Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.
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Thread: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

  1. #1
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    Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Hey, everyone.

    A bit of backstory: I recently moved to Southwest Colorado and adopted a blue heeler pup named Henry. Iíve had him since he was about 8 weeks old Ė he is six months now. He is overall a wonderful dog. He knows a lot of tricks, is fully housebroken & crate trained, and has pretty good recall for his age.

    My problem: I live alone with Henry and work full-time, as many do. I try and walk him for an hour or two every day before work, unless the weather is bad, in which case we play inside. It is currently winter, so although Colorado has many nice trails to hike, we really cannot take advantage of that right now with all the snow and freezing rain weíve had. I try to keep him mentally stimulated as well and we often work on new tricks. I also just started puppy obedience classes with him. It is worth noting that I do not have a fenced in yard and I am renting.

    It is just never enough. I knew that heelers had a LOT of energy, but this is nuts. Iím sort of at my wits end. When I do crate him to go to work, heís a madman after. He runs circles in my apartment and play bites way too hard, which Iím trying to break him of. The only thing that truly tires him out is the dog park, and I pretty much refuse to go there because a lot of dog owners are unbelievably irresponsible and bring aggressive dogs. It is always a tense situation and I have no desire to go back.
    With it being winter, he is just not getting enough exercise and he has cabin fever.

    Iím getting discouraged and feel very overwhelmed, which in turn makes me easily lose my patience with him. This is my first dog (I had dogs growing up, but now I live away from home) and I want to make this work! My parents have told me to just rehome him because Iím in over my head, but I donít want to do that. Iím proud of him, overall, because he isnít a bad dog. But I feel like a bad owner. Today when I let him out to pee during my lunch break, he play bit me in the face. Thatís a big no. I reprimanded him, but then felt bad because it is my fault. He should be exercised better, but I just donít know how.

    Please, does anyone have any suggestions? Henry is nonstop, 24/7. If I didnít crate him, I swear he wouldnít sleep. Help!

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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Look into:
    -food dispensing toys and Kongs
    -tug of war
    -flirt pole
    -teaching him to settle.

    Honestly, with an adolescent dog, especially a cattle dog, you aren't going to tire him out. No chance of that! So use tug or flirt pole to give him an appropriate outlet for his mouthiness, then look into settling exercises and train him/make him accept that sometimes he needs to chill out. You need to train an off switch for some dogs.

    What does your current routine look like? For a dog like him you might be looking at a half hour to an hour of walking. An hour or so of deliberate, structured, energy demanding activity like fetch, tug, or flirt pole. And an hour of training. ALL of this should be broken up into small, 5-30 minute chunks. You're looking at something of a minimum requirement for him to at least get the edge off. When he matures, you can be sure he can take more than 3 hours of anything! He can earn all his meals out of a food toy or through a frozen kong in his crate. Other than that, it's OKAY to crate him when you're not actively working with him, as long as you've given him outlets for his energy.

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Are you getting all this crazy 60 to 80 mph winds lol ... am on the eastern slope... Am hoping you can find a herding group where you can go and learn off of the instructors working livestock. That would be a great team activity for the two of yall to get into and it works on harnessing so many skills. Maybe some one at your training center can direct you in the right direction. It's winter now but am sure they can give you which skills to work on to be ready for when the spring comes.

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canyx View Post
    Look into:
    -food dispensing toys and Kongs
    -tug of war
    -flirt pole
    -teaching him to settle.

    Honestly, with an adolescent dog, especially a cattle dog, you aren't going to tire him out. No chance of that! So use tug or flirt pole to give him an appropriate outlet for his mouthiness, then look into settling exercises and train him/make him accept that sometimes he needs to chill out. You need to train an off switch for some dogs.

    What does your current routine look like? For a dog like him you might be looking at a half hour to an hour of walking. An hour or so of deliberate, structured, energy demanding activity like fetch, tug, or flirt pole. And an hour of training. ALL of this should be broken up into small, 5-30 minute chunks. You're looking at something of a minimum requirement for him to at least get the edge off. When he matures, you can be sure he can take more than 3 hours of anything! He can earn all his meals out of a food toy or through a frozen kong in his crate. Other than that, it's OKAY to crate him when you're not actively working with him, as long as you've given him outlets for his energy.
    Thank you for the reply! Admittedly, he is not getting that much exercise. During the week when I am working, he gets an hour to two hour walk, and then we play for an hour after work. I do have a flirt pole, it's great! He gets much more attention on my days off. It is just very hard to properly exercise him on the days I work because I live alone and just do not have the time some days.

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by PatriciafromCO View Post
    Are you getting all this crazy 60 to 80 mph winds lol ... am on the eastern slope... Am hoping you can find a herding group where you can go and learn off of the instructors working livestock. That would be a great team activity for the two of yall to get into and it works on harnessing so many skills. Maybe some one at your training center can direct you in the right direction. It's winter now but am sure they can give you which skills to work on to be ready for when the spring comes.
    I'm in the four corners region, so we are getting lots of snow some days, and then freezing rain the next. Last night we had high winds, but nothing like you're getting! It's awful. I will definitely look into a herding group, that would be perfect. Thanks!

