Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This 22 month old neutered Blue Heeler (Queensland Heeler, Australian Cattle Dog) is a rescue from a military family. So far he's terrific - in the house. He's playful, crate-trained, obedient, and a great pleasure. On a walk, however, he exhibits certain behaviors that need management. He seems to be quite smart, so I'm sure that with guidance these issues can be straightened out...
PROBLEMS:
1. Shoe-nipping. Heelers, Border Collies, Corgies, Shelties, etc. often nip at the heels of animals being herded. But this dog goes for a stranger's toes, and in one case tore a shoe!
2. Moderate aggression. Unpredictably, when encountering a stranger he might growl, bark and lunge. He acts tough, but so far has not snapped or bitten anyone or any other dog, even in the dog park off-leash.
3. Straining. Though he quickly learned to heel, the command doesn't last and after 10-20 seconds he'll go to the limit of the leash and begin pulling. He's thirty-three pounds of muscle, and is too much for my wife.
Thoughts from the gurus?
THANKS!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,349 Posts
This 22 month old neutered Blue Heeler (Queensland Heeler, Australian Cattle Dog) is a rescue from a military family. So far he's terrific - in the house. He's playful, crate-trained, obedient, and a great pleasure. On a walk, however, he exhibits certain behaviors that need management. He seems to be quite smart, so I'm sure that with guidance these issues can be straightened out...
Congratulations on your new dog.

PROBLEMS:
1. Shoe-nipping. Heelers, Border Collies, Corgies, Shelties, etc. often nip at the heels of animals being herded. But this dog goes for a stranger's toes, and in one case tore a shoe!
The best advice I have is to keep him separated from visitors to the house and do not let strangers interact with him. People come to my house and I have nice dogs but I keep them crated or kenneled when people come to the house. Outside the house I have the dog with me on leash or working and "No you cannot pet/play/interact with my dog. He would rather not. Thank you for asking!"

No one needs to interact with your dog. They do not need to pet him or play with him. If they want a dog to play with, they can get a dog. The dog cannot herd people if he is not allowed access.


2. Moderate aggression. Unpredictably, when encountering a stranger he might growl, bark and lunge. He acts tough, but so far has not snapped or bitten anyone or any other dog, even in the dog park off-leash.
NO DOG PARKS. Again, your dog does not need "dog friends" or "Dog parks" or strangers touching him and petting him. If people want to interact with a dog let them get their own dogs. IMO ACD's are too "opinionated" to work out in a dog park setting. Fact is, a very narrow range of dog temperaments work out in dog parks. I will never use one. Too much opportunity to end up with an injured dog or a dead dog (yours or someone else's).

3. Straining. Though he quickly learned to heel, the command doesn't last and after 10-20 seconds he'll go to the limit of the leash and begin pulling. He's thirty-three pounds of muscle, and is too much for my wife.
Thoughts from the gurus?
THANKS!
Focused heeling takes about two years to teach. You are likely asking too much too soon. I do a LOT of focused heeling.

In this case or leash pulling you need to immediately change direction just before he gets to the end of the leash. You won't go very far for a very long time but eventually he will understand that going to the end of the leash gets him absolutely nothing. The trick here is to get him to understand that pulling you gets him nothing at all. If you are using a harness, get rid of that and put him in a collar. I would use a flat martingale. Learn about oppositional reflex. That happens when you pull the leash, the dog automatically pulls against the direction you are pulling. The harder you pull BACK the harder the dog pulls FORWARD.

Meanwhile, work on FOCUS to you, the handler (or your wife). I start in the house. Mark it (I use a clicker or the word yes)
and Reward (with food.. cut his rations down a bit to make up for the rewards) for the dog for looking at you. Work at that. ALWAYS have food on you. Use his name as a "focus word." Also look at impulse control games (do a search on this forum for ideas).

When you have the dog's attention in the house, go outside and again, just work on stationary focus.

None of these fixes are QUICK. However, if you keep at it they work well and the results last. I would recommend a training class but I hesitate to these days. Lots of "trainers" out there that do little more than separate you from your money.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top