So You Want To Own A Sheltie
If you think you want a miniature Collie, you don’t – you want a SHELTIE. While the Sheltie is the image of a small Collie, it is an error to refer to them as a miniature. The Shetland Sheepdog and the Collie have a common ancestor in the Scotch Border Collie,
they are two completely separate breeds.
you have decided you want a Sheltie, you may have made one of the most rewarding
decisions of your life… but be sure. Know
Sheltie is one of the most beautiful breeds on earth, possessing an exquisite
expression. They have the highest
intelligence possible and hearts overflowing with love.
They are steadfastly loyal to “their people,” young and old.
They ask only to please you and are eager to learn.
The Sheltie has the endearing quality of sensing your needs and adapting
to your moods. (Keep in mind, that
because the Sheltie is a sensitive breed, they will not respond to harsh
treatment.) The Sheltie was bred to
live with people!
Sheltie was also bred to bark. Some
bark very little. But most bark a lot. The
Sheltie of today inherited his barking from the Sheltie of the Shetland Isles,
who not only herded sheep, but also warned their owners of intruders and
frightened stray animals away from the garden.
Barking is a natural instinct that can usually be controlled with one or
two Shelties in residence. However,
with more than that, it can develop into a major problem.
The Sheltie does require some maintenance grooming.
Being a longhaired breed, the Sheltie will shed its coat.
The male will shed once a year, usually in the summer A female not only
sheds in summer, but after every heat cycle.
Spaying a female will eliminate a great deal of shedding. A female will
also lose most of her hair on her body after a litter of puppies.
Even though a summer shed thins out the dense coat of a Sheltie, long
–haired breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke! A Sheltie must be protected from the hot sun!
Weekly brushing will help maintain the coat’s natural
luster. Misting the coat first with
water will help reduce shedding. Particular
attention must be paid to the hair behind the ears as it mats easily, making the
ear uncomfortable and providing a hiding place for fleas. I use baby power here
to keep the hair from matting.
Toenails must be kept short by cutting or sanding.
Long toenails arch the toes away from the ground, causing the foot to
splay apart. This will lead to
breakdown in the foot and leg, which encourages arthritis.
After trimming the nails, the hair between the pads should be trimmed
flush with the bottom of the pads. This
will keep the feet cleaner, which will keep your house cleaner.
Teeth must be cleaned to prevent rotting, gum disease,
and other complications such as gastric upsets.
You or your veterinarian can do this.
It’s safer and less expensive if you do it yourself.
(The vet will anesthetize your dog, and that involves some risk.)
Your dog can be trained to allow you to clean his teeth with a dental
scaler. While not exactly a
pleasant job, it’s efficient and relatively easy.
Only bathe your Sheltie when he or she needs it.
Frequent bathing can be harmful to the coat and skin by removing too much
natural oil, causing dryness, flaking and itching.
Use shampoo specifically designed for dogs.
Detergents and human hair products can actually be dangerous in certain
instances. Please put cotton in
your dog’s ears to keep water out of the ear canal.
To dry your Sheltie – blot the coat with a towel (rubbing loosens the
undercoat), then blow-dry the coat, parting the hair as you go with your hand or
a pin brush.
This basic grooming is necessary for Shelties.
More extensive grooming is required to show a Sheltie and takes
considerable time to learn.
Flea collars may help puppies but have little success
with adults. Flea shampoos last a
very short time. Flea sprays can be
effective (and messy), Advantage or Frontline works well for most shelties and
is safe to use. Check with your vet or breeder. WARNING-DO NOT USE ANY TWO FLEA
METHODS TOGETHER. ALSO DO NOT USE THE 6 MONTH SHOT FOR FLEAS. IT HAS CAUSED
DEATHS. The combination of insecticides could be dangerous, if not fatal, to
your dog! Flea bombs are great for
the house. We have found that
applying a heavy dose of lime in the spring on our yard helps to keep the
outdoor fleas under control. Be
sure to check with your vet to learn if your choices are safe in conjunction
with what you use on your dog.
We have been using 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 5 brewers dried yeast chewables, and a teaspoon of vinegar split between two meals daily to help control fleas. It seems to help keep the fleas at bay. If we have a dog that scratches, we give him/her 12mg of nitenpyram, the active ingredient in Capstar, to kill any flea that bites again. The nitenpyram only works for 24 hours. You need to monitor your dogs to ensure they are scratching from fleas, not from a skin allergy. We also spray our house with a natural product consisting of peppermint oil and clove extract to control and kill fleas, flea eggs, and ticks. Our dogs are kept in a fenced in yard and typically don't have access to locations with deer ticks, but I am sure they have been exposed to fleas at some of the show sites we visit.
In addition to the rabies shot, your Sheltie will require
DHLP shots. Never give Corona to your sheltie because it has been know to
cause skin problems. There is a NEW VACCINATION PROTOCOL. A series of
vaccinations is given starting at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16
weeks of age. Another vaccination
is given at 1year and 4 months and will provide LIFETIME IMMUNITY.
You will also need a heartworm test every year and be put
on a preventive. We recommend Interceptor (heartworm preventative), given
monthly. It has been proven safe for shelties. Heartworm is the result of the
bite of an infected mosquito. Undetected,
heartworms can kill the dog. Interceptor also controls hookworms, roundworms and
whipworms. THE 6 MONTH SHOT FOR HEARTWORM PREVENTION HAS CAUSED DEATHS IN
SHELTIES, AND HEARTGARD HAS BEEN KNOW TO CAUSE SEIZURES IN SHELTIES. PLEASE DO
NOT USE THEM.
