Blue Heeler question??

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Mollie's Nana, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Mollie's Nana

    Mollie's Nana New Member

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    Hi, I was directed here by Miakoda.... she told me you guys could probably help. My daughter brought home a Blue Heeler that someone dumped at her boyfriends house. The neighbor started beating it, and she brought it home. We've had it about 2 weeks. Last night, she was playing with my daughters Lab (they had taken the Lab over to b/f house, so the dogs were friends), and Lucy (Blue Heeler) starts snapping at Zoe (Lab). Then they would play and be fine, then argue again. Lucy then starts snapping at my Shih Tzu, to the point I had to let him out of the fence. Later, I was swapping dogs out, and Lucy tries to get inside. My daughter pops him on the nose, and yells NO at her. The dog snaps at my daughter... this is not ok with me, as I have a pitbull, and won't put up with HA. Are Blue Heelers just snappy dogs, is this normal behavior that I don't need to freak out about, or is this dog showing signs of HA? I know nothing about this breed, and Miakoda said you guys could probably help me.... thanks! :)
     
  2. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    I moved this to the training section, so it might get more attention.

    Hmmm.....I don't know. Heelers are known for having a bit of attitude, but I'm not sure if this is potential HA or not. I'm thinking that Lucy was already in a high-stress situation with Zoe being there, and being reprimanded by your daughter made her "overload". A very unsettled dog doesn't always act the way it normally would.

    And here's another piece of advice: don't continue physically punishing Lucy. If blue heelers are anything like catahoulas (which I have limited experience with), they do NOT respond well to being bullied. You can't win a flat-out battle with these dogs. They have heads like rocks, and it seems like they will stand their ground just to prove they can. They can be easily guided and directed, but not forced.

    I hope one of better behaviorist-type people can give you a more complete answer than I just did.
     
  3. Suzzie

    Suzzie Aging Canine Advocate

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    cattle dogs ARE like catahoulas in that respect... and they do tend to be nippy, but it's not normally directed at people (I've been nipped at by a fair share of purebred BH's though... maybe it depends on the line?). They can be pretty darn DA and even well socialized ones still get snippy. Popper and my dad's dog Libby are only 1/2 cattle dog, and you can see that side come out daily.

    so true!! They do not respond very well at all to physical correction... Now, ignoring them or depriving them of love for a few minutes seems to work pretty well. Also seem to be very food motivated.
     
  4. Sch3Dana

    Sch3Dana Workin' Dog

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    My experience with blue heelers is that they are a lot more aggressive than other herding breeds I've been around (bc and aussie), but that shouldn't be too surprising since they are for cattle (not sheep) and they are expected by many farmer/ranchers to guard the house, barn and car. The guardy dogs are the ones people breed, I suspect.

    Being herding dogs, they are also pretty reactive and bite quickly without a lot of thought put into it. I would say they are closer to a malinois than a bc, so I kind of like them. But I wouldn't get one and expect it to be sweet and gentle, although I knew a neutered male that was nothing but sweet. His macho male owner was so disappointed :D
     
  5. My suggestions:

    It is a very good idea not to hit and shout at dogs, especially dogs who have not been in your household very long.

    Understand the dog, and manage it better. 3 dogs together in my experience can be an accident waiting to happen. The two will gang up on the one. Run dogs in pairs instead of 3s.

    Leash the dog when switching dogs around so you can control him.

    Obedience train the dog so that you can control him.
     
  6. Mollie's Nana

    Mollie's Nana New Member

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    Thanks guys. She didn't really "hit" the dog, more of a tap, my daughter DOES NOT believe in hitting her dogs, and I was right there, so I witnessed it. I've always shouted a quick "EH" to them to get their attention, or "ANNT", but she just said NO. Then of course, she proceeded to pamper the dog and try to "reason" with it and tell it not to be trying to bite her.. baby talking it *eye rolls*. I tried to explain to her that you can't reason with a dog, but she thinks otherwise, and of course, is WAY smarter than her mom. Anyway, we haven't had any problems with Lucy so far, until she started snapping at Zoe... who is a pup, but I think Lucy is pretty young as well. They play great together, and I usually only let the two of them out together. The others I keep up. I have let my pit out there, when I am filling the pool for them or getting fresh water, and Lucy growls and snaps at Mollie... which I quickly defuse. I don't let any of the dogs outside without me being out there when Lucy is out, and I left instructions that, after last night, no one is to be left alone outside with Lucy when no one is home. I will let Mollie and Zoe out with her, but only when I'm out there to supervise.
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    First off, welcome to Chaz!

    It's hard to give good advice on your situation without actually witnessing it. There is a lot of dog play that looks like aggression, and vice versa, that it is best to have a behaviorist or trainer who can observe all the dog interracting, advise you on how to help the dogs get along better.

    That said:

    This situation sounds to me like it's just play that's getting out of hand. Dogs can VERY quickly escalate from playing together to actually fighting. One accidently bites too hard, the other takes it personally, and then you have a mess. It's of course, necessary for someone to supervise all interractions between Lucy and the other dogs, but it's just as important to diffuse the situation before a fight breaks loose. So, while they're playing nicely, call them to you and give them each some really yummy treats, then release them to go back to playing. If you can see signs that they're about to fight before they actually do (tensing up, hackling, standing high with ears perked, etc.), call them to you at that point too, to diffuse the situation.


    A dog that had been physically beaten before will respond VERY badly to ANY kind of physical punishment. It doesn't matter how hard she popped the dog or when she did it or anything, using your hands to physically correct a dog who has a history of abuse is a VERY bad idea. Lucy already probably has a little bit of trust issues with human hands, and you DON'T want her fears to be realized. This is how you will get a dog that not only snapps, but fights back.
     

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