The Bored Sheltie

 

Relieving Sheltie Boredom

 

Got a sheltie tearing up the house? Perhaps he or she is just not cooperating with you on manners or maybe they are just generally driving you nuts.

 

There is a good chance your sheltie is bored and needs more things to keep her or his mind more challenged. You must remember your sheltie was originally bred to work and herd sheep and many times these dogs would be at work all day, guarding, driving and keeping their flocks together in order to help his owner out. Therefore a good workout in many of todays dog events would be a great substitute for chewing up your favorite leather couch.

 

There are so many activities out there for you and your dog to start participating in but perhaps you aren't too sure which one fits your lifestyle. Hopefully the following information will help you choose which dog event would fit your schedule and your dog's activity level.

 

FOR THE MODERATELY ACTIVE DOG

 

There are two competition areas pertaining to obedience training at AKC and UKC dog shows.

 

The first that has been around for some time is Obedience Classes. They are divided into three divisions based on levels of training.

 

Novice is all basic exercises done on and off leash. Any sheltie can get through this level of training no matter how bad a trainer you are. After receiving a title called a Companion Dog title in the novice class the dog and handler move up to Open Class.

 

This class is a bit harder to obtain a title as all exercises are done off leash and your dog must be able to retrieve a doggy dumbbell and jump jumps. Also the sit and down stay exercises are done with the handler out of sight of the dog. So your dog must be in good shape and have sound joints to be able to jump the high and broad jump the class requires to finish the Companion Excellent Dog title.

 

The Utility Class is the final and top class a dog can compete in obedience. The Utility Dog title requires the dog to not only retrieve and jump, but to do one exercise with the aid of hand signals only and do a scent article exercise as well. This class requires a very smart dog as these exercises take more thinking on the dog's part. I actually compare this class to a college degree class for dogs.

 

Any of these exercises can be taught to any dog and handler and you don't have to show your dog to get these titles. Trust me though, once you go for that first title you”ll want more and sometimes showing becomes a nice hobby for your dog and you.

 

RALLY OBEDIENCE

 

Just a few years ago Rally Obedience competition was started by APDT and quickly followed by AKC.

 

Again we have three levels of training and titles. The first title Rally Novice is simple and done completely on leash.

 

Each dog and team go through a course of about 15-20 stations depending on the level of training. Each station has a sign which tells the owner what to make the dog do.

 

The second level is Rally Advanced and done off leash with one of the exercises being a jump. A few more harder exercises are also added which are not done in Novice as well as more stations.

In Rally Excellent, two jumps are used and all clapping of hands, patting legs are eliminated and harder exercises are added.

 

To be honest I would first compete here, as all rally obedience consists of is all kinds of obedience doodling done during practice in an obedience class or at home. Once a dog has his three Rally titles, the transition to obedience classes is quite easy.

 

The Rally competition is a bit more relaxed than obedience as well, since you are allowed several commands and hand signals. The handler is also allowed to talk and encourage the dog to aid him or her through the exercise signs.

 

FOR THE VERY ACTIVE SHELTIE

 

HERDING

 

Although you may live in the city, or just cannot keep livestock where you are, you can still get involved in teaching your sheltie to herd. After all it is still part of their heritage.

 

First you must find out if he or she still retains the instinct to herd stock. This can be done by taking him to one of the county fairs around your area and watching to see if he or she shows any interest in the sheep or goats there on display. Or if you know of somebody in the area that trains stock dogs you could arrange to have your dog tested.

 

A person experienced in training stock dogs can help to bring out the hidden potential in your dog when it comes to herding stock. Some dogs need a few exposures to moving animals in order for the instinct to surface. Some don't ever show any interest at all and unfortunately it could have just been bred out of that particular bloodline. Therefore you would have to pick a different activity for you and your dog to enjoy.

 

AGILITY TRAINING

 

I trained a dog in agility several years ago when I was younger. I will not say you have to be in perfect shape to work a dog in agility, but it sure helps.

 

Agility training consists of an obstacle course of tunnels, jumps, a dog walk, weave poles and a see saw. The course is timed and the dog that completes the obstacles in the correct order with the fastest time wins the class.

 

This event again has several levels with the first class being the Novice class which is divided into two parts. One can be viewed with all the obstacles in it and the other one with no more than jumps, weave poles and tunnels called the Novice Jumpers class.

 

 

Once a dog received their Novice Agility title they may move on to the Open Agility class. An Open Jumpers class is offered here as well. Once receiving the Open Agility title the dog moves on up to the Excellent Agility class.

 

Six basic titles can be earned in agility. Three from the regular classes, and three from the jumpers class.

 

There are further classes for a dog in each of those levels for the senior dog called performance classes and a dog may earn titles through those as well. There is no difference in courses or obstacles, but the dog would jump a lower height for each of the jumps.

 

Keep in mind a dog should be mature enough and sound enough to do this kind of activity due to all the speed, twists and turns the courses will take. Not only should your sheltie be tested for soundness of hips, elbows and joints, but it would be a good idea also to have their eyes checked for any hereditary diseases that our breed could have.

 

NON REGISTERED DOGS

 

You may think that you could not participate in any of these events because all of our dogs for adoption do not come with any registry papers.

 

AKC and UKC offer a program for dogs that are spayed or neutered, where if approved from pictures you send in with the applications, would receive a special number to be allowed to compete in any of the above mentioned activities.

 

You must also send in proof of the dog having been altered so that the registry organization can be reassured that these dogs receiving special numbers to compete cannot contribute to the breeding gene pool.

 

CONFORMATION SHOWS

 

If you have ever viewed the dog shows on Animal Planet TV or the Westminster Show in New York, these dogs are the dogs that are specially bred to follow a specific breed standard set up by the parent club of a registry.

 

These dogs cannot be neutered or spayed and other than run around the ring, posing for a judge, and being impeccably groomed don't have to do much else. They have, however, been bred carefully for generations, to best represent their specific breed to the best of their ability.

 

A breeder may breed dogs for years before ever producing their first Champion dog. Sometimes the actual use for which the dog was created in the first place is disregarded in preference to the overall quality of the dog's looks.

 

Unfortunately for our breed, it has suffered over the years from bad breeding and many of our shelties turn out shy, over or under sized, and suffer from more and more hereditary diseases.

 

Since all the dogs we adopt out in our organization are spayed and neutered and do not have proper registration papers, they cannot be entered in a conformation event at any dog show.

 

CONCLUSION

 

So, now you have to get up off the couch right now and enroll your dog in a performance event in order to stop your couch from being destroyed. There's no excuse now! Do it! Right now!

 

Audrey Blackman

Top Dog Obedience School

Country Critters Grooming

 

www.ccgrooming.com