I posted once about my new Australian Cattle Dog puppy, Pandora. Today she is 15 weeks old (3.5 months, plus a week). This little girl has stolen my heart and destroyed my socks.
As I attempt to train her I’ve realized a few things. The most obvious one being, I never trained a dog before. As a young girl, I remember when we got our dog, Katy. She was a mutt, super cute, and somewhere between small and mid-sized on the height spectrum.
I remember when we brought her home and put an old clock under her bed so she could hear the tick, tick, tick of the time. We also gave her a doll “Mr. Bill” that she loved to attack.
My parents made a puppy gate that blocked off the kitchen. That was Katy’s area at bedtime during the night and when we had to leave the house without her. As Katy got older she learned to jump. We’d hear, “click, click, click, click, click,” across the kitchen linoleum, a thump and silence. She didn’t make much noise on the carpet. That was all you needed to hear to know she’d escaped.
There was the night we were eating dinner and after us girls were done, we’d gone off to play. Shortly after we heard a yelp.
Turns out, Dad was tired of Katy biting his ear, so he bit her ear. I don’t know how I feel about that, but she didn’t bite his ear again, so….
When my husband’s and my son was three or four, we got a Collie. Super smart, we were told. Now, granted, I am clearly not a dog trainer. However, that dog didn’t listen. I tried to train her to sit. Nope. Not going to do it. And then she took off. She ran and ran, just like the first dog in Funny Farm.
Long story short, she was rehomed.
Enter Pandora, the Australian Cattle Dog
We’ve had Pandora at home with us for almost two months now. We picked her up three days before she turned eight weeks old.
I have found great training videos on YouTube. I’ve found videos specific to the Australian Cattle Dog breed. This breed is also know as Blue Heeler or Red Heeler depending on the color. Blue is white and back and sometimes a tad bit of brown. A red heeler is one that is brown and white.
One thing, I keep hearing over and over again is how this breed needs to be socialized. They are wired to be a one-person dog. And many people talk of their heelers flipping a switch and going from little social furballs to angry hermits.
I don’t want that for Pandora. I want her to be, at the very least, non-plussed by other animals and people. Preferably, she will play with other dogs and be kind to people, maybe not super lovey, but you know, not all, “I shall eat you if you take one more step.”
Australian Cattle Dogs are smart, but tough to train. Couple that with novice dog owners and there’s a reason most dog sites say this breed is more for people who are experienced dog owners.
Have I made it clear that we’re not experienced dog owners? Because we’re not. Not even close.
The problem is more me than Pandora. I have to learn how to be the leader of her world. I have to learn to be consistent with her training. Plus, I need to get the others in the household on board with her training. That’s even harder than training her.
What I need
What I keep looking for is a site that shows me what to expect with a tough breed and a novice trainer. I need reality. I don’t want sugar-coated encouragement nor do I want horror stories. Actual tips would be most helpful and I want to see how it plays out and how long it will take to get her to be a decent dog. And hopefully, I don’t screw up along the way.
Since, I’m not finding that, my blog is becoming that. Pandora is taking over our lives. In a good way.
I’m starting a YouTube channel with clips from our walks so you can see how long it’s taking her to learn and hopefully you can pickup ideas and most importantly, share ideas with me.