Blue Heeler Dogs: Aggressive Yet Loyal

Our Blue Heller Titan looks mean here, but he isn't really; he's just playing in our van.
Our Blue Heller Titan looks mean here, but he isn't really; he's just playing in our van.

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.

Titan collects our paper without our help.  If the postman doesn't hand it to him we lift the latch for him to get it himself.
Titan collects our paper without our help. If the postman doesn't hand it to him we lift the latch for him to get it himself.

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.

Titan carries in his 1-kg bag of biscuits on shopping days.  He prefers carrying that to the toilet roll—he's not silly.
Titan carries in his 1-kg bag of biscuits on shopping days. He prefers carrying that to the toilet roll—he's not silly.

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.

Titan had an operation to remove a lump on the jugular vein in his neck. We nearly lost him.
Titan had an operation to remove a lump on the jugular vein in his neck. We nearly lost him.

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.

Titan with his toys.  He has about 15, and knows most by name.
Titan with his toys. He has about 15, and knows most by name.

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.

Titan with our 16-year-old cat Ninja.
Titan with our 16-year-old cat Ninja.

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."

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.

Teaching Dog Tricks

Comments 168 comments

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

The dog is cute in the second video. My grandfather had a lot of cows we used to graze t hem when young, I wish we had a dog like that, it would have been awesome to control them. Great Hub again Eileen, nice history how they evolved.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Thanks for that. They are beautiful dogs, but like I said can be aggressive if badly treated. I dread anything else happening to mine. Actually I forgot to mention that he had been poisoned twice as well. So had pretty rough time of it.

Thanks for stopping by

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States

Great hub, Eileen! I don't believe any dog breed is born aggressive either. I think they are just like children. They will learn what they are taught. I think Blue Heelers are beautiful dogs and faithful to those who show him love. Keep up the great work!


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Yes I have to agree with you, everyone who comes here just loves him. Thanks for your thoughts on that. and for stopping by.

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks Eileen for the warnings. I watch the Dog Whisperer show, don't know whether you guys get them, Cesar he gives lots of tips for dog owners.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

This are wonderful dogs and thanks for sharing this great hub.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

They are very faithful to their owners that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 8 years ago

I think all dogs are faithful when treated right. Nice hub. ;)

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Thanks you for that. Actually I think we treat them like our kids. Thanks for stopping by

Charles Tooraen 8 years ago

Great to see this. Just got a heeler puppy. All my friends that have them, or had them, all say they were the best dogs they've owned.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

You sure have made a good choice. They are worth their weight in gold.

Thanks for stopping by

donnaleemason profile image

donnaleemason 8 years ago from North Dakota, USA

Excellent, I didn't realize they bit a lot. Great dogs though.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Blue heelers are well know for letting you into the property and will not let you leave again. At your own risk if you try to leave. Thanks

Charles Tooraen 8 years ago

question, How can you get one to quit nipping?? Nikki is 7 weeks old as of now. I take her for 2 walks a day. One in the morning, and one in the evening. Sometimes at lunch also. I spend on average about 4 to 5 hours a day working with her. I have been very consistent with potty training, and being the alpha. Cesar Milan comes to mind on this. However, if you try to praise her by petting her on the back of her neck, or head, she will snap at you. She has never been hit, kicked or abused in any way. Today I was trying the dog/mom approach where you use your hand like the dogs mouth to clamp the dog, to tell her in dog terms no... Well, that just cause her to growl and snarl at me and she attempted to snap at me. I immediately put her on the floor and forced her into a submissive state, which she promptly complied. (we practice this daily), and all was fine after that, but I wonder if she is one the "dominate" personality dogs?? Don't know, cause she will follow me anywhere I go, and sits on command, and is learning very fast and for the most part is very cooperative, except for the nipping issue. I've heard this has to be curtailed at the earliest to prevent issues after she grows up. I've also been taking her to the local pet store/ park, friends houses, etc, so that she meets as many dogs, cats, people etc..... All that works very well. Seems like the more I am the alpha, the more she challenges me, and does not like it when I put her in her place. I assume this is normal?? I want to break her from the nipping, but don't want to damage our relationship in the process. Any ideas?????? Comments, Concerns....

Gawn Fishin' profile image

Gawn Fishin' 8 years ago from Vancouver, BC

Eileen, I love your articals! I have been around dogs all of my life, and it has always been a mutual love affair. My Master, depicted here, would die for me. His bride was a Dingo, and I have their Daughter. How do you feel about Kennel training dogs?...The cave syndrome? Gawn Fishin'

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Gawn fishing, exactly what do you mean by kennel training. Do you means dogs kenneled together.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Charles Tooraen, If my dog was to snap I would just firmly say no bad dog. Then if he is inside with you I would put him straight outside.

Our dog is always inside, if he plays up for anything like begging for food we say no, and either tell him he will go outside (as he knows what that means now) or just put him straight outside. I would not spend 5 hours training him in my opinion that is toooo much.

They need to enjoy their training. Do not over do it. And what you said about -dogs mouth to clamp the dog. I do not think that would work. But I am not an expert. Give your dog treats when he does well. and praise him. Don't give him treats everytime though. Hope this helps. Eileen

mgwhite profile image

mgwhite 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

Awesome hub. My Cody (who was with me 11 years) was half Border Collie and half Blue Heeler. He was smart, loving, territorial, and had a nasty little tendency to nip at people's heels. I'm a big fan of all the herding breeds, and currently have a Catahoula (bred for pig herding) and an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie Mix. You can see picks of them on my profile at LoveToKnow Dogs:

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

MGWhite Thanks for that, I will go and check it out. Yes I love my blue heeler he is so clever, with a lot of cunning tricks to make sure where possible he is not left behind to often when we go out.

As soon as he knows or suspects we are going out, he brings us our shoes, or will go and get a toy or something to insure that hes done something good. So clever. We love him so much.

Charles Tooraen 8 years ago

Thanks for the info. 5 hours was meant 5 hours spent with her. Not just on training. Training is usually 15 -20 minute intervals 3 times a day. Basic stuff like sit, down, here, etc.. She just seems to bite very hard, and even harder when I tell her no. I do keep the training positve and she only get's treats during those times. Now she is begging to growl at me during feeding...... hmm....

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Charles, you may need to take her to a propper obedience trainer. Just ring one up and see what they suggest. Its hard to say when you haven't seen the dog and the way he behaves.

If your in the uk you could get that woman (cant remember her name off hand) that is on TV. Sorry cannot help you.

shibashake profile image

shibashake 8 years ago

Titan is a very handsome dog. I was actually considering getting a blue heeler. There was one that I often met in the dog park, and he was absolutely wonderful. His owner had him under great voice control and he had great recall. The only thing he couldn't train out of his dog was his barking to herd instinct. I wonder if you can even extinguish/suppress something so deeply bred in the dog. And if you could, I wonder if that would cause other behavioral issues to arise. What do you think?

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Shibashake, We don't have any problems with titan. Except ifsomeone comes to the house he sure lets us know. But we want that, I think a burgler would think twice if he heard him inside.

