What is a Blue Heeler? They are a unique dog breed that are not only sociable pets but can also help farmers with herding cattle.
Blue heelers are very famous when it comes to owners of farms that have cattle. Because aside from being loving pets not just to their pet parents but the entire family they can also help the business by guiding farm animals properly.
For Blue heelers to perform their duties properly they need proper training, this training will come from their pet parents.
Let us look at how a blue heeler training looks like and how it can be properly conducted to yield the best results for the pet parents as well as the entire farm. Let us now find out how to train a blue heeler.
An Up-close look at “Blue Heelers”
Before we start discussing the important steps of training a Blue Heeler, let us take a look at the different characteristics of a Blue Heeler first.
Blue Heelers are also known as Australian cattle dogs as well. According to American Kennel Club or AKC, they are related to the Australian wild dog breed known as “Dingo”.
Blue Heelers are also called as Queensland Heeler, the term “blue heeler” also came from the color of their coats. Blue Heelers are born with white coats that turn blue-gray or red, hence the name blue heelers.
Further description of Blue Heelers indicate that they are more independent than lovey-dovey.
Blue heelers care for their dog parents but they prefer to be independent. And they need to have a job or a specific activity where they can use up their energy.
Otherwise they will be bored and this can be dangerous. Because a bored and energetic dog can be destructive, that is why it is important to have a trained blue heeler.
Blue Heelers are not recommended to be around young children and with other dogs.
They are famous for herding cattle as a part of their job as a farm dog. But they do not have that much patience or familiarity with children or other dogs when they are not given enough time to socialize early on.
This is one of the important parts of training a blue heeler.
Dog parents need to make sure that they get to know everyone. Otherwise, blue heelers can be a threat to young children or other dogs if they are not given proper blue heeler training commands.
Aside from their independence and need to familiarize themselves with young children and other dogs, another distinct characteristic of blue heelers is the need to have a constant outlet for their immense dog energy.
Blue heelers need to be constantly challenged and they need to have an activity or a job that they can do on a daily basis. It is either taking care of cattle, or an actual training, the one done for show dogs.
Another option can be a daily run or exercise routine with their dog parent. Whatever the activity is, it should be consistent and should require an energy release from the blue heeler.
Otherwise if left untapped and unused, the blue heeler’s instinct and need for energy release may turn to a negative attribute instead of a positive one.
Let us now look at the following important steps in the training of a Blue Heeler.
1. Introduce Him to Everybody At Home
Blue Heelers need enough time to adjust to everyone at home; they are not easily warm to strangers, whether they are human beings or other dogs.
Socialization is an important part of growing up, not just for dogs. The activity of socializing with other people and with other animals is very vital in the training of Blue Heelers.
As cattle dogs, they are protective, and this instinct can be dangerous if Blue Heelers find themselves in a place with unfamiliar faces. This makes them wary and leads them to bite other people or other animals.
This biting or nipping behavior of Blue Heelers is normal for their breed. Since they are raised to protect the herd from predators and to make sure that they will not leave the farm.
Now, since Blue Heelers are also becoming popular pets, it is best to train them through socialization with other people and other animals. This is so that they know that they don’t need to bite anyone.
Blue Heelers love to socialize, they just need to get used to this in a gradual manner. It is best to do this early on, during their puppy years, so that socialization will become natural for them.
Socialization should come first when training a blue heeler puppy. This will help them feel more at home and comfortable in their new home with their new family.
2. You Are the Alpha
Blue Heelers need to know who the Alpha is, and this should be you, their dog parent or master.
Aside from being sociable and energetic, Blue Heelers are very smart. And they love challenges and activities that make them utilize their energy. Otherwise they can get bored and this can have adverse consequences.
Since they are very intelligent, Blue Heelers will know if their dog parent is not up for the task of being their alpha or their leader. This will make them feel that they don’t have an alpha or a leader.
This will make them feel that they don’t need to listen to you, since you are not their boss and you are not the Alpha.
If roles will not be clarified at the beginning of the Blue heeler training, then your Blue heeler can develop behaviors that are not desirable.
Since they are not taking you seriously, they will do their own thing and will not think of following your orders anymore.
As an Alpha that will be recognized and acknowledged by your Blue Heeler, you need to be firm and sure of yourself. Especially when giving commands to your Blue Heeler.
Your Blue Heeler should not sense any doubt or hesitancy in your behavior as an Alpha, otherwise they will not acknowledge you.
