If we were to get a dog breed with a zest for versatile pursuits like herding and obedience trials, we could name more than a handful. But if we were to name a breed that does those with the added “garnish” of an eager to please attitude, none of us can miss naming the sheltie.
On sight, the breed's luxurious coat is the first important detail. But upon knowing it better, it may appear that it actually takes pains to please its master better! The sheltie will sometimes gravitate towards one family member as its favorite family member. But shelties tend to also grow aloof of others in the house that show again and again a hesitancy to spend more time with the dog. But in general, the sheltie's day is made when it can actually meet its whole “pack,” in one room, enjoying each other's company.
There are at least two traits among shelties that may either dampen your enthusiasm, or challenge you to be a better sheltie owner! One “drawback” is the dog's penchant for wanton barking (which can reach annoying levels in untrained dogs). The other detail may actually be an advantage, since it is about the dog's instinctual aloofness and wariness of people it meets for the first time.
Shelties actually seem to be the most alive when playing and interacting with sensible and well-mannered children. Sometimes the dog plays with them, and other times simply watches them. But no chances must be taken when dogs will accompany toddlers and infants, since these will need supervision.
Shelties are not only versatile when it comes to work and recreation, but they can also blend into a range of family situations. The root of this must be that their complicated and tangled bloodlines have toned down most of their working drive.
With their herding history, the breed gets to mature and grow when it is given work assignments at home. Play is important and very much welcome. Shelties will tire and get bored of repetitive tasks, so put creativity in your play. Why settle for only fetch if you can throw two or more balls to keep the dog on edge? In any case, there is no way to miss the importance of shetland sheepdog training.
Grooming is another consideration, but not a big worry among sheltie owners. All that is needed for a clean dog is the weekly thorough brushing, occasional baths and regular nail and dental care. If the coat is ignored, however, it will show definite signs of neglect.
All this implies that there is more challenge than most people think in zeroing in on the Sheltie that fits your needs the most. Focus on the dog that will fit in well with your family situation and life style. The obedience or work star may be more of a liability for a homebound person, while a retiree's companion might suffer sadly in a family of rowdy pre-teens. When you get help from a veteran breeder, s/he will walk you through your top needs and priorities in order to flesh out the sheltie for you or dog breed for you.