We have trained him to do so many things. And I believe as they are a working dog they need little jobs. It makes them feel important. Even if we don't ask him to do something he is always bringing us his toys or shoes or the TV times just to get attention. If they are kept occupied and given obedience training then it sure helps them to behave. He is naughty some times just like kids I suppose and us of course we arent perfect all the time. Boring if we were

Thanks for stopping by

Romantina 8 years ago

I have a 5 month old blue heeler and also paso fino horses. I have him since he was 3 months old and has always been chasing my horses and hanging from their tails. nothing had happened until yesterday that one of my mares kicked him in the mouth; his gums are pretty bad, thank God his teeth are still in place. The vet is taking care of him. can I stop this behavior? he has not tried it agin since he is feeling terrible but will it stop? I have tried everything but he seems to be in command of the horses by doing!

sbear 8 years ago

I think blue heelers are really smart and they are very fun to wrestle with. Also my blue heeler loves to chase crows and loves to go and get the paper every morning and he is a smart dog!

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

sbear . Yes they are very clever that's for sure. We have just noticed that our one is a little smaller than some of them. Don't know why. Maybe we work him too hard. just joking. Thanks for stopping by

gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

I have owned 3 blue or red heeler dogs and they have all been great. They grew with my children and never ever tried to bite any of them. My husband had high blood pressure and passed out on our farm and our current blue heeler (Misty) stayed with him and licked his face until he woke up. Misty also keeps the horses from getting into the back of my husbands truck for grain or whatever they may find there. They are extremely smart dogs, very true to their owners and very easy to train. I did have to disagree on a few points that you made here though, I don't believe that the biting on the heels is really biting, I believe they nip at heels as they are bred to do for herding cattle, and also that they are known for being one of the worst breeds for biting. I looked this up because I was just shocked to read this and what I found was they are not even in the top 10 list for biting. I do beleiev that they can be aggressive over their owners and his belongings, but I think rare or because they are mistreated do they become aggressive. I loved that you included their history and the videos showing how smart they are. I love this breed of dog, and I think it is probably one of the smartest breeds. Thank you for this hub!

sbear 8 years ago

i love blue heelers i think they are one of the smartest dogs in my opinion maybe not your opinion but i guess we are just different people and my dog is a very smart animal so i am guessing alot of blue heelers are that way. i also think that this place is really cool it's just a place that peaple can tell what they feel about blue heelers. i think i am going to submit a comment everyday because i like this place. once again i think it's pretty cool and fun even if other peaple don't. bye!

sbear 8 years ago

i love blue heelers i think they are really smart dogs and they are great!

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

gwenymom, I love blue heelers or I wouldn't have ours, this is my second one. Butr having said that, I will always tread with care. They (well at least mine will try to boss you if he can). If he gets, but they are so beautiful. I dread the day when we have to part. About the heel biting, I probably agree because I know about the cattle, but that nip can sure draw blood. I know that first hand. thanks for stopping by

S.bear, They sure are smart, and so far I have not found one person that has owned them that says any different. We meet so many people on our trip that say I wish I had brought my bluey with us like we are doing. I go no where without him. If we cannot take him into a national park then that's there loss we do not go.

Markus 8 years ago

I helpded take care of a friends blue heeler and he go jealous of anyone that got near me...he ended up biting a friend in the face unprovoked, just because he didn't want her around. They just put the dog down today and I'm all tears on this one.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

markus, that is terrible. its very weird especially as you were only looking after it. Although I have found that most blueys will protect the person that is being hit on. Having said that did this person act at all threatening to you in any way because that would be why it bit them in trying to protect you.

They will always protect their owner or anyone being threatened.

Such a shame that it has been put down. That is terrible. Yet humans can kill other humans and get away with murder. Law is so wrong. Thanks for stopping by

new blue owner 7 years ago

I have an 11 week old blue heeler/border collie cross and I need help! I've heard they are easy to train but we are having some trouble. His potty habits are getting worse and you can't pet him without him getting worked up to play and nip. He has many acres to run around on and my 10 year old son to use up some of that energy. Any suggestions?

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

new blue owner, hi try reading this article, it should help you.

Emily 7 years ago

I absolutely LOVE this page. I am learning so much from reading what everyone has to say. I am currently 16 years old and I just bought a red merle queensland heeler today. She was born on January 26. I named her Dixie. I want to raise her as best i can and teach her to not be aggressive. Are there any major things that I should be aware of that I need to start doing with her right away? I know that I need to exercise her a lot everyday and socialize her as much as possible. I am going to play with her in the yard until she gets her parvo shot in a few weeks, before I take her on walks. I also board my horse at a large barn down the street and we have cattle that we sort and cut on down there. I have already found out she is very smart because she has learned how to fetch her favorite toy and bring it back to me, and she listens to her name already. (Except when the bird is talking to her) =) Thank You So Much!!

Emily 7 years ago

Within the past week Dixie has become more and more aggressive. When I'm walking her or teaching her how to sit, she will growl deeply and sometimes snap at me when I bend down to gently push her butt in the sit position... I do not hit her in anyway, and I do not allow her to walk oll over me. I make her sit and wait patiently for her food, let me go first when walking through a door, and I show her I'm leader. But when I walk her on a leash she bites at my feet and when I say no or push her away she barks and growls at me and sometimes continues. I have tryed to put her on her back and show her I am dominant, but she growls and snaps at my hands even worse. What can I do? I really do not want her to grow up being aggressive! When I am not teaching her things, she is super affectionate. She loves to cuddle and she licks me when I allow it and she always wags her tail when I walk over to her or into the room.

Evelyn 7 years ago

We just got a blue heeler puppy 2 weeks ago. She is 11 weeks old. We are starting her in puppy kindergarten next week and have been doing lots of activities with her such as the leader excercises. She is very smart and has already learned to sit and stay. My only complaint is that she is very "aggressive". I am realizing though that it is not really aggression but frustration. She snaps at me if I'm not playing with her or if I take something from her she's not supposed to have! She tries to bite my face and strangers faces and barks at us and sometimes growels. I think this behavior will stop with her training. She needs something to do all the time. I am worried though because she is fearless. We have 2 cats and she chases them around and gets clawed by them and she ddoesnt care a bit! She goes right back for more. I just don't want another vet bill from a clawed out eye!

Charles Tooraen 7 years ago

Elleen, hey, it's been a while. My Nikki is just over a year old now and I can say, she has turned out to be one of the best dogs I have ever owned. She's smart, loyal, friendly, yet protective of me and my close friends, and very well adjusted. For those who are new to the Heeler adventure, I can say if you want a good natured dog, you need to follow a few things:

Be pateint, Heelers are very hyper dogs and need lots of exercise and a job to do to keep them from getting frustrated/bored. If you dog is running around like a fool, jumping barking, nipping at you etc, etc, etc, you need to work the dog more. Give them something to do. Teach them to fetch, or swim and combine these activities with obedince training. For example, if you are teaching your dog the stay command, after she stays, give her a reward by tossing a frisbee, or ball, or whatever play thing she likes.

Obedience training is a must with these dogs. YOU MUST TRAIN A HEELER!! These dogs not only need exersise, but lots of structure, and discpline is important. Discpline in the idea that rules must be followed and there are consequences for not obeying. These dogs need a firm/and fair master. They are also very smart and hard headed, so it will take some firm corrections sometimes to get your point across. You don't beat your dog, but the dog has to understand that you are in control at all times. Period. No jumping on people, sleeping on the couch, running through doors 1st, chasing the cat,,, etc. You must enfore these rules consistently and make sure everyone is the house also follows these with your dog. If you can't be structured, how can you expect your dog to be???

Kennel: Kennel training is also a must for these dogs. They love to have their own space to go to at night. Giving your Heeler a kenel to sleep and eat in, is a great way to potty train and give you a plac to put your dog when you are not able to supervise, or interact with them.

