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Hailing from the beautiful nation of Scotland, the Shetland Sheepdog, otherwise known as the “Sheltie”, is a small but intelligent herding dog. This breed used to be the best friend of Scottish farmers; they kept animals away from the garden and stood guard when someone was approaching the property. Nowadays, the Sheltie is known for being a great household companion and overall pet. However, the breed’s protective nature remains intact; they have the tendency to snap or bark at anything or anyone unfamiliar. Clever, athletic and always aiming to please, Shelties have become more and more popular among dog lovers and enthusiasts.
When talking about “boxing”, what immediately comes to mind is a physical combat sport where participants intend to cause harm or be harmed. You might be thinking, “Why in the world would I want to hurt my dog?” Well, do not fret because this activity does not involve actual boxing. Instead, it is a fun and playful game between you and your pooch. In fact, this activity resembles more of a game of tag or playful wrestling than real boxing. Puppy boxing is a good way for your Sheltie to expend some of their energy. At the same time, this activity is an amusing and unique way to spend some quality time together.
In the early days of the Shetland Sheepdog, one of the breed’s main responsibilities is to work and herd the livestock of farmers. A good activity that taps into the Sheltie’s background as a farm dog is through a herding trial. Major dog clubs such as the American Kennel Club offer herding programs that cater to all herding dogs of all levels. There is a non-competitive herding test for dog owners who simply want to measure their dog’s basic instinct and trainability. On the other hand, there is a competitive herding trial, which is meant to sustain and improve a breed’s natural herding skills. This program also aims to show that herding dogs can perform the practical functions for which they were originally developed.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a dog breed that is made for agility and obedience. Hence, it is no surprise that this particular breed excels in Rally-O, an event that combines elements of the two activities. In the event, the handler leads the dog through a course (usually consisting of 15 to 20 stations, depending on the level) which entail different exercises. There are three levels offered by the American Kennel Club, namely Novice, Advanced and Excellent. Your dog can advance through to the higher levels in the long run. Shelties are a great choice for this activity because they are both athletic and highly trainable.
Although the Sheltie is active and seemingly made to take on various canine sports and trials, don’t forget that your dog’s favorite pastime is to bond with you. Prepare a hearty meal for you and your pooch and dine together as a way of bonding with each other.
One of the top qualities of Shetland Sheepdogs is trainability; they can easily pick up things that are being taught to them. Hence, take advantage of the Sheltie’s cleverness by doing obedience training. Getting your pooch to learn the basics, such as “sit” and “stay”, will go a long way in improving their obedience skills. Moreover, this will prove useful if you eventually decide to participate in a Rally-O.
While Shelties are known for being active outdoors, they can also spend some time indoors as long as there is something to occupy them. If you have no time to go out, you can invest in interactive brain games for your dog. These toys come in wide varieties and can be found in almost all pet stores nationwide.
When brainstorming for activity ideas for Shetland Sheepdogs, you need to take into account that this breed needs not only exercise but mental stimulation as well. You cannot keep a Sheltie locked in your house or taking on mundane and repetitive activities. To keep a Sheltie happy, you need to incorporate the right mix of activities that will challenge them, both physically and mentally.