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When a Heeler becomes a Header!

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Lulu

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I've got way more cattle dogs than I should have. I take them in after people buy them as 'cute' pups then realize these dogs get bored easy and need a job.

Anyhoo..I've got a 2 yr old Aussie cattle dog, a throw away I rescued of course and I've no clue of her history before she came to me.

She wants to work the cattle( I've got SUPER tame cattle) but for the life of me I can't get her off their heads! I've worked her with my Boss Dog, Aussie Shep. who is excellent but near retirement, and even he can't seem to do anything with her. Her heart is in it...but I wonder if something in her past keeps her from heeling also.

Any ideas? Not that it's a big issue cause I can always use another dog...but this has me stumped a bit.
 

HAY MAKER

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Lulu said:
I've got way more cattle dogs than I should have. I take them in after people buy them as 'cute' pups then realize these dogs get bored easy and need a job.

Anyhoo..I've got a 2 yr old Aussie cattle dog, a throw away I rescued of course and I've no clue of her history before she came to me.

She wants to work the cattle( I've got SUPER tame cattle) but for the life of me I can't get her off their heads! I've worked her with my Boss Dog, Aussie Shep. who is excellent but near retirement, and even he can't seem to do anything with her. Her heart is in it...but I wonder if something in her past keeps her from heeling also.

Any ideas? Not that it's a big issue cause I can always use another dog...but this has me stumped a bit.


Sorry I can't help LULU,these ole fat dogs of mine never did work cattle worth a damn,truth be known I dont have the patience or knowledge to train em,but I do use them to move stubborn cows they can do that pretty good .............good luck PS welcome :wink:
 

Lulu

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I may just have to make her my ground-hog dog as she got 2 yesterday without mercy! She barks out on every snake she finds also. Maybe her career is with other critters!!
 

ropesanddogs

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A heading dog isnt always a bad thing,as long as shes not real tight,or catching too much,the dogs we gather cattle with (leapord dogs) are constantly out front,therefore keeping the cattle at a manageable pace while we drive from behind,so maybe you should turn out one of your heelers to drive and let her manage the front end,just a thought.As far as making her heel,i have no idea,we've never tried to stop it.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Ma be she is doing things right and you are wrong. If she is at their heads you turn around and make her bring the cattle to you. She is not a Blue heeler she is a Shepard that should work at a balance point on the opposite side to you. They can be trianed to work by your side but instinct tells tell to bring the cattle in not chase them away.
 

OldDog/NewTricks

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Heelers are drive dogs ONLY and can not be taugh to head.

Most good dogs and Trial dogs are Headers or Fetch Dogs (Head or Fetch are the same) - A Head/Fetch Dog will bring stock to you with little commanes - just turn around and walk anywhere you want and the dog should follow you with the stock.

With Time and Commands a Head Dog can be taugh to Heel but a Heel Dog/Drive Dog will never learn to Head.

Head Dogs are used to gather livestock/bring them to you - Drive Dogs do just that Drive them away

Use a Drive Dog in fenced areas where you can set the gates

A Head Dog is more of a alll-round Dog

We would use Head Dogs to gather the stock on top of the ranch and let the Drive Dogs take them the 2 miled down the road to the main corrals - the Head Dogs would work the sides and Frount to keep them Bunched

If you have questions I'll try to answer them.
 

ropesanddogs

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OldDog/NewTricks said:
Heelers are drive dogs ONLY and can not be taugh to head.

With Time and Commands a Head Dog can be taugh to Heel but a Heel Dog/Drive Dog will never learn to Head.

Ill have to disagree with ya,not being a know it all,but rather sharing info.Both of my heelers and a few dozen more that i know of will all go to a cows head when told to,hell,mine will even catch...But thats just what ive seen...
 

OldDog/NewTricks

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Jeannie
Good for you!
I have had many Heeler and Headers
Now I’m talking Instinct - if a dog has the “Instinct” of a heeler it goes for the heels – I have seen Blue Heeler that had some Header Instincts - I have never seen a dog that had true heeler instinct that could be taught to Head - - now If an animal turns to face a heeler dog they will take it on - - in 50 years of working doge your is a first for me.
 

Lulu

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Well....my Heeler is a true Header! She came to me that way. Since she was a "throw away" I have no idea of her background...but SOMEONE trained her to head cattle.

She does get a bit over anxious sometimes but we're working on that slowly.

She came to me cause people know I have/keep those kinds of dogs and a lot of them just don't make good house dogs..some do..some don't. So I guess that was the problem and why she ended up with me. But I've let in her a few times and she does fine in my house. So who knows.

But she will head cattle all day long...... just of them " thangs" I suppose!

We're getting ready for the Cindy storm....we're expecting about 5-7" of rain TOMORROW. <<<deep sigh>> I should raise catfish instead of cattle!!!
 

Faster horses

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We have had many Blue Heelers and Blue Heeler crosses that were all heel dogs. However, we had a Catahoula/Blue Heeler cross that was a head dog. We didn't know how to work her and she caused the other Blue Heelers some problems, but she was one tough cookie. Where she really helped was in the timber. If the cattle were getting away from you, she would bring them back single-handed.

She wasn't very big, really, and she was white with black speckles all over her. Her ears stood straight up and she had a bob-tail, which I think was bobbed, not natural.

We called her "Cat" and she was the funniest dog we have ever owned. Talk about personality. She should have belonged to a rodeo clown as she would do ANYTHING for a laugh. We enjoyed her for many years. When we first got her and had her in the house, in the evening when we would watch tv, she would steal the show. She would turn somersaults on the living room rug, just to get our attention. Over and over, she would go. It was hilarous. And this was before we had a video camera so we never got to record it.