Socialization. Take your dog everywhere you can, when you can and make sure you consistently enforce your rules. Get them around people, especially children at a young age, and socialize them. Heelers are not good with children (I know, Nikki chased down a 4 year old in a parking lot, and she had to have a remote coller put on her after that), so it's very important that you get them used to being handled, and around people if you dont' want them to be wary/aggressive of people. Nikki now is good with all people that she knows and meets, but if you come in unnannounced, she will come after you. But she instantly stops when I tell her to "knock it off". This is part of being a heeler, so some of it you just need to get used to, but with proper training, you be assured your dog will listen to what you ask of her.

I know most of this sounds like basic dog stuff, and it is, but the point is if you are consistent with these things, it will pay off. I have spent a lot of time in the last year with Nikki, and I can take her off lease into a pet smart, home depot, park etc, etc, and she will heel by my side and listen to every thing I ask of her.

Now some may disagree with my last piece of expierence, but I can only speek from what I've seen, and done. One of the most effective tools I've used in training Nikki, was a remote collar. These collars work by applying pressure to the dog in the form of electrical stimulation. Good collars are waterproof, and have user programmable settings and variable stimulation levels. I never wanted to go to this method, but after she chased down a 4 year in a field and tacked her (teeth barred and hair on her back standing up like a porcupine), I had to move to next level. Anyhow, that being said, she is completely predictalble now after proper training and conditioning with the remote collar. A couple points to remember with remote collar training: 1. never try to teach your dog a command with the remote collar, only use it to reinforce your command, or to provide correction for a dog that does not comply, but only after you know 100% the dog understands what you are asking of her. If you stimulate a dog for not obeying, and it does not understand your command, all you'll do is confuse the dog and cause it to bolt. 2. You must condition the dog to accept the collar. You have to start slow with a collar and not just toss it on and start zapping your dog. You need to use it like like an "invisible leash" and also do something fun when you 1st apply the collar so the dog does not assocate the collar with pain, but with fun. When used correctly, a remote collar is the most humane, and effective training device there is. When not used correctly, it can severly damage your dog's temperment and your relationship with it, so seek professional advise, when thinking about using one of these.

With that said, with patience, displince, consistency, and lots of work, and love, your Healer will turn out just fine...... :o)



missalyssa profile image

missalyssa 6 years ago

Loved this article! i have a blue heeler and she is the best dog ever!! Very obedient and well behaved. She was easy to train and definitely lives to please me :) In my opinion, the BEST breed out there - wouldn't give up mine for anything!

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

missalyssa, I agree with you Ours is like our child and I am sure he doesn't think he is a dog he is so spoiled and protects us if anyone lays a hand on us even if friends and give us a cuddle he lets them know that he is watching them.

He does lots of little jobs for us, I taught him that way as they are working dogs and need things to do Thanks for stopping by

chrys 6 years ago

We have a two year old blue heeler mix that has recently become aggressive towards our older chow/husky mix, our daughter and sometimes even us. She growls over food, and attention from other people towards the older dog. We are working on getting her more exercise and immediately correcting her when she displays aggression. I believe she's trying to establish dominance over everyone in the family and we are fearful that she might turn on a friend or family member. She's extremely smart and I think she may be frustrated from not having a "job" as these dogs are herding/working animals. She also chases our cat every chance she gets, but funny enough, the cat seems to be taking care of that herself. I wonder if anyone knows whether or not the aggression/dominance may be worse with her because of having all female animals in the house. She displays incredible agility and we'd love to get her into a class, but with the aggression towards other dogs, we are afraid that she might hurt someone elses pet in the process. She growled and went after a few puppies in her beginner training class and towards the end we decided not to enroll her in another group class. Private trainers are so expensive, we are looking for a cheaper alternative. any ideas?

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

chrys, Thanks for stopping by. The only thing I can suggest is to train him at home yourself. As you already know Blue heelers are woking dogs and need things to do. Teach him to sit. stay and heel. Make sure you have control off him. He needs things to do. Throw the ball and get him to fetch it. Buy him one of those kong balls. Or even get a tennis ball on elastic so that he walks off with it and when lets go it springs back so he can chase it himself.

Do not have it on long elastic and make sure it wont go through any windows etc. Talk to a trainer and ask for their advice. Hope this helps. Blue heelers need to work as you already know. make him get things for you and reward him with treats. ask him to get your shoes etc..

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Charles, I am so glad that it worked out well for you with your blue heeler.

And sounds like you have learnt a lot along the way. Well done and hope you have many years of love with your dog like I have with mine.

Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

This was very interesting! Never knew a 'blue heeler' existed, then, the other day I was watching something on tv and heard the name blue heeler and lo and behold, you have this great hub. For some reason, i expected their heels to be blue. LOL. Great Hub, the videos were fun to watch.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

support Med, their color is virtually blue or Red (for red heeler) but they nip a persons heels or heels (feet) of cattle as they are cattle dogs. Thanks for stopping by

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago

My friend's blue heeler was a one-man-dog for sure - I thought the breed was kind of cool and distant judging by this dog until I saw her really interacting with my friend, her master, then she was like a lover, totally warm and friendly with him, but not so with anybody else. She did not like other men especially and was not interested in women, just not friendly but not aggressive. She also liked to herd people when there were more than two around. I can see that they are wonderful dogs.

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

mega, blue heelers are working dogs, and they will work anything (herd or round up) chooks, cattle, sheep, They do it by instinct without training. The training part is so the owner organises how, when and where they are to be herded to.

They make a beautiful, lovable pet. BUT like all dogs they do have an aggressive side, if treated bad. Or they will protects their masters to the detriment of their own safety.

It just appears to be a natural trait. If my husband are play fighting he lets us know with a little growl that he is watching us. We don't do that now as really it is encouraging aggression. Or that is our opinion anyway. He will do anything for us. And loves to do little jobs. Hoping for rewards of course. Then again that is how we trained him.

Myrllie 6 years ago from Ohio

Eileen, I too am a blue heeler owner, we've had Lil for 7 years now. She is one of the easiest dogs Ive ever trained, and very faithful to me and my husband. One of the most interesting things I find about her is she is more aggressive with adults than children its as though she has a sixth sense about it.

My father always told me that the best judges of character were kids and dogs LOL and I do believe he was right.

You hit the nail on the head talking about the jobs that these dogs do, they give it everything they have and then some and hate to disappoint.

We have had two litters of pups from Lil and our Border Collie they make a great mix, because they are both bred to herd and work. Extreemly smart animals wouldn't trade her for the world.. Great Hub!

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

myrlie, You are so right. They are so brilliant. Every day he does little things off his own bat.

And he just wants to carry things all the time for us, like car keys, he goes and gets the TV times for my husband. Or we will find his toys in our bed that he has brought us during the night. Or books he thinks we might want.

He even carries some breakables very gently too.

But like that guy that got savaged with the wombat the other day in Australia (where we are) If we tread on him he will bight it is a natural reaction. If someone hits us we would retaliate. thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Rich B 6 years ago

Hi, I have a 12 week old Blue Heeler. He is a great dog and loves our family (me, my wife, son 7 and girl 3)he follows us everywhere. The only problem I have is that he will not leave my 7 yr old alone when he walks anywhere. Them two are always playing and he loves my son to death but when my son walks he is constantly biting on his pant leg or his legs. He hears the alarm go off in the morning for my son to go to school and he is right there at the door waiting for him but as soon as he opens the door he goes after his legs.

Is this just a sign that he wants to play with him all the time? I try to correct him buy telling him no and smack his nose and have used a spray bottle but nothing works. Like I said he is great with my son and I know they bite at kids feet alot but is this too much? Someone suggested a muzzle but i don't know if I want to go that route. Is there anything else to try? I have to put him outside so my son can get ready in the morning but he just waits at the door for him.

