Shelties are a very special breed. They are particularly
sensitive and react to your moods, thriving on lots of
love and attention. The most important thing your Sheltie
must receive is lots of TLC!
House-and-leash breaking should begin as soon as your
puppy arrives home with you.
HOUSEBREAKING: Housebreaking need not be too difficult, if you remember
to follow a few simple rules. Always put the pup outside
in the same location (or on paper) immediately after
a meal, first thing in the morning, last thing at night
and anytime the pup just wakes up from a nap. Give him
a command ("Go potty", etc.). Make him stay
there until he has relieved himself. PRAISE when he does
go. If your pup has an accident, NEVER rub his nose in
it – it only teaches him bad manners (stool eating,
etc.). If you find the evidence, you’ve missed your
chance for a correction. If, however, you catch the pup
in the act, run at him yelling "NO!" Pick up
the pup, telling him how bad he is. Once you get to the
door, stop scolding. Take him to his outside spot, give
him his "potty" command and PRAISE him when he
does. If your pup likes to take his time when he gets to
his spot, give him 5 minutes, then take him back in and
put him in his crate. Take him back out 15 minutes later
and give him the command again, giving him another 5 minutes.
Continue that routine until success is achieved. THEN allow
LEADBREAKING: A pup’s first collar should be a flat
nylon or leather collar that cannot choke. Put the collar
on the pup and play with her until she is used to the collar
and doesn’t pay much attention to it. Add the lead
and continue to play with the puppy, letting the lead drag.
NEVER allow the puppy out of sight when you have the collar
and lead on. If caught, it could become a death trap or,
at the very least, make the dog hate the lead and collar.
As the pup becomes used to the lead dragging, pick it up
and follow the puppy, occasionally letting it tighten.
Do not try to control the pup at this point. Do this for
a few minutes several days, but not longer than every day
for a week before you begin requiring the puppy to walk
where you want to go. Call the dog’s name and the
command "walk" as you gently tug on the lead.
Never haul or drag the puppy. NEVER forget that PRAISE!
It’s what your dog lives and works for. If your puppy
fights the lead, stop – and ignore her. Let her pitch
her fit and give her no attention for doing so. Don’t
even look at her. Praise only when she calms down. Never
pick the puppy up or pander to her – you will only
be creating trouble for yourself. Remember, you are being
far kinder when you teach her to walk on the lead where
she is safe than if you give into her little fears, insecurities
and attempts to control you.
OBEDIENCE: Your puppy should be taught a few simple commands before
the age of six months and is able to learn all of these
commands beginning at 7 weeks, provided they are taught
in short spans (5-10 minutes) with lots of FUN and PRAISE!
And not all in one week. Make sure each command is clearly
understood before you move onto the next. He will readily
learn to understand a sharp "NO!" or
a happy "Good dog!" Remember to use the same
easily understood command each time you interact with the
puppy. Examples: sit, stay, come, heel, off, good, down.
Say the command once and gently require the dog to follow
through. Never hit the dog or push down his rear or shoulders.
This can break bones or injure internal organs, such as
kidneys. You and your Sheltie will each find benefits from
simple obedience training, as Shelties are very intelligent
and enjoy working with "their people." If you
are interested in clicker training, starting with a pup
Establish a grooming routine
with your puppy so that s/he becomes used to and enjoys
it. This will make grooming very easy as an adult.
a comfortable spot, such as a towel on the floor. Keep
the first grooming sessions short, keeping one hand
on the dog and talking to her as you groom. Praise
for appropriate behavior! If she struggles, stay calm
and keep your hand on her so that you can keep her
in the position you placed her in. AS SOON AS the struggling
ceases, release the pup and PRAISE! Timing is everything.
If you let the puppy up while she’s struggling,
she’ll quickly figure out that all she has to do
is fuss to get out of whatever she doesn’t want
to do. Save freedom and praise for the moment the puppy
stops struggling and she’ll realize there’s
nothing to fear. Do this daily or at least several times
a week and she will soon look forward to grooming as
being special attention time. Take the time to open the
mouth, handle ears and feet. This will make teeth and
ears easier to clean and nails easier to clip.
careful not to scratch the puppy with the brush, as
it will make grooming and unpleasant experience. Never
rough handle the dog. If a correction needs to be made,
say "no" and require the behavior you are requesting.
Don’t forget to praise when you get it! As the
dog becomes used to grooming, teach it to lie in its
side. This makes brushing a long-coated dog easier.
OFTEN: It is best to brush a sheltie a couple of
times a week. This prevents matting and shedding and
allows you to inspect your pet for any injuries and potential
problems. Each session should only take about five minutes.
However, if neglected, grooming can become an ordeal
of getting a messy and matted coat back into shape. This
can take hours and is torturous for the dog, not to mention
EQUIPMENT: A small slicker brush for pups, a pin brush
for adults (#1 All Systems pin brush works particularly
well), a comb and nail clippers or a nail grinder are
all that are needed. The small slicker can be converted
to use behind ears and on feet/hocks on an adult.
