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Old 05-05-2011, 02:11 PM
 
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Default Experience with Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler

I am considering adopting this gorgeous rescue gal and have been reading up on the breed. I was wondering if any one here has had any experiece with this breed and some of their quirks, needs and temperment. Also, are they big barkers when it comes to squirrels and other critters in the yard and how big do they get? I would be getting her primarily as a companion dog for my other who does better with a playmate - so does this breed interact well, playfully with other dogs or are they aloof. She is 7 months old and we are going for a meet and greet on Saturday. Whatever input you have would be appreciated.




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Old 05-05-2011, 02:33 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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Bailey is a red heeler mix (same dog, just different coloration than the blue heeler version) ... if those are pictures of the dog you are considering, it is a red heeler...... even has the white mark on her head.... aka the bentley......

they are VERY intelligent dogs and learn quickly, but can be hard-headed.....

if there are small children around, they may try to "herd" them .... if someone is running in their vicinity, they will go for that person's heels in an attempt to herd them ..... which explains the "heeler" name....

yes, Bailey barks at squirrels and critters and in fact, her very favorite activity is chasing critters in the woods......

they attach strongly to their human and are protective of what they consider their territory and pack..... bailey is very alert... no one or nothing approaches my house or the house to the immediate east that she does not know about and sound the alarm.......

bailey has always been just fine with other dogs and would play well when we went to the dog park .... until she got bored.... HOWEVER, she can be VERY snarky to dogs (particularly girl dogs) that come into "her" territory, ie, the yard or house..... not vicious.... just snarky.... she is JUST FINE when we are out and about...... and she is fine with boy dogs coming into the house and yard if she knows them..... davey-long-legs joined our family when she was about 4 or 4-1/2, but they met first at the shelter... and they get along just fine.... happy to see each other if one has been out and the other stayed home... they don't cuddle up so much as just keep each other company and play the occasional game of tug-o-war.....

if the dog you are considering is 7 months old, i don't imagine it will be getting too awful much bigger.....

dashdog had a heeler mix as well..... she can probably offer more insight into the breed, as well.... if she comes in here and sees this.....
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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Thank you for your wonderful input. The dog I currently have is part sha-pei part border collie and is quite the herder herself. When I'm fostering I'll send her out the dog door and tell her, "go get them and bring them in" and out the door she goes and one by one they all come in. For a mutt - smartest dog I ever had. I was told this particular dog has some fear based issues, which I am all too well familiar with and it may make her more docile than what is expected of her breed, i.e, the stubborness. I am hoping that 7 months is still young enough to acclimate her to a new environment.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:56 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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bailey was about 4 months old when i got her.... pretty young, but still old enough for someone to have been pretty bad to her.... she was afraid of all men for quite a long time.... then i had a friend move into my house about 4 years ago and he and she have fallen madly for each other... and this has helped her overcome that fear, for the most part....

she still would be quite content if there were no adolescent to about mid-20's guys left on the planet and she will not approach a man, unless it is to bark at one walking down the street in front of her house.... but she doesn't cower anymore if one reaches down to pet her when we are out and about.... i credit my friend living in the house for a lot of that.....

she LOVES children and is infinitely patient with them.... i have none of my own, but there have always been children living on one or both sides of my house..... right now, there is a 4 y/o girl next door that i think would kidnap bailey if she could get away with it ....

she is afraid of odd things.... the trash can in the kitchen .... a door has to be open with SEVERAL inches on BOTH sides of her for her to go through it.... if i am hammering nails back into the floor boards of the deck, she can NOT stand it....i have to make sure that the kids in the neighborhood do not approach her with a stick or long toy in their hand..... plus the usual things that other dogs don't like... the vacuum cleaner, baths, etc. etc.

and she is a TOTAL treat hound.... very very food motivated......
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Originally Posted by latetotheparty View Post
Bailey is a red heeler mix (same dog, just different coloration than the blue heeler version) ... if those are pictures of the dog you are considering, it is a red heeler...... even has the white mark on her head.... aka the bentley......

