When you first bring home a new puppy, you are determined that your four-legged friend will be well-behaved. You want them to listen to you on cue and follow your directions, but it can require a lot of intense work on your part to make this a reality.
If you want to train your new Blue Heeler to be a well-mannered dog, you will need to teach them some of these essential commands.
Blue Heelers can benefit from training because the commands often keep them safe from harm when you are out and about. It also builds up the bond between owner and dog as they learn how to work together. Training provides mental stimulation for your dog which can lead to less destructive behaviors.
If you are ready to tackle the process of training your Blue Heeler, here is what you need to know about what to teach them.
Benefits of Teaching Your Blue Heeler Commands
Many owners know that training their Blue Heeler is essential to having a dog who listens. However, teaching your Blue Heeler commands is more important than just having a dog who practices good manners when you have company over. Routine training can have a positive effect on your relationship with your dog as well.
Teaching your Blue Heeler commands is a great way to build up the bond between the two of you. Whoever spends the most time working with the dog and rewarding them for good behavior will likely become their Blue Heeler’s favorite person.
Everyone in the family should take turns with teaching these commands to their dog to ensure that he or she will listen to every human in the family.
The Blue Heeler is also a very active dog breed. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to feel worn out. Training is one way to engage their minds and curb some other unwanted behaviors such as nuisance barking, destructive chewing, and digging. A tired dog is oftentimes a happy dog.
Of course, one of the main reasons you want to teach your Blue Heeler to listen is for their safety. Certain skills can remove them from dangerous situations or scenarios where they could end up injured.
Having a dog who can sit on command or come back when called is essential if you are going to keep them safe.
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20 Blue Heeler Training Commands
Are you ready to tackle the major process of training your Blue Heeler?
Explore some of the many benefits of working with your dog by training them for some of these behaviors. Your dog will love playing these games with you, enjoy the attention, and be overjoyed at the rewards they will receive. Here are twenty of the most essential training commands you should consider teaching your canine companion.
It might seem like an obvious command that every dog should know, but sit is the foundation of many other skills your Blue Heeler needs to learn. It teaches impulse control and allows you to put your dog in a controlled situation when people come over to visit.
Sit is an essential training command that every dog should know how to do in every situation, including when there are distractions and temptations around. It takes time to teach your dog this skill in every scenario, but make sure to practice it when you are out and about as well as around the house.
Hold a treat above your dog’s nose and lure it upwards. This should encourage them to sit. If it does not, you can use your other hand to apply gentle pressure to their back end, encouraging the proper position. Reward them when they assume the correct position.
Down is another great command that keeps your dog’s impulse control in check. When they start to get too excited, this allows you to simply ask them to lay down. You might eventually be able to transfer the behavior to their dog bed or a mat on the floor.
From the sit position, lure their noses down toward the floor with a treat. As soon as their belly touches the floor, give the command and release the treat to them. You may need to repeat this several times before your dog catches on to the verbal command.
Before you can teach your dog any other skills, they need to learn the importance of the word “no.” It is a safety skill that teaches them when to leave things alone or when to stop what they are doing.
To teach this skill, put your dog on leash and place a smelly treat on the floor a few feet in front of them. As they get closer to it, tug on the leash and say no. When they look at you and walk away from the treat, reward them with a second treat from your hand.
Repeat this over and over again, applying the same steps to all sorts of scenarios that may appeal to your Blue Heeler both around the house and while you are out on your daily walk. It can help to have a treat pouch at the ready for these training sessions.
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Once your dog has the basics of sit and down, it is important to continue refining your canine’s ability to resist their impulse to run, chase, and herd. Stay is an essential command for safety and gives your dog the framework to be well-behaved even in challenging situations.
Work on backing away from your dog slowly while they are in a sit or a down position. Eventually, you can incorporate distractions and more distance between you and your Blue Heeler until they can reliably stay on their own for longer periods.