And being with a dog that does not acknowledge you as their master can be troublesome. Especially someone as energetic and work driven as a Blue Heeler.
Establish your authority as the Alpha, Boss, Leader to your Blue Heeler as early as possible. This is very crucial in your Blue Heeler’s training and will help prevent Blue Heeler behavior problems.
3. Start With the Basic Commands
Commands are very important in the training of blue heelers. They can easily understand the basic commands for dogs. And since they are highly intelligent they can definitely understand what you are teaching them to do.
Blue Heeler training involves teaching your Blue Heeler the basic commands for dogs, namely: sit, down, come, repeat, stay, leave it.
These are only some of the basic commands that you need to teach your Blue Heeler. Their training should start as early as their puppy years. This is to make sure that they will be obedient and not rebellious towards their dog parents.
Teaching Blue Heelers the basic commands will give them an idea of how you are as a leader. This should be done properly in order to set the pace for their entire blue heeler training.
Aside from teaching blue heelers the basic commands, they need to be potty trained as well. There are different ways of doing the potty training for your blue heeler. According to funadog.com, these are the 3 ways to potty train your blue heeler:
• The “Every Hour” method
• The Crate method
• The Spray method
Let us look at each method and find out the advantages or disadvantages of using these methods to potty train your blue heeler.
The first method is the “every hour” method. In this method you will potty train your blue heeler by consistently leading them to their “poop/pee spot” every hour, or whenever they show signs of needing to poop or pee.
After your blue heeler successfully relieves themselves in their designated spot, they should immediately receive their treat. This will make them associate the reward with their most recent behavior which is doing their business in their designated spot.
This is the most effective and fastest way to train your blue heeler to do their business in a designated spot and not make a mess at home.
The only downside is that it takes a lot of work. The dog parent needs to be very observant and attentive towards their blue heeler, in order to see the signs that they need to do their business.
Training is not an easy task but with hard work and enough effort it will be worth it.
The second method that can be used to potty train your blue heeler is the crate method.
In this method you will give your blue heeler their own space. This helps them feel more comfortable since they will have their own safe space where they can rest and play on their own.
When you see your blue heeler ready to do their business, just take them to their potty spot and let them do their business. And once they are done they can go back to their crate.
The good thing about this method is that your blue heeler will have his own home. And you can feel relieved when you leave the house because your blue heeler has a designated spot.
The third method is the spray method where you will spray the potty spot for your blue heeler and they will recognize this as their potty spot and would reinforce their behavior to do their business in this specific spot.
All these 3 methods have their pros and cons and it will depend on how you want your blue heeler to learn how to properly potty outside the house.
It is important to be consistent and sure of yourself when you train your blue heeler. Otherwise they might not follow the rules and boundaries that you have set.
Teaching basic commands and potty training your blue heeler are important to fully train your blue heeler as a domestic pet.
This will make them able to live well in homes with people and other pets and would help control their aggressive intuitive behavior that comes from their purpose, which is to herd cattle.
Once your blue heeler learns basic commands and how to properly potty, it will help make them see your role as an Alpha and will make them loyal and sociable pets, not just tough herders.
4. You need to be Consistent
Consistency is the key to many activities in life. Training blue heelers is not different. Dog parents need to constantly show their blue heelers that the training is not forgotten and it is practiced all the time.
Are blue heelers easy to train? The answer to this question can only be given based on the efforts of the blue heeler’s dog parents.
Training a blue heeler puppy will not be difficult if it is done consistently and with much needed effort and attention.
Blue heelers are very smart and intuitive. They can tell if their dog parent is firm and if they are able to circumvent some of the rules set.
For the blue heeler training to be effective, dog parents need to make sure that blue heelers will not be able to break any of the rules.
And if they do break a rule or not follow the blue heeler training commands, then they need to know that what they did is wrong.
It is very important that the actions of dog parents during the blue heeler training is the same and there should be no changes.
If there is inconsistency in the training of the blue heeler, then this will make the blue heeler feel that this training is something that it does not need to take seriously.
This can lead to your blue heeler to become disobedient and it may develop blue heeler behavior problems. Which is something that no dog parent would want to experience.
During the blue heeler training, take note of all the correct and incorrect behaviors and make sure the reward and punishment for each behavior will always be the same.
It can help to have visual aids in order for your blue heeler to determine as well the things that they can or cannot do. Whatever the reward or punishment is, it should be consistent all the time.
The video below lists out 5 very helpful tips to help you train your blue heeler dog.
