Bruce Bochy (Located in San Bruno, CA) is our 6 year old, red Queensland heeler/Australian cattle dog. He is the classic, ‘old school’ cattle dog, weighing 50 lbs., and has the breed traits of being the smartest, most loving, loyal dog you will ever meet. We love Bruce so much, and he has been our baby. Our main requirement is that he transitions into a home full of love. Yet, he has a very unpredictable side due to puppy trauma. He needs people who will give him a lot of love and who have *patience to get to know and understand his quirks. He has so much personality and deserves a great home. He lived with my husband’s parents for just under 2 years. After my husband finished college, Bruce has lived with us for the past 4 years. We are about to have a baby and know that Bruce will not be able to handle the stimulation of a new baby, guests in and out of the house, large objects, and the like.
My husband found Bruce as a 3-4 month old puppy, living and hiding in small holes in a junkyard. He continues to suffer trauma from his very rough start in life. Bruce has deep rooted fears and can be very skittish when unexpected sights and sounds happen around him. Bruce is very cautious when meeting new people and dogs, and is more nervous around unknown men. He is most comfortable with women. He needs a loving home, preferably a woman or a couple who has experience with his breed, and who can give him the love, attention and patience to adjust in his new home.
When settled and comfortable in a calm, understanding home situation, Bruce is a fantastic addition to the family. He is extremely smart, loving and loyal to his inner circle of trust, and the best companion you could want. Typical of cattle dogs, he will be your most devoted and loyal shadow, and seems almost human. He is a great listener, and responds extremely well to being talked to. Just like having a conversation with a human, he needs to understand what’s going on or why he is safe and OK. Snuggling with his people is one of his favorite things, and to give them kisses to show his love. Bruce loves to sit at the top of the couch, like a cat, to be at your shoulder. He also enjoys sleeping with his person/people on the bed.
As a true member of the family, Bruce even watches TV, and seems to especially love the beginning and end of shows. He loves the music, and is wild for the end of sports programs, when the players, graphics and stats are shown with music - strange yet extremely entertaining. He loves TV so much, that he will often try to anticipate when we might pick up the remote to turn it on. He is also the family supervisor, who keeps track of all his people, and makes sure all is well. Bruce is a quiet dog, but may bark an alert if someone approaches the house.
As with most herders, Bruce LOVES and lives for the ball, playing with it, holding it, fetching it. We use the Chuck-it to fling the ball, and he will run to fetch it for hours, if we let him. Bruce also loves toys of all kinds, and loves to give them a good shaking. He knows basic commands. He is a very quick learner, and in his desire to please and constantly serve you, he will learn new commands and tricks very quickly. He is also good at communicating to let you know when he wants or needs something.
Our boy is completely housetrained, and is fine when home alone during the workday, hanging out on his bed or blanket. Bruce rides very nicely in the cargo area of the car, watching the world go by. He also walks well on leash, until he sees creatures. We have learned to let him carry a tennis ball in his mouth when out for walks. With the ball, he is less likely to “flail” at birds, squirrels, cats, or other dogs across the street. He has lived with a cat before but hasn’t for many years.
When seeing new people, Bruce often seems friendly. It is best to meet Bruce by ignoring him, and allowing him to sniff and observe you, until he feels comfortable with you. Many people approach too quickly, with outstretched hands, which makes Bruce anxious, that something bad may happen to him. He is not a dog that wants to be pet and touched by everyone, especially if he doesn’t know you. When scared or startled by strangers moving quickly towards him, Bruce may tell them to back off by poking them with his nose, baring his teeth, or nipping at their ankles.
He also needs a slow formal introduction when meeting new dogs. He will warm up more quickly and do better with females and dogs smaller than he is. If in a home with another dog, he should be paired with a friendly, confident and balanced dog, who he can learn from, and will help him gain confidence in new situations. Depending on the dog, he may need an adjustment period with them.
Bruce is unpredictable with new people and animals, and is not good with a lot of stimulation, especially a lot of people. Bruce would do best with a woman or couple with experience with a fearful dog and, ideally, with herding breeds. Given his unpredictable side, he would NOT be a good dog around children. He also gets frightened by large objects such as bags and boxes.
As a heeler or Australian cattle dog, it is in his nature to herd and nip at the heels. He can do this unpredictably and seemingly out of nowhere. We recently started Bruce on an anti-anxiety medication, Trazodone, which helps take the edge off him. It does not make him feel drugged or sedated or change his nature or heeler energy. It does noticeably help his hypersensitivity to the sights and sounds around him.
His new people must be able to give him the daily physical activity that he needs, such as walks or hikes or regular outings. We are open to continued communication with his new family as well as we know Bruce and feel we can be a resource when it comes to his quirks. Additionally if there is ever a need dog sit for him in the future, we would love to be top of his new family’s list.