Our Adorable, Psychotic Dog, Sydney.

Sydney. Such a cute puppy she was. Floppy ears, big sad eyes, the whole nine. More playful than affectionate even from the beginning, she comes from a long line of working cattle dogs. She is a pure bred Blue Heeler. Think Border Collie without the lovely long hair, or Australian Shepherd without the thick, long hair. She has a mottled/brindle coat of bluish/black/gray. She has an undercoat so she sheds, but her hair is short and thick. She is very smart, strong, and energetic.

Sydney also is weird. I mean, if you get too affectionate with her in a way she doesn’t like, she starts growling and snapping. She also growls and snaps at the sight of a brush. She growls if you put her in her kennel and then get too close to it. She gurgle-growls when you try to dry her off with a towel as though she is a possessed devil-dog from the depths of Hades.  Usually, she doesn’t bite, or bite hard anyway. She worries me a bit. My husband is diligent to keep training her and correcting her and praising her when she behaves well. She is great at catching her ring toy, fetching balls, and following you as you run, bike, or ATV .  She really needs that work out time, because without it she is a grouchy little pill, at age 1 and 1/2. She is most assuredly an alpha female. She enjoys trying to keep everyone herded and under her direct control. If you make the mistake of letting her up in your lap because she is pretending to want affection, getting her off your lap elicits more of the growling and aggression. For a while, she was obnoxiously aggressive about her food bowl, and still won’t tolerate cats in her territory. It’s all so wrong, because according to that Amazing Latin animal trainer on TV, all of this is just dominance aggression, and we can stop it with the right corrective actions and a lot of ‘calm assurance’.  Well, we’re employing these techniques as best we can, but Sydney is still Sydney. We love her with all her flaws, but if the day comes when she oversteps her boundaries and hurts a kid, or me, it will be my foot on her throat. We don’t ever want it to come to that. Any  ideas or stories of your own on your herding dog? Thanks!


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