Are you the pet parent of a Blue Heeler Cattle Dog? Do you need inspiration on how to wear off his energy? Then, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve put together an article that includes some background information for Blue Heelers, as well as much exercise they need. We’ve also put together a list of fun activities to help your canine companion wear off all that energy!
What is a Blue Heeler Cattle Dog?
Did you know the Blue Heelers come from Australia? There, one man, George Elliott, developed Blue Heelers (also called Australian Shepherd Dogs). Starting in 1840, he worked with mixing native Dingoes (wild canines from Australia) with herding dogs, such as collies. The outcome was a dog that was tough and thrived at having a job to do. They soon became a favorite with Australian cattle rangers, as the Blue Heelers were great at cattle herding.
Blue Heelers are very compact, solid, and sturdy dogs. They’re always ready to work. And they’re extremely intelligent. Some have said the Blue Heeler is so smart, he may outsmart you! As much as a Blue Heeler loves to work, he’ll also be just as happy to play!
You’ll find the Blue Heeler to be extremely intelligent, and loyal. And they love their pet parents. As a matter of fact, they’re sometimes called “shadow dogs,” which is because they want to stay with their pet parent. They do not like to be separated.
As a breed, Blue Heelers are extremely independent. And because they’re herding dogs, they may try to herd their family or even nip at their heels when they want something.
Heelers don’t bark much; however, they are very protective of their homes and families. They tend to be wary and cautious with people they don’t know. This trait makes them great watchdogs. While they’re wary of strangers, when it comes to their family, these dogs will be friendly and loving.
When it comes to size, the Blue Heeler can stand from 17-20 inches and weigh between 35-50lbs. They have an average life expectancy of 12-16 years.
This dog breed is extremely energetic; this comes from their being bred for working. They’re also excellent at running. Because these dogs are so smart, they can easily become bored. When that happens, don’t be surprised to come home to a mischief mess—possibly chewed up furniture, and worse.
Blue Heelers do suffer from health issues, which can include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Canine hip dysplasia
That’s not to say your dog will develop these health issues. It’s just good to be aware of potential health issues your fur bay could develop at some point.
Blue Heelers make great companions for almost anyone. If you’re single, active, take part in sports, hunt, breed cattle, or have a family, your Blue Heeler will find a happy home.
This dog breed may not enjoy being cuddled or receiving affection, but he will be loyal and love you anyway. You might say Blue Heelers are more like a cat in that respect.
Pet parents of Blue Heelers need to be firm and use positive reinforcement training. And you’ll need to have some patience training your dog. While they’re smart, these dogs are also extremely independent. So, they require consistent positive reinforcement training. They love to please.
And don’t forget mental stimulation. Blue Heelers have active, intelligent minds and need something to do, preferably something that has a reward in the end. This can include puzzle toys and more.
If you have a Blue Heeler puppy, they will need to be socialized from a young age. Staring up obedience training, when the vet says your puppy is ready, will help your dog learn the boundaries and look to you for cues.
How Much Exercise Does a Blue Heeler Need?
OK, now we come to the part where we discuss what your Blue Heeler needs in the way of exercise. Because they’re active and energetic, these dogs don’t make great apartment-mates. When they’re not being challenged with work or being trained, Blue Heelers will become bored and destructive.
Your Blue Heeler will need, at the minimum, two walks a day that are 45 minutes long each. Without this much exercise, your dog will not be happy. So, make every effort possible to see your dog gets about 90 minutes of exercise each day. This is what makes for a very healthy, happy, and well-balanced dog.
OK—now let’s get to that list of activities and exercise ideas you can try with your Blue Heeler Cattle Dog!
Activities to Enjoy with Your Blue Heeler Cattle Dog
Here are some fun ideas and activities to try with your Blue Heeler!
Walking, Jogging, Hiking
By now you have the general idea that Blue Heelers require a ton of exercise. Working dogs, including Blue Heelers, do best in places where they can run, be outside working, etc. However, don’t just leave a Blue Heeler outside on his own. Remember, he can suffer from boredom and separation anxiety when away from their favorite pet parent.
