If you own droves of cattle, you need to get your hands on a good heeler! And by far, the best beast for the job is an Australian Cattle Dog. This pooch is part Highland Collie, part Dalmatian, part Kelpie and surprisingly, part dingo! The wild dingo roots help this dog thrive in all types of conditions.
It's been said that a good cattle dog can do the job of three men on horseback. A fully trained Queensland Heeler can take on the largest of cattle. By nipping at the heels, the dog can direct even the most stubborn bovine in the herd to go in the right direction. But the best cattle dogs are able to distinguish which animals need strong guidance, and which only need gentle encouragement.
That being said, it can be difficult and expensive to get your hands on a fully trained red heeler. This leaves you having to start from scratch. Australian Cattle puppies do have some strong herding instincts, but what they don't come with is the obedience to get the job done. And instinct alone can spell disaster for both the herd and the canine.
Be prepared to invest years of training to get a quality farm worker. The learning begins as soon as you bring the little furball home. Master all of the basic dog commands during those first few months before even thinking about letting the dog near your livestock.
Being mentally prepared to train your Australian Cattle Dog really is half the battle. Some things that will help along the way are:
While gentle training can work for basic good-dog behavior, training a cattle dog requires what is known as “respect training”. This means that not only are you going to reward good behavior, you're going to have to dish out negative consequences for disobedience. Any discipline should be controlled and must never harm the dog. However, when your pup will be dealing with creatures that can top a ton, obedience is a matter of life and death!
Below are some of the highest revered methods to take your pooch from basic puppy to professional work dog. As you're going through the steps, if your dog isn't quite getting the point, you may have to postpone training for a few weeks so their maturity level can catch up to the task at hand.
He has been an amazing dog .. we found him on a ranch road when he about a year and searched and searched for his owner but never found them so we kept him and I feel slightly guilty. He is amazing!!!! But he doesnt have a job .. what is a job I can give him?
Hello Chelynee, A great place to start with Wylie is to simply have training session every day that last as long as a typical walk would, 15-45 minutes each, and teach him obedience skills such as: "Sit", "Down", "Stay", "Come", ect...As well as tricks such as: "Shake", fetching certain objects like your shoes, holding a treat on his nose, rolling over, playing dead, speaking, and so forth. There are limitless things that you can teach him. The goal is to continually build on what he has already learned, improve his mastery of the commands that he already knows, and continually teaching him new things that will challenge his brain. Since Australian Shepherds are an intelligent herding breed they need mental as well as physical stimulation daily. By teaching him tricks and incorporating training into other forms of exercise such as Canine Freestyle dancing, "Fetch" that is structured, and walks where you take training breaks to work on his obedience around distractions, you can also stimulate him mentally. Other fun activities to do with him that will stimulate him are: Agility, including homemade obstacle courses, Obedience competitions, and giving him household chores, like bringing you your shoes, water bottle, or something that you point to, and teaching him to clean up his toys by putting them into a basket, or even turn off the lights for you. Whatever you choose, choose something that you will both enjoy and make sure that it continues to involve learning for him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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