You may be thinking about getting a new puppy or even adopting an adult dog for the family. The Australian Cattle Dog (Blue or Red Heeler) may be a breed that you are considering and are wondering if they will be a good family dog. Will they be good with the children or other pets in the home? Read on to learn more.
Are Blue Heelers good family dogs?
Blue Heelers make an excellent family dog. They have a loyal and outgoing temperament and are people-orientated. Blue Heelers love companionship and spending time with their owners and family. They are best suited for an active family that can provide the attention and exercise, both physical and mental, they require.
If you are a first-time dog owner it is important that you know if this is a breed that is suitable for you. It is equally important that you know if you are the right owner of a Blue Heeler. Blue Heelers are often not recommended for first-time dog owners but for the right first-time owner they may be ideal. To learn more about the suitability of Blue Heelers for first-time owners see here.
Australian Cattle Dogs are also good with other pets in the home including other dogs and with the right introduction, the family cat. They are intelligent and relatively easy to train.
The Blue Heeler is a very active dog and requires one to two hours of moderate to intense exercise daily to burn pent-up energy. For more on Blue Heeler exercise see here.
They are also very smart dogs (learn just how smart they are here) and require a reasonable amount of mental stimulation and enrichment to challenge their minds and prevent boredom. For more on mental stimulation and enrichment for Blue Heelers see here.
Blue Heelers are loyal and can be protective of their family members making them surprisingly good guard dogs. For more on Blue Heelers as watch and guard dogs see here.
They don’t really like being left alone too much so is best for a family that can spend time with them. Obviously, there will be times that your Blue Heeler will need to be left home alone. Most Blue Heelerslearn to accept and cope with being left alone as long as they have everything they need. For more on leaving a Blue Heeler home alone see here.
Are Blue Heelers good with kids?
In general, Blue Heelers are very gentle and caring with children. They are a high-energy breed that can be boisterous and may accidentally knock over small children. It is important to teach them how to be calm around younger kids. For more on calming a Blue Heeler see here.
It is important to remember that Australian Cattle Dogs have a strong herding instinct. They may want to herd the children. This herding behavior should be avoided especially if it involves nipping.
Ideally, they are best for older children around 7 or 8 years or older. However, a Blue Heeler puppy raised alongside younger children usually works really well.
They are a loyal breed and will provide protection for the children. An active dog like the Blue Heeler will also help keep your children active and tire them out. A family dog like the Blue Heeler will also help children develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and learn about responsibility.
A Blue Heeler will make an affectionate, loyal, and protective friend to your children.
Raising a Blue Heeler and kids together
Many people want to get a dog when their children are young. This can be a good idea with a Blue Heeler as it helps them to learn how to interact, be comfortable, and respect the children. It also teaches your children how to interact with and respect the dog.
A Blue Heeler, or any dog really, should always be supervised around young children. This is not because they are aggressive. It is more because they are high energy and may accidentally knock a child over.
Blue Heelers require a lot of time, energy, and training in the early stages of their lives. It is important to ensure you have the time to give.
Adult Blue Heeler and kids
If you already have a Blue Heeler and are planning on having children this should be fine. As you already know the nature and personality of your Blue Heeler. A well-trained and socialized Blue Heeler will have no problem with a new addition to the family.
It is still important to introduce them to the child slowly and supervise them until you are completely confident they will be fine.
If you are considering adding an adult Blue Heeler to the family you need to learn as much about the new dog’s temperament as possible. Some rescue dogs may come with issues. Depending on the new dogs’ background you will want to gauge their attitude towards children and introduce them into the family slowly.
Coming into a new home can be stressful for a dog and you don’t want them to become overwhelmed. It is best to let them have their own space and interact as they feel comfortable.
Teaching kids about Blue Heelers
Children generally naturally love dogs and want to be around them. They want to cuddle and play with them. They can tend to get in their face. In most cases, a Blue Heeler will be extremely tolerant of kids. They are a loyal and outgoing breed. Every dog is an individual even of the same breed. There may be some Blue Heelers that may not be so keen on children.
It is likely that your Blue Heeler is going to be happy to see your children and quickly get used to them coming up and touching them. However, it is important to teach your children to not be too rough or do anything that may hurt the dog.
TA dog’s ears or tail can be a temptation for a child to grab. Any dog may react if they are hurt or feel threatened.
It is a good idea to involve your children in the training process. This will not only provide the necessary obedience but will teach the kids a lot about their new friend.
No matter how your dog interacts with your children, it is important that your kids understand that all dogs are not the same. A dog they do not know may not have the same friendly temperament. You should teach your children to always ask permission before touching a dog they don’t know, not to annoy them when they have food, and to beware of the dog’s body language such as growling.
Training your Blue Heeler for kids
Training and socialization are the keys to having a Blue Heeler that is good around children. They are an affectionate and playful breed but may become overexcited. It is important to teach your Blue Heeler ways to calm down if they get carried away.
A common behavior issue with Blue Heelers is jumping up on people, especially when excited. This is a relatively easy behavior to fix. See here for how to stop a Blue heeler from jumping up.
Consistent training will help your Blue Heeler learn quickly what is and is not acceptable behavior. Dogs need a structured environment to feel comfortable and safe. They will learn through consistency what you allow when it comes to interacting with children.
By rewarding and praising them for being gentle and correcting them for unwanted behavior they will quickly learn the rules, boundaries, and expectations. Blue Heelers want to be part of the family and should be involved as much as possible.
Are Blue Heelers good with other dogs in the home?
Blue Heelers are generally friendly and outgoing and do well with other dogs. For more on Blue Heelers and other dogs see here.
Many Blue Heeler owners have two Blue Heelers or a Blue Heeler and another dog. For more on getting a second Blue Heeler or dog see here.
Are Blue Heelers good with cats in the home?
The majority of Blue Heelers will get along fine with a cat in the home if socialized and introduced correctly. Despite being herding dogs with a strong chase instinct they usually learn to live in harmony with guidance and often become best friends.
To learn more about having a Blue heeler and cat in the same home see here,
Summary – Blue Heelers as a family dog
Australian Cattle Dogs can be excellent family dogs. They have a loyal and outgoing temperament and are people-orientated. Blue Heelers love companionship and spending time with their owners and family. They are best suited for an active family that can provide the attention and exercise, both physical and mental, they require.
In general, Blue Heelers are very gentle and caring with children. They are a high-energy breed that can be boisterous and may accidentally knock over small children. It is important to teach them how to be calm around younger kids.
They are generally also very good with other pets in the home. Blue Heelers are generally friendly and outgoing and do well with other dogs. The majority of Blue Heelers will get along fine with a cat in the home if socialized and introduced correctly.