the only option was to put her down. I just could not do it and set about researching dog behaviour on the internet. The common thread was that dogs are a pack animal and from puppy hood they find themselves a position in the pack by asserting their power, this explained the behaviour with our existing dog but of course not the child. One thing that puppies do is bite the other puppies on the head which is what she was doing to the spaniel. I also felt that we needed to set Sophies position in the family pack and not leave it to her to find it herself so to replicate the muzzle holding behaviour that puppies do we put a muzzle on her to put her at the bottom of the pack. As soon as we put the muzzle on her body language and demeaner altered, we left it on for 2 weeks only taking it off for her to feed, she could drink with it on. It has to be a firm muzzle not a cage. That was over 3 years ago, she never showed any aggression to the spaniel or children again. I think that basically we told her where she sat in the pack and she did not need to find it herself. Of course when around children we always keep a good eye on her but you can easily tell when she might be edgey and this just does not happen anymore. We never had to use the muzzle again except for when we have to trim her nails as her previous owner never got her accustomed to that. As you can gather she never go re homed and by the way, she is the Vets favourite customer and all the nurses there think she is the best dog they have ever had to look after.
ashley on January 28, 2012:
I am having issues with my female,I have had her for 3 years and she is attacking my male, Who I have also had for 3 years. Ever since she had her first liter she has became aggressive towards him. Shes is great with my kids and family and other dogs, but him she hates. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions. Otherwise I think I may have to put her down:( That is NOT something I want to do.
Eileen Hughes (author) from Northam Western Australia on January 16, 2012:
saroeder, hi just curious why would you buy another dog when you already have one that fits in well with your family. A blue heeler is a devoted and protective dog. It is only natural that he is jealous because you have another dog to focus your attention on.
All I can suggest is get them both obedience trained. And treat them both as equal no favoritism.
saroeder on January 16, 2012:
i have a 2 yr old male red heeler, Reddog...I got him at 1 yr old. So he isn't and wont be house trained at all..Hes a great dog with people and kids so very strong and gentle..Very smart and loving...but.....i have brought home a very spoiled and house trained 6 mth old german shepard, male, Ringo...Reddog attackes him every chance he gets..i have separate yards, but there is about a 60 ft walk from the door to that yard where I want to put Ringo..Every single morning I have a dog fight on my hands..I know Reddog is jealous, but I do not know how to stop the fights.Ringo being already 80 lbs at 6 mths and also a protector of his master I see this getting only worse....How do I stop the jealousy and attacks??
How do you introduce a cat and a Blue Heeler
Make your pets familiarize with each other’s scent
Dogs can remember more than 50 distinct smells. So, why shouldn’t you make use of this impressive ability?
Grab a cloth or a towel and wipe it down your cat. Let your Blue Heeler sniff it. Better yet, tuck the cloth underneath your dog’s bed so he can get accustomed to your cat’s scent. Do the same for your cat.
Separate your cat at first
Avoid face-to-face confrontations for the first few days. Confine your cat in a room with her bed, food, water, and toys. Ideally, install a cat tree scratcher or a multi-level cat condominium. Having multiple high areas to hide can help your cat feel more secure. Cats are just as territorial as dogs. Hence, you need to give her enough time to adjust to her new environment.
Feed your pets on opposite sides of a closed-door
Feed your pets on either side of the door. Continue this process until your whiskered newcomer and the resident pet can eat calmly directly on each opposite side of the door. This will help prevent fear and aggression from developing.
Conduct short face-to-face meetings
Do this in a common area of your house, not your cat’s little retreat or your dog’s domain. Be sure that you have already set an escape route for your cat just in case things could go haywire.
Keep your Blue Heeler on a leash and ask them to sit down.
Next, allow your cat to come and go as they wish. Let them explore the room at her own pace. Just keep rewarding your dog for good behavior. It would be better if your dog acts as though the cat does not exist and is more interested in the treats.
Repeat this process several times daily, but keep it short. Having frequent short visits are better than dragging it out so long that either pet becomes stressed or agitated.
If your cat leaves the room, let them do so. There may be times when your Blue Heeler tries to see how you would react if he gets too close with the cat in an aggressive way. If this happens, give the “Stay” command and immediately reward your dog if they obey.
See to it that your pets eat simultaneously
Let your pets eat together, so they can create a close bond. At first, you need to supervise all interactions between the two. To stay on the safe side, place your cat’s food on the counter. Over time, this will establish the idea that they belong in the same pack.