Focus is sometimes also referred to as the “watch me” command. Reward your dog each time they look at your face, giving them the command. This teaches them to direct their attention to you when things are a bit chaotic. It’s a great command to teach your dog for when you go out on the town such as to the park. As birds fly over or other dogs run wild, you can redirect your Blue Heeler’s attention back to you as the owner and issue the command you need them to follow.
For safety purposes, you need your dog to have a reliable recall. The come command is one of the first things you should train your dog to do. It can remove them from dangerous situations and bring them back to your side when there are too many distractions or when there is too much distance between you.
Make this command fun for them to learn. When they come closer to you when you call, give them a jackpot of treats. Eventually, they will come to associate this handsome reward with getting closer to you and will excitedly come each time you call.
Does your Blue Heeler rush to get out the door? Similar to a stay command, training your dog to wait at the threshold to the door should be an essential tool in your arsenal.
This keeps them from rushing to cross to the outside world each time someone opens the door. Wait teaches your dog to follow your commands instead of running ahead to the next and more exciting thing.
Training your dog to wait is very similar to teaching them to stay. Put them in a sit near the front door. Open the door and wait for your dog to try to move closer.
Issue the wait command and slowly close the door. Eventually, they will get the hint that it isn’t time to go outside just yet.
Once your dog learns to wait, it is important to be able to release them from this position. Of course, there will be times when you do actually want them to cross over the threshold of the door calmly with you by their side.
After they have waited for a good length of time and appear calm, say “okay” enthusiastically and encourage them to follow you through the door. This should be an easy command for your Blue Heeler to learn.
Along with sit and down, another positional command that you may want to teach is stand. This encourages your dog to stand up and possibly even move a bit closer to you. It is relatively simple to teach. From a sitting position, hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose.
As they get closer to it, guide it up and away from them to encourage them to stand. Issue the command and give them the reward as soon as they stand.
10. Paws off
Maybe you allow your dog to get on the furniture sometimes, but you may not want them there all the time. This is particularly true when you have guests over who would like to sit on your couch without your four-legged friend’s company. When you want your dog to get down, you need to teach them the paws off command.
Give the off command and lure your dog off the furniture with a treat in the hand. When they climb down, you will give them the treat as a reward for listening.
It won’t take long for them to associate the words “paws off” with your desire for them to climb off the couch.
11. Leave It
Does your dog scramble to lick up food that you drop or to eat things they shouldn’t while on a walk around your neighborhood?
Leave it is a great command to teach them for safety purposes. It can keep your dog from ingesting food that they really shouldn’t. However, this command can be a bit tricky to teach for beginners.
Put a treat in each hand. Show your dog the treat in your right hand before closing your fist around it. Your Blue Heeler will likely nose at your hand to try to get to the good smells that you are hiding from them. Give the command and wait for them to leave your hand alone.
When they back away, give them the treat from your other hand. They will eventually associate the words with losing interest in items.
12. Drop It
Every now and again, your Blue Heeler may ignore your leave it command and pick up something they shouldn’t. Drop it should be considered an essential command for every Blue Heeler. It teaches your dog to immediately drop whatever is in their mouth and move on.
The easiest way to train for this command is to use toys in a low-stress environment. Give one toy to your dog and wait for them to grasp it in their mouth.
Issue the drop it command and show them the next toy. When they let go of the first toy, give them a reward and swap their toys out.
13. Take It
This command is the opposite of the drop it command. In this scenario, you want your dog to pick up something and carry it for you. In most cases, you will use a toy for this though some dogs learn to carry their own leash and other household objects.
Teaching your dog to take it is much easier than some of the other commands, as your dog will be quite motivated to put things in their mouth. Give them one of their favorite toys, issuing the command simultaneously. Play with them with the toy as a reward. Repeat several times until your dog gets the concept down.
Your Blue Heeler needs a lot of exercise, so you need to make sure that it is an enjoyable experience for both of you. Heel teaches your dog to walk nicely on the leash, regardless of what distractions might be in the area. Start your dog as early as possible with great leash habits like heel.
Put your dog on leash and take them for a walk. Hold a treat in your closed fist at your side while keeping the leash tight and your dog’s head around the space next to your knee.
