Info and Tips on Shelties

Shelties in SRCI's foster program come from a wide variety of situations. We take in strays found running loose; receive dogs from animal control and shelter facilities; take owner releases because of changes in work, home or personal situations; accept dogs who are homeless because of their owners death or illness; and rescue dogs from abusive or neglectful situations. SRCI accepts the sheltie into foster care and addresses her individual needs. We treat medical conditions, evaluate for temperament, work to identify challenging issues, and provide behavior modification and/or basic obedience training. All of our rescue shelties have the following health care provided during their foster care period unless documentation comes with the dog that this care is current

  • · General exam
  • · Spay or neuter (even on puppies)
  • · One year rabies vaccination
  • · Distemper/Parvo combo vaccination
  • · Bordetella vaccination for prevention against Kennel Cough
  • · Heartworm test (and treatment if positive)
  • · Heartworm preventative medication
  • · Flea prevention treatment, if needed
  • · Fecal test, and worming medication if required
  • · Bathed and groomed
  • · Dental cleaning, if needed.


A medical history record is provided with each dog. Each sheltie stays in his foster home until a good match can be made. If we have been able to identify a behavior issue while the sheltie is in foster care, we will advise you of these known issues prior to your adoption. Rescue shelties have plenty of love and affection to give but they also often bring along baggage that you will need to help them unpack and work through. If you are willing to do this, you will have the satisfaction of adding a wonderful member to your family as well as providing a permanent and loving home to a homeless dog.

Rescue shelties range in age from puppies to 13 years. The normal lifespan of a Sheltie is 13-16 years. Most applicants want a young dog. Please consider opening your heart to a senior dog. They are often in foster care for longer periods of time, and usually are the best behaved. They need caregivers who understand that lots of love and devotion still exists even though they are older.


General Sheltie Traits...

Before you decide to adopt a sheltie, please make sure you know about the breed. If you have not previously been owned by a sheltie, visit your local library or bookstore to obtain a book about shelties. Shelties have many wonderful traits but they can also be a challenge if you haven't appropriately educated yourself and know what to expect. Shelties were bred by Scottish islanders as a general-purpose farm and herding dog. They worked all day long, and subsisted and thrived in harsh conditions and on little food. The energy level required to do this still exists in the breed and you need to provide your sheltie with the exercise and stimulation to keep her satisfied.

This means you can expect to encounter the following in most of the individuals of the breed:

· Herding traits. Inherited characteristics such as circling, nipping at heels, and chasing moving objects are basic parts of their personality. Shelties will herd children, cats, and bunnies, and chase squirrels, bicycles, skate boarders, cars and joggers. This is why a fenced yard, leash, and training are so important for the dog's safety. Even well trained dogs die under the wheels of cars...and it only takes a single time of your guard being down or the dog being too tempted to do as you ask.

· Barking. Shelties don't bark at everything....just most things. Good farm dogs are wary of strangers and announce any strange or unknown object or noise. Your sheltie will warn you if the UPS or Postal employee arrives, if someone walks into your yard, if a car goes down your street, or if something is 'not right' in his opinion. You can work with the sheltie to manage his barking, but you will never completely stop it. If a dog that barks will bother you, the sheltie may not be the right breed for you.

· Hair and shedding. The sheltie is a double coated, longhaired breed. The coat is necessary to keep them warm and dry when working in all types of weather. People who know and love the breed consider it a "wash and wear" coat but that doesn't mean the sheltie will not require routine grooming, especially during the times of the year when it sheds it's coat. In general you should be prepared to provide a good brushing at least once a week, a bath every 4-8 weeks and provide flea control for at least 9 months of the year.

· Wariness of unfamiliar people. A sheltie will be very affectionate and loving with its human companion or family, but may be wary or shy of strangers. This is especially true if the sheltie has not been appropriately socialized during its young, formative first year. If you are looking for a dog that will run and greet everyone who comes to visit you, this breed may not be the best choice for you. Remember this if you plan on hiring someone to care for the sheltie while you travel or work extra hours.




Things we consider when evaluating an application...

Here are the issues we take into account when considering an application to adopt one of our shelties:


Where do you live? Because of the logistical challenge of doing home visits over long distances, most of our shelties are placed in the state of Indiana. If you are willing to offer a senior or special-needs Sheltie a home, we look forward to hearing from you regardless of your location.


