This dog sport was initially developed in Germany as an outlet for the intense herding instinct found in dog breeds that were developed for this purpose but had no access to any sort of livestock to herd. In this recently developed sport, instead of herding livestock, the dogs herd large, inflated balls to a specific place or goal. While handlers are allowed to use both hand gestures and voice commands to instruct their canine companion, they are not allowed to move out of the handler’s area once the event has begun. The balls that are used are similar to regular exercise balls that people utilize to get in shape, and these exercise balls can be employed to learn the game by choosing an exercise ball size that is at least shoulder height to your dog. Your Lancashire Heeler should find this activity to be a fun challenge that can be easily played most times of the year.
Lancashire Heelers are known to overeat on occasion, a trait most likely passed down from both of the parent breeds. This can be particularly destructive to a long-bodied dog like this breed as it can not only lead to heart disease, respiratory illness, and joint trouble, it can also cause back problems like intervertebral disc disease. Teaching your dog to search for their supper is an easy and inexpensive way to encourage your dog to get a little more exercise as well as giving them an opportunity to use both their minds and their natural tracking skills. This activity can be particularly helpful for people who are unable to get around or get out of the house much, as it can provide exercise for the dog with minimal physical effort from the owner.
While Lancashire Heelers were developed mainly for their herding abilities, they are also valuable as pest control dogs, hunting and killing vermin in barns and houses. Barn Hunt is a competitive sport in which small to medium-sized dogs race through hay bales in search of live rats, usually pets themselves, who are hidden throughout the course in specialized safety tubes. This sport was originally designed to allow companion dogs whose breeds were traditionally employed as pest control to showcase their talents but was later expanded to include all dogs small enough to fit through a twenty inch tall and eighteen-inch wide opening.