Say heel and start walking forward, luring them to stay in position with the treat. Eventually, you can drop the treat and your dog should expect to walk nicely by your side.
15. Go to Bed
Do you need your Blue Heeler to calm down when guests come over or after a rough playtime?
Teaching them to go to their bed can be an extremely helpful command that teaches them a firm boundary and helps their impulse control. Encourage them to lay down and relax. This command should come later in the training process after your dog has already mastered the basics of sit and down.
To teach your dog to go to bed, put them on a leash so you have more control over where they go. Say the words you plan to use for this command, and then walk them to the bed or mat where you want them to lay. Once they are squarely on the dog bed, give them a treat.
Eventually, you can withhold the reward until they lay down and begin to relax.
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While not all dogs are big barkers, the Blue Heeler can certainly be protective over their owner and territory.
If they suspect that someone might intrude on their space, such as the postal worker, they might begin to bark. This nuisance behavior can drive owners crazy, so teaching your dog a quiet command is absolutely essential.
Every time your dog barks, give the quiet command. When the barking stops for a few seconds, reward them with something tasty. They will quickly learn that being quiet means a reward is in their future.
17. Go to the Bathroom
This command sometimes goes by many other names such as “get busy” or “do your business.” No matter what phrase you choose to use, it can be extremely helpful to teach your dog to go to the bathroom on command.
This can start when they are a puppy and you are house training them, but it can also be helpful for adult dogs to minimize the amount of time you must spend in the yard waiting for them to do their business.
Stuff your treat pouch with delicious goodies that are safe for your dog to consume. When they go to the bathroom outside, give them the command of your choice.
After they finish, reward them with a goodie or two from your pouch. Lavishly praise them and give them affection so that they associate going to the bathroom with all of this positive attention.
18. Get in the Car
Most people love to take their Blue Heeler out on the town with them whether that means a trip to the home improvement store or the local dog park.
Climbing into the car is an important step toward making it to your final destination. Teach your dog to love loading up in the car with this command.
With your treat pouch and your dog firmly on the leash, open the trunk of your car or open the door if they sit in the backseat or passenger seat for travel. Lure them into the car with a treat and give them the command to “load up” or “get in the car.” Give them the treat when all four paws are safely inside the vehicle.
If your Blue Heeler is hesitant to get in the car at first, you can reward for this behavior in stages. When they put their front feet up, give them a reward.
As they grow more comfortable at this stage, you can encourage them to get in the rest of the way and then reward them for that progress. Be sure to celebrate with them when they eventually climb all the way in the car.
There is a good possibility that your Blue Heeler may need to be crated in your absence to prevent them from getting into trouble around the house. A crate is a great place to send your dog when they are feeling rambunctious so that they can calm down for a little while. Many dogs come to love their crate because it gives them a sense of security.
Lure your dog close to the crate and toss a treat just inside the door. Allow them to go inside to retrieve their prize. When your Blue Heeler is comfortable at this stage, toss the treat a little farther back until they have to go all the way in the crate to retrieve it. Issue the crate command as they climb inside.
There may be times when you want your dog to bark on cue, so the speak command can come in handy. Convincing your dog to vocalize can be a bit tricky, so make sure to pay attention to your dog’s behavior over the days leading up to teaching this command.
Find out what gets your Blue Heeler really excited such as a favorite toy or a rousing game of fetch. Get them excited until they start barking, issue the speak command, and give them a treat. They will come to associate the word with the action of barking fairly quickly.
Training Your Blue Heeler
The possibilities for what you can train your Blue Heeler to participate in are practically limitless. These twenty commands are the essentials that every dog should know how to do for their safety and your convenience. Be patient with your dog as he learns these new behaviors and adapts to your expectations for him!
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How many commands can a Blue Heeler learn?
The average Blue Heeler can learn about 165 words, allowing them to learn an extensive repertoire of skills. Take things slowly and train for just one to two commands at a time.
Allow them to master these commands before moving on to more advanced commands that might require multiple steps or that build off the foundational commands like sit and down.