We have talked to our vet and asked about TRIFEXIS and we were told it has the same ingredients as Interceptor so it is safe for shelties. Also we were told that Revolution and Advantage Multi is safe for shelties.
A premium grade commercial dry dog food is recommended. They are well balanced and easily attainable. Dry dog food also helps satisfy the dog’s natural tendency to chew, and aids in reducing tartar build-up on teeth. Soft dog food contributes to more rapid tartar formation.
Modern times have created life-threatening situation for
pets. Shelties are no exception.
Out of a fenced area and not on a leash, your Sheltie will eventually be
crushed to death by a car or truck! If
he escapes that, it will only be because he was poisoned or stolen first!
There is no such thing as guaranteed yard training and /or voice
command. An animal’s
primitive instincts take over when a rabbit, squirrel, cat, child, female in
heat, etc., and they’re off like a shot!
You may stop them once, or twice, but someday- they won’t stop…….
That is guaranteed.
Save your Sheltie’s life.
Give him the protection of your fenced yard. If you want to take your Sheltie for a walk – fine but do
it on a leash! Yes even in your own
front yard! Being on a farm or in a
secluded area is no exception. A
greater distance from a road simply means it will take a little longer to get to
Protect your dog! Tattooing
your dog’s AKC or CKC number is the ideal way to provide permanent
identification and proof of ownership. Research laboratories are required to report tattooed dogs.
Lost dog’s chances of recovery are greatly improved by the presence of
a tattoo. Dog theft rings are
growing rapidly. Posting warning
sings that say your dogs are tattooed tells a thief that stealing your dog is
very risky and difficult or impossible to unload.
Tattooing a dog take five minutes and is completely painless.
It is done on the inside of the right hind leg.
(Do not use any procedure requiring anesthesia)
Local dog clubs have tattoo clinic every year.
When deciding on a veterinarian, it is very important to
select one you can communicate with. It
goes without saying that your vet should be a skilled doctor, who keeps
up-to-date on medical improvements. He
or she, must be a person you can have a working relationship with.
Besides wanting fair and reasonable prices for routine office visits, you
need a vet who cares. One you can call with a 3:00 A.M. emergency and trusts you
not to call unless it is an emergency. If
your vet says or does things that don’t seem right, or is impatient when you
ask questions, find another vet. A
vet’s advice may be accurate; but if you want a second opinion, don’t
hesitate to get it. There can be no
room for doubts; you need to have confidence in the person entrusted with your
pet’s life. A vet who understands
and respects your love and concern for your pet is worth their weight in gold.
Veterinarians treat every breed imaginable and usually
learn to recognize a good quality dog. A
few vets even show their own dogs. However,
most vets know little or nothing about what makes a dog show quality.
Look to your vet for health care, but seek a breeder’s advice for
showing, breeding, training, etc. A
vet can also be a good reference. They
know, better than anyone, who really takes good care of their dogs.
Used properly, the crate is a godsend.
The use of a crate as a cage is an injustice.
The fact is a crate is the single most effective training aid you can
A puppy has a very real need for a place of his own.
A crate provides a puppy a “safe place” to go.
When he is tired, it’s his bed. Dogs
are den animals. Without a crate,
you will find them “nesting” under tables, beds, chairs, in corners, even in
cabinets. A crate offers security
from house traffic, noise, and kids. other dogs, company, thunderstorms, etc. At
the same time, it offers a full view of anything and everything going on around
them. This way, they get use to
being in the midst of activity without any threats of danger.
The crate is portable. It
can be in the middle of the room or in a corner.
Keeping a Sheltie puppy in a box, a bathroom, or similar closed-in
environment, prohibits normal socialization and conditioning.
A Sheltie kept in such unacceptable isolation produces a shy and fearful
To knowledgeable breeders, crate training is essential.
Used correctly, a crate encourages a puppy’s good behavior and builds
independence and confidence. The
puppy raised with the benefit of a crate accepts it as his bed, and does not
want to “mess” in it. He will
try to get out to relieve himself. Young
puppies can’t wait very long at first and shouldn’t be forced to.
The crate is a passive teacher in control. A puppy quickly learns the real reason for going out side.
If you have ever stood outside with a puppy for an hour, only to bring
him in and promptly squat, you can appreciate the value of this lesson.
The important thing to remember is a puppy is not intentionally
destructive. He isn’t born
knowing not to wet the carpet or electrocute himself by chewing on electrical
Leaving a puppy loose and unattended is foolish and
dangerous. Having a crate to
‘baby-sit” your little treasure when you’re gone means he’ll be safe,
and he can’t get into any trouble. Preventing
foreseeable problems leads to a much happier relationship between your Sheltie
and you. Crates practically
eliminate aggravation. (CAUTION, not all crates are suitable for small puppies.
Cheaply made crates have too much space between bars or mesh and make it
possible for a puppy to force his head through and become stuck.)
Remember that a puppy needs to go out frequently.
Use the crate for short periods of time, you must plan to give the puppy
plenty of supervised free time and playing!
As a Sheltie matures, he will use his crate less often,
but it will always be “his room” and home
away from home. When traveling,
your Sheltie’s crate provides the same needed protection as a child’s
carseat. It prevents accidental
escape from a stopped car. Visiting
friends with your Sheltie’s portable bedroom makes you a more welcome guest.
There are NO drawbacks to crates, unless they’re used as punishment, or confinement is overdone. A puppy should sleep in his crate and be fed in it. After every meal and every nap, he should be immediately taken outside to relieve himself. Praise should be abundant when he performs as desired. If you’re too busy to supervise, and inclement weather restricts outdoor activity, put him up for a short nap. But don’t forget a puppy needs a lot of exercise, love and opportunity to explore. If you meet his needs, the rewards will be one hundredfold.