Day 4 with Pikku at Fraser River Park

Fraser River Park : Location : 8705 Angus Drive @ W 75th Avenue.  As we have Pikku with us this week our fitness program has gone from running to a fast pace walk as Pikku is too young to run.  It is suggested to allow the pup to be at least 12 months before you run them, in order for their bones and joints to develop properly.  I have experienced a labrador with hip dysplasia that the vet had not detected, so I know what pain they go through should they not be properly monitered whilst exercising.  Plus I have a cold lingering so thought it best to chill on the running this week.  Sadly I am also not able to walk with my five fingers as its very wet out and they are not waterproof!  Pikku had a great morning running off leash along the tranquil and inspiring spots in the area.  Great boardwalks that cross restored tidal marshes.  Plus there is always a plane landing or taking off at YVR and I just love plane spotting!   Today as we wandered through the crab apple and Nootka rose lining pathways we spotted a barge carrying logs up stream.  Who knows maybe they are destined to build someone a beautiful home.  I had a fleeting thought, that it would be nice if they were to be used for homes for the homeless.  Max and Leo were digging there way to Australia whilst Pikku and Tedo were running up and down the beach.

More about an ACD: The Cattle Dog is bred to work long, hard hours every day. Without one to three hours of vigorous activity on a daily basis, he will quickly turn to more destructive outlets for his energy such as chewing through your walls, destroying furniture, or landscaping your garden into a collection of craters and soil piles. This is a real working breed, not intended to be merely a household pet: the dogs need interesting ways to vent excess energy at all times.  I can tell you that Pikku has had a good amount of vigorous activity today.

Your garden will need to be fullyenclosed with a high fence and wire sunk into the ground to discourage digging. ADCs are accomplished escape artists fully capable of leaping five feet with ease; fences must be at least six feet tall. Choosing a solid fence, instead of chain-link, can prevent a lot of irritating barking: if he can’t see people and other dogs walking past, he’s won’t need to announce their presence.

  • Effective watch-dogs, ACDs are naturally suspicious of newcomers and strangers. They require extensive socialization from an early age to prevent this attitude becoming a problem and to teach them to discriminate accurately between friend and foe.  Cattle Dogs are often aggressive towards other animals, particularly dogs of the same sex. You’ll need to be vigilant when he’s off-leash.  I have spent the past three days with Pikku with other dogs and I can say she is quite well adjusted to other dogs and seems to tolerate any of them thrown at her.
  • The intense, high-pitched bark of some ACDs can drive many people up the wall. Excessive barking is one of the less desirable traits of the breed, and, though not all ACDs will give voice for no apparent reason, if left alone most will do so repetitively. If your dog is likely to be alone and unsupervised for more than a few hours a day, and if you have neighbors within earshot, this breed is not recommended.  What I noticed about Pikku is her amazing hearing.  Those ears never seem to sleep..ha ha.  She is very alert and any noise she is up and trying to bark.  I have used a raw meaty lamb neck to get her used to the noise so that while she is chewing on the bone she is still aware of the noises around her.  It has been funny to watch her eat her bone and bark at the same time.

Despite the many challenges of owning a Heeler, they are extremely rewarding dogs to share your life with: loyal, intelligent, and with a huge capacity for affection. Providing that you are prepared to put in the work required: remember, these are not Golden Retrievers – your Cattle Dog will not be a pushover to train! –  the result will be a charming, intelligent, and attractive adult dog.  Pikku is definitley charming and super intelligent.  We have had great feedback from other people who have met her for the first time.  A lot of people have never met a ACD so its a great conversation starter.

Our last stop tonight was Valdez Park.  I was interested to see what sort of “parks” Vancouver has to offer as we had just been at a really awesome enclosed dog off leash park in Burnaby.  Unfortunately this particular park on 23rd and Balaclava is not enclosed however, it is frequented by some lovely people and their dogs.  Pikku was exposed to a Husky, Blue Heeler cross, 2x Golden Retrievers, 2 x American Cockers (well she was with the boyz all day!) and a Spanish Water Dog.  We had a great time at the park with her still “on leash” but in an “off leash” manner.  I did some recall training with her whilst amongst the dogs of Valdez Park and a bit of ball throwing.  Very pleased with her recall and her retrieving.  A remarkable little ACD.


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