Thanks soory this is so long.

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Rich, I would tell him no (not yelling) but firm voice and shut him outside for longer periods each tiume he does it.

And take him to obedience training. You definitely need to curb it now. You can do a bit of training yourself. by putting him on a lead and getting him to sit with the word and hand movement. I do have another hub on guide to training your dog.

But I would strongly get onto a puppy obedience school as soon as possible. Otherwise if let go he could get worse.

I realise he is a puppy but he still needs to know right from wrong. Hope this helps.

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BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

How very interesting! I am not at all familiar with this breed. Maybe it is not too well known here in the US. So this is the reason for the name? - it will go after your heels when you try to get out (sounds like my kind of dog). This is the herding instinct.

Thanks for this information - you are quite knowledgeable and obviously very caring. People really need to know the pet they choose by doing research and your hub with answers to the comments would be a great place to start. Too often pets are winding up in shelters because people are clueless to their individual needs.

Thanks again!

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

bkcreative, yes I wrote an article about that on info it is a shame how many people give or buy dogs without a thought. Just buy on the spur of the moment or impulse and suffer later or get rid of the poor dog as it grows bigger than they thought. cheers

Sarah 6 years ago

I have a blue heeler pup, he is 6 months old and weighs about 45-50 pounds but is not heavy set he is perportinat. i am worried that as he grows and gets older he will be aggressive. I have no children but i plan on having one soon, should i worry about introducing him to a new family member. I have 5 animals including Emmett, 3 cats and a small dog (mini-pincher) weighing about 10 pounds, Emmett is wonderful with our other dog and he cuddles with the cats but he tries to herd them when it is bedtime and they don't really like that and they scratch and bite him, we have tried to break them of that but you know what they say about cats and dogs. He is a wonderful dog and we love him very much. hes very smart, i am training him to search for things like my keys, i will hide them in random spots and he always finds them for me, he can also hit the emergency button on our security alarm. my sisters dog got out the gate a few days ago and we couldn't find him, i brought emmett over and we drove around, we kept hearing dogs bark all through the town we live in, but finally after about 30 minutes he heard a bark and started scratching to get out of the car we let him out and he took off, we ran after him after running for about 2 minutes he ran up to a wooken fence and started to try and dig to get under it i put him back on his leash and knocked on the door, i asked to people if they had seen Chevy (my sisters dog) and i showed them a picture, she told me to hold on a second. when she came back she had chevy in her arms, so yeah he is smart. he wakes us up in the mornings when he hears the alarm, he is being trained to feed and water himself and the other animals, just incase we have to leave the house for the full day. but although he is such a wonderfull dog i still worry about my other animals and my future children. If someone has brouhgt any new family members in after the dog arived, or has cats or small dogs please write me back at , any info will help.

thank you

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Sarah, It sounds like u have another wonderful blue heeler. Even though you have trained him to do great things. He still needs to have obedience training. And once that is done you still need to keep up the training. Not actual training but refreshing the things he has learned so he does not forget.

He needs to know stop on command from you. Make eye contact with him and get him to understand the command look at me. That way if there is a problem. He has to respond to your command. Be firm with him with his training. But play with him to. So he knows the difference between play and work (training) Good luck. Blue heelers are wonderful dogs.

They will protect you from any harm at all even members of your family if they should threaten or raise their voice at yyou or any agressor. Ours always warns whoever is raising their voice.

Anna 6 years ago

Please advise...My husband had a blue healer, 4 years old. my husband died recently and the dog acts like he should now be boss, he's stopped eating his dog food, he demands to be let in and i hear him groan when i pet him, i'm becoming scared of him. he recently had an ear infection and i couldn't take him to the vet for fear, i had to give him human antibotics. its hot here and he stands at the back door all day thinking i should let him in. my husband made him stay out during the day, but he trys to boss me.

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Anna I am sorry for your loss, Sorry haven't answered earlier as have been away for 2 weeks in the bush. I would definitely not give in to him. Although he may be grieving too, I know because, if we have to go out and cannot take our dog he sulks. He will not eat his food until we come home again.

We were only talking about this earlier today. Could you give him something belonging to your husband as it may help him. I would also ask your vet for some ad vise they would be the best to offer ideas under your

circumstances. I would still not let him take over

Do not show any fear as he will play the boss if you do.

Our dog will sit on the bed and lay over us if we let him because he wants to be the boss.

MDrew 6 years ago

I have a blue heeler who is a neutered male, about 4 years old, LB. He has been our only pet for 3 years. This weekend, I just adopted another male neutered heeler who is about 2 years old, Duke, from a kill shelter. LB is not too sure about Duke yet. I have only had Duke 3 days. When they play together, they play great. But when they have a dispute, it's like an illegal dogfight. In 3 days they have had 3 pretty major fights, but neither has been hurt, yet. But at other times, they play sweetly together. I have had to keep their food, water, blankets, and chew toys separated though. Should I wait to see if they can get along, and if LB can step down from his alpha role and be a nice big brother, or do I need to take Duke back to the shelter? It will break my heart if I have to do that. Will they learn to get along, and if so how long should I wait? Thanks for anyone's help!

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

MDrew, That is a very hard thing to advise anyone on. I would say that of course LB has had his nose put out of joint.

Try to show him a little more affection than Duke for a couple of days. Reassure him that he is still your best mate.

Blue heelers are working dogs. Give them things to do. Have you given Lb any obedience training. Throw things for them to fetch etc to wear them out a bit. If possible get one to sit and hang on to him while you get the other one to chase after his ball or something and them do same for other dog. Apart from that I do not know what to suggest. Obedience training is very important in the care of any dog.

Ask a trainer for advice,they may be able to help. Have they got separate kennels. If so put their own toys in them. good luck. cheers

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Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

I love all animals but didn't know much about this particular breed so enjoyed this immensely, can't wait to read more of your work!

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Eiddwen, glad you enjoyed the hub, yes they are beautiful loyal and protective dogs that for sure

Trustintiff 6 years ago


My boyfriend and I got our Blue Heeler (female) Moe (short for Moose as he wanted a boy but she was cuter) and she is a wonderful dog in many ways. She was virtually trained at 10 weeks and never has an accident. She loves to play fetch and I swear she would fetch until she dies. She knows many tricks and loves to give you kisses. I had a 5yr old pomeranian Trooper when we got her and at first she just annoyed him when they met. He is very relaxed and not very active and she would pull his tail and chase him but gradually they seemed to get along or avoid each other. One and a while they would both be on the sofa with me and my heeler would growl and then lunge at my Pom. I would separate them and make her go lie down on her bed. It didn't happen often though. Last night I came home to find my Pom in a pool of blood in my bathroom as my heeler had attacked and ripped out one of her eyes and damaged the other one badly. I was in total shock. Moe (heeler) was not acting as if she had done anything bad. Normally if she chews something she cowers with her ears back and hides. I rushed the Pom to the vet where he is having surgery today. I don't know what to do. Moe is such an affectionate, happy dog. She will even play fetch with my friends young children. I can't keep her for fear of her attacking him again. I don't know what I did or didn't do that she behaved this way. I am thinking of trying to find a Ranch for her to live at with no kids or other dogs. Can you help with any advice?

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

trustintiff, That must have been terrible for you. All dogs can become jealous. Blue Heelers are very very protective and would give their lives for their owner. Our blue heeler warns us if he thinks either of us is the slightest bit aggressive to the other. He growls at the one he thinks is being aggressive.