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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Hmm... I would reduce the walking and use part of that time for play instead. I honestly think walks don't tire out adolescent dogs at all. I'm not saying don't walk him. But of your three hours you offer on your work days, one to two thirds of your time is going into walks and I think a huge portion of it can be spent on play and training, with better results for you. I think training is especially important during this age and mental stimulation will do wonders to tire a dog out. You can tie training into play, too!

    Otherwise, other easy suggestions I have are to feed all of his meals out of food toys. Freeze things into Kongs to keep him occupied for half an hour or longer.

    Soro the lab mutt - approximate birthday: April 22 2006

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    For the bad behavior when you let him out of the crate teach him some better manners. I freeze if Bucky the brat is vocalizing or pounding on the crate door when I walk towards him. He quiets down and I move forward. I reach for the latch and back up if he gets noisy. I expect him to back away from the door before I open it and if he tries to push out I close the door again. Your rascal is being pushy and I expect he will figure out the new etiquette first time you try it. Bucky did. Do the same with the door dash if he does that too. Should give him something to think about other than playing bitey face with you. You could add in a short tug reward when he is polite getting out of his crate. You don't want him to be polite and calm all the time! It's the contrast between intense activity and controlled calm you need to cultivate.

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Redirection noted above is excellent. Your dog has about a year before he will change pace. I give a little food treat when getting ready to come out of the crate. A couple bites of a burger, a few fries, a couple pieces of hot dog. Something you have handled. Your scent will be on it, the dog will,notice but maybe not acknowledge.

    I also train heel and command pull on the leash. Heel is to walk nice then I give " sniff". The dog is now free to the end of the leash to sniff, pull as hard as he wants, and find potty spots. I use a nice harness. Cattle dogs are much like Aussies in temperament and drive.

    I also go to fast pace obedience classes. I have little patience for yak, yak classes. We follow the classes but do our own training. These guys learn fast and need to keep moving. For about a year we went to as many as three classes a week at night after work. Mental work like this is more tiring than just walking. My Aussie can walk all day. If I let her pull hard she do this for a mile or more non stop. A quick water break and she will continue. I mix some training too. In the summer we go 6-12 miles every day. It great for my healt too. We live alone too so it's our life.

    You might consider Rally classes. They are fun and while you are " on stage" in the ring, very mental for the dog.

    I'd redirect the biting with ball or tug fetch. Biting and nipping are similar traits to Aussies. We play with about a dozen toys in the appt. running and chasing. Also have a couple dog puzzle board games. Some days we do everything.

    You are right they are full of energy especially when young. Don't forget herding. They love that and it will definitely mentally exhaust them.

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Lots of good advice.

    One thing I didn't really see mentioned is that you may need to teach him to settle. Some dogs don't know that settling is possible and if allowed they'll keep going non-stop even once they're had enough exercise. He may be a dog who would be boucning off the walls even after a 4 hour hike. I think if he's getting 1-2 hours of walking, plus an hour of play, he may need to be taught how to settle. Something like Sit on the Dog may help: http://sanityshome.blogspot.com/2010...long-down.html

    I don't do it 100% like it's written in the article, I do praise and will give something to chew on, but the basic structure is there. The dogs learn that they can actually settle down when nothing is going on. He's at a tough age too. This is prime time for a lot of young dogs to be bouncing off the walls.
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    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    I can only talk about my cattle dog mix. I too am single and work full time. Mines a mix but he's very high energy and driven.

    I got mine when he was 6-10 months. Not going to lie he had some very challenging periods in his development but I will say between 2 and 3 years he's settled into himself immensely and has a killer off switch. His first few months he was just... jet fueled and turbo charged. There's threads on here somewhere. Lol. It took 2-3 months before I realized I wasn't having to manage almost everything around him. And then now at 2 years he's Pretty easy until it's time to go.

    Now THAT said he's not a calm dog by any means and I doubt ever will be a calm dog. What your dog is doing sounds pretty typical. I still can't be gone for work and come home and expect a calm greeting. Nope I'm going to end up with a spotted cannonball of energy sprinting and barking and jumping and biting. You kinda... get used to that.

    He biting is something they do a lot. It gets better with age and consistency. I realized recently when my dog bit and tore my short sleeve that he hadn't done that in ages whereas as a teenage pup it was daily and weekly. Especially at first. I would recommend just that fun ends when teeth are on skin and try to always have a toy to redirect the dog onto. Teach him to hold a toy while you play. If he's holding a toy he can't bite.

    I agree that you need less walking and more other things to do. With Hank we do a lot of formal sports classes but you could do the same thing at home or on your walks. One thing about walks is incorporate some work into them. Heeling, etc. that kind of thing. If anything I've learned I've learned that my heeler mix gets into obsessive patterns very quickly and he desperately wants guidance on things. So a lot of my life with him is telling him what I want him to do because if left to do what he wants he will probably do something over the top and get obsessive. So like for example we have a lot of household manners such as sitting at doors. He has tasks he does on walks sometimes. And when I take him to the store.

