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Inherited Blue Healer

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Member Since
01/28/2013
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 28, '13 7:40pm PST 
Hello,
I have inherited an 11 year old female blue healer who belonged to an elderly lady in poor health. I have been around the dog for several years but now she has come to live with me. She does not have anything in the way of training except the command sit. I need to know if you think she is too old to work with. My reading says they are happiest when they have a job to do but I don't live on a farm and don't know what kind of "job" I can give her and if anyone has had experience training basic commands to a dog of this age.
Thanks for any feedback.
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Cooper

The most- fabulous Bug-Bug
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 12:49pm PST 
Hi! Bless your heart for taking the dog in. Australian Cattle dogs (ACDs) are very intelligent and they learn new things relatively easily. Age isn't really a barrier to her learning new tricks. I have had ACDs for 22 years and you don't need to live on a farm or actually "herd" with them for them to have a job. Mostly, making a cattle dog happy entails exercise and mental stimulation. They get bored easily and they are a high energy dog since they original use was to be out working with their people all day. Your dog is on the older side (life span of ACDs is between 12-14yrs) so she most likely doesn't have as much energy as a younger dog would and she'll probably be a bit more mellow than a younger ACD. If you don't have a back yard, no worries. I lived in an apartment with my first ACD when I was in college and a nice brisk walk for several blocks or a few blocks down to the local doggy park for a good game of fetch worked fine for her. I did that once a day with another shorter but brisk walk and she was perfectly happy and healthy. As far as jobs, our ACD, Rosie, likes to play fetch, frisbee and pretty much anything that we can throw and she can return to us. Our ACD Cooper, doesn't think he should have to fetch but he LOVES to herd so we bought him a large ball like a basketball and we roll it around and he herds it. We pretty much play until they're tired and then we go inside. A good way to mentally stimulate her is to teach her things. Simple things like putting food on the floor and teaching her to "leave it" will come in handy to prevent her from eating something you don't want her to. Also "heel" is a good way to get her to walk with you. "Wait" is a good one too to get her to stop and wait for you if she gets ahead of you. Teach her anything you want her to know and anything you think is fun. If you're having fun teaching her, she'll have fun with you too. Keep the training sessions brief and always end on a high note and you'll be amazed what she can do and how proud you'll be of her! Feel free to contact me in the future, I'd be more than happy to talk about ACDs and help if you need it. Good luck!
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Member Since
01/28/2013
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 9:11pm PST 
Thanks for responding to my post. We have found that she is quite happy with her new "job" which is trying to herd the birds at the beach. They're not very cooperative but that does not deter her.
She is a great dog.
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