Personally I would never trust any dog, no matter what the breed.

Blue Heelers are working dogs and as such need regular exercise and need to do jobs around the house to keep them active. Ours get our shoes, the mail, carries in shopping, lots of little things. Simply because they are working dogs. He loves it and always expects treats.

Even though we love him, and he is beautiful I respect him for what he is, and remember all dogs have sharp teeth.

As to what to do with him, I would ask the vet for his advice. I would say he is bored and jealous. We do not know if the dog annoyed him by taking his food or similar.

It is a very hard decision. But once they have done something then...Maybe he would be best out on a farm where he will get the exercise and workout that he needs.

Sorry I cant be more helpful.

Kim Wilder 6 years ago

I have the greatest, smartest, cutest blue heeler on the planet! Lately she has become very aggressive in the car with me. If someone walks by the car she goes crazy, even my son. If he is in the car she is fine. Today she bit a friend of his when I left her alone at an unfamiliar home. I think she has just become very protective of me and our family, she is a year and a half old and really started this behavior 2 months ago...any advice?? BTW I have trained her and we live on 40 acres and she gets A LOT of exercise.

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Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Kim Wilder, I know what u mean about smart and I thought mine was the bestest one around. When you say bite was it a bite or a little nip.

These dogs can be funny with family and kids. When Titan has had enough of being nice to kids and if they wont leave him alone he gives them a little nip-no not a bite he is just saying leave me alone I have had enough of you.

Other than that you could take him to an obedience trainer that could help. Sometimes they are a bit possesive and protective. You do not know what the kid did either he may have acted aggressive to your son and blue heelers will let them know to lay off. Titan warns us when we play around and he thinks one of us is being aggressive he barks or growls to warn us.

Other than that I do not know you could talk to your vet.

Maybe leave him home and not take him in the car. Good luck.

kelli 5 years ago

Love the hub! Very informative. My dixie is starting to act ugly with ppl. That is new but us moving into a neighborhood is new for her and she isn't used to ppl being so close. It seems that my comands take longer to get to her brian the more intence she is. She knows she is wrong as soon as she realizes I am shouting leave it and cowers to the ground. I don't like to be loud or yell and I never do I guess that's who she cowers cuz she expecting the worst. On the same hand I can't let her go and attack the neighbor in their own yard either! I can't afford to fence in 3 ac. Right now and she hates her dog lot because noone else here obides by the leash law and contains their dogs! Grrr I am agrevated with this situation

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Hi Kelli, you really have a problem. You definitely have to contain her somehow. Maybe if she is an outside dog you could encourage her inside like as a reward and win her confidence that way.

Remember to praise her every time she does the right thing. I definitely would not let her out of your yard.

You could put her on a running leash. By that I mean, have a strong wire running across your property, not near fences. Then attach the lead to that so she can run back and forth without feeling in a confined space.

The only thing with that you must have that area clear so she cannot get hooked in loose shrubs or branches or anything that she can get caught in or hurt.

Water is another thing you need that put so she will not spill it and of course needs shaded area especially in the summer. Hope that helps. Try not to yell. I know hard it is as Blue heelers are very quick and strong to control if they see something they act very quickly.

beau  5 years ago


looking to get a blue heeler but i am going over seas in 6 mths time for 8 weeks .would the dog struggle with the separation or go backwards in all the training that you had done with it???

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Personally I would wait until you come back from your 8 week trip. If the dog is young then I do not think he would forget you although it could make a difference as to who is looking after him while you are away.

And how they treat and train him. Whether they will continue training the way you have started. Good luck hope that helps you.

sarah  5 years ago

hello we have to cavaliers and my husband wants to get a cattle dog.will they interact ok or is it a bad mix?

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Sarah, Most dogs are ok as long as they are normally social to each other.

The main problem is not to favor one more than the other you would have to treat them all equal or they will resent one another. Don't have one inside the home and others outside dogs. All need to feel equal especially the ones there first as they may become jealous. Hope that helps.

Kell 5 years ago

My blue is 4 years old, and is as stubborn as a large rock. I probably don't have the right temprament to train her (I do loose patience and interest) She is a great dog, just has some "alpha" issues that need addressing. After an incident this morning with her swooping another dog, while we went for a run (not her fault usually there is no one around when we go for our walk) I wasn't quick enough to get her on her lead and she avoided me.

Anyway after a blow up with the other person (who tried to make it better by trying to kick her! yeah cuz then she would have bit him and not his dog) I think I need to amp up the training, for her AND for me! Other than her tendency to round up cows (farmers don't like this)I am generally aware of her idiosyncratic ways (heelers give you the "look" then you know).

Anyway my main concern is her coming back when I call, she has selective hearing, so any further away than 10m and she ignores me.

Any helpful tips, other than carrying large amounts of treats (which by the way, don't really work with her!)

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Kell,just because she is 4 years old you can still train her.. You need to be persistant. Put her on a short lead and sit her down.

Tell her to stay and then still on a short lead walk back away from her then call come, it she doesn't pull the lead to you saying come. As she gets the message increase the length of the lead. Praise her every time with a happy voice each time she does well.

You could take her to obedience training. All dogs like kids have bad habits. But staying or coming when called is important. Sometimes my Titan can be a bit the same at times too. hope that helps you.

sara and dave 5 years ago

Well, I have found all this information helpful. We have a Blue Heeler that is just over a year. We have had him since 9 weeks of age. He is a strong handsome beast but a little out of control. We researched and selected a Blue Heeler specifically for their protection and loyalty qualities. We wanted a dog that would accompany me and my young son as my husband works a good bit. We read a good bit about them being "one owner" dogs so he became my dog. He is with me more than anyone else. We go for several walks a day and daily beach trips. We have a decent sized yard and a pool that he loves. He is quite hyper but I still consider this normal because he is just over a year. He can NOT sit still for anything. There is no snuggling or leisurely sitting and petting happening with this dog. Anytime I sit near him, i.e. on beach after a walk, he sits ON me. Like, directly on my chest or stomach. All 50 lbs of him. If your hand is near his neck or head to pet, he tries to grab it. Not really mean, just excited. He is too hyper to stay inside because in 3 seconds flat he can make it to every bedroom and couch and jump and rub over everything. Any attempts at "training" have been a failure (we are obviously to blame as well). He is becoming more aggressive. He bites me but never my husband. If I leave and don't take him with me, he jumps and bites me. Not just my heels. He has gotten almost all the way up to my chin. He doesn't break skin but it is still a real bite and hurts. It seems to just be with me. He has a few minutes long freak-out as I am leaving and then seems to get over it once my car is out of sight. My husband has told me to put hm in the submissive position but if I even just try to push him away when he is like this he bites more and freaks out. I am just not convinced I can climb on top of this dog and not get hurt. Sorry for the long post but the past few months have been increasingly stressful and I want to do all I can to enjoy his good qualities!

Any advice would be appreciated.


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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

You have a problem. The dog is responding this way because In my opinion he does not know any better.

Forgive me if I have misunderstood you but dogs are not toys to play with and take to beaches and have fun.

You did not once mention that you have tried to train him only play with him. Regardless of this I would say very strongly that he badly needs to be taken for obedience training otherwise he will never learn how to behave in any environment.

All dogs need time out from humans. You will have to train him to stay home for short periods then gradually extend the time until he understands.

All dogs need good training. Obedience training will do the trick. He is not too old to learn. Then and only then in my opinion we he appreciate your company and homelife. Our dog was boysterous and chewed everything up dug holes and everything. After taking him to obedience training he improved.