    Nose work is a good indoor activity if you are interested. If you can add things to your tricks that would be great too. So instead of mindless fetch ask him to do things and then the toy is the reward.

    Also yeah I agree. I work full time and some days I just can't do dog stuf. that's fine. When he's young it'll be harder but I was recently laid up in bed for about 8 days and Hank did ok. Not perfect but ok. I would say get some chews. Frozen kings stuffed with food. I like hooves and horns for chews. Food toy puzzles. Teach him to be calm and entertain himself. Maybe even tether him up inside if you need to (I had to with mine for a few weeks at first). Teach him that there will be down time and down days Just make sure you are fair and give him attention and exercise most days. Like I said mine has gotten much better between 2-3 years.
    Last edited by Laurelin; 01-11-2017 at 09:23 AM.
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    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Also definitely agree with avoiding the dog park. I am dealing with what I think is dog park fallout wit my dog. As he's matured he's gotten less and less interested in dogs and more interested in interacting with me. Things would over stimulate him and he'd get controlling. And any altercation he would start meeting with force. I just don't think as a breed they're the best choice for that situation. If I could get a do over with my dog that's the main thing I'd not have done.
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Are those walks on or off leash?
    For on leash walks you can bring a toy. You may have to teach/encourage toy play first, tug, or pick up a dropped toy (leads to fetch), etc... for the eventual use of toy rewards, so that leashed walk will include walking nice with you on a leash, sniffing & just being a dog (within acceptable boundaries--not yanking your arm off), playing with you, training games. Most routes will include sidestreets or dead ends where a very engaged dog can be trusted for a few moments with a dropped leash (it becomes a mini-fetch spot) and then continue on.
    Leashed walking alone just doesn't count much as exercise.
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    I have an Aussie/Collie mix, and although he is fairly medium energy for his breed, he was a monster when he adopted him at 5 months old. We brought him home in the coldest part of the year in North Dakota, so we had to get creative to give him an outlet for his energy. We used food dispensing toys, indoor fetch. We went out when we could and played fetch, frisbee, and used a flirt pole. After that, he was expected to chill out. We ignored him when we were done. Like last night, after Agility class, this dog still wanted to play but we sat on the couch and told him, "that's enough, time for naps" and he did.

    There's no way you're going to tire him out physically, so go for the mind, and when you've given him what you can teach him to settle.

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    I dont have cattle dogs anymore, but I do have two high energy, moderate to high drive dogs, one is 2 years, one is 8 months.

    physical exercise my itself isnt going to cut it, I am not saying not to do it, but if you are relying on that alone to calm him down, you're going to be disappointed.

    You live in CO, when the weather is climate, what about trying a sport like skijoring? Does he like fetch? if so, on days when you just can't walk him, you can go out back with a chuck it and throw a ball for a while to take the edge off him.

    I also agree with others that he also needs to learn to settle in the house, I would google "DIY food dispensing toys", there are many ideas on how to make your own often for half the cost of buying them.

    If you dont want to do that, here are a few that I like (ETA the links):

    https://www.chewy.com/ethical-pet-se...-bone/dp/56279

    https://www.chewy.com/starmark-treat...b-lot/dp/45492

    https://www.chewy.com/kong-genius-le...large/dp/47745





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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canyx View Post
    Hmm... I would reduce the walking and use part of that time for play instead. I honestly think walks don't tire out adolescent dogs at all. I'm not saying don't walk him. But of your three hours you offer on your work days, one to two thirds of your time is going into walks and I think a huge portion of it can be spent on play and training, with better results for you. I think training is especially important during this age and mental stimulation will do wonders to tire a dog out. You can tie training into play, too!

    Otherwise, other easy suggestions I have are to feed all of his meals out of food toys. Freeze things into Kongs to keep him occupied for half an hour or longer.
    I don't know--Naima is 10 months old, and after a 45-minute to an hour-long walk, she's pretty tired (and she's healthy and strong and a 50-lb. dog). I've said this here in other threads, but I've really come to believe that a lot of people are so focused on getting their dogs (especially puppies) enough exercise that they kind of forget the necessity of naps. Like a toddler, Naima's worst behavior is always AFTER she's had a good long walk or exercise session, and BEFORE she's taken a nap. When we come home from a long walk (and even toward the end of the walk) she gets hyper and cranky and harder to control (not bad, but bad compared to the way she is at other times). Then she'll suddenly get into bed and pass out for an hour or two. When she wakes up, she's pretty much angelic.

    I'm pretty sure that she never falls asleep in the crate when I'm out, even if she's relatively calm in it (she's still just not crazy about being left alone). So if she's had exercise and then I put her in her crate right afterwards and go somewhere, she's still really cranky and kind of rambunctious--again, until she gets a chance to cuddle up to me and get at least a little nap.

