Whether you already own a blue heeler, or are thinking of getting one, many owners might feel overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and liveliness that a blue heeler appears to have. But is this reputation fair? Can a cattle dog make for a peaceful pet? And will they eventually calm down? I spent some time researching the breed to find out exactly what an owner can expect.
So, when do blue heelers Calm Down? Blue Heelers typically calm down at around the age of 4-6 years old. Although you can help your dog to mentally mature through consistent obedience training early on in life and through implementing a regular exercise routine and schedule.
The blue heeler, otherwise called the Australian cattle dog, is known to be one of the most energetic and intelligent breeds of domestic dog.
That is just the way it is I am afraid to say…
Besides, they were originally bred to move livestock over long distances in the outback.
So we cannot really blame them; its part of their heritage, and having a lot of energy was a big part of what they needed to do.
Interestingly, they made success of this role by biting at the heels of cattle, hence the name ‘heeler’.
Then there is their beautiful ‘blue’ coat… pair it all together.
You have your alternative name, now it all makes sense.
But irregardless of what you call them or how you refer to the breed, this is the same dog.
Let us now take a closer look at their energetic nature, whether or not they can be easily trained and practical tips to help calm them down – even in their most active phase – as a puppy!
What Age Does A Blue Heeler Calm Down?
Blue heelers are classed as a medium-sized breed and will typically grow to their full adult size by 12-18 months old.
They technically will reach full mental maturity by 15 months of age, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have calmed down by this stage.
Many blue heelers will still seem to act like a puppy far past this point, often displaying hyperactive behavior and even signs of aggression, particularly around strangers.
Signs of aggression usually occur because blue healers are naturally very loyal and protective of their owners, and so will attempt to fight off any intruder that might seem like a threat.
For this reason, blue heelers can make great guard dogs, but still you should never encourage them to display this type of behavior.
Hyperactive behaviour can be a concern for owners who are struggling to control their cattle dogs.
After all, this breed is a result of cross breeding between domestic breeds such as the collie and the wild Dingo, a wild dog found in the Australian outback, which is far from domesticated.
So, you’d be forgiven for finding It challenging to calm down your blue heeler.
However, with the correct training and patience it can be done.
In general, blue heelers will begin to naturally calm down from the age of 4-6 years onwards.
As they mature, they gradually become calmer and better behaved. This process can be accelerated with the proper exercise routine and training program.
Are Blue Heelers More Hyper Than Other Breeds?
Blue Heelers naturally have a lot of energy and are very intelligent dogs. They were bred to tirelessly herd livestock across Australian plains and as a result are very athletically fit, but this also means that they will require more exercise.
Without the ability to burn off this extra energy, Australian cattle dogs will tend to be more hyper than most other breeds of dog. But thankfully this something that owners have some control over.
Keeping a cattle dog inside all day with no ability to let off some steam is a bad idea, but with enough regular exercise they should calm down significantly.
An adult blue heeler should get at least an hour of daily exercise but preferably more, including long walks, runs and playing in the park.
Taking all these points into account, the blue heeler is better suited to a type of owner who is as enthusiastic about exercise as their dog, and who is willing to invest a lot of time into training.
Furthermore, it is ideal to have some enclosed outside space, where you can let your dog get outside and have a play.
Just be sure to monitor them while they are in your yard/garden however, you do not want them to be left to their own devices for too long!
Are Blue Heelers Easy To Train?
Training is a vital component of getting your Blue heeler to calm down.
With the right training program, cattle dogs can be obedient, loyal and make great family pets.
Training is much more effective when started earlier in your dog’s life, so if you have a blue heeler puppy start from day one!
Training need not be complicated. The emphasis should be on repetition – that is consistently practicing training techniques so that new behavior patterns become integrated in your blue heeler’s routine.
Blue heelers are extremely intelligent dogs and as such they tend to learn commands much quicker than other breeds.
Blue heelers like to be in control. They have been bred to boss around livestock while droving them across large open spaces.
