My Cattle Dog Needs Help

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Blue is an Australian Cattle Dog and he loves to put things in a group.  That boy will herd anything.

Blue is now trying to herd bees.  He stares at them while they are fluttering around the flowers, but if they try to leave the area he pounces and nips at them.

I tried to explain to Blue that bees are an important part of the ecosystem, so he should leave them alone.  Also, getting stung by bees is painful.  However, Blue is ignoring my advice.

I need to find some cows, sheep, chickens, cats, or small children for Blue to herd.  He needs help to channel his herding drive.

Australian Cattle Dog by Hilary Lewis

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Hilary Lewis describes Australian Cattle Dogs as loyal, tenacious, intelligent, independent, active, hard working, protective, courageous, possessive, suspicious of strangers, aloof, stubborn, and as having a dominate personality streak.

Australian Cattle dogs are great, but before you decide to adopt one you need to know what to expect.  They are not easy dogs.  Without proper training, an Australian Cattle Dog can wreak havoc in your life.

If you are considering adopting an Australian Cattle Dog, I highly recommend this book.

I have an Australian Cattle Dog, so I was laughing and shacking my head the whole time I was reading it.

 

Living With Five Dogs

We never planed to have five dogs.  However, life throws curve balls sometimes and unexpected things happen.  A few years ago, the three of us lived in three different homes with our dogs.  Today, we are all in the same house and so are all of our dogs.

  • Joey is the oldest of our dogs.  He is a Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix and he is 9 years old.
  • Ben is our biggest dog.  He is a Great Pyrenees and weighs 115 pounds.  He is also our youngest dog.  Ben is two years old.
  • Buddy is a Rottweiler/Beagle mix and he is only two months older than Ben.
  • Norton is the smallest of our dogs.  He is a Yorke mix and weighs only 14 pounds.  Norton is probably around 4 years old.
  • Blue is a 3 year old Australian Cattle Dog.

The dogs have their moments and life is far from perfect.  However, they are well behaved.  We can leave all five dogs in the house alone and trust them to not destroy our stuff.

They also get along well with each other.  They respect the boundaries of their “brothers” and disagreements are quickly resolved.

Our balanced pack of dogs didn’t just happen.  We put a lot of effort into it and continue to do so each day.  There are two essentials that allow us to live peacefully with five dogs.

  • Training – Each dog has been to several training classes and they all know the rules.  Consequences depend on behavior, praise and treats follow good behavior, and correction for bad behavior often consists of a stern “no.”  The dogs want to live in a peaceful house and they want to feel secure in their place.  Knowing they broke a rule and their person is displeased is often enough to correct behavior.  However, getting them to understand the rules takes a lot of work and training.
  • Exercise – We have over an acre of land and much of it is fenced in for the dogs.  The dogs have enough space to run and wrestle with their pack mates.  They also have plenty of toys to chew and destroy.  There are a ton of toys in the house and in the yard.  We constantly bring in new toys to replace the old ones.  I have heard it said, “A tired dog is a good dog.”  Let me tell you, there is a lot of truth in that statement.

Living with multiple dogs isn’t easy.  It requires work on our part, but we love each of the dogs and we enjoy watching them play and interact with each other.  There are five dogs running around our home and they make each day special.

Nurturing Bully

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Blue is an Australian Cattle Dog and he can be very nurturing.

Blue will watch over puppies and small children with great intensity.  If one of them is hurt or starts crying, Blue runs to check on them and then he runs to me and alerts me to the situation.  If he sees anyone (human or animal) hurting another creature, Blue is quick to respond and always protects the victim.

However, Blue can also be a bit of a bully.  For example, if he wants a toy that another dog is playing with, he will take it from them.

Blue is the most nurturing bully I have ever seen.

Control Freak Dog

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Blue is an Australian Cattle Dog and he is a complete control freak.

Blue thinks other dogs should play according to his rules.  This includes his brothers and random dogs at the dog park.  If Blue doesn’t like how the other dogs are playing, he barks and runs in a circle around the dogs.  Most dogs just ignore him.  Unfortunately, he has gotten into a scuffle with strange dogs, so we end up leaving the park.

This morning Blue was barking at a thunderstorm.  I am not sure if he was mad about the noise or if he was mad because the storm was scaring his brothers.  Either way, Blue was still trying to control a thunderstorm.

Blue may be a pain sometimes, but he is the most loyal dog I have ever had.  He follows me around, his off-leash recall is phenomenal, he is very affectionate, and he is so smart it’s scary.

Blue may be a controlling, loud, and stubborn dog; however, I still love that boy.