    I'm DEFINITELY not downplaying the importance of exercise, but maybe you can try experimenting with making sure she's getting adequate rest afterwards, to see if it makes a difference. Do you think he sleeps in his crate when you're gone, or just waits for you to come back? If he's a "madman" when you get home, I'm guessing it MIGHT be the latter. Naima is a few months older than him, and she seems to do well with 2-3 hours of sleep during the day, per day.

    Just a thought... Good luck!

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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by miarup View Post
    Hey, everyone.

    A bit of backstory: I recently moved to Southwest Colorado and adopted a blue heeler pup named Henry. I’ve had him since he was about 8 weeks old – he is six months now. He is overall a wonderful dog. He knows a lot of tricks, is fully housebroken & crate trained, and has pretty good recall for his age.

    My problem: I live alone with Henry and work full-time, as many do. I try and walk him for an hour or two every day before work, unless the weather is bad, in which case we play inside. It is currently winter, so although Colorado has many nice trails to hike, we really cannot take advantage of that right now with all the snow and freezing rain we’ve had. I try to keep him mentally stimulated as well and we often work on new tricks. I also just started puppy obedience classes with him. It is worth noting that I do not have a fenced in yard and I am renting.

    It is just never enough. I knew that heelers had a LOT of energy, but this is nuts. I’m sort of at my wits end. When I do crate him to go to work, he’s a madman after. He runs circles in my apartment and play bites way too hard, which I’m trying to break him of. The only thing that truly tires him out is the dog park, and I pretty much refuse to go there because a lot of dog owners are unbelievably irresponsible and bring aggressive dogs. It is always a tense situation and I have no desire to go back.
    With it being winter, he is just not getting enough exercise and he has cabin fever.

    I’m getting discouraged and feel very overwhelmed, which in turn makes me easily lose my patience with him. This is my first dog (I had dogs growing up, but now I live away from home) and I want to make this work! My parents have told me to just rehome him because I’m in over my head, but I don’t want to do that. I’m proud of him, overall, because he isn’t a bad dog. But I feel like a bad owner. Today when I let him out to pee during my lunch break, he play bit me in the face. That’s a big no. I reprimanded him, but then felt bad because it is my fault. He should be exercised better, but I just don’t know how.

    Please, does anyone have any suggestions? Henry is nonstop, 24/7. If I didn’t crate him, I swear he wouldn’t sleep. Help!

    ACD Bitches do not sleep until their are almost three.... The dogs don't sleep until they are 4 or 5.....

    LOL that was a joke.....

    A lot of good advice here..

    A few things from my perspective here.

    First... Being brutally honest... And I am NOT saying this to discourage you.... Because you CAN do this... and the reward will be more amazing than you can imagine. Your roughest days with this youngster are still ahead of you. Every ACD pup I have raised... The MOST trying times were from about 12 months until about 20 to 24 months.. My wife has a term for this period in their development... "The Satan Times" Then it backs off some... But they are still quite the handful.... The breed matures quickly in some respects but over all they are slow maturing dogs. Especially the males... But one day you will wake up and wonder where this amazing dog standing in front of you came from...
    I did rescue in the breed for years... And there was always a disproportionate number of adolescent males in shelters and rescues..... So do not give up. IT WILL GET BETTER!!!

    Now maybe some help..

    1) You are crating when you are gone.... GOOD... Keep doing it.... Do not allow anyone to convince you he will be calmer when you get home if you just leave him loose in your home... He won't me... You coming home means play time whether he is crated or not... And if he is loose he is going to destroy you home. He will get into everything, rip things apart, raid your refrigerator, chew holes in your walls, etc.

    Additionally on crating..... When you get home... Do NOT rush to let him out... He is excited and expects it... If you let him out immediately, you get what you have been seeing.... When you get home, IGNORE him.... Let him whine, bark, throw a temper tantrum, throw himself against the side of the crate etc... do no look at him, acknowledge him or speak to him until you get what you want... And that is a calm patient dog... It will take some time. But it will work... He does not come out of the crate until he is chill. ACDs are not calm dogs and they are not patient dogs... But they are SMART dogs. He will learn that patience and calmness will get what he wants..... And he wants to be out with you....

    2) Same thing with petting and affection.... Don't pet him, or even look at him when he is a wild child..... He only gets petted and shown affection when he is calm... And when you first start getting this, it will regress some on you. What will happen is he will figure out the game. He will calm down and you start petting him... He will then test that... He will calm only until you start petting him. What he really wants is to be that wild child and be petted at the same time... My wife has another saying.... Petting an ACD is a contact sport.... So you pet only when he is calm. The split second he is not... You stop... He will get it.

    3) Nothing in Life is free.... Some folks here may not like this method..... But make him give you something for everything he needs... You fix his supper... Make him sit stay while you prepare it. Make him hold the stay while you put the bowl down. He wants to be petted (This is after he has figured out he has to be calm first) Make him give you a sit and then a high five before he gets petted. This goes for everything.....

