Hi all, I'm looking for other people's personal experiences with Australian Cattle Dogs. I'm seeing a lot of generalized information that is all the same, but I'm looking for real stories.
Have you owned one? Do you own one? What was your dog's personality? Did you have any issues you had to work through? Were they easy to train? How did you train? What did you do for exercise? Mental stimulation? Did you crate while unsupervised or gate off?
I'm not sure how old this thread is as I forgot to check. Hopefully this information is not too late, but here is some information on the breed based off my own research and from owning and breeding them for years.
Yes, I do own Heelers, in fact I own 6 and co-own 1. I have three that are vastly different as they are not related in anyway, no inbreeding, or line breeding in their bloodlines that tie them together. They handle situations differently, but based on breed type, they are all similar in that aspect. Based off breed type, they are sturdy, stubborn, tenacious, biddable dogs, but that comes with owning an Australian Cattle Dog. This breed is easily trained, and super willing although the same routine can become boring which is where their stubbornness comes into play. One thing that I have noticed with this breed, which has been backed up by research, is that they are prone to DA and AA (Dog aggression and Animal Aggression). This is A breed trait, not something that can be trained out, but can be managed! All my dogs have shown some type of DA, and AA, this is normal within the breed. Best way to handle this if you own multiple dogs and bitches together is to do rotations, and allow the dogs and bitches that get along to go out together. ALSO, early socialization helps with the management of DA and AA. At an early age, take them out to as many places as you possibly can, and start your obedience training early. Establish A strong recall, and sit/stay.
Yes, Heelers are relatively easy to train, but as I've stated above, the same ol' routine can get boring which is when their stubbornness pokes through; what I do to counter act this is to never do the same thing over and over, switch things up, and come back to that command. Let training be A fun experience for you and your dog!
As far as exercise, my dogs are all working bred dogs, and I have enhanced the drive to help with rodent control and feral cat control. My heelers are high drive and high energy. First thing I do is have them chase A ball, simple right, this gets their body tired, but you left out one thing, their mind. Just because you ran the dog over and over doesn't mean they have been mentally stimulated. Next thing I do is work on their heel, sit/stay, wait, come, lay down, etc.
Lastly, YES crate while unsupervised, kennel, or put onto an appropriate tie out. NEVER leave A heeler, or really any other breed of dog unsupervised in the home, or in the back yard. It is much safer to crate the animal, kennel the animal, or tie the animal then to leave them roaming.
I hope this bit of info has helped. If you have further questions, feel free to message me, or email me.