they are VERY intelligent dogs and learn quickly, but can be hard-headed.....

if there are small children around, they may try to "herd" them .... if someone is running in their vicinity, they will go for that person's heels in an attempt to herd them ..... which explains the "heeler" name....

yes, Bailey barks at squirrels and critters and in fact, her very favorite activity is chasing critters in the woods......

they attach strongly to their human and are protective of what they consider their territory and pack..... bailey is very alert... no one or nothing approaches my house or the house to the immediate east that she does not know about and sound the alarm.......

bailey has always been just fine with other dogs and would play well when we went to the dog park .... until she got bored.... HOWEVER, she can be VERY snarky to dogs (particularly girl dogs) that come into "her" territory, ie, the yard or house..... not vicious.... just snarky.... she is JUST FINE when we are out and about...... and she is fine with boy dogs coming into the house and yard if she knows them..... davey-long-legs joined our family when she was about 4 or 4-1/2, but they met first at the shelter... and they get along just fine.... happy to see each other if one has been out and the other stayed home... they don't cuddle up so much as just keep each other company and play the occasional game of tug-o-war.....

if the dog you are considering is 7 months old, i don't imagine it will be getting too awful much bigger.....

dashdog had a heeler mix as well..... she can probably offer more insight into the breed, as well.... if she comes in here and sees this.....
LOL, you just described my GSD!!

I agree; we used to have an Australian Shepherd, who was very mellow but only b/c she was on a farm (i.e. outside) and with someone ALL OF THE TIME. Any of the herding breeds--especially when they are young--need a lot of attention to be normal by the time they reach adulthood. And the best attention is them being able to be with you all of the time as pups. These dogs are really suited for ranches and farms.

However, that doesn't mean that they still can't be great in a home. The fact that you have another dog to keep her company is really great, it will definitely lessen her anxiety if you need to be out during the day for work, although you might also consider a doggy day care, at least while she is a puppy.

Prey drive is high but it is usually with an eye to herding rather than killing, although I would still worry with squirrels; there is just something about them that sets the herding dogs off, or any dog, for that matter, that is accustomed to farm/ranch living.

VERY intelligent. Don't ever underestimate the intelligence of these dogs; it's downright startling. That said, lots of stimulus--both physical and mental--will keep this dog happy. I play "hot-and-cold" with my GSD in my apartment, but you can also do a similar set-up outside in which you set up targets and the dog has to look behind each one to find a toy or treat. I have yet to see a herder that doesn't LOVE that game!

Companionship is also a great idea for these dogs, be it another dog or, in my case, a cat for my GSD. If you have to leave them at home, it makes both animals feel more secure; for whatever reason, they feel that it is less likely that you will abandon them if another pet is with them (they also wouldn't care as much). I even let my dog "herd" the cat sometimes, which is a real hoot. Fortunately, the cat is a very good sport
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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These are the dogs that I grew up with. I come from a ranching background and we had heelers as work dogs. In fact, most everyone that I knew, as I recall, had heelers. I was so accustomed to work dogs that I have never had an inside dog until this past year.

Let me see .... we usually had several at a time. They are high energy, can go for hours. Our dogs were quiet, if they barked there was a reason for it. Not certain how to say this ... they were not what I would term as aggressive dogs in that they did not seek out a fight, yet they were not afraid to fight. So, it was necessary to keep an eye on them when you were around other dogs. They are well behaved and intelligent ... you could give them a command to stay in the truck and they would. As I mentioned they would not look for trouble ... stay in the truck even if other dogs around ... but if another dog, or even another person got near, they would give warning which could quickly escalate.

Though at least one dog usually went with us when we left the ranch, the others could be left behind without a worry. Which is more than I can say for my lovable lab, who would be gone in a split second if I was out of sight.

