How Can I Train my Blue Heeler to be a Hunting Dog

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Introduction

Before delving into the nature of a blue heeler dog, you should understand that it is a herding dog and loves to handle specific tasks. How can I train my Blue Heeler to be a hunting dog is among the questions most people ask me. Hunting is not in its nature but if you train it when it is still a pup you can get more from it as a hunting dog as well. 

Blue Heeler puppies are also known as Australian Cattle Dogs and they are cute both as puppies and adults as well. If you don’t know much about these puppies, I suggest you get one because such kind of experiences are better felt first hand rather than hearing from me how my dog is intelligent. 

What You Need to Know to Ensure Successful Training

What is Their Temperament and How Does it Affect Training?

They make wonderful family dogs. As puppies, they are playful, sweet, and willing to learn anything you throw in their direction. As adult dogs, they grow to be among the hardest working animals you will ever encounter. They don’t care how stubborn a sheep or cow is, or how difficult the task. All they care for is that they do their job and make it known that they are there to do something specific. 

As a hunting dog, it will deliver the same hard work and results that you expect. It is a dog that loves to work and when they do not have work they can be a handful. I would rather you just keep it busy. Blue Heeler puppies make wonderful additions to any family. 

It is a very intelligent, very energetic breed that requires a good bit of love and affection, attention, and positive reinforcement. If you want to make your blue heeler pup a hunting dog, consider the following methods. 

Diet and Nutrition for Blue Heeler Dogs

The type of food you feed your Heeler should vary depending on its life stage since puppies have different needs than adult dogs. Due to their active nature, Blue Heelers need plenty of nutrients and vitamins to replenish their tired muscles and supplement their intelligent mind. It means you must feed them a balanced diet. 

In general, growing dogs should feed on dry kibbles as it is tough and help to clean their teeth and gums. At a young age, a blue heeler’s digestive system is strong enough to break down foods with rougher textures. However, as they become older, you may need to switch to a canned food diet or to soak their kibbles before feeding it to them. 

Active dogs like Blue Heelers need lots of protein. It is a key ingredient for all dog foods and one that your hunting pup will appreciate as well. Examples include salmon, chicken, and beef as great sources of protein. 

Vegetables and whole grains are also important even though they might not be too keen to consume them. Supplements may be a good idea for your Blue Heelers pup and you can find them in the form of pills and liquid form. Also, ensure that your dog has access to clean and fresh water.

Ways to Make a Blue Heeler Pup be a Hunting Dog

Introduce it to People and Other Animals Right Away

When it comes to blue heeler puppies, you need to socialize them at an early age. The more you socialize them the happier they become. Dogs do require time around other people and other animals outside of your family so that they can learn to behave around them. 

Like children, blue heeler puppies will not learn to behave in public and around others if they are not allowed to spend time around them. The same is true of any dog. If you do not teach the dog at an early age to socialize, how can you expect it to do so when it becomes an adult?

Be Consistent in Training

Because this is a very smart dog, you must be consistent with what you are training it to become. They are a breed of dogs that depend on consistency to excel in any training that you hand it. The blue heeler is smart enough to know that once you let it get away with breaking a rule; you can always let it get away with it again. 

If you have decided to train your blue heeler puppies, you have to be strict and ensure they toe the line. You should never allow it as a puppy to get away with anything. However, it is not as simple as it sounds and people find it challenging to do so since they are so cute. But there should be no compromises in training. If you want your puppy to learn, teach it well from the start.

Create Boundaries

Boundaries are very important for this dog. Boundary training should be amongst the first things you teach the blue heeler pup. Their curious nature makes them love to explore, herd, and work. If you fail to teach the dog where to find the boundaries, it is going to wander and go wherever it wants to go any time it sees fit. 

Teach the puppy to heel and stay and you will not have any boundary related problems as it grows up to be a hunting dog. Additionally, make it a habit to go places with it and restrict it not to follow you in some. It should learn to understand that some places are off-limits and only come when called. It can be a room or a fence, just let your puppy know it should not wander beyond where you want it. 

Be the Boss

Establish who the alpha form is when it is still a puppy. The Blue heeler puppies are highly intelligent. If you make them suspect that you are not going to be their boss, they will become their boss. You do not want a blue heeler puppy that does not behave appropriately. They have so much energy and an even higher desire to work. Unguided, they can easily become your worst nightmare. You need to be the alpha to avoid having command and discipline issues with your dog.

Be Kind but Firm

Most dogs learn fast if you employ positive reinforcement and the blue heeler is no different. Positive reinforcement includes more than just training the dog to be disciplined. An example is when you are training your dog to retrieve things. If it bites the decoy and runs to play with it you should condone the behavior. However, if it bites it and brings it over to you then you need to show your dog some appreciation in the way of positive reinforcement. 

Blue heeler dogs respond well to positivity, and you should show it as often as possible. They learn what they should do as much as what they should not do. The best form of positive reinforcement is giving it treats when it does the things it should do.

Encourage Exercise

Blue heeler dogs have a lot of energy and they are born to work and herd. Keeping them cooped up without exercise is a bad idea. Because they love to play and run training games like fetch are counterproductive.  They tend to excel in it as it has a purpose-driven goal that allows them to find something and bring it back to you.

It considers training and active games a job which makes it easier as it feels it has a purpose. They also love routine, and if you train it to chase and run after a small game when young it will carry the habit. The Australian Cattle Dog is one of those breeds that love the water and to swim. As a result, they are in general excellent swimmers. 

Every dog is an individual and there will be some Blue Heelers that do not love water as much. It is more likely a confidence issue and not a lack of natural ability. You should introduce your Heeler to water at a young age to give it this confidence. Duck hunting is fun and it should be able to get in the water and retrieve ducks you have shot. 

Hunting Dog Accessories for Your Blue Heeler

Beside dog vests, you may need a bunch of protective gear for your dog when training or out hunting and herding. Here is a simple table.

Conclusion

Blue Heelers should not be left alone for long periods, especially in small spaces, and it is important to take them out with you for walks, swim, or hikes. If a Blue Heeler does not get an outlet for its energy, it may become destructive and bored. You will notice this when they chew on your shoes or furniture.  . 

The Blue Heeler will herd everything and anything that moves, including other pets and children as well. For this reason, Blue Heelers need early training and socialization if they are to understand which behaviors are unacceptable. If early training is neglected, they may tend to play rough or nip at running kids which can be quite dangerous. The good thing about Blue Heelers is that they are not high maintenance pups. All it takes to groom them is a regular bath, a trim of their nails, cleaning their ears and teeth occasionally as it promotes wellness.

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