Bringing Your New Sheltie Home
Congratulations on Your New Sheltie! Whether you are a first-time Sheltie owner or not, be prepared for bringing your new family member home. Remember, just like children, each Sheltie’s personality will be different. You will learn to appreciate and love each individual Sheltie for his own endearing traits.
Before You Bring Your Sheltie Home
You should already have some basic supplies ready. SCSR may provide you with a leash and collar, and sometimes with medicines if needed. If not, below is a list of supplies to have on hand:
- Collar and leash
- A martingale, or limited slip, collar works best for Shelties. These collars will tighten slightly if your Sheltie gets frightened and tries to run, but he will not be able to slip out of it and it will not choke him. Flexi-leads are not recommended. These leashes are not safe to use in most public areas.
- If you adopted a Sheltie from SCSR, he will have an implanted microchip for identification. However, microchips aren’t useful unless the Sheltie can be scanned with a microchip scanner by a vet or animal shelter. You should also get a name tag with at least your name and telephone number.
- Food and water bowls
- Your Sheltie will need its own bowls and the foster home may provide a small bag of the food your Sheltie had been eating. Mix this old food for a few days with the new food you plan to give him. This will help prevent stomach upset from a rapid change of diet.
- A wire or plastic crate will provide your newcomer with a "safe" place of his own. Additionally, it will help speed up the housetraining process. If your Sheltie is young and teething, or is a natural chewer, the crate will provide a place to safely house your Sheltie when you cannot watch him.
- Grooming supplies
- At a minimum, you should have a pin brush and nail clippers. Later, you may want to purchase more extensive grooming supplies. See the link for Grooming Your Sheltie.
- Don’t buy too many toys until you know what kind your Sheltie likes best. The foster home may be able to give you some advice. One staple that satisfies both play and chewing behaviors is the Kong® toy. This toy bounces in all directions, is hollow and can be filled with healthy treats that will keep your Sheltie busy trying to excavate the treats!
- Cleaning Supplies
- Bathroom accidents should always be cleaned up with an enzymatic type cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle® or Simple Solutions®. Other cleaners will disguise the smell, but not totally eliminate it.
- If you don’t already have a veterinarian that you trust, you will need to select one before you bring your Sheltie home. You will want to establish a relationship early and should bring your Sheltie in for a visit soon after the adoption. Friends may have recommendations for a veterinarian and you will want to meet and interview your new veterinarian in advance.
Bringing Your Sheltie Home
When you bring your Sheltie home, have a crate or seatbelt available in the car. You should always safely contain your Sheltie whenever you travel, even if it is only down the road to a park. You know how quickly accidents can happen!
Realize there may have been a lot of changes in your Sheltie’s life. Be patient with him. You can help build your new relationship with your Sheltie by hand-feeding him his kibble for a few days. If he is too stressed to eat from your hand, you can toss the food gently at his feet. Remember, when a dog is stressed, often he will not eat. Your Sheltie may not eat readily for a few days when he first arrives. It is important to be cautious with his introductions to other dogs in your home, children and other pets. If possible, introduce him to other dogs in your family first in a neutral area outside the home and yard. Don’t pressure him or force his attention and carefully supervise any children in the home as they interact with your new Sheltie. Allow him to warm up to his new environment at his own pace.
If your Sheltie will readily take food or treats from your hand, you can teach him his new name by saying his name, then handing him a piece of kibble or treat. If he learns to associate his name with food, he will learn it quickly!
Even if your Sheltie was housetrained in his foster home, you may need to re-housetrain him at your home. See the link for Housetraining Tips.
Don't Assume Anything
If your first Sheltie never barked, never jumped on the couch, never chewed anything, remember — that was a different Sheltie! Each Sheltie has his own personality and own likes and dislikes. Enjoy him for the unique creature he is!
If your Sheltie knew basic cues in his foster home, he may need to re-learn them with you. Your voice is different and so are your physical cues to him.
If your Sheltie does not respond to you, it doesn’t mean he is “dominant” or “trying to be alpha.” He has never been taught to respond to you, you have to teach him. He doesn’t know the rules in your home, you have to teach him. Be patient and communicate with him in terms that he can understand.
Even if your Sheltie is an adult, an obedience class is a great way to improve your relationship and communication with each other. But make sure your only enroll your Sheltie in a positive training class. No choke chains, prong collars, or corrections are needed to encourage your Sheltie to learn! You may want to observe a class before signing up. You can find a listing of professional trainers at The Association of Professional Dog Trainers. There is also an excellent article explaining how to choose a quality trainer.
Successful Dog Adoption by Sue Sternberg
Purebred Rescue Dog Adoption: Rewards and Realities by Liz Palika