Blue Heelers, also known as Australian Cattle Dogs, Red Heeler, and Queensland Heelers, are a determined herding breed. Parents do worry about the safety of their children around dogs, so it is important to understand a little about the breed.
Blue Heelers and kids
Blue Heelers are better with older children over 10 years old. They may not be the best fit for younger children. Young children can be erratic and unpredictable in their movement. This can make a Blue Heeler feel unsure. This may result in controlling and herding behavior and even nipping.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a rugged breed that can handle a small child climbing on them. However, you don’t want to always assume that the dog is okay with this. You will want to monitor how your dog is reacting to it. Sometimes they may need a break from the relentless attention of a toddler.
Older children are much more aware and mindful of a dog’s needs and body language. They are also less erratic in their movements. Blue Heelers love the company of their family and can be a great companion for your children.
With good training and socialization, preferably from a young age, Blue Heelers can be excellent family dogs. It is crucial to correct any signs of controlling or herding behavior.
Children the dog doesn’t know
Blue Heelers can very protective of the people they know and their family. This makes them a very good guard dog. However, they can be wary and closely watch people they don’t know that comes to the home. For more about Blue Heelers as guard dogs see here.
This includes children who may be visiting your kids. If the unfamiliar child does anything that the Blue Heeler might construe as threatening they may react. Always keep an eye on your Blue Heeler around any unfamiliar children.
Raising a Blue Heeler and kids together
Many people want to get a dog while their kids are young. This can be a good idea with Blue Heelers. This is because it will help them learn how to interact, be comfortable with, and respect kids.
It is probably not ideal to have Blue Heeler around with children under 2 years of age. When you take into account their strength and their endless energy, you may have a problem on your hands.
Australian Cattle Dogs require a lot of time, energy, and training in the early stages of and throughout their lives. It may be a better option to wait until your children are a little older before adding a Blue Heeler puppy to the family.
This way your children can learn how to interact with the new puppy and the puppy can learn the same about the children. Your kids can even be involved in the training and bond with the Blue Heeler.
Adult Blue Heelers and kids
If you already have a Blue Heeler and are planning to have children then the different approach may be required. Alternatively, you may be considering adding an adult Blue Heeler to your family with children.
Depending on the Blue Heelers background you will want to gauge their attitude towards children and introduce them into the household slowly. If you are introducing a rescue dog to the family they may have some issues. You will be learning about the rescue dog’s temperament and personality your self. It is better to stay on the side of caution and always supervise them around the children
If it is an existing Blue Heeler in the home and you are having children you will know the dog’s temperant. A well trained and socialized Blue Heeler should have no real problem integrating into a home with children. It is still important to introduce them slowly and supervise until you are completely confident they will be fine with the children.
Blue Heelers as family dogs
Blue Heelers can make excellent family dogs. It is, however, crucial to ensure that they get sufficient exercise and mental stimulation to avoid behavior issues. For a guide to Blue Heeler exercise see here.
Blue Heelers are outdoor dogs, but also love to be inside with the family. When given the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation they make good house dogs.
They are extremely loyal to their family and are very loving and affectionate. You must always be aware of their herding drive and nipping and should supervise when around young children.
So as long as you have the time and energy to cater to their needs they will be amazing pets and family members. For more on Blue heelers as family dogs see here.
Teaching kids about Blue Heelers
Most kids naturally love dogs and gravitate towards them. They love to cuddle them and play with them and get in their faces. It depends upon the individual temperament of your Blue Heeler whether they are ok with them or not.
Your Blue Heeler is likely going to be happy to see your children and will quickly get used to them coming up and touching them. It is important to teach your children that not all dogs will be the same as your dog.
No matter how your dog interacts with your kids, you want to make sure your kids understand that not all dogs are the same. You should teach your children to ask permission before touching a dog they don’t know, not to annoy them while they are eating and to be aware of body language such as growling.
These important lessons will teach your children to respect dogs and keep themselves safe. Teaching children to respect dogs and your dog to respect children is key to safe interactions between them.
Training your Blue Heeler for kids
Blue Heelers require a lot of training, not only in obedience but in how to interact with people and children. Training is the key to having a Blue Heeler that is good around children.
Consistent training will help your Blue Heeler learn quickly what is and is not acceptable behavior.
Blue Heelers need a structured environment to feel comfortable and safe shine and coexist with their people. They will learn through consistency what you allow when it comes to interacting with your kids. By rewarding and praising them for being gentle and correcting them for unwanted behavior such as herding or nipping the will quickly learn the rules and boundaries.
Blue Heelers want to be apart of the family and they can easily learn how to do that safely. Training is a key part of having Blue Heeler as a family pet and a companion to your children.
Summary – Blue Heelers and Kids
With good training and socialization, a Blue Heeler can be an excellent family dog and good with your children. The key is training them on how to behave around children and your children how to treat your dog.
A Blue Heeler may not be ideal around very young children especially under two years old. It is crucial to supervise them at all times.