The best type of dog toys for Blue Heelers or (Red Heeler) are ones that cater to their natural instincts and traits. This is true for all the cattle-herding breeds including the Kelpie, Australian Cattle Dog, and the Australian Shepherd.
What toys do Blue Heelers like
Blue Heelers and cattle dogs are high-energy and highly intelligent. They are also working dogs so toys and activities that provide them a job to do are ideal. In addition, they were bred to work for a human handler so they human contact.
Therefore, the best type of toys for Blue Heelers and cattle dogs achieve one or more of the following objectives
- help to burn up pent up energy
- provide mental stimulation and challenge
- allow the opportunity to involve you in the game
- cater to their natural instincts such as herding
Here are our top picks for toys that your Blue Heeler or cattle dog will love
Herding balls for Blue Heelers
Herding balls are an excellent way for herding dog breeds to burn off energy while catering to their natural herding instinct. It is like sheep herding without the sheep and is similar to the herding dog sport Treiball.
These breeds were bred to chase and control moving objects. Teaching your dog to play herding games will actually reduce their desire to herd people and other dogs as herding breeds often do. Herding behavior can become a problem if this need is not catered to. See Herding breed behavior problems to learn more.
This is a review of two of the best herding balls for dogs. These balls are virtually indestructible and because they are made of hard plastic or rubber your dog is unable to bite them, so they have to push them instead.
The Jolly Ball was the original herding ball for dogs and is inexpensive. It is made from hard plastic and is virtually indestructible. However, some dogs are able to scratch the surface with their teeth or claws which can leave sharp ridges on the toy. Can also be filled with water or sand to add weight to give more resistance to the workout.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon
The Jolly ball also comes in a range of sizes from 4 1/2 inches to 14 inches so you can choose the size that is best suited to your particular dog. A further option is the Jolly Soccer Ball if you want to be able to kick it yourself. This ball floats on water and will not puncture.
Virtually Indestructible Ball
The Virtually Indestructible Ball is super tough and is slightly more expensive. It also comes in a range of sizes to suit your particular dog.
View Virtually Indestructible Balls on Amazon
Dog Toys that Move
Motorized dog toys are another great way to cater to your Blue Heeler or cattle dog’s natural herding instinct. There a number of different automatic moving dog toys. These range from the PetGeek Play Bone which is a basic toy that your tap and off it goes to more high-tech chase toys like the GoBone and the Wicked Bone. These high-tech bones can be controlled from an app on your phone and even operated when your not home. To learn more about the differences between the PetGeek Play Bone, the Wicked Bone and the GoBone see here.
Energy BurningToys for Blue Heelers
Blue Heelers are extremely high-energy working dogs. Insufficient exercise can result in boredom with is the major cause of behavior issues such as nuisance barking, destructive behavior, and escaping. For more on How to exercise a Blue Heeler or cattle dog see here.
These suggested toys are not only great for burning off pent-up energy, but they also provide your dog a job to do.
If your dog is ball mad then the Wicked Ball is the ultimate moving dog toy for them. The magic ball runs and bounces all by itself and the LED light adds another level of engagement for your dog. No App or remote controller required.
It has several settings such as the Intelligent Companion mode. In this mode, the Wicked ball has 10 minutes of play and 30 minutes of rest. If your dog pushes or hits the ball it starts the play cycle again. It also has three reaction modes (gentle, normal, active) so you can set it to suit your dog’s mood. Due to its obstacle avoidance system (collision sensor), it doesn’t get stuck in tight spots.
The Wicked ball is durable and dog safe and is also waterproof so can be played with when swimming. It also has a treat hole for dogs that are food motivated.
View the Wicked Ball on Amazon.
A Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. It works directly with their chase instinct. Be sure they have a good leave-it command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. This game is excellent for burning up that pent-up energy in a short amount of time. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.
View the range of flirt poles on Amazon.
Automatic Ball Launchers
Fetch is the favorite game of the majority of dogs. I am sure you have had the experience of your dog wanting you to throw the ball just a few more times. With an Automatic Ball Launcher, they can play fetch all by themselves. This will require training them to put the ball in the funnel initially, but once they know what to do they are away and fetching. Read “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs” to learn more
Manual Ball Launchers
Handheld ball launchers are an excellent way to exercise your dog. Obviously, the further you can throw the ball the more your dog has to run.
They also make life easier for you as the long handle lets you pick up a ball without having to bend over to the ground. It also prevents you from having to touch a slobbery ball.
The best quality and well-known brand are the Chuckit. These are also extremely inexpensive and well worth having. Check out the Chuckit ball thrower on Amazon.