Blue Heelers make wonderful jogging, walking, and hiking companions. This is because they’re full of energy, stamina, and love to be with you! They love nothing best than running beside you at top speeds or joining you on a hike out in nature.
Hiking nature trails is an excellent way to exercise your Blue Heeler. They enjoy the outdoors, smelling and sniffing where other animals have been, and more. This herding dog can easily take on a ½-day or a whole-day hike. But be sure to pack water and food for him. It’s also best to take some time to rest up in between sections of the trail.
One note – Blue Heelers are not afraid of the rain, so it’s a good idea to have rain gear, etc. when there’s bad weather. Your canine companion must have exercise.
Agility Training Course
Here’s a great one—take your fur baby to an agility course about once a week. Because of their intelligence, Blue Heelers need to the challenge, making this a great activity for your dog.
Not only that, but you and your dog will bond and learn to work together. It will take some time and patience but going through the training will teach your dog he should look to you for cues.
If you don’t live near a dog agility course, you can DIY a course from materials you already have at home. For instance, uses boxes to make tunnels for the dog to run through, use milk cartoons as markings, and more. If you’re into building, there are plenty of online guides with instructions on how to build an agility course.
Another option is to buy an agility kit online, such as this one: XiaZ Dog Agility Course Equipment, Obstacle, Agility Training Starter Kit. This is a great starter set, which is made of safe, non-toxic, durable material. You can use this course inside or out. The kit includes a tunnel, hurdles, and more. And it’s fast and easy to set up. The kit also comes with 2 carrying bags, which make it easy to take with or store.
Along with agility courses, you may want to see if there are doggie sports available where you live. These can include freestyle, herding (cattle and sheep), dock diving, and more. Your canine companion was bred for such sports!
This is another perfect time to bond with your dog. When you and your fur baby are working together on learning something new, that bond will deepen. Not only that, but you’ve both accomplished something, which is exactly what your dog needs. You two become a team when training for canine sports.
Frisbee & Fetch
Blue Heelers love to chase and fetch just about anything. Why not try teaching him to jump for high-flying frisbees or play fetch out in the yard? If you don’t have a yard, then a nearby park or dog park may be an option, but only if your Blue Heeler’s well-trained, socialized, and comes when called.
Here are a couple of toys you can use to play frisbee and fetch with your fur baby!
Kong Goodie Bone and Flyer: this package offers two toys in one! Kong is an excellent brand when it comes to dog toys. They make toys that are almost indestructible, including this toy bundle. The Kong Flyer is made of natural red rubber, which is durable and is satisfying to chew. Throw the frisbee and watch your dog run and catch it! The included bone can be used as is, or with a treat stuffed inside. Both of these are perfect for playing fetch with your Blue Heeler!
JW Hol-ee Roller Original Do It All Puzzle Ball: here’s a dog toy that’s a ball but can be used for much more! Dogs love to chew, fetch, play tug, and more. And you can even fill it with treats, which is a great way to provide your canine companion with some mental stimulation! This is a toy made from patented rubber, which means it can withstand rough handling.
Dog Puzzles for Those Rainy Days
There are times when it’s simply not possible to go out and play with your dog. So, here are some ideas to help keep your Blue Heeler busy on rainy days!
Pet Arena Adjustable Snuggle Mat for Dogs: this dog puzzle toy is great for active dogs, especially those who love to smell and hunt. You can hide food in the puzzle, which lets your dog snuffle through to find the treats! Plus, this toy is made of eco-friendly material, which is washable. So, when the mat becomes dirty, just throw it in the washer.
StarMark Bob-a-Lot Interactive Dog Toy: this is an adjustable toy that dispenses treats! The bottom is weighted, so it will wobble. Just fill the toy with treats and watch your Blue Heeler have a great time!
There you have it! Remember that your Blue Heeler requires at least 90 minutes of exercise each day. You’ll help him wear off energy and stave off destructive behaviors, and more. Your dog loves you and wants to be with you! So, have fun together!