Also known as the Australian cattle dog, blue heelers have been bred for centuries as natural herders and watchdogs. They are incredibly loyal, dedicated to their owners, and can even be used to herd cattle (as the name implies).
Having a puppy of any kind brings with it a series of challenges. Knowing how to care for three-week-old blue heeler puppies comes with a few important tasks. Here is what to know about raising those puppies to be healthy and happy.
A Healthy Start
Giving your blue heeler a healthy start is crucial. If you get them through a breeder, generally they don’t come home until the six-week mark. This is to ensure that they are on the proper dietary path and showing good growth.
Puppies need to not only be on the right dietary path but also require vaccinations and regular visits to the vet. Blue heeler puppies need a diet that is rich in protein so that they can grow at the rapid rate that puppies do.
Talk to your vet each step of the way, particularly as they get older. Changes to their diets may be necessary but should be done gradually.
Get Them Socialized
Another matter of importance when it comes to raising three-week-old blue heeler puppies is proper socialization. Any dog should be given exposure not only to other dogs but also to adults and children as well. Socialization is necessary for raising a happy, well-behaved dog.
Since the blue heeler is naturally loyal and protective, there is a further need for socialization. Otherwise, the puppies could become wary not only of strangers but also of other dogs. Take them near family and friends. Bring them to the dog park. Give them time to properly acclimate to others, and you will see that friendly, loyal side that they are capable of displaying.
With just about any dog, you want to get started with training as soon as possible. Not only from the time that you meet them but from the time that they are born. With early training, you can avoid some of the bad habits that can come with years of life.
Training should always be done with positive reinforcement. Yelling at puppies can lead to fear, and they will become more concerned with not getting yelled at rather than doing the right thing. Puppies always try to get away with whatever they can, so you need to establish boundaries.
Work on the five basic commands: sit, come, stay, lay, and leave it. When you have mastered those basic commands, you should be able to deal with most of the situations that arise. Blue heelers should also obey them with consistency so long as you keep it positive and give them lots of treats.
They Need a Lot of Exercise
One important note is that blue heelers are a very active breed of dog. If you are the kind of person who likes to spend all of your time on the couch, a blue heeler might not be the best breed for you. Blue heelers need to have at least two hours of exercise per day.
That exercise is important for a few reasons. Remember that they were bred to work with herding and in fields. Because of that, they have naturally high levels of energy. They are used to working hard and getting that energy out through regular activity.
Frequent walks, jogs, playing with toys, and even agility exercises can do wonders for them. They also require regular mental stimulation, so invest in toys that will keep them entertained. Those who have a large, fenced-in backyard will do well with a blue heeler.
This is definitely a breed that requires boundaries because they will continuously push if no boundaries are established. Make sure that you are consistent and firm when establishing those boundaries. If you don’t want them in a specific room, make them sit outside the doorway.
Do not allow them in one time, then not another. They won’t listen, and they will know that if they push, they can get away with it. Blue heelers are very smart and recognize when you have inconsistencies in your training methods. When they break a rule and succeed in getting away with it, they’ll keep pushing.
With consistency, you can not only establish those important boundaries but also show the heeler who is in charge. From there, they should look to you regularly before doing anything. Heelers are easily trainable and can be great listeners—you just have to have the patience and consistency to work with them.
There are a lot of things to be aware of before getting a blue heeler puppy. When you get your puppy, proper socialization, training, and dietary implementation are crucial. This is an important part of the pup’s development, and you need to do what you can to set it up for the best possible growth.
When you manage each of these expectations properly, you know that your blue heeler puppy will be on the right path. Before long, your blue heeler will grow exponentially, hitting its full size by the time it is a year old.