    4) Training.... Go Complex!!!! He is a bright dog.... Make him use that mind.... Advanced Tricks, advanced commands that require him to do three or for things.... A fun thing..... He has some durable (as much as anything can be with an ACD) toys right? If not.. Get him some... And get a toy box and put it in the living room... Dump the toys out.... Teach him to put the toys up... Then take it a step farther... Give a name to each toy... Describing it. Bone, rope, bear, ball etc.. Every time you or he touches or interacts with that toy, call the toy by name... As he learns the specific names of the toys, have him bring you a specific toy from the toy box. Or put the toys up in a specific order by name. You can continue on making this more complex indefinitely.... Move the toy box to another rooms adds a level of complexity. You can hide the toys and have a treasure hunt.... WARNING!!! Do not put a toy under, behind or near anything he can break. Because he may well break it to get to the toy. Late last spring I had a year old ACD pup up end my brand new Lazy Boy Chair to get his ball. I did not put it under there. I assumed it was somewhere else in the house. I told him to find his ball. He did and he rammed his head and body under that back side of the recliner before I could stop him. He up ended it forward... He did get the ball. This is just an example..... You can start with any game or training exercise and just keep getting more and more complex... Do not let him get to comfortable... Push him.... They get bored easily... And if he gets bored with a game he will no longer want to play.

    5) Exercise.... The walking is fine... Keep walking him as weather permits... And he needs exercise... But unless you compete in ironman competitions, he has way more stamina and endurance than you. Or any of us... The breed was expected to be able to keep pace with the horses and cover 40 miles a day. And that was in the outback. Blistering heat in the day and very cold at night. Others mentioned flirt poles(be careful and read local laws. Colorado is funny... Make sure a flirt pole is not considered dog fighting equipment in your area) Treadmills are great as well... you can burn way more energy off him with a treadmill than by walking. And it is low impact on his growing legs and joints. When it warms up, take him swimming....

    AND THIS IS THE GIST OF WHY I TALKED ABOUT TEACHING THE CALMING EXERCISES AND THE TRAINING GAMES ETC FIRST!!!
    Because you are never going to wear him out. Not going to happen... And the thing is... The more you exercise him, the more fit he becomes. He gains more stamina, endurance, strength, etc. Trying to exercise him calm is like trying to climb a mountain that has no crest... No matter how high you get, you still have a LONG way to go...

    A couple other points...

    a) If he has leash manners take him with you in your travels as much as possible Outings.... Great bonding... And for him, seeing and experiencing new places, sights, smells...Is just more mental stimulation.... Outdoor cafes, Most Home Depot stores welcome dogs, Pet stores, parks, etc.... ANYPLACE dogs in general are welcome... Take him... I live a pretty boring predicable life.. I frequent mostly the same places.... I have one or more of the dogs with me 90 percent of the time...

    b) The play biting.... All puppies like to do this... ACDs generally take it to a different level..... And they bite HARD. Remember.... Heeler means a dog that heels when herding.... Heel means the dog runs up and bites the cow by the back of the leg... The breed was born to bite...... They love it... You have to get that under control... If not, he will draw blood, if he has not already.... There is no malice in it.... It is just a game that came pre programed in their head. And they love to play that game.... There is some good advice here on it. Redirection.... I kind of have good luck with most of them incorporating it in with playing tug.... I play tug with my dogs a lot. And I teach the command OUT.... I start this very young.... Like 2 months old. We play tug and when I say out, the pup has to let go... It means STOP or let go and stop... Bite work folks use the command a lot. I use it later in life for other things as well. I LIKE to teach it very young. Because I can tug with one hand and have the other hand free. What I do initially is say out and at the same time I put a finger over a nostril. Not hard but over it. Puppies do not seem to like it. It does not upset them but they stop and look at you like what the heck did you just do? So then we play tug again... And I do the out with the finger again... It does not take them long to just let go and stop when you say out..... Over time we keep playing tug with the out command.... And when the biting really ramps up I use the out command I already have in place... I might have to remind them with a nose touch now and then....

    c) Dog parks.... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not take your boy back to the dog park.... Dog parks in general are a bad idea.... But for ACDs it is a terrible idea.... Some ACDs lean toward being dog aggressive... Many are generally okay with other dogs... or at worst have a specific dog or two they do not like but are okay with others.....

    One thing though about them that runs pretty true..... They may not start a scrap... But they dang sure are not going to back away from one. If challenged or harassed they will fight... And they will have FUN doing it. They LIKE it... And the extra hard thing about dog parks is the aggression does not have to be directed at them... Two dogs can get in a squabble a hundred yards away... They are going to race to the fight and when they get there, they are not going to dance around the fight barking like the other dogs... The are going to wade right in and join the fight.... They are going to go after one of the dogs in the fight... Usually from what I have seen, they seem to go after the aggressor....