5. Set the Boundaries for your Dog
It is important to educate Blue Heelers early on; this is where training a blue heeler puppy comes in.
In relation to being consistent with the reward and punishment whenever your blue heeler breaks a rule or follows a rule, boundaries come in handy to further reinforce the behaviors that we do not wish to encourage.
There should be certain areas in the house that your blue heeler is not allowed to enter or where they cannot bring their toys or where they are not allowed to pee or poop.
These areas that are forbidden for blue heelers should be explicitly explained to them. And there should be consistency in all the times that they ever go to these areas.
Give them treats when they follow commands. When they are told to “stay” and not go to the bedroom, they should be given punishments when they do enter the bedroom even if they were told to “stay” outside the bedroom.
Punishments given to blue heelers in training should not be harsh nor physical. It can be as simple as refusing to give them any treats or ignoring them for a few seconds or minutes.
Another tip can be putting cute markers for places that blue heelers should not go to, it can be a cute picture of them with a “not allowed” sign.
And this can help them identify their boundaries better and would also remind you of the areas you have established in their blue heeler training. Visual aids are always ideal not just for people and even for blue heelers.
Once the boundaries are established, then dog parents should just be consistent and strict in implementing these boundaries. As well as the rewards and punishment for the blue heeler in training.
6. Be warm but firm
As an alpha, you need to make sure that when blue heelers do something that is not in agreement with the set boundaries and rules of their training, they will receive punishments.
These punishments do not need to be harsh or cruel, but it needs to have an impact in order to establish your rule as the alpha and for the training to be effective.
As the Alpha, it should be clear that your word is law for your blue heeler. They should feel your authority translates to what you are telling them to do or not do.
During the blue heeler training, it is recommended that rewards be given to your blue heeler if they follow your rule and if they do something good.
This helps them recognize the behaviors that will lead to rewards. This positive reinforcement is a good method to make sure that the positive behaviors that we want from your blue heeler will be exhibited and will be presented always.
In contrast to positive reinforcement, we also have the negative reinforcement where you will punish your blue heeler and they will associate this bad experience to the behavior that they did.
In blue heeler training giving harsh and violent punishments is not encouraged, not only to blue heelers but to all animals.
Violence only begets violence, if the blue heeler will feel threatened then they might retaliate and even hurt their dog parent.
The best way to show if the behavior done by the blue heeler is positive or negative is using cue words, or facial expressions.
Blue heelers are extremely smart. They will be able to recognize the difference in the sound of your voice when saying a cue word.
And if this word is coupled with a facial expression, then they will be able to remember this better and can lead to a more productive blue heeler training.
For example, for a bad behavior the best cue word is “no” coupled with a wagging finger in front of their face, so that they can clearly see it. For a positive behavior “good” is a famous cue word couple with a pat on their head or a treat.
Blue heelers are smart and they will understand that the behaviors their dog parents are encouraging are actually for their own good.
They are sensitive to how their Alpha reacts. As a dog parent, we should be careful in the reaction we show to our dogs as this helps them remember whether each behavior is good or bad.
Always opt for the positive option, it never bodes well when there is physical violence. It is best to use cue words with distinct actions so blue heelers can differentiate between the good and bad.
7. Ample exercise is necessary
Exercise is very important during the training of blue heelers. Blue heelers are used to running around in farms chasing cows, goats and sheep.
They love exercise, not just weight training like humans do, but it can be any physical activity that allows them to use their energy.
Blue heelers are very interested to work, since they are considered workers in farms with lots of cattle. This makes them naturally attracted to large, open spaces and running around and chasing another pet or even chasing cattle.
For dog parents who have farms, this will not be a problem. They can easily let their blue heeler do their job, which is to herd the cattle.
Blue heelers in training love to chase cattle and even nip or bite their heels while leading them through the grassy land. This type of job is definitely the dream of any blue heeler.
For those who do not have farms, there are still a lot of activities that you can do in order to use the energy of your blue heeler in training.
The most common activity in order to exercise your blue heeler is to play fetch at parks and have them run after toys, Frisbees and balls.
This is the most common way to provide exercise for your blue heeler. Another fun activity would be to walk in the park with your dog, though this activity does not use up as much energy as running and catching Frisbees.
This can also help and it counts as another form of exercise. Swimming is also another exercise and a fun activity you can share with your blue heeler, this can be a fun way to further bond with them as well.