COAT: Use the brush for the main grooming job. Again, be
careful not to scratch the dog. Brush from the skin
out, against the grain (backwards), checking for parasites
and other irregularities as you go. Be sure to include
the "feathering" – the
long hair on the ears, chest, tail, stomach and backs
of legs. These areas tangle more readily and should
be gone through with a comb as well. Mats or tangles
should be removed slowly with fingers and comb, using
a drop or two of oil to loosen. Use scissors as a last
resort. Never yank a tangle. This is painful and will
leave the area looking moth-eaten. During your regular
grooming, sprinkle a bit of baby powder or cornstarch
into the areas likely to tangle and brush it through.
That will help keep the hair from matting.
NAILS: Clip or grind the nails when they touch the floor – about
every week to 10 days. Be careful of cutting the quick,
as it is extremely painful and will bleed profusely.
If you do nick the quick, apply pressure or blood stop
powder. Keeping your dog’s nails clipped is very
important. Overlong nails spread the paw, which is painful.
In extreme cases, it can become crippling. Neglected
nails can also snap and tear off, causing injury. Remember
to trim the dewclaws if your dog has them. These grow
on the inner leg above the front paws. If left unclipped,
they will curl around and grow into the skin, causing
open wounds and abscesses.
EARS: Check at least twice a month, both visually and by
sniffing the ear. If needed, clean with a cotton ball
dipped in 50% alcohol and water. If the inner ear is
inflamed, has a foul odor or if your dog persistently
shakes his head, rubs it against the floor, hold it
tilted to one side or scratches excessively, have your
vet check it. These signs are warnings of infection
or ear mites and immediate vet attention is necessary.
wait if you can’t see anything.
TEETH: If you feed the raw food diet including bones (chicken
backs, etc.), your dog will rarely, if ever, need its
teeth cleaned! The bones keep the tartar from building
up – and tartar is what causes bad breath
and tooth loss. If you feed kibble, you will need to
brush your dog’s teeth at least weekly.
BATHS: Bathe your dog only as necessary – not
more than once a month. Too frequent bathing removes
natural oils that protect skin and give the coat a healthy
gloss. Most dogs remain clean with regular grooming and
very rarely need a bath, unless they have parasites.
Use only shampoos formulated for dogs (human shampoo
has a different ph and is very drying) and be sure to
rinse completely. Use a blow dryer on cool setting if
needed (heat settings burn the skin easily).
your dog isn’t really dirty but doesn’t
smell as nice as you’d like, here’s an alternative:
mist your dog with a light coat of water (from a spray
bottle) and lightly sprinkle your favorite powder (baby
or deodorant) into the coat, then brush completely through.
SUMMER: Your dog will be more comfortable and easier to groom
in the summer if the coat is thinned out. This means
combing out the loose undercoat. Never shave your sheltie
at any time of the year, unless directed by your
vet for medical purposes. Your dog’s
coat is his natural protection against skin injuries,
insects and bad weather, including the hot sun.
Shadymist follows the vaccine protocol recommended by
Colorado State University, based on the findings that
immunization from vaccines lasts much longer than previously
At 8, 12 and 16 weeks, give parvovirus, adenovirus 2,
parainfluenza and distemper. Following the initial puppy
shots, a booster will be given one (1) year later and
then every three (3) years for all of the above diseases.
Leptovirus and coronavirus vaccines are not recommended
as both can have serious side affects that outweigh their
Rabies can be given at 16 weeks. However, if you are
giving the above combo shot at 16 weeks, it is preferential
to wait until 18 weeks to give the rabies shot. Research
is still incomplete at this point, but more findings
are coming out that loading a puppy up with multiple
vaccines at one time can trigger auto-immune responses
in the animal. The current recommendation is to wait
at least two (2) weeks between vaccines.
FLEA CONTROL PRODUCTS
Please do not ever use any internal flea control products
or spot-on products on your dog. These include such products
as Advantage, Frontline, Revolution, Program, Defend,
Bio-spot, etc. These are poisons you are literally giving
your dog internally. If you read the literature on these
products carefully, it says that it can cause death.
I personally know of two dogs whose deaths are attributed
by the attending veterinarian to using internal flea-control
products. I know of several others who have had auto-immune
responses to the spot-on products, resulting in allergic
skin and hair loss that lasted years.
fleas are an issue, start out with the lowest possible
toxin and work your way up until you have the problem
under control. The safest product is a flea shampoo with
pyrethrins. Permethrins are the next step up, fenoxycarb
and carbaryl a step up from that. At the same time you
bathe your dog, treat your house with a spray or fogger
that contains in insect growth regulator (IGR), the first
of which was PRECOR. PRECOR prevents fleas from hatching
for up to 12 months and is non-toxic to humans and pets.
Don’t bother spraying your sheltie or using a flea
collar – because of the amount of coat that shelties
carry, neither is effective. If the shampoo doesn’t
work, move up to a dip. However, if you shampoo the dog
thoroughly and treat your premises, you should be able
to control the problem relatively easily. Keeping your
dog at the peak of health will also help repel fleas.
food tartars up dogs’ teeth very quickly.
One solution is to feed the dog a raw diet with plenty
of raw meaty bones. Another is to feed a high quality
kibble and provide raw beef bones to chew on. If you
feed kibble, you may still have to scrape and/or brush
your dog’s teeth, but not as much as you would
if you didn’t provide the bones. Bones are a dog’s
natural toothbrush. Just make sure the bones won’t
splinter dangerously – the biggest danger comes
from cooked bones, which are brittle and can crack teeth.