What to Expect from a Rescued Sheltie
Shelties make their way into our program as owner surrenders, shelter dogs, found as strays by caring individuals, or have been abandoned by their original owners. During the fostering process, the shelties are given necessary medical treatments, undergo training and temperament evaluation, and many experience tender loving care for the first time in their lives. Generally after several weeks or months, these dogs rebound and amazingly recover. Eventually, most will “blossom” and become wonderful, dedicated pets. Although ongoing medications may be part of the picture, adoptive families understand this from the beginning and are rewarded with the knowledge that they have truly helped a sheltie in desperate need of a good home. They realize what “rescue” is all about, and an amazing bond is made between the new owner and sheltie.
Think for a moment. You could easily pay $500 for a new puppy, then hundreds more for the series of vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, fecal tests, and any medications. It will go through the chewing phase, needs extensive training to learn good manners, it is not housebroken, and you do not know what hidden medical conditions will surface in the future. Now consider the differences in buying a new pup versus adopting a mature dog.
ISR’s adopters know what type of dog they’re getting thanks to our fostering and adoption process. Although a family may be adopting a middle-aged sheltie with or without special needs, most experience utter joy and satisfaction from day one with their new canine companion. Many have reported that, “they didn’t know how they lived without their sheltie before,” and some return to adopt another as a playmate for their first.
FAQ’s About Choosing a Dog
Q: Is it true that older dogs can’t be trained because they are set in their own ways?
A: This simply isn’t true. The older dog in the long-run requires a lot less time and effort to train. Seeing Eye Dogs and Police dogs don’t start training until they are at least one to two years old because they are more easily trained at this age. Older dogs, like children, have a longer attention span and they are more focused on you.
Q: Is it true that male dogs may mount and are more prone to run away?
A: Neutering usually stops mounting and straying and they make better watchdogs because of this.
Q: Is it true female dogs have messy heats?
A: Spaying eliminate the heat cycles, which also helps prevent tumors and hormone problems.
Q: That’s a nice dog but doesn’t it shed a lot?
A: Most dogs shed but if the dog is brushed regularly, this shouldn’t be a problem.
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Puppies are adorable but quickly grow up. Fortunately, Shetland Sheepdogs are among the breeds that grow more handsome as they age and continue to develop their personalities and grow longer and fuller coats. It is quite common to see 10 year old shelties competing in agility, which proves they normally remain athletic for over a decade. For those of you convinced that a puppy is the way to you want to go, we would like to offer some guidelines for you to consider while you are making your purchase. Indiana Sheltie Rescue does not often receive puppies into our program. Educating yourself can help reduce the need for breed rescue groups in the future by you making a wise choice and achieving responsible puppy rearing. Following are some common questions we are asked.
Where should I purchase my puppy?
You should purchase your puppy from a member of a local or national breed club. This should be your first choice. These breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed and generally attend meetings, seminars and have years of education invested to provide the public with healthy and nicely tempered puppies. You are almost guaranteed of a good puppy by choosing this route. You should expect to pay $300 – $600 for a puppy from this source. These breeders have earned the credentials to confidently feel their puppies are worth this price. If you intend on purchasing a puppy for show, you can expect to pay an even higher price. There are many excellent breeders that do not belong to a club for legitimate reasons. Perhaps the meetings are not close enough for them to attend or they just don’t like to by members of clubs. This is where you will have to do your homework. Following are some things you can ask to help determine if you are dealing with a responsible and caring breeder.
1. Ask if the breeder is responsible for the puppy for its entire life. A good breeder will answer “yes.”
2. What is your Health Guarantee?
3. What are the positive and negative aspects of the breed?
4. May I see one or both parents? Most breeders will have one or both parents available for you to see. You will also be able to judge the way the puppy will look when grown and the likelihood of similar temperament to the parents’.
5. Does the breeder require a spay/neuter agreement for pet quality puppies?
These are just a few questions you should ask a breeder. Please purchase books on the breed you are interested in BEFORE you begin your search. There will be additional guidelines to help you in your search. Be wary of backyard breeders, newspaper classified ads, and pet stores. Some of the breeders may not have educated themselves enough to provide you with a healthy puppy of sound temperament. The horrors of the commercial pet industry are often focused on in the media and more can be learned at www.nopuppymills.com. The responsibility is up to you to educate yourself about avoiding the purchase of an inferior puppy.
I have made my purchase. Now what?
Now that you have made that puppy purchase, your job begins on raising a new life to be a good citizen of your community, keeping your pet healthy, ensuring a continued good temperament and having a wonderful new family member. Remember, your this puppy is likely to live to be 14 or maybe longer. It is up to you to ensure a good future for your puppy.
1. Next to veterinary care, the most important thing you must now provide for the young puppy is socialization. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is not important. For a sheltie, in particular, the more you expose that puppy to, the more confident he will be as an adult dog. You will need to be careful where you take the puppy until he has had all of his disease preventing vaccinations, but you need to take him everywhere you possibly can… car rides, meeting new people, meeting all ages and races of people. It will become repetitive, but if weather permits, load him up and take him on daily errands. Read carefully about a puppy’s “fear periods,” between 8-12 weeks of age. You will need to make an effort to take the puppy on outings when they don’t fit into your regular schedule.