Therefore, in order to keep your cattle dog well disciplined, you will need to assert your dominance.
Always remain calm around your dog while being assertive and a natural hierarchy will form.
Your cattle dog should have to work for both your attention and food, this will tell them that you are in charge and if he doesn’t behave then he won’t get a reward.
Teach your dog commands such as ‘sit’, ‘wait’ and ‘stay’ and reward him with a treat when he behaves.
Overtime with repetition, this will become the new norm and you will find yourself in control.
If your blue heeler misbehaves then discipline them with a stern raise of your voice, or ignore them completely, and never give a reward after bad behavior as this will only reinforce the issue.
As mentioned previously, exercise is also vital for a blue heeler. They are hard working dogs and so keeping them cooped up indoors for long periods of time will result in hyperactive and disobedient behavior.
It is their instinct to run and play, so allowing them to let off some excess energy will help them to calm down.
They particularly enjoy task-solving exercises which will keep them both mentally and physically occupied.
Herding classes can also be a great way to help calm your blue heeler down. It is their instinct to herd, and while this type of behavior isn’t ideal in the family setting, when performed in a controlled environment it can have great benefits.
Activities such as this will keep them entertained for hours, both physically and mentally wearing them out.
How Do I Get My Blue Heeler Puppy To Calm Down?
As with any breed of dog it is important to start training as early as possible. That way new habits will form and become part of your blue heeler’s everyday routine.
As with any dog breed; they need to respect you and your home. They need to understand what is permissible behavior and what is not.
Irregardless of their energy; training can help them to keep it under control, despite the challenges it may bring.
Follow the training advice above as early in your puppy’s life as possible. Starting slow and building from there.
Exercise is just as important for a growing Australian cattle dog as it is for an adult, but there are a few important things to remember.
Don’t start exercising your blue heeler until they are 3 months of age, at this point start with short 15-minute walks.
Gradually increase the duration of these walks as your puppy gets older.
Don’t allow your puppy to do a lot of jumping and running until they are at least 9-months of age.
This is because their bones are still growing and excessive force can damage the growth plates within your puppy’s legs, resulting in abnormal development.
Always ensure that your blue heeler has plenty of toys to play with. This breed tends to get bored very easily if they don’t have plenty of toys to keep them entertained.
Puzzle toys care particularly effective as they not only keep your puppy occupied but will help them become more intelligent too; much of this newfound intelligence will pass over into their training, resulting in a more obedient dog.
Another benefit of toys is that they provide an object for your blue heeler to chew on. This allows them to express their instincts to chew without harming anyone.
Socialization is essential in making sure your cattle dog isn’t aggressive towards other dogs or humans.
As Blue heelers are naturally protective of their owners, and if they are not socialized with other dogs or people when they are young, they may act overly aggressive towards strangers as an adult.
Expose your blue heeler to lots of different people and dogs from an early age so that this becomes a normal environment for them to be in.
Have friends come over to the house to visit your new puppy and take your blue heeler to the park to meet other dogs.
Overtime they will become sociable and shouldn’t have a problem being around other humans and dogs alike.
Blue heelers are active and energetic dogs. This is just how they are.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that they will never calm down.
This is true even if it seems they will not or if you have had one already for an extended period of time already and cannot see the signs of slowing up.
Thankfully, while there is certainly a genetic and inherited aspect, there are things that we can do as owners to naturally ease their desire or willingness to be so lively.
Equally, we can direct their energy elsewhere.
So, with the right training and discipline, a blue heeler can make a great, calm family pet.
Regular exercise and stimulation will help to keep them still and with the proper upbringing from the time that they are a young puppy, you can expect a social and friendly companion.
If your blue heeler seems particularly uncontrollable or if they are a little older and are already in bad habits, then hiring a professional behaviorist is definitely an option to explore.
While this may help in certain contexts – its not a prerequisite to owning this dog. So do not be put off.
Besides, there are some advantages to the process – such as bonding and spending time with your dog. Plus, its pretty rewarding seeing them learn and become a part of the family.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.