Another form of exercise is to have them train for dog shows. Since blue heelers are very smart, doing show courses will not be difficult for them and this allows them to use their energy as well.
Exercise is not just for your blue heeler in training. It can also be a fun family activity, which will give joy and fond memories not just to your dog but to the entire family as well.
8. Timing is important
Time the training and make sure that this timing is consistent and not something that changes from time to time.
Train your blue heeler as early as possible. The younger the blue heeler is, the more receptive they are towards the different rules and commands that you will give and teach them during their “training blue heeler puppies” session.
Young blue heeler puppies are easily instructed to follow common commands and even potty training. Since they do not have any other basis of behavior, they easily follow the instructions of their Alpha or dog parent.
Training blue heeler puppies are proven to be very effective, from socialization to giving basic commands and even exercise.
If these activities are established as early as when the blue heeler puppy is just 3-16 weeks old, then they can easily follow all of these commands and training as they grow old.
It is important to be even more consistent during these early training years. This is because your blue heeler puppy will definitely remember all of these.
And if in case they forget, visual aids can be an important instrument that you can use. Since your blue heeler puppy will see this as early as they can recognize them.
Then they will not have difficulty in identifying what these symbols or pictures mean. And they will remember the behaviors related to them as well.
Even though young blue heelers are cute and adorable, their rewards and punishments should still be consistent and they should not be allowed to break any of the rules set.
And they should not be allowed to cross areas at home that are their boundaries. This can be difficult if your blue heeler puppy acts cute, but even if it’s difficult it should still be done.
Otherwise the blue heeler training will be meaningless and it can lead to blue heeler behavior problems.
9. Observe your dog’s behavior
Dog parents need to check the results of the Blue Heeler’s training, there should be significant changes in their behavior.
Dog parents should know their dog’s A-Z, all their quirks and behaviors, as this will help them track the effectiveness of the blue heeler training. Otherwise all the time spent in the blue heeler training will be wasted.
Dog parents should look at the distinct “biting” behavior of blue heelers. This, as mentioned, is associated with their instinct of nipping or biting the cattle that they are herding.
This behavior is the one that dog parents are working hard to stop and avoid, since this can be dangerous and harmful for children and adults alike.
Blue heelers should be observed all the time. If dog parents will not be at home, they should have a dog sitter who will watch their blue heeler for them. Otherwise there might be problems with the biting behavior of blue heelers.
This is the most important part of the blue heeler training, the checking of the actual results.
If the blue heeler training goes well, your blue heeler will not nip or bite anyone anymore. He will not have any aggressive or dangerous behaviors when around children, old people, people and even other animals.
This is the important test of the training’s effectiveness. If these behaviors are still observed in your blue heeler, then the training will be considered unsuccessful.
But, if your blue heeler is able to grow up as a sociable, loyal, tough yet sweet, pet for your entire family and even your other pets, then we can consider the training a success.
At the end of the day, the goal is for your blue heeler to grow happily with your family.
10. Feed him with wet dog food
Nutrition is important, blue heelers need to eat well in order for them to perform their daily activities.
No one would like to be kept hungry, blue heelers are the same; they will respect their dog parents more if they know how much they care for them.
As mentioned all throughout this article, blue heelers are extremely intelligent. They know if their Alpha and or dog parent loves and cares for them or not.
If they feel your sincerity through your actions of caring for them, then they will be more inclined to follow your basic commands and will be more loyal to you and even to your family.
Blue heelers are very active and energetic. They need proper and balanced nourishment from good dog food, in order for them to regain lost energy. Blue heelers deserve this much.
As dog parents, proper nutrition should be provided for blue heelers. If you are not familiar with the amount of food that blue heelers should eat then it would be best to consult the veterinarian.
This is to make sure that only the correct amount and type of dog food will be given to your blue heeler.
Finally, blue heelers are very loyal, tough, sweet and adorable dogs, they deserve to be cared for and not harmed.
The items in this list are all important in order to have a good living environment with blue heelers. Otherwise, blue heelers that are not trained may be dangerous to have at home.
There is no one track solution for all dogs, not even all blue heelers. All the tips and items in this list are based on common knowledge about blue heelers.
In the off chance that they do not work, it may be better to consult experts. This is to make sure that your blue heeler will be able to live happily, safely and healthily with your entire family.
Let us all learn more about different dog breeds in order to increase awareness and concern for all animals on this planet.
At the end of the day we are all stewards, as stewards we should work to improve and not destroy this planet and all the living (even non-living) entities in it.