We take him with us to most places where possible but still leave him home at times to give him a rest especially in this hot weather. I don't mean to sound harsh, but he really needs pulling in to gear for his and your sakes. Happy training cheers happy new year too. Hope it is a new beginning for both of you.

sara and dave 5 years ago

I think there is a little misunderstanding here. We live in Costa Rica on the beach and his trips to the beach are for his daily exercise. He loves the beach and I try to take him for at least an hour everyday. After his initial run out to the beach, he enjoys riding the waves and retrieving thrown coconuts, frisbees and sticks. Unfortunately there are no obedience training options for us here but I will look for some material on-line. Have a wonderful New Year

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

I can see where you are coming from now. I know our dog loves the beach too and he fetches the ball etc.

But if there is no obedience training available then it sounds like you will need to do it yourself.

This article might help you to learn the "Correct commands - How to train your dog".

If I was you I would put him on a lead and walk him around your patio, garden or something. No he may not like it but encourage him if he is good by telling him what a good boy he is. Look him in the eye as you give commands. Get him to sit and reward him with a treat, even if it is not perfect as long as he is trying. Hope this other article will help you control your dog.

I believe that all blue heelers are worth that extra effort on our part. Another idea is to give him little jobs to do. Reward him when he does well with a little treat, not big bikkies just a little treat each time.

Train him to get your shoes, or get the paper, give him a ball with food in it so he has to push it to get a treat. this will keep him occupied too. Hope this helps sorry I cant suggest anything else.

Little Kim 5 years ago

My absolute favorite dog. Even though I have never owned one. I have a very spoiled Chihuahua and he is enough energy for me, but I would love to have a blue one day. I know they need lots of love, exercise, and play.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

little kim, yes they do need lots of exercise and training that's for sure, but well worth the effort.

kid getting a blue heeler 5 years ago

BLUE HEELERS ARE THE BEST DOGS EVER!!! altho i have heard of them nipping you :( how do you stop them from doing it

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

You are so right,they are the best dogs. We traveled around Australia and the amount of people that came up to us and said they had one years ago or have one now and if they could they would get another one.

BUT, they are also working dogs. Therefore they need jobs to do. And they do need proper obedience training.

Teach him the basic commands and growl when he nips. Hope that helps

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AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for an informative hub. Titan sounds like a very clever dog! Several dog breeds have been part of my family over the years, but never a Blue Heeler, so learning about this breed was interesting. I think that obedience classes are great for any dog. We took our two present dogs (a Labrador and a Leonberger) to puppy obedience classes, which was a big help in training them.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

AliciaC, Sounds like you love dogs too. Yes training is very important for all breeds of dogs and their owners.

Jamie 5 years ago

I have had numerous Blue Heelers and absolutely loooovvveeee them. However, my recent one who is now 2 1/2 years old has been having some serious territorial issues when people come over. He has bitten someone on the hand and leg when they got out of their car. Now everytime someone comes over we immediately put him inside before they get out of the car if he does not know them. How do I train him not to be territorial over the yard and the outside of the house, to understand strangers are not to be bit?? Should I get a willing participant to come over and introduce him on a short lead and if he tries to lunge pull back? I've never had this issue with any other dog and would really like some feedback to this.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Jamie, I would love to be able to help you but there is a limit to my abilities. I definitely believe that he needs to have some obedience training.

This is the only way that he will learn right from wrong and be able to cure these problems.

With our dog we clap our hands to get his prompt attention but at times he still likes to ignore us so no method is infalible.

Speak to your local dog trainers. I hope you can deter him from this territorial attitude. Otherwise you will have to contain him to the back yard. Even then he still need correct obedience training.

Abi 5 years ago

My heeler will be nine years old this november and she has been the most awesome animal I have ever owned. I went thru breast cancer in 2008 and while having chemo she would lay in the bed beside me and never leave or would follow me everywhere. I do not look forward to the day when she must leave me, since my separation from my husband in 2010, she has been by my side, goes to the store and waits patiently for me to come back, the kids in the neighborhood love playing ball with her, they think it is so cool that she brings the ball back and lays it down in front of them to go again. I have noticed a slowing down recently but when she was 6 weeks old my German Shepard and her were playing and her back leg was broken in two places, cost me $2k to get her fixed up, so I know it's causing her pain, my question is when do I let her go, her breed does not understand sit or stay still?

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

i can understand how you feel. But I think you will know, and yes it will be very hard. But your vet would probably understand how much pain your bluey is in. As long as it can still walk around ok and the pain is managed then he should still be ok

They do not seem to feel pain even when really banging into things. Ours is ten years old now and he insists on jumping up on our bed but his legs are starting to feel it when he jumps down so we try to lift him. But he just wont stop and loves to go swimming in the ocean which is good for their body too.

Hope you have him for a lot lot longer. We too are dreading when that time comes.

Amanda 5 years ago

We just adopted a two year old ACD in January. His name is Cowboy and is so sweet and eager to please. We walk hi. Twice a day, play ball and is bee with him, we have three kids who give him lots of attention, and my husband and I both work from home. We affectionately call him velcrodog because he insist on being with us as close as we allow. He is following basic training well and our primary concern was teaching him to not herd our three year old. Now that he has laid off that and has mastered come, sit, stay(mostly) and leave it, we would like to move on to some simple jobs he could do. We live In a suburban area, he is waiting each day to do something, but we don't know what! What basic beginning " jobs" would you suggest start trying to teach him? Your dog does so many things he enjoys but he had to have started somewhere. Can you please suggest a progression of jobs for our sweet Cowboy? He is ready to go!

caylea 5 years ago

hi Eileen, a friend of mine recently gave me his blue heeler. He is 2 years old and i am his 3rd home because the first owner had no time and my friend rescued him from being put down and then realized he had no time himself. i work from home so i have plenty of time and 20 acres for him to run. i absolutely adore him and i feel bad when punishing him because he has trust issues. Ever sense the day i got him, i have been trying to train him not to bite at my horses feet. Last week he nipped at my horses heels while i was riding and caused the horse to buck and through me off i ended up with a broken arm and cracked hip. Wiley is the best dog i have ever owned and i have trained him well i just cant seem to break this habit. My 9 year old niece rides often with me and if it were her on the horse it could have been a lot worse. He only seems to nip at the horse that i am riding but it is very hard to stop the horse get off give him the command and then continue riding. i am not sure what i should do please help me any advice would help

thank you


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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

amanda, I would just start with the basisics, fetching the ball, the paper, getting your shoes etc. Just try one thing at a time do not pressure him with too much all at once.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

caylea, I personally would not let him follow you when you are riding. Leave him home only take when you go walking. It is too risky for both you and you now know and for the dog. A friend let her dog do that and it was killed because the horse kicked it in the head.

So do not risk yours or you wonderful dogs life. Just my opinion.

Let him go with you with other outings.

cherylk123 5 years ago from wyoming

we got are blue heeler Nacho from someone who could no longer keep him and. he is the best, loving dog ever. He just turned a year old and we love him so much but he can be aggressive sometimes with only individuals not within his family. Is there anyway I can train him to not be so aggressive? My husband is worried and would like me to get rid of the dog but I love him so much I really hate to send him away and what will happen to him if I can't help him? Can anyone help me at all please let me know

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Cherylk123, If he does something wrong chastise him, and say bad dog. But the best advise that I can give you is to take him to obedience training.

That way the instructor can also give you help to correct his bad habits.