    This is a puppy out of a litter I bred with another person. He is six months old in the picture.... His owner took him to the dog park and he loved it. They went almost every day.... Then one day some idiot had a ball in there... Toys.. Bad idea..... A pit bull and another large mixed breed dog got in a fight over the ball.... This puppy.... All six months and 30 pounds worth of him, charged in from about 30 yards away and jumped all over the Pit.... I was not there... But I was told the other dog took the opportunity to bail out of the fight.... But this young man went round and round... It was a mess. Both dogs ended up with stitches and drain tubes....

    Luckily this dog is fully recovered and has not lasting issues from this incident.... He has been around my dogs, other dogs he knows etc. Has shown no desire to fight... But at six months old he proved if a fight breaks out he wants to be in it.



    Lastly.... I tell our puppy buyers this...

    The pup you are getting wants to be Lord Dingo, Ruler of the Outback.... He WANTS to run 90mph with his hair on fire... He wants to harass the cows and cause mayhem and destruction.....

    But inside there is an Einstein..... And Einstein was only happy and content when he was solving complex problems.
    So it is your job to give him problems he must figure out....


    They figure out all sorts of stuff on their own.... Mine here at the house, open the window blinds so they can see out.... My wife is forever following behind them letting the blinds down..... Our Labrador is a bright girl... And she has been watching the ACDs do the blinds for years... She does not do it. I do not think she puts the two and two together that if she reaches up and pulls the string, the blinds come up... She just noses her head under the bottom the blinds and tries to look at.... Mine also open doors, manage to get the dishwasher door open to lick the dirty dishes, etc. I have a latch on my refrigerator so they cannot open it. But I have one that has not given up on the idea.... I keep catching him up on the counter by the fridge with his mouth on the latch and twisting his head to the left... He knows which way to twist.... He just has not got it done yet..... He probably will.... I should change to a different style of latch but I sort of hope he gets it worked out....
    Dog VooDoo Crappola

  19. #17
    Senior Member JohnnyBandit's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBandit View Post
    ACD Bitches do not sleep until their are almost three.... The dogs don't sleep until they are 4 or 5.....

    LOL that was a joke.....

    A lot of good advice here..

    A few things from my perspective here.

    First... Being brutally honest... And I am NOT saying this to discourage you.... Because you CAN do this... and the reward will be more amazing than you can imagine. Your roughest days with this youngster are still ahead of you. Every ACD pup I have raised... The MOST trying times were from about 12 months until about 20 to 24 months.. My wife has a term for this period in their development... "The Satan Times" Then it backs off some... But they are still quite the handful.... The breed matures quickly in some respects but over all they are slow maturing dogs. Especially the males... But one day you will wake up and wonder where this amazing dog standing in front of you came from...
    I did rescue in the breed for years... And there was always a disproportionate number of adolescent males in shelters and rescues..... So do not give up. IT WILL GET BETTER!!!

    Now maybe some help..

    1) You are crating when you are gone.... GOOD... Keep doing it.... Do not allow anyone to convince you he will be calmer when you get home if you just leave him loose in your home... He won't me... You coming home means play time whether he is crated or not... And if he is loose he is going to destroy you home. He will get into everything, rip things apart, raid your refrigerator, chew holes in your walls, etc.

    Additionally on crating..... When you get home... Do NOT rush to let him out... He is excited and expects it... If you let him out immediately, you get what you have been seeing.... When you get home, IGNORE him.... Let him whine, bark, throw a temper tantrum, throw himself against the side of the crate etc... do no look at him, acknowledge him or speak to him until you get what you want... And that is a calm patient dog... It will take some time. But it will work... He does not come out of the crate until he is chill. ACDs are not calm dogs and they are not patient dogs... But they are SMART dogs. He will learn that patience and calmness will get what he wants..... And he wants to be out with you....

    2) Same thing with petting and affection.... Don't pet him, or even look at him when he is a wild child..... He only gets petted and shown affection when he is calm... And when you first start getting this, it will regress some on you. What will happen is he will figure out the game. He will calm down and you start petting him... He will then test that... He will calm only until you start petting him. What he really wants is to be that wild child and be petted at the same time... My wife has another saying.... Petting an ACD is a contact sport.... So you pet only when he is calm. The split second he is not... You stop... He will get it.

    3) Nothing in Life is free.... Some folks here may not like this method..... But make him give you something for everything he needs... You fix his supper... Make him sit stay while you prepare it. Make him hold the stay while you put the bowl down. He wants to be petted (This is after he has figured out he has to be calm first) Make him give you a sit and then a high five before he gets petted. This goes for everything.....

