Blue Heeler Dogs: Aggressive Yet Loyal
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, and 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.
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.