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Canine Behavior/Blue Heeler Behavior


I just adopted a Blue Heeler rescue puppy. I had never even seen one before but fostered her as for 2 weeks and fell in love with her and just adopted her at 7 months. She is a handfull and to burn off some energy I put her in doggy daycare 3 to 4 days a weeks - which she loves. My question is after doing some research on the breed I'm a little worried about future behavior. As of now she is the sweetest dog, towards all people and animals, if she knows them or not. No agression at all. I just talked to someone who had two and was told that this will change the older she gets and to expect her to become a lot more stand-offish and agressive towards strangers and animals. I know all dogs are different but in general should I expect this change? Is there anything more I can do now to minimize it? She causes no problems in day care and just wants to play. She will kiss anyone to death - stanger or not. Is this really going to change?

This can be a difficult breed since they are genetically designed to be independent thinkers and herd guarding dogs.  However, that does not mean they become aggressive.  

I suggest you find a positive reinforcement training venue (NO CHOKER COLLARS, no DISCIPLINE, only reward) and enroll her in novice obedience class.  You can then go from there: this breed makes an excellent agility dog and it's fun, too.  Keep her heavily socialized to people, other dogs, other locations: no dog parks.  So long as you are certain she's really doing well at day care, this is fine to continue.  Drop in unexpectedly at random times (more than once) to see where your dog is, what your dog is doing.  People lie, especially when money is involved.  Do not FEAR your dog.  Her temperament seems solid.  Expect a lot of hilarity until even up to age three (in other words, she might drive you a tad nuts once in a while lol).  Keep her brain and cognition developing by teaching her "tricks" and playing "games".  EXCELLENT references are:

This breed is loyal, this breed may begin to "guard" the house against "strangers" (only if improperly supervised); this breed needs a strong, calm, patient and consistent owner.  Just because a few people have had a bad experience does not mean the breed is to blame.  Some dogs are smarter than their owners lol   ;o)

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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