Australian Cattle Dog Q&A

I'm writing for my brother who adopted an approximately 2-year-old male cattle dog from a shelter in September 2007. He does not have any major problems except when my brother tries to take him for a walk, the dog jumps up and tries to grab the leash and will snarl and bark. They have tried several suggestions from people to try and train him to walk on a leash, but he becomes very aggressive and will not stop jumping. After they walk/drag him about a block, the dog gets tired and then walks normally on the leash. Any suggestions out there? They tried keeping still until he calms down and maybe he will realize that they won't take him for a walk until he behaves but that doesn't work. They have tried a soda can with pennies in it and throwing it at his feet and he will stop for an instant and then keep on acting up. They are getting extremely frustrated with him and I am afraid they will give up on him. He's house trained and is very well behaved in the house except for when he is bored and then he will look for something to get into. Please help. Thanks. Margie

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Answers (12)

I have owned 5 cattle dogs over the years - I currently have 3 - and sometimes they can be quirky. Your brother's dog may have been dragged roughly or fallen from the back of a truck and had the leash hold him. They are very smart dogs with long memories. He may have tried this without success, but, if not, I suggest that he start with a short leash or light rope and tie it on the dog's collar and let him wear it around the house or yard for a few days. When the dog comes over to be petted, always do so, holding the leash or rope gently and give him a treat - little treats work as well as big treats (like rice krispies, one or two at a time). Gradually, increase the length of rope so you can walk holding it and do so in the house, just briefly, say from couch to chair, then a treat and lead him a brief distance to get his supper if you start having success with this until he can wear his leash in the house for long periods of time and it can be picked up and you can lead him short distances without him reacting. If he backslides, shorten the distances again. Remember to praise him and pet him, don't drag or scold. When he gets the hang of this indoors - which should really only take a few days, start the outside walks slowly and keep the treats in your pocket. Good luck with him. They are awesome dogs. Cindy

you also try walking the dog in a harness or a muzzle lead as i have more response with these then what i do with a collar and the dog likes it better this way rather than me pulling it by the neck which is not nice

some times u got to put on a shock collar when u go for walks and when he gets mad and jumps on u shock him and if he keeps doin it put it 1 level higher and shock him it works like almost all the timep.s try it

my dog, blue wants to be the leader. he herds anything and everything. could be that this dog wants to be in charge (males are more prone to this) when i walk mine i have to also walk my other dog and let blue hold that leash. when the other dog tries to get away, blue just holds on tighter (jaws of steel)

i have a training collar i use on all three of my dogs that has two settings. one is a noise control and the other is shock. only time i have ever had to use the shock setting was on my cattle dog because he tried to go after a neighbor child. the shock dropped him in his tracks, but for the leash problem i think a dog whistle, at a smallercost,might do the trick. each time he rears up and tries to take control of the leash, blow the whistle, if he takes a few steps without acting up put him in a sit and praise him alot

Marge, have you tried walking the dog without a leash or just not holding onto the leash? Heelers are very active, super intelegent and learn things very quickly (good or bad). If he has had a bad experience or has been allowed to learn bad behvior you may need to change the way you start your walks. When you begin the walk, and the dog jumps, give a firm tug on the leash, say "no" and ask him to sit( in a heel position)next to you. Wait 20-30 seconds, take up the slack in the leash, ask him to come, and start walking. If he jumps, give a firm tug, say "no" and ask him to sit. Repeat these steps until the dog will walk 5 or 6 steps without jumping. Then ask the dog to sit and praise him. Gradually extend the length of walking without jumping, then praise. I would bet you'll see alot of progress in a very short time your first time out. Remember a little bit of praise goes a long way and shock collars are never, ever needed. keep it positive!! Good Luck!

I took my dog to a dog training class. He's a typical cattle dog although a mix. Try squirting him with a water bottle. The dog trainer tried this with my dog because he is quite aggressive with other dogs and it works extremely well. When we are out on walks I take the water bottle with me and when we pass other dogs and he starts to get aggressive I just squirt him once or twice and he won't even look at the other dogs after that.

i have 2 cowdogs. tell him to try playing in the yard to tire him out before the walk, with the leash on just dangling on the ground. then when the dog is at its panting point try walking. mine just thought the leash is was a toy. as for the barking and growling, they can be visciously vocal, but in reality they might as well be purring.

My ACD will grab the leash as soon as we get out the door and will start pulling. I tell him "NO" and pull him back inside and have him sit. I do this every time he grabs the leash until he stops. Then he gets a 'good boy' and a treat. Once he gets the idea you can do away with the treats. My ACD is getting better and does not do it all the time. Ocassionally he forgets and I have to 'remind' him of the correct behavior.

We have a three year old ACD who was an absolute nightmare on a leash until we took her to doggy bootcamp and learned the right way to walk her. We trained her using a pronged training collar with rounded prongs (most at the pet stores aren't rounded and can pinch. Make sure the ends are rounded). Whenever she would pull we'd give her a quick tug correction and she eventually learned to stop. She now walks at our side and stops and sits whenever we stop walking. We don't even need the training collar now.

Are people here from the stone age? Shock collars? Squirting? All negative reinforcement? You people actually care for cattle dogs? If you can't persuade your cattle dog to do whatever you need, give the dog to somebody who can. They're the most communicative and tractable dogs in the world. If you can't manage yours without torture you should shelter it noe because you are the personification of hell for that inteeligent, sensitivelittle creature.

Mine did the same thing when I first got him (still does if his needs aren't met). The fact it walks fine about the aggressive burst means the dog is understimulated, both mentally and physically. Look at "The power of tug" videos online and teach him to play but be VERY firm about rules. It's not about stealing the toy away from you, it's about the game itself. Eventually he will "win" and shove the toy back at you to play with. As far as the pennies and other forms of negative "punishment" reinforcement, that causes these dogs to shut down. They're a strange combo of hard-headed and very sensitive. Instead, guide him to the right behavior and praise it. Save the negative stuff for really bad things!

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