    4) Training.... Go Complex!!!! He is a bright dog.... Make him use that mind.... Advanced Tricks, advanced commands that require him to do three or for things.... A fun thing..... He has some durable (as much as anything can be with an ACD) toys right? If not.. Get him some... And get a toy box and put it in the living room... Dump the toys out.... Teach him to put the toys up... Then take it a step farther... Give a name to each toy... Describing it. Bone, rope, bear, ball etc.. Every time you or he touches or interacts with that toy, call the toy by name... As he learns the specific names of the toys, have him bring you a specific toy from the toy box. Or put the toys up in a specific order by name. You can continue on making this more complex indefinitely.... Move the toy box to another rooms adds a level of complexity. You can hide the toys and have a treasure hunt.... WARNING!!! Do not put a toy under, behind or near anything he can break. Because he may well break it to get to the toy. Late last spring I had a year old ACD pup up end my brand new Lazy Boy Chair to get his ball. I did not put it under there. I assumed it was somewhere else in the house. I told him to find his ball. He did and he rammed his head and body under that back side of the recliner before I could stop him. He up ended it forward... He did get the ball. This is just an example..... You can start with any game or training exercise and just keep getting more and more complex... Do not let him get to comfortable... Push him.... They get bored easily... And if he gets bored with a game he will no longer want to play.

    5) Exercise.... The walking is fine... Keep walking him as weather permits... And he needs exercise... But unless you compete in ironman competitions, he has way more stamina and endurance than you. Or any of us... The breed was expected to be able to keep pace with the horses and cover 40 miles a day. And that was in the outback. Blistering heat in the day and very cold at night. Others mentioned flirt poles(be careful and read local laws. Colorado is funny... Make sure a flirt pole is not considered dog fighting equipment in your area) Treadmills are great as well... you can burn way more energy off him with a treadmill than by walking. And it is low impact on his growing legs and joints. When it warms up, take him swimming....

    AND THIS IS THE GIST OF WHY I TALKED ABOUT TEACHING THE CALMING EXERCISES AND THE TRAINING GAMES ETC FIRST!!!
    Because you are never going to wear him out. Not going to happen... And the thing is... The more you exercise him, the more fit he becomes. He gains more stamina, endurance, strength, etc. Trying to exercise him calm is like trying to climb a mountain that has no crest... No matter how high you get, you still have a LONG way to go...

    A couple other points...

    a) If he has leash manners take him with you in your travels as much as possible Outings.... Great bonding... And for him, seeing and experiencing new places, sights, smells...Is just more mental stimulation.... Outdoor cafes, Most Home Depot stores welcome dogs, Pet stores, parks, etc.... ANYPLACE dogs in general are welcome... Take him... I live a pretty boring predicable life.. I frequent mostly the same places.... I have one or more of the dogs with me 90 percent of the time...

    b) The play biting.... All puppies like to do this... ACDs generally take it to a different level..... And they bite HARD. Remember.... Heeler means a dog that heels when herding.... Heel means the dog runs up and bites the cow by the back of the leg... The breed was born to bite...... They love it... You have to get that under control... If not, he will draw blood, if he has not already.... There is no malice in it.... It is just a game that came pre programed in their head. And they love to play that game.... There is some good advice here on it. Redirection.... I kind of have good luck with most of them incorporating it in with playing tug.... I play tug with my dogs a lot. And I teach the command OUT.... I start this very young.... Like 2 months old. We play tug and when I say out, the pup has to let go... It means STOP or let go and stop... Bite work folks use the command a lot. I use it later in life for other things as well. I LIKE to teach it very young. Because I can tug with one hand and have the other hand free. What I do initially is say out and at the same time I put a finger over a nostril. Not hard but over it. Puppies do not seem to like it. It does not upset them but they stop and look at you like what the heck did you just do? So then we play tug again... And I do the out with the finger again... It does not take them long to just let go and stop when you say out..... Over time we keep playing tug with the out command.... And when the biting really ramps up I use the out command I already have in place... I might have to remind them with a nose touch now and then....

    c) Dog parks.... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not take your boy back to the dog park.... Dog parks in general are a bad idea.... But for ACDs it is a terrible idea.... Some ACDs lean toward being dog aggressive... Many are generally okay with other dogs... or at worst have a specific dog or two they do not like but are okay with others.....

    One thing though about them that runs pretty true..... They may not start a scrap... But they dang sure are not going to back away from one. If challenged or harassed they will fight... And they will have FUN doing it. They LIKE it... And the extra hard thing about dog parks is the aggression does not have to be directed at them... Two dogs can get in a squabble a hundred yards away... They are going to race to the fight and when they get there, they are not going to dance around the fight barking like the other dogs... The are going to wade right in and join the fight.... They are going to go after one of the dogs in the fight... Usually from what I have seen, they seem to go after the aggressor....



    This is a puppy out of a litter I bred with another person. He is six months old in the picture.... His owner took him to the dog park and he loved it. They went almost every day.... Then one day some idiot had a ball in there... Toys.. Bad idea..... A pit bull and another large mixed breed dog got in a fight over the ball.... This puppy.... All six months and 30 pounds worth of him, charged in from about 30 yards away and jumped all over the Pit.... I was not there... But I was told the other dog took the opportunity to bail out of the fight.... But this young man went round and round... It was a mess. Both dogs ended up with stitches and drain tubes....