I do think sometimes she thought she was a cat. If you were watching something inside the corral, she would climb up the poles and hang over the top rail and watch with you. Or she would walk down the rail to visit the next person. Such balance she had.

If she was on a load of hay in the back of the pickup, she would get on top of the cab, slide down the window and set on the hood looking at you through the glass! On the older Ford pickups the gas cap stuck out a bit between the bed and the cab. If the window was down, she would step out on that gas cap and leap through the window into the cab. She never did fall to the ground.

She would chase the coyotes and then they would chase her. She was really, really fast, but sometimes they would hit her and she would roll into a ball and wind up on her feet and then she'd really take off, getting away. It was so funny to watch. It was like she would dare them to play the game.

She would wear sunglasses and be very careful for them not to fall off. She was just a real ham. We had her until she got old and had some back problems, became deaf, and finally we had her put to sleep. We had her for 15 years. She was a great part of our family.

We had three dogs at that time and they were all good. My husband could say, "See birds" and they would run and look up in the trees. He would say, "See Fish" and they would run to the creek and look in it, maybe jump in. (Cat actually caught a fish once!) He could say, "See rats" and they'd run to a woodpile and maybe start moving boards to find the rats.

Oh, it didn't take much to keep us entertained. They were great!! We still miss those three dogs. Two were Blue Heeler cross and one was straight Blue Heeler.
 

REDANDBLUEHEELERGAL

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This is an old post, but......I raise, show and breed ACD's both in conformation, herding trials, agility, flyball and seach and rescue. In trials they must do both, head and heel. I have pictures to show of my dogs heading a cow, goat, sheep etc. All in the command.
 

REDANDBLUEHEELERGAL

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No one can have too many Cattle dogs. I have 40 plus and three litters due in Sept and Oct. I lost count. I have a new one I am picking up in TX next week,......forty one? Not sure of the number :eek:
 

REDANDBLUEHEELERGAL

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I have achieved my goal. As stated on my website, my passion is the love of the breed and to have a dog that not only looks good in the show ring, but can also work. My dogs are Champions in the ring for conformation and once they have their titles, then we move onto herding titles. Not all dogs can win in the conformation ring, and not all dogs work. Our goal is to have an all around athletic dog who can do what is asked of it or to be a loyal and faithful companion.

I have invested a lot of time and money in my dogs, as many here have invested their time and money into cattle. I breed for a good dog, whether for show or working, pet or agility. As any good breeder you goal is always for betterment of the breed no matter what you are breeding, cattle, dogs, horses, cats etc.

As for what I do with my dogs. Everything. I show them, I work them, I use them in competions for herding trials, and most of all I love them. I have sold dogs in 40 states and several providences of Canada. My dogs have gone on to show homes, ranches, agility, therapy dogs, search and rescue, schutzhund, and the ever faithful companion. There is a Code of Ethics breeders take.

We also strive to test our dogs for hips, hearing and PRCD. ACD'S are prone to deafness due to the lineage of the dalmation in their lines. PRCD is basically blindness which can occur for breeding affected dogs. Therefore testing is so important to produce A and B breedings. My goal on that part is to have no C dogs and only A to B breedings and eventually all A pattern dogs. Hips are just as important with a Good to Excellent Penn or OFA rating. And all dogs should be BAER tested with bilateral hearing. AND NO DOCKED TAILS or BLUE EYES and NO BODY SPOTS.

Despite the number of dogs I have, my dogs are not kenneled or caged. All my land is fenced and I have several "dog yards" within my land which is specifically for the dogs, about an acre per five dogs. Certain dogs go with certain dogs to prevent fights. Yes, heelers are tough dogs, and could be left out in the elements, but at night I prefer to know where my dogs are and that they are safe so they come into a large "doggy room" with all the comforts they need air/heat, beds, toys, water and food. Same goes for hot, rainy or cold days, they are free to come inside their doggy room

So, hope that answers your question.
 

CattleArmy

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After attending a few working dog clinics let me say I in no way feel I'm an expert however I do feel that I might have a tad bit of valuable information. One of the key elements I walked away from after learning about working dogs is that the dogs need to be trained on dog broke cattle. Makes sense if one thinks about it. What I was told to get dogs off of a cows head is to take the pressure off of the dog and get them to work the back. What I remember is that the dog is put on a long rope so the handler has some control and can keep the dog back. The handler is in front of the cow with a sorting stick and hits the ground as the dog tries to get in front of the cow. There are some great training videos out on the market and some informative working dog clinics to attend. Not only is valuable information gained but it's a great opportunity to meet some really nice people.
 

REDANDBLUEHEELERGAL

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I never attended a clinic. When I start my dogs, they start on geese, then goats or sheep and first they go into herding trials for AKC competition. Once they get their titles, then they are introduced to cattle.

First is showing for conformation. Then they get their HX title. Can't show a conformation dog with no teeth! So you do conformation first and then herding.

As for training, everyone does it different. I have Border Collies also. Never trained a single one of them, they just went out and did it. Heelers are a bit more aggressive to the cattle and have to be controlled a bit more, they can get out of hand. But once you have a good cow dog, all you need is one good horse and a few cows dogs and you have it made.

I have never watched a video or been to a seminar, but I am sure they would be interesting and every little bit of info you can pick up is always helpful.

When I said my dogs work the heads, it is more working once they get the cows where they want them and then one tries to sneak pass, the dog will cut them off and keep them penned.
 

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