You’re bringing your new pup home! Congratulations!
There will be many new adjustments for the both of you in the coming weeks and months ahead, so have a plan for how to handle it. In order to make the start of your journey together as easy as possible, I'd like to offer some puppy advice that may be helpful to you.
Of course, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” As they say. (Hmm, bad analogy?) Every one is different and what works for one may not work for another. So be flexible. If one thing doesn't work, try something else.
Here at Yankee Shelties, every effort is made so that this major change is as trauma-free as possible,
I used to use the Super Puppy Exercises but have since found it to be an unsubstantiated rumor. So I continue interact with each puppy in a variety of other ways that include experiences I think help with their maturation.
You will hopefully have items necessary to insure that bringing your new buddy home is more about enjoying your new addition to the family than worrying how to handle the daily routine.
Two basics are a collar and a leash. You only need 3/8" wide collars and leashes at least to start. Some people prefer harnesses, which seems to be an East Coast preference.
For the love of Pete, PLEASE, DO NOT buy a retractable leash they are dangerous. They may seem handy at first but they can cause a great deal of trauma to both people and dogs. People tend to forget to lock it when the dog gets out of control and begins to wrap around legs and fingers and such.
That narrow cord is great at lacerating skin, muscle and tendons.
And if you ever drop the handle on the ground, chances are it will scare your Sheltie. Then the sound will continue and follow her as she bolts away, trying to escape the mean "monster" chasing her.
Here are some items I have in stock that may strike your fancy. While the photos may show collars, if you click on them you will see what options you have for harnesses and matching leashes as well:
Even though you may have opted to do minimal vaccinations as I do, (Good for you!!!) it is important not to be afraid to take your puppy outside and into town for short periods of time. Getting exposed to different germs little by little is the natural way to build a good immune system.
We have become so dependent on pharmaceuticals for everything, we forget our bodies can do a better job more times than not.
Your pup has a nice set of lungs on him and he isn't afraid to use them! Puppy behavior normally includes crying, whining or howling at times and for lots of reasons. Your job is to make sure there isn’t a legitimate reason for the ruckus first.
While your pup does need to learn to spend some time separated from you, I’m personally not into the philosophy that the pup needs to tough it out being alone in situations that could, with a little planning, be less lonely for him. After all, no one gets a dog just to ignore him.
If you go to work, your Sheltie has already had 8 hours of total isolation, which is more than enough alone time.
When it comes to confining your Sheltie while you are home, try setting things up so he can see and hear you, ideally in the same room. A portable exercise pen works well but you have to secure the panels so the pup doesn't push them askew every time he jumps up. Usual puppy behavior is to want to be in the center of things. Sometimes, they can feel lonely and think they are abandoned if there is no one around.
Remember, the purpose of confining him during the day is to keep him safe, and to prevent him from having total run of the house until he is housetrained. He is not to be put in a small crate for hours at a time during the day with little room to move and nothing to do.
He is not to be ignored all day long. He needs to play with you.
At times, he does need to be able to play by himself. A nice raw knuckle bone to chew, and interactive Kong toy, a plush toy to throw around or even a ball are a few ideas. And give him a decent sized area to sleep eat and play.
Reward your Sheltie for good quiet behavior with treats or time out of the pen with you. I try to find times when the pup has settled down, taken a nap for a while and then when he wakes, reward him by taking him out to potty and then playing with me.
The pen for my Sheltie puppies is upstairs in the living/dining/kitchen area. That way, even if I’m not actively involved in with the pup, they can see and hear me as I work around the house. Most times they are content with that situation.
So let’s say, you are the model owner, giving your Sheltie plenty of play time WITH you and when confined, he is in an area that he can still see and hear you. He has toys to amuse himself in the play area.
He sleeps in your bedroom, close to your bed so he can see, smell and hear you during the night to comfort him.
But there he stands, HOWLING as if his heart is breaking (perhaps while you’re typing a web page on puppy behavior).
If you have a pup that is whining or crying non-stop, for no good reason other than to torture you, try a deep throated “ENOUGH!” to interrupt him. Sometimes that distracts them enough to get that few seconds of good behavior you can reward. But don’t expect more than a minute of success so reward quickly.
Long term, the best puppy advice I can give… and you will hate me for it…. is to ignore it. Wear ear plugs if you need to, but don’t give in.
As long as you can, in good conscience, know he is fine in all other respects, ignoring behavior you don’t want will eventually extinguish it.
Possibly right before you lose your sanity.
Once he stops for a few seconds, reward the GOOD behavior.
As with everything else to do with puppies, this all takes patience and time.
If you have questions after bringing your Shetland Sheepdog home, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always happy to help. But hopefully, these pages related to the first few weeks will be enough to do the trick.