    Luckily this dog is fully recovered and has not lasting issues from this incident.... He has been around my dogs, other dogs he knows etc. Has shown no desire to fight... But at six months old he proved if a fight breaks out he wants to be in it.



    Lastly.... I tell our puppy buyers this...

    The pup you are getting wants to be Lord Dingo, Ruler of the Outback.... He WANTS to run 90mph with his hair on fire... He wants to harass the cows and cause mayhem and destruction.....

    But inside there is an Einstein..... And Einstein was only happy and content when he was solving complex problems.
    So it is your job to give him problems he must figure out....


    They figure out all sorts of stuff on their own.... Mine here at the house, open the window blinds so they can see out.... My wife is forever following behind them letting the blinds down..... Our Labrador is a bright girl... And she has been watching the ACDs do the blinds for years... She does not do it. I do not think she puts the two and two together that if she reaches up and pulls the string, the blinds come up... She just noses her head under the bottom the blinds and tries to look at.... Mine also open doors, manage to get the dishwasher door open to lick the dirty dishes, etc. I have a latch on my refrigerator so they cannot open it. But I have one that has not given up on the idea.... I keep catching him up on the counter by the fridge with his mouth on the latch and twisting his head to the left... He knows which way to twist.... He just has not got it done yet..... He probably will.... I should change to a different style of latch but I sort of hope he gets it worked out....
    Fixed the photos




    Dog VooDoo Crappola

  20. #18
    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Omg Johnny. The 'Satan times'

    For Hank from about 16 months to 2.5 years were AWFUL. Now I have a name for it.

    At about 2.5-3 I realized. 'Wow. You're a nice dog suddenly!'
    Mia CGC - (8 year old papillon)
    Hank CA NW1 RATI RATN (3 year old Spotty Dog)
    Summer TG3 TIAD - (12 1/2 year old papillon)

  21. #19
    Senior Member JohnnyBandit's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
    Omg Johnny. The 'Satan times'

    For Hank from about 16 months to 2.5 years were AWFUL. Now I have a name for it.

    At about 2.5-3 I realized. 'Wow. You're a nice dog suddenly!'
    LOL I told you.....

    When I first moved to ACDs.... I was probably 30 dogs into my life.... I had grown up with and owned... hard working line Catahoulas... I owned some great ones.... I owned a hard german line Rottweiler. I owned several game bred pit bull terriers... Assorted hunting line hounds.... I made the switch to ACDs.... I spent over two years deciding on a line, etc.... So I am driving away with my brand new ACD puppy... My new adventure.... And the breeder that has now become a great friend, mentor, and I co breed dogs with her....Stopped me and said... It goes a lot easier if you convince him what you want is his idea....... And do not judge him too soon.... He will try you... You may hate him some days..... But if you stay the course he will become the dog you are dreaming of..... I said yea... Sure..Not sure what she was saying....the first months went fine... Great even.... I had been bringing up drivey puppies all of my life... then when he was about a year old... I woke up to a monster.... He got worse and worse... I questioned the breed... My decision on the line (and now I own, have owned and or have ownership interest in and or a financial investment in no less than a dozen dogs in this line...Probably more... It is late and I am not counting them up. I have co bred three litters all on this line.... I believe in the breed and I BELIEVE in the line I have invested in both financially and emotionally. I have staked the rest of my life living with dogs in the breed and specifically the bloodline) .... I cussed the dog, swore I hated him, started researching other breeds, etc etc etc..... Then one day.... the dog I had wanted my entire life..... Was suddenly there.... Same dog I cussed... Same dog I swore I hated...But there he was.... Boom... I was beside myself for months.....

    You kind of have to experience it to understand it.... I have watched and tried to offer advice with Hank.... Then boom... There he was....

    Since that first ACD... Bandit... Call Me Desperado Blue Ace.... I have not stressed over it.... Growing up they get into those.... "satan times".... now I am like.... Yea yea yea.... You are a jerk.... Lord Dingo... I am so impressed.... Not... Because I know... They grow beyond that... They grow into the dog that has only lived in your dreams....
    Dog VooDoo Crappola

  22. #20
    Senior Member OwnedbyACDs's Avatar
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    Re: Blue heeler pup is crazy! Help.

    My ACD was easier than any of my current ones were / are.

    Lincoln, I cant run him down anymore, physical exercise means nothing to him, he would go and go and go, work and work and work until he literally fainted before giving up. Of course I dont let him do this to himself because is a sporting dog and could hurt himself. The only thing that tires him out is mental stimulation coupled with physical, I can't do one or the other for too long. You dont want to anyway because if you're not careful, you'll turn your dog into a tireless machine.

    Dio has a bit more sense to him, he has a MUCH better off switch than Lincoln ever did, sure he will put out as long as I ask him, but when we arent doing anything, he is content to lay quietly at the foot of my bed, where Lincoln had to be crated to settle until like ... recently LOL. But Dio has MUCH more drive than Lincoln does, I swear he thinks he is a malinois LOL.





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