Also if he is an inside dog then put him outside if he does wrong.

1duckhunter 5 years ago

Please help, need advice asap. My 14 yr old daughter has an 8 yr old Blue Heeeler (ACD) and has had him since he was born. We live in country, very few neighbors, who live down the road. He has always killed cats, and has now become very aggressive with small dogs. He goes on walks with us down the road and recently attacked 2 dogs (1 took to vet & it almost died). I know for a fact he has killed 1 other small dog about a yr ago. My family recently moved right next door, they have small puppy & 2 small kids. We have caught him chasing the pup, but has never got a hold of it yet. I'm worried he might kill their pup too, or even worse hurt the kids. He has always been a very protctive dog, great with us, never any problems. He is use to running anywhere he wants to & having his freedom, but we been penning up, so he can't attack the pup. He is very smart & can get out though. Several people think we need to put him to sleep, because of his aggressivness. My daughter is really having a hard time, feels bad she never trained him properly, and thinks that maybe its not to late to train him. I'm worried about him turning on people or the small kids. He is very attached to my daughter, but never has even growled at any of us. Should we put him to sleep. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

1Duckhunter,That is not good. It is bad enough that he has killed birds but attacking anything is NOT ON.

Personally I would put him on a lead attached to a long wire so that he cannot get out. That way if you attach his lead onto the long wire he can run that full length of the wire. The most important thing is cannot get out to hurt anyone or anything.

You would have to make sure that there is nothing that he can get tangled in though and can reach his water without it being spilt.

You could also buy him toys that will keep him amused or chew on. You can have a ball on elastic so that he will run with it then when stretched it will bounce back when he lets go. and then needs to chase it again.

Hope that helps. But like I tell everyone obedience training is very important.

Rochelle And Colin 5 years ago

Hi, we have a 2 and a half year old blue heeler and we also have a cat named ninja, I just thought that was so cool that you did too, love your site.

Rochelle and Colin 5 years ago

also, my blue heeler pulls a lot on walks, I don't know how to stop this, we have tried all different collars and nothing seems to work. He gets so over excited sometimes that he jumps up on us and barks really high pitch. when we go to the dog park he pretends we don't home he is very good. he can sit, stay, lay down, roll over, high five, shake paw, and army crawl. Ive even had him run on a treadmill and jump through hula hoops. :)

Halie 5 years ago

I had the same problem with my blue heeler pulling. It took about a week of walking him twice a day. I would make him sit and say his name VERY firmly if he pulled. He does great now! Blue heelers are amazing dogs. My dog is part blue heeler part australian shepard. I never even trained him and he knows so many tricks! Follows me EVERYWHERE.

Brie 5 years ago

I have a nearly 3 year old red heeler named Harley, easily the smartest dog I've ever had. He is super loving, loves to cuddle. He thinks he's a little lap dog, but at 60 pounds, you just have to know when he's coming, haha. He seems to know when I'm not feeling good, and is really gentle, but we ha to work with him on it when he was a puppy. What actually worked the best was 'yelping' if he nipped too hard. And he would immediately stop. He is very careful with his teeth now. He's very energetic, loves tug toys, and likes to entertain people with his list of tricks. He can do the basics, sit, stay, back up, drop it; he also knows some more difficult tricks, such as roll over, speak, whisper, and he says 'momma'. He isn't territorial, but he does protect his masters' land, and has scared off potential threats too. I'm very proud of him. There are sometimes when gets on my nerves, but I love him so much. He is like my child.

Sunshine 5 years ago

We have had our blue heeler for approximate 5 yrs. We have never had any major problems with him. A couple months ago we has a stray kitten wonder up. My young daughter had to keep the kitten. My prob is that Skeeter (heeler) acts fine as long as my husband or I are outside but as soon as we are out of site he tries to attack the cat. Thankfully one of our kids have always yelled & we have been able to stop him. How can I teach him to get along with our new addition? He is not our only dog. I also have a small indoor dog that he gets along with but the indoor dog was here before we got Skeeter. During the day while we are at work Skeeter is kept in a dog large pen or dog run.

purple heeler believer 5 years ago

We have a purple heeler (half red half blue) named chiwi (like kiwi). He is 9mos old and nips at new people that come into our home. He also bites at our 4 y/o sons feet when he is being carried. My husband is ready to get rid of this amazing dog, but I would like to keep working with him. I think that he needs jobs around our property and he is still a pup with energy to spare. Does it sound like we need to find a new home for him or should we ride this out? My husband is obviously concerned that an accidental injury to our son or friends is bound to happen. I feel that chiwi just needs more time and training. Help!

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RalphGreene 5 years ago

There are really times when we don't understand dog's behavior. However, they must be treated well. Very useful hub!

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

To all of the above, I am on limited net coverage so will try to respond to you in one message.

I think blue heelers are worth going that extra mile in giving them obedience training. In saying this do not put any children at risk in the process.

My dog Titan will nip children- No he does not bite he just lets them know that he has had enough when they are playing with him. He puts up with a lot but just opens his mouth and closes it on the childs arm he does not bite them although they think he does. He is just saying Pleas leave me alone.

Just train them well. And no do not let them get away with bad behavior. They can tell by the tone of your voice if they are in trouble. If they do something wrong punish by putting outside or on a chain until they sette down again. Hope that helps, They are really worth spending time with them.

Also buy them interactive toys that will keep them occupied if no one home. Like toys with treat inside or balls on elastic so it willreturn again when they run away and they will have to chase it again.

kim purcell 5 years ago

I have a male blue heeler I have owned since the min he was born (owned his mother before she passed) he is the most loyal dog ever, however I was single for the first few years of his life and now that he is 5 and has been around my husband for 3 yrs we still find that he growls and nips at him.....has NEVER done this with me and will stop ONLY if I tell him to so if you are a single female please remember this they are being LOYAL to you and are PROTECTING YOU..OUT OF LOVE....Just be paient and they will come around......I have told my husband if I HAD to choose between him and my heeler wee I neeed not say any more.......If you do get ne have then around children at an early age s mine has never been around kids and does NOT like them........These are Great dogs and great Video's thanks for sharing......PS Mine will get me a MT Dew when I ask him to or will bring me the phone when it rings.....VERY VERY SMART DOGS INDEED !!!!!!

Ben & Jan 5 years ago

We have a female Blue Healer/ACD, raised her from 2 months, she is now 2 years. I'd like to say, she is the most incredible dog I have ever come into contact with. I recommend anyone who is willing to train a dog patiently get a Blue Heeler.

Our Ripley is very affectionate and attached to me and my wife and gets very protective if anyone comes near the house (but is a big softy once we reassure her that the person is no threat, very smart). Even then, she only fully trusts me and my wife, all our friends she is completely fine with, but does not completely trust and keeps her eye on them. She will bark at them if they begin to act peculiar lol. We just respond by saying 'it's ok' and she stops and relaxes.

Her personality is hilarious, she makes me laugh out loud just looking at her at times because of her intelligent behaviour and responses to us and things around her. Very eccentric and strange dog.

