The Sheltie is one of the best dog breeds for budding pet owners. Intelligent and friendly, Shetland Sheepdogs have all of the qualities that dog owners love with few of the less loved behaviors present in other dog breeds.
Yet Shelties also have some very specific needs. Without the right upbringing, the Sheltie can become timid and unhealthy – prone to unwanted behaviors that could impact your relationship with your beloved pet. Below are three tips for how to raise a healthy, loving Shetland Sheepdog.
Teach Your Sheltie Tricks
Trick training is more than simply a fun exercise for you and your pet – it is vital for your Sheltie’s mental health. Shelties are some of the smartest dog breeds available. Their brains are capable of learning a new trick in just a few tries, and can even pick up tricks after receiving nothing but your affection.
However, this intelligence comes with a price. If you do not take the time to trick train your pet, its brain will lack stimulation, and your Sheltie may seek out things to chew or destroy in order to satisfy their brain’s needs. Trick training calms their mind and gives them focus, which is important for raising a friendly and well behaved pet.
Exercise is Crucial
Shetland Sheepdogs are herding breeds. They were bred to be able to handle hours of extensive running and exercise without getting winded. As a result they need a great deal of exercise. They are naturally alert and active, and without exercise they will struggle with that energy and possibly experience symptoms of severe anxiety. Shelties may not be aggressive by nature, but that anxiety can still show itself in other destructive ways.
Watch Out for Separation Anxiety
Shelties are especially prone to separation anxiety – perhaps more so than most other breeds. They are highly dependent on human contact, and incorrect training can cause them to experience severe separation anxiety. That is why from the moment you adopt your puppy you should be taking every precaution to reduce the effects of separation anxiety. Improper training will virtually guarantee that your Sheltie will experience severe anxiety on your absence.
Loving the Shetland Sheepdog
Shelties are loveable, active, intelligent dogs that are one of the most beloved breeds in the world. Yet to make sure your relationship with your dog is healthy it is important that you pay attention to a Sheltie’s specific needs. That intelligence, energy, and loyalty do come with a cost. Make sure you satisfy their physical and intellectual curiosity and avoid behaviors that cause separation anxiety in order to continue to raise a fun, loving pet.