“My love of Australian Cattle Dogs began in 1996 when I bought my partner Dave a 13 week old puppy before I went to Goulburn for Six months.
Bear was always Daves dog and I always wanted my own so I could train her myself. After our flatmate moved on in 2004 and took Jessie who was Bears pup, Dave bought me my own puppy, Matilda. I had Matilda for 16 months when she died in our arms from an aneurism. I was distraught as was Dave and Bear. Eventually Dave couldn’t take it anymore and one day turned up with this little bundle under his coat. This little bundle was soon named Tira which is part of an aboriginal word for ‘friend’.
It wasnt long after Tira arrived that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Tira proved to be a full on Cattle dog and was so hard to handle when I was going through operations and chemotherapy. She was with me everyday when I was having a bad one and our bond was starting to build. Once I was well enough I took her to obedience and after a few months we started agility. We loved agility and would have wonderful weekends away trailing. Tira is now ten years old and still doing agility. We have a beautiful bond and I love her to bits.
In 2010 we lost Bear at the age of 14 and half. Tira was really starting to fret and her lovely nature was changing. I told Dave its time to get a new friend for Tira and us of course. Dave showed me a photo of Morgan who was with Australian cattle Dog Rescue. He was absolutely gorgeous and I remember admiring him on rescue sites. Morgan is deaf and I thought to myself how am I going to train a deaf dog. As it was Daves choice I had no say in the matter. Two weeks later we were driving to Armidale to meet Morgan. Tira and Morgan got on so well he came home with us that day.
I soon learnt that training a deaf dog isn’t that hard. You just have to be consistent with body language and hand signals and treat them like a normal dog. Morgan is now also trialling in agility. Morgan is such a big clown and just wants to run all day everyday but unfortunately we don’t have acres so we go to the park a lot, plus he does Nose works which he is great at and loves doing it.
Tira and Morgan love nothing more then going for a run in the park or a swim in the river. Tira also loves doing agility and running with my friends as I cant run her any more due to being diagnosed with bone cancer in 2013. That doesnt stop us from going as I love going to watch her run with them and they love running with her. Tira just loves to make me happy. I can run Morgan because he is a beginner but it is getting harder for me.
Cattle dogs were bred in Australia to herd cattle on expensive ranches in the outback. Their natural instinct is to nip the heels of the cattle to get them moving. The nipping can be minimised by training at a young age. Australian cattle dogs or Blue Heelers as they are also known are very active and need lots of exercise or a job to do. They are very smart and if not given a job they will find their own job which probably wont be something the owner wants him/ her to do. Cattle dogs are also known to be ‘velcro’ dogs and become very attached to their owners and family and can be very protective.” by Jo