Blue Heelers need to be trained from a very early age, then training them when older is very easy because they are so intelligent and soak things up with ease. Our Heeler was fully house broken after about 2 months (she was 4 months old), this is not common in other dogs which can take up to a year or 2 even (Our Beagle was still extremely stubborn, but 95% broken after a year aka if not let outside for a fair few hours he would go inside if an emergency, but this was rare). We have trained our Heeler to not hurt small animals or our 4 cats (even though she LOVES cats and can't help but terrorize them in a playful way, constantly haha). She is SO smart, she will never attempt to play with one of our cats because we have taught her that he is older, more sensitive and doesn't like to play so much, so she leaves him be. Our pet Rat can happily run all over the couch next to her and she will protect her if the cats come near. She can learn just about any word relevant to a dog and relevant to learning tricks. For example, she knows the difference between 'wanna treat' or 'wanna eat' and they sound very similar. The former she will run to the kitchen and sit patiently near where the treats are kept, the latter she will run to bed and wait for you to bring food. She knows the cats names, when I say 'go get Toby' she will run up to him and pounce at him, playfully. Same when I say 'go get mummy' she will go pounce at my wife LOL.

It's very true that they are passionate about everything they do. When they play, they will want to play for hours and stare at you when you run out of energy lol. But yes, be careful, she has bitten my hand a few times and left me bleeding without realizing, was my fault, was teasing her with a tennis ball and didn't move my hand in time haha.

I cannot praise my dog enough, the day she dies I will probably be suicidal.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Kim purcell They are truly very faithful dogs and will protect their owners. Like you say they have to get used to people. It is best to get them used to other people as they can be possessive and protective.

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Ben & Jan, Like you I am also dreading the time of our dog Titans passing. It will be a very lonely and empty time.

Blue heelers are such wonderful dogs. As we travel with ours a lot, we meet so many wonderful people through our dog and I have not heard a bad word against them yet.

But having said that they do need to be given obedience training to be at their best.

janay 5 years ago

i think my heeler may be pregnant. not by choice. can you tell me how id make sure without having to go to the vet. i read some ways to know and i think she is. thanks...

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Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Janay, It is so long ago that our dogs had pups, but from memory the gestation period is only 63 days. So you wont have long to see a change in her body. Also the nipple will be more enlarged than normal.

John Bryant 4 years ago

I have a 18 month old red heeler,had her from 8 weeks,Ruby is deaf and I have trained her to hand and body movement been a joy but she has become very aggressive towards other dogs even if she knows them and has played with them before.this is new maybe two weeks? I'm at a loss as this is very antisocial and she is with me always??

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

You have done well with the hand training if he is deaf.

But I would still suggest that you take him to some obedience training. Not only will it improve the way you train him and how he understands the training but it will get him out mixing with other dogs.

This could help with the problem of him being aggressive with other dogs. Hope that helps

Melissa Harris 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this page and for doing so much for these amaizing dogs! My husband and I have a blue heeler named Neena Blue...and she is the light of our lives!! She is 2 1/2 years old, and we have had her since 8 weeks of age. She was a real pain at first, tore everything up she could get her mouth on! Not to mention we couldn't take more than two steps without her nipping at our heels (when she wasn't side winding while she walked, that was so cute). It took alot of patience, but we have the best dog in the world. She obeys very well, and sits, stays, lays down, shakes and speaks on command using hand signals. We are working on roll over, but that seems to be more of a challenge for her. She is a daughter to us, and follows us everywhere...I can't even use the restroom without her! I finally go her trained to at least look the other way while she is in there with me :-) She goes everywhere with us, and we wouldn't have it any other way. I can't even imagine not having her in our little girl is such a blessing to us. Always lots of kisses when she sees us, she even sits on my lap in the recliner to watch television with me. I keep telling her she is too big to be a lap dog, but it doesn't seem to matter. Neena gets along very well with other dogs, and even plays with our cat. I would recommend a heeler to anyone who has the dedication for these wonderful dogs. They are loving and loyal, but they are also stuborn.

Can you tell me if it is typical for heelers to be able to read there feelings? You can see how Neena is feeling and thinking by looking at her...this includes sarcasm. She is just so facially expressive it's priceless!! It is so sad when we have to go somewhere that we can't take her. I tell her to stay with Grandma and be a good girl, she knows what that means. The head goes down, ears down, tail down, won't look at me and it's the only time she will not kiss me on command. It just breaks my heart...but she always greets us at the door with wagging tail and lots of kisses.

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Melissa, I have to agree with you Blue heelers are such beautiful dogs, good companions, lovable, and do not take kindly to being left home.

Our Titan, hates being left behind - if we leave him treats he sulks and wont eat anything until we come home.

Also agree that they do show so many emotions, you can virtually watch them changing especially the way they look at you. Titans eyes are constantly watching us going from one to the other looking for interaction.

They do need good obedience training so are under control as they could harm someone if not treated right.

Tiffany G 4 years ago

Weird, John. I have an 18 month old Blue Heeler, Ruby who is deaf. LOVE her to pieces--so spoiled. She is more timid than aggressive. I wonder if your Ruby loves a tennis ball as much mine...

Kat P 4 years ago

My parents want to give our blue-heeler, Mesa Blue, away because she's been fighting with our other dogs. She's broken the skin a few times, and today did it again to our other female, Heidi. Our other 2 dogs are bassets, 1 male, 1 female. Last time we left her at the pound she starved herself and refused to eat. I don't want to lose her and I'm worried that if we give her away she'll die.

Please, I need to know what I can do to stop her aggression so all 3 of my dogs can be happy.

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Hi KatP It is hard to say, as I don't know the dog. But could the blue heeler be jealous that they are getting more attention than mesa gets.

Are they treated differently: like let in the house and mesa not let in. There could be many different reasons. Our blue heeler is a lone dog at our home but plays well with our daughters jack russel. When we visit them.

There could be many reasons; dogs are just like kids they have feelings and notice differences.

I would definitely have them given obedience training. I am no expert. Just own and love my beautiful thoughtful blue heeler, and know some of the things that he needs and likes.

saroeder 4 years ago

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??

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

ashley 4 years ago

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.

Andrea 4 years ago

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.

allysha 4 years ago

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)

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Saroader, I strongly you read the article above from Andrea. It may work for you like it did for her.

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

lcraun 4 years ago

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.

jessiesmate 4 years ago

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

Whitley 4 years ago

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?

DZO 4 years ago

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?

M. Beth G. 4 years ago

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!

james chanin 4 years ago

i have a 6 month blue heeler puppy how tall do you think she will grow ?

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DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Nice article. I am not a heeler owner but you make a good case for them.

LINDA 3 years ago

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.

cherylkiahsmom 3 years ago

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?

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

Tahge133 3 years ago

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

Tahge133 3 years ago

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

michael 3 years ago

I just got Blue heeler/husky puppy name Oddie.. he is very friendly and playful. love him

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

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cvnjen76 3 years ago from Ohio

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

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

Daisy's Momma 3 years ago

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.

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

Heather 3 years ago

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?

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

Going crazy 3 years ago

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!!!!

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Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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

mrbullar 2 years ago

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

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Eileen Hughes 2 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

Stacie 2 years ago

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

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crys89 2 years ago from Grants, New Mexico

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.

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Eileen Hughes 2 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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

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Eileen Hughes 2 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

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Eileen Hughes 2 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

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peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

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

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Eileen Hughes 23 months ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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

Don&Eva 20 months ago

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

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Eileen Hughes 20 months ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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

Jamie taylor 12 months ago

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

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Eileen Hughes 11 months ago from Northam Western Australia Author

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.

martu 10 months ago

I've had a lot of dogs but heelers r the best dogs ever I'm a heeler man awesome dog

AShley 10 months ago

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.

Pegasus78 7 months ago

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?

Joan nalley 6 months ago

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

Eileen 6 months ago

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.

JensACDs 5 months ago

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.

CoopersNonna profile image

CoopersNonna 2 months ago

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.

Michael 2 months ago

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.

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