Kong Flying Disc
Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a flying disc requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Roll the Disc on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your Blue Heeler is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.
View the Kong Flying Disc on Amazon
Blue Heeler toys for Mental Stimulation
Blue Heelers and cattle dogs are highly intelligent and it is crucial to provide challenges that stimulate their minds. Mental exercise can tire a dog as much as physical exercise. For more on mental stimulation for Blue Heelers see here.
When selecting interactive puzzle type toys for your Blue Heeler or cattle dog it is best to select toys that are a little more difficult. As these breeds are super smart and great problem solvers you don’t want them to figure it out too quickly. For more suggestions see Puzzle and enrichment toys for Blue Heelers.
The iFetch Frenzy is the only dog puzzle toy that doesn’t use treats. The ball itself is the reward. Your dog drops the ball into the top and scrambles to find it as it randomly rolls from 6-12 feet out of 1 of 3 chutes at the base.
There’s no launching, like our other iFetch ball launchers but it still gives your Boston Terrier the opportunity to chase. This product allows dogs to quickly return to the real challenge: the mental game of guessing where the ball will appear next.
View the iFrenzy on Amazon
A Snuffe Mat is another great way to provide for your dog’s natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffe mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.
Best Chew Toys for Blue Heelers
There are in general three categories of chewing types in dogs – gentle chewers, average chewers, and power chewers. Blue Heelers tend to fit into the average or power chewer category.
Power Chewers are strongly determined chewers. It is important to select chew toys that they can destroy with ease. For the best chew toys for Blue Heelers see here.
If you don’t know what a Kong for dogs is it is a tough rubber dog toy with a hole in the center so you can stuff it with treats or even flavored paste. the Kong is actually three dog toys in one.
- Food and treat stuffing puzzle toy. You can even freeze the Kong for a hot weather treat.
- Chew toy – made of safe near-indestructible rubber
- Fetch toy – due to its unique shape it bounces in unpredictable directions making a game of fetch more exciting
Although the standard red Kong Classic would be fine for a Blue Heeler I recommend using the black Kong Extreme. These are near indestructible and will last your dog’s lifetime.
They come in a range of sizes from XS to XL. For the Blue Heeler, I recommend using the large or extra-large Kong as the smaller size doesn’t hold as much food or treats as you would think.
For a Blue Heeler puppy, you should choose the Puppy Kong. These are made of softer more flexible rubber so they do damage to their young and developing teeth and jaw. See Puppy Kongs on Amazon here.
To learn more about how to use a Kong for dogs see here. If your Blue Heeler doesn’t have a Kong, get them one or even two. See the Kong Extreme on Amazon here.
If you are wanting a more edible dog chew, deer antlers are one of the toughest and longest-lasting. These are available in a range of different sizes to suit your dog. Antlers are a source of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. And many dogs seem to really like the taste.
View Deer Antlers on Amazon.
For more chew toy recommendations see here.
Best toys for Blue Heeler puppies
When selecting the best toys for a Blue Heeler puppy it is important to consider several things. Firstly, they should not be too hard and should have some give. This prevents damage to the jaw and the new teeth. It is also important that they do not shatter or break into small pieces. This is to prevent the risk of your puppy choking on any fragments that come off the toy.
Kong puppy chew toys
In addition to the classic shape Kong, there are other shapes available such as the Kong teething stick and the Kong Goodie Bone. These have grooves on the side so you can spread a little paste into them to make the toy more interesting than your shoes.
Kong teething stick
Kong Puppy Goodie Bone
Tuffy Junior dog toys
For puppies that love plush toys but tend to pull apart normal plush toys like Blue Heeler puppies tend to, The Tuffy Junior range is ideal. They are more durable than other plush toys and are machine washable. These are for puppies mainly as an adult dog would be more than likely to be able to destroy them. They are available in a range of sizes to suit your puppy.
Nylabone puppy key ring
The Nylabone puppy teething keyring is a classic. These have been available for teething puppies ever since I can remember. These are soft enough for enjoyable chewing, yet strong enough to withstand it.
They have lots of moving parts that make a sound when shaken. Toys that make a sound are always more preferable and fun for a puppy. The irregular shape and texture provide choices of different surfaces and feelings while chewing and after some chewing, raised bristles are released that clean the teeth to help dental health.
I hope these suggested toys for Blue Heelers and cattle dogs have given you some good ideas. Feel free to mention in the comments your dog’s favorite toys.
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Herding Breed Behavior Problems
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