Amongst our dogs there were few fights (can't recall any major ones atm) but there was definitely a pecking order. They did not behave as 'best buds' towards each other but were 'agreeable.'

Hope this helps. She is a cute pup. We usually had blues but the reds were popular as well.
_________________________________

As I was writing on another thread about our current dog, a spoiled lab, I've begun to feel bad for the ranch dogs we had. I don't remember them ever having toys other than perhaps the occasional ball. Bones were plentiful. I'm also thinking of the distance those dogs followed us while we rode horseback.

Also, our dogs never chased rabbits or such, unless it was fool enough to pop up under their noses. Even then I don't think that they would chase for long. They were great at finding snakes though.

Last edited by IMidwestMom; 05-05-2011 at 09:22 PM..
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IMidwestMom View Post
These are the dogs that I grew up with. I come from a ranching background and we had heelers as work dogs. In fact, most everyone that I knew, as I recall, had heelers. I was so accustomed to work dogs that I have never had an inside dog until this past year.

Let me see .... we usually had several at a time. They are high energy, can go for hours. Our dogs were quiet, if they barked there was a reason for it. Not certain how to say this ... they were not what I would term as aggressive dogs in that they did not seek out a fight, yet they were not afraid to fight. So, it was necessary to keep an eye on them when you were around other dogs. They are well behaved and intelligent ... you could give them a command to stay in the truck and they would. As I mentioned they would not look for trouble ... stay in the truck even if other dogs around ... but if another dog, or even another person got near, they would give warning which could quickly escalate.

Though at least one dog usually went with us when we left the ranch, the others could be left behind without a worry. Which is more than I can say for my lovable lab, who would be gone in a split second if I was out of sight.

Amongst our dogs there were few fights (can't recall any major ones atm) but there was definitely a pecking order. They did not behave as 'best buds' towards each other but were 'agreeable.'

Hope this helps. She is a cute pup. We usually had blues but the reds were popular as well.
_________________________________

As I was writing on another thread about our current dog, a spoiled lab, I've begun to feel bad for the ranch dogs we had. I don't remember them ever having toys other than perhaps the occasional ball. Bones were plentiful. I'm also thinking of the distance those dogs followed us while we rode horseback.

Also, our dogs never chased rabbits or such, unless it was fool enough to pop up under their noses. Even then I don't think that they would chase for long. They were great at finding snakes though.
Please do not feel bad. Those dogs were made for ranch life and were probably a heck of a lot happier than most house dogs with a crate full of toys. In fact, I can't imagine the heeler that would choose a house and toys over a ranch: that's the ideal life for them
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:26 PM
 
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Thank you for the nice words StarlaJane. These dogs were truly work dogs. They had jobs and a purpose and though they were generally always near someone in the family they were not our cuddly pets and were not treated as such.

Though, for the OP, I'm certain the pup would be very happy with your lifestyle and would adjust nicely. Lots and lots of energy. They are smart and loyal and I've always liked their looks.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:25 PM
 
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Yes, I work from home so she would never be alone for long. I also have a dog door they come in and out of when needed and many a chase has taken place in and out that door.

Because it's a ranch dog I was having reservations because the family across the street have a border collie and instead of walking it they'd dump it in the backyard and the thing would run back and forth along the fence line barking non-stop. This dog is primarily for companionship to the other dog. I had a min pin (me plus minitures - big mistake), one of my fosters I adopted and he had such a high prey drive I had to give up fostering and rehome him in a home with no other dogs after working with him for about 2 years. I want to avoid going through that again. So, I'm going to do a two week foster-to-adopt to make sure everyone is comfortable with one another and I am able to meet her needs first and foremost.

Thanks everyone for your input and if anyone has anything else to add, please feel free the more insight the better.

Last edited by Thursday007; 05-05-2011 at 11:34 PM..
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:00 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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bailey has never "boredom barked" ..... she only barks when she has a reason (in her mind) ......
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