YOUR NEW OLDER SHELTIE- Helping him/her to adjust

copyright Blessed Shelties and Becky Eassey- you may link to this page, don't copy it or steal the information

Adult Shelties need you, however please read this entire page before inquiring about an adult Sheltie, thank you!!

Youíve just purchased a new Sheltie! You are excited, happy and eager to welcome them to your home. But Shelties are not like other breeds of dogs. The independent Sheltie can be difficult to adapt to a new home. Shelties have the intelligence of a 6 yr old child, however they have the stubbornness and temperament of a 2/3 yr old child, YIKES! Think of your new Sheltie as a 3 yr old child that has just been sent to a foster home. How do you think that child is going to behave? Yep you guessed it, afraid, unsure, unhappy, sad and moody. And this behavior can last for up to 6 months!!!  How would you like to be removed from the only environment you've ever known? The one where you have adapted, trained and been happy in, and stuck in a new situation? Surely you don't think that a 3 year old dog that has been trained in one environment will adapt to a new one in less than 3 months?

What can you do to help your new Sheltie through the next 30 days?

First, DO NOT be overly affectionate with your attention. This can smother them, cause them to pull away and make them unsure of what you want. Shelties are independent little creatures. They make their own decisions based on what they have learned (just like a 6 yr. old child is starting to make their own decisions). They are stubborn with their affections until they are fully comfortable with you. Smother them and they will pull away.

Second, Try to keep them on leash with you at all times. Make them walk around with you on leash throughout the house for the first week. When you let them out to the bathroom, keep them on leash in your own backyard. If you donít, you will spend hours chasing them down to bring them back in. Not a lot of fun when it is 6 degrees outside and snowing or 50 degrees and pouring down rain. Keep them at your feet when watching TV etc. When retiring for the evening, put their cage/kennel right next to your bed so they can get used to the smells, sounds and feel of their new home. Do not allow them to roam freely for the first week or you will find many little things all over your floor that you would rather not step in.

Third, a new Sheltie may be house broken in the kennel or home you purchased them from, but they are NOT housebroken in your house. A great idea is to put a small bell next to the door you want them to exit to use the bathroom and teach them to ring the bell when they have to potty. It only takes a few times and they get the idea quickly, especially in the morning. Week one, Take them out of their cage, attach the leash, walk to the door and pick up their paw and have them ring the bell. Then take them out for their morning walk. Do this everyday for the first week on leash. The second week, remove from cage, pick up dog and carry to front door, use paw, ring bell and let them out into the fenced in yard. Hopefully by week three you can open cage, they follow you to back door, use paw to ring bell, open and let out. Generally the vast majority of Shelties understand after the first few days. Hopefully you will hear the bell a couple times daily. Just remember YOU CANNOT IGNORE THE BELL! When you hear the bell you MUST get up from what you are doing and open the door. Donít let a Sheltie get frustrated, the independent nature will not be happy when they do their job and you do not do yours.

Fourth, Feed your new Sheltie inside the cage, (especially if you have more than one dog in your household) and over the period of two weeks slowly move the bowl away from the cage to its eventual resting spot. The new Sheltie will feel much more comfortable eating in its cage, not outside its cage.

Fifth, helping a new Sheltie adjust to other dogs in the home. You just bought Rover the Sheltie and opened the cage and let them out to have a romp with Rover the Golden Retriever OUCH! NOT a good idea. Sure, they are dogs and you think well just like kids they should be able to get along very well. Um, well think of your new Sheltie as that SHY little 3 yr old child you have just taken to day care. How well that day do you think your little 3 yr old is going to adjust. Not very well Iím thinking. You need to help the adjust over the period of at least one week. It may be very possible that it takes up to 30 days for a new Sheltie to become ďpalsĒ with their new furry buddies. You must also understand the pack behavior. Someone is going to be top dog, generally with Sheltie females the Sheltie will be top dog over the male dogs. If you have two neutered males, they will work it out and generally the most rambunctious will be top dog. Two females you could be in big trouble! Two female Shelties could have little spats regularly, definitely not uncommon. I NEVER suggest keeping two females unspayed Shelties in a household. However, if at least one has been spayed by 5 months or so you should be able to help them acclimate to one another. Take it slow and easy. Give the other dog MORE attention than you give your new Sheltie. You want your first buddy to feel comfortable accepting a new addition. You donít want them to get resentful. Just as you want to give a young child more attention when you bring home a new baby, the same goes for dogs. Take it slow and easy.

Remember, Sheltie females over the age of 6 months can take up to 30-60 days+ to adjust to a new home. Sheltie males over 6 months it might take 6 months+ for them to adjust (OH MY)! Why? Males bond much more strongly than females to their families, thus the reason I feel males make the better pet. However, this means that they are going to be the foster child that you need to take more patience and understanding to help adopt them into your family. They may run from you, cower, back into a corner, hide behind the couch. They may stay in their crate until you drag them out. They probably won't eat for the first 4 days. I've had two that didn't use the restroom for 48 hours.  Did you know adult Shelties often don't like you to pet them on the head? Did you know they rarely give kisses? Does this mean they are "bad dogs", "abused", "never going to adjust"? Absolutely not. It just means they have been trained in one situation and now they have to be re-trained for a new one. I've had people tell me, "Oh, I think this dog is just never going to be happy with me. They only love you. I'm bringing it back". How does that help the dog to adjust? Bouncing from their new home, back to the old one. Readjusting to their old routine, never to learn a new one. How sad...  Shelties want to please, it just sometimes takes time. If you don't have the patience to learn and adjust to the adult Sheltie, then you should seriously consider a puppy. If, however, you think you have the love, desire and patience to accept a beautiful, sweet, loving adult Sheltie we would love for you to inquire about our adult Shelties that may currently be available.

Feeding the Adult Sheltie-We suggest Purina Pro Plan or Purina Dog Chow.

Puppies 6 mth-1 ½ yrs neutered feed slightly less than you would for a young puppy (maybe 1 ½-2 cups daily)

Adult Shelties over 1 ½ yrs neutered you may find one cup a day is more than enough. I suggest no more than 1 cup TOTAL, supplement with small amounts of fresh food like bananas, carrots, green beans and broccoli. Shelties these days tend to be fat, yes you heard me FAT. I donít feel it has anything to do with neutering, it is lack of exercise. Just like the majority of Americans are now overweight, so are their pets. How many of you have farms where your Sheltie is going to be a working dog? Probably 1% or less. How many of you jog/walk (not stroll) with your dogs? Probably 10% or less.

Grooming the Adult Sheltie-

Pay particular attention to the area under the tail and behind the ears. Brush at least 3 times weekly. The rest of the coat could use a thorough brushing every two weeks and a bath/blow dry every 5-8 wks (best done by a professional groomer). The reason we suggest you use a professional groomer is because they can properly dry the dog (especially in very cold climates) and brush them out not leaving them to mildew (and it can happen L). Pet owners also tend to leave soap in the hair creating hot spots, itchiness, and dandruff. A groomer has a proper blowing instrument that will eliminate dead skin, dead hair and leave the coat full.

We hope this helps some in dealing with your new older Sheltie. Just remember, Shelties by nature are a shy breed. Of course there are some as friendly as Golden Retrievers, but that is totally a-typical. Any more questions, donít hesitate to email or call. Have loads of fun with your new furkid!!! And remember the key to everything is PATIENCE!

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