Proceed with caution
After multiple introductions and simultaneous feedings, set your pets loose inside a room and observe how they would react towards each other. If your Blue Heeler shows tolerance with your cat’s presence even without your intervention, then you can finally have peace of mind knowing that your pets can hang out together and eventually, become snuggle buddies.
Blue Heelers, like most herders, can be one-person dogs. They also have a unique independence, not requiring much in the way of cuddling or affection. Blue Heelers can be cautious and wary — qualities that make them excellent guard dogs. They are also friendly and loving companions.
Aggressive Dogs. Blue Heelers have one of the worst reputations among any breed for biting people. In particular, it is well known that a Blue Heeler will let anyone into a house, yet not let him or her out. They will attack the person's heel, true to the name "heeler."
Blue Heelers Appearance & Characteristics
The Blue Heeler (also named the Australian Cattle Dog) is strong and stout. They are born white and as they grow and get older, their color starts to show up and become more prominent. However, any color on their face when they are born stays throughout their life. Their behavior is on point! They excel at learning new tricks and thrive with change. They can, however, be trained very well and are super obedient. The Australian Cattle Dog is about 30-69 lbs and anywhere from 17 inches for males and females to 20 inches for males in height and females 19 inches in height. Making females just slightly smaller than males.
The Blue Heeler dog’s coloring is blue or red speckle. Blue or blue-mottled includes black, blue, or tan markings on the head.
Is a Blue Heeler Pit Mix right for me?
The Pit Heeler is a sweet, protective dog that is extremely loyal to its loved ones.
They are obedient, energetic, and strong-willed and are not recommended for first-time dog owners or families with young children.
They have low to moderate maintenance needs when it comes to grooming but expect high exercise needs to make up for this. They will reward you with their love and affection tenfold.
Like their parent breeds, they are working dogs who need to be mentally and physically stimulated in order to live a happy life.
And while they are not inherently aggressive, they still need proper training and socialization so that their protective nature doesn’t get the best of them. This will ensure that they get along well with people and other animals.
Ultimately, if you’re willing to put in the work to be a proud owner of this designer dog breed, you can rest assured that you have found a new best friend.
If you have any experience with this breed, feel free to share with us!
Australian Cattle Dogs: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Australian Cattle Dog temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books
The Australian Cattle Dog is also known as the Queensland Heeler – Queensland being a state in his native Australia, and Heeler referring his herding style of nipping at the heels of cattle in order to move them along. His color pattern can be blue-gray or red-gray, so you might also hear him called Blue Heeler or Red Heeler.
Bold and athletic, the robust Australian Cattle Dog enjoys romping and roughhousing.
He is absolutely NOT an apartment dog. To stay in hard muscular condition and a satisfied frame of mind, Queensland Heelers require lots of exercise. Working livestock, agility, jogging, biking, chasing balls, and playing Frisbee are productive outlets for this breed's high energy. Cooping him up with nothing to do will lead to destructive behaviors and obsessive barking.
With strangers, the Cattle Dog is watchful and often suspicious. Early socialization is important so that he does not become too sharp.
He can be dominant and pushy with other dogs, and with his strong chasing drives and tendency to nip at whatever he is pursuing, he is not recommended around cats unless raised with them.
A challenging combination of cleverness and hard-headedness, Australian Cattle Dogs will test members of the family during adolescence and must be handled with firm, consistent leadership. These versatile dogs can learn and do a great deal in the right hands, but they will run right over hapless owners.
- Is medium-sized
- Has a very sturdy, natural build
- Thrives on vigorous exercise and rugged athletic activities
- Makes a vigilant watchdog
- Has a short, easy-care coat that comes in striking colors
An Australian Cattle Dog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with.
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Suspiciousness toward strangers
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
- Potential for excessive barking, often in a high-pitched voice
- Heavy shedding
An Australian Cattle Dog may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Cattle Dogs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Australian Cattle Dog to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Australian Cattle Dog
If I was considering a Queensland Heeler, I would be most concerned about.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Australian Cattle Dogs were never intended to be simply household pets. Their working behaviors (chasing, nipping, barking, territorial instincts toward other animals) are inappropriate in a normal household setting. Trying to suppress these "hardwired" behaviors, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, is unfair to the dog.
I do not recommend this breed if you don't have the time or inclination to take your dog hiking or swimming, or to get involved in herding, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or tracking, or a similar canine activity. Bored Cattle Dogs are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters.
To teach your Cattle Dog to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Australian Cattle Dog Training Page discusses the program you need.
About the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.