2. Enroll your puppy in a local “puppy preschool” if one is available in our area. The trainer will be able to help you with puppy issues and the socialization this will provide if very valuable. You cannot do on your own all that can be achieved by taking the time to invest in a class such as this.
3. Today, many people promote the use of crate training. Study the subject carefully, and use it to your advantage for house training. Remember that a young puppy does not have muscle control and expect accidents until your puppy has achieved muscle control. Many adult dogs continue to consider their crate as their own “place” after they have grown up. Be careful not to keep your puppy in the crate beyond the recommended amount of daily hours.
4. Feed your new puppy a high quality pet food. Do your homework again. Many brands qualify as quality but the overall health and even temperament of your puppy depend on your choice of a quality food.
5. You may find that you can groom your sheltie yourself. Again, a little education and you will find a sheltie not at all difficult to maintain good grooming for. By you doing your own grooming, you provide another way to deepen the bond between you and your pet.
6. Your puppy needs treats and toys of his own. He will enjoy hard rawhide chew sticks, squeaky toys and balls. Choose quality items for ultimate safety.
7. Within a few days of adding your new puppy to the family, you should be taking him to the veterinarian. You need to establish a good relationship with this doctor and maintain the recommended schedule he will suggest for your puppy’s vaccinations. He will also start your puppy on heartworm prevention. You need to be regular through out the entire year in the state of Indiana in providing heartworm prevention. Heartworm is a horrible disease in its later stages and has ended the lives of many family pets prematurely. In years past, this was not necessary but recent mosquito population studies have required the veterinary community to recommend year round prevention. Heartworm takes about a year to begin to enter serious stages. It is up to you to protect your pet from this disease. You will also want to form a relationship with your vet, so you will have him to turn to when your puppy has illnesses or injuries. These are bound to happen and again it is up to you to provide your pet with the attention he deserves.
What should I tell my children about our new puppy?
Children should be taught the proper way to treat the puppy/dog. If the dog wants to be left alone, (maybe he’s sleeping or eating or has a favorite toy), the children should leave the puppy alone. Children should be taught not to tease, poke or irritate the puppy. Any dog is capable of biting and will learn restraint not to bite unless it is unduly harassed. Teach the children to be gentle, kind and respectful. Do not allow the children to rough house with the puppy or play tug-of-war games. The puppy may get overly excited and not understand when to use restraint. Don’t allow the children to pull the puppy around by its ears or tail. Teach the proper way for the children to hold the puppy. Never leave the puppy alone with the children. With diligence and consideration, puppies and kids can be the best of friends!
What supplies will my puppy need?
You should have these supplies ready and waiting when you bring the new puppy home:
- food bowl
- water bowl
- puppy collar – you will need to change to larger ones at the puppy grows bigger
- chew sticks
- a bed
- puppy shampoo
- a veterinarian already chosen
- ID tag – you can purchase one of these at the new do-it-yourself machines located in many large chain stores. Do this immediately and attach it to your puppy’s new collar!
- comb and brush
- nail clippers
- trimming scissors
- doggie toothpaste and toothbrush
- quality pet food
- puppy treats
- baby gate(s) and crate
We hope we have provided you with some helpful guidelines. Feel free to contact us for further information. Education is the key to providing yourself with a happy, healthy and lifelong companion. You can help reduce the need for breed rescue groups and reduce the numbers of animals in shelters and on our streets by taking a vow to be the best parent possible to your new puppy!
Animal Training at Sea World – animal behavior, training, how animals learn, why we train animals, and more!
Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) – building better trainers through education
Clicker Training – a web site and mailing list dedicated to helping pet owners improve the relationship with their pets by teaching training and management techniques which are understandable and reinforcing to both human and animal
Cotton & Company – dog trainer, Teresa Cotton, offers private lessons in your home with your family and your dog
Dogwise – a great source for books about shelties and dog training
Greater Lafayette Kennel Club – class information, activities, events, and information about this dog training facility in Lafayette, Ind.
Pawsitive Partners – the center for dog sports in Indianapolis
PuppySmarts Training Program – lessons for a lifetime – Dog Fancy editors’ choice winner
Puppyworks – “the event planner for dog people,” sponsoring and organizing educational dog events for nationally and internationally known dog trainers, dog behaviorists, sports competitors and breeders
A Little Background on Shelties – information about the breed, physical characteristics, temperament, health and behavior
American Shetland Sheepdog Association – articles about shelties, breed information, health issues, a great resource center for shelties
The Animal Rescue Site – Millions of animals are rescued by shelters every year. Your daily click provides food for an animal in a shelter or sanctuary.
Blind Dogs – find out how blind dogs can live happy, healthy lives too!
Central Indiana Shetland Sheepdog Club – club objectives support many aspects of the sheltie
Noblesville Square Animal Clinic – great website, including a medical library.