Is there a fenced yard? We highly recommend a fully fenced area. Electric fences are not acceptable. Most shelties in our program need a fair amount of daily exercise. A physical fence shows us you are committed to providing a safe and nurturing home for the Sheltie. Under some circumstances we do adopt to those without fenced yards but you must be willing to exercise the sheltie well with leashed walks and play.


Where will the sheltie live? Shelties are a very loving and loyal breed that need attention and affection. They are highly intelligent and get bored without enough activity or a job to perform. Your sheltie will want to be with his or her human companion, wherever that may be. Therefore, we will only consider those homes that want an indoor family member.


Are there young children in the home? Children and dogs are both unpredictable, so it is safer to wait until the child is old enough to understand how a dog should be treated.


How long will the sheltie be alone during the day? If you are gone for long periods during the day, arrangements must be made for the dog to be let out and exercised.


How responsible a caregiver are you? We are looking for responsible people that will care for the sheltie in such ways as providing monthly heartworm preventative, always wearing ID tags, and being on a leash when outside and not inside a fenced yard.


For what reasons would you decide to remove the sheltie from your family? If you are unsure as to whether you can commit to a sheltie for the rest of his life, regardless of whether you move, change jobs, or get divorced then please rethink your decision to adopt any breed of dog. We are looking for adopters who will care for and love the sheltie for the rest of his life.



Five Good Reasons Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet...

1) Spaying or neutering increases your pet's chances for a longer, healthier life.

  • Spaying your pet before her first estrous cycle (that is, before she reaches sexual maturity) greatly reduces her chances of developing breast cancer and completely eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer and uterine infection, which are common occurrences in unaltered females.

  • Neutering your male dog or cat prevents testicular tumors and may prevent prostate problems. Neutering also decreases the possibility of perianal tumors and hernias, which are commonly observed in older, unaltered dogs. Because neutered cats are less likely to roam, the threat of abscesses caused by bites and diseases transmitted by fighting are greatly reduced.

2) An altered dog or cat is a better pet for your family.

  • Males neutered early in life are less aggressive toward other males and are not distracted by females in heat. Therefore, a neutered male will be less tempted to leave your property and cross that dangerous highway searching for a mate. Neutered males also are less likely to mark every one of your (or your neighbor's) expensive shrubs with his urine as well as inside the house.

  • Spaying your female pet eliminates the problem of stray males camping in your yard and decreases her desire to roam and breed.

3) No family wants to cope with an unwanted pregnancy.

  • Spaying prevents your pet from giving birth to unwanted puppies or kittens.

4) Spaying results in a cleaner female dog and home.

  • Because female dogs pass bloody fluid for about ten days, twice a year, as a part of their estrous cycle, constant care must be taken to avoid carpet stains in homes with such animals. Spaying your dog eliminates this problem.

5) You are helping to alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problem.

  • Each year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized (killed) at shelters across the country. Although pet behavioral problems are the main reasons animals are given to shelters, many orphans are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming, unaltered pets. The more pets spayed or neutered, the fewer dogs and cats will have to be destroyed. Delaware Humane Association does not euthanized; however, hundreds of dogs and cats are turned away each year because there is simply not enough room at the shelter to accommodate them

Six Common Excuses for Not Spaying or Neutering Pets

1) My pet will get fat and lazy.

  • Neutering or spaying may diminish your pet's overall activity level, natural tendency to wander, and hormonal balances, which may influence appetite. Pets that become fat and lazy after being altered usually are overfed and do not get enough exercise.

2) We want another pet just like Rover and Fluffy.

  • Breeding two purebred animals rarely results in offspring that are exactly like one of the parents. With mixed breeds, it is virtually impossible to have offspring that are exactly like one of the parents.

3) My pet's personality will change.

  • Any change will be for the better. After being altered, your pet will be less aggressive toward other dogs or cats, have a better personality, and will be less likely to wander. Spraying (urine marking), which is often done by dogs and cats to mark their territory, diminishes or ceases after pets are altered.

4) We can sell puppies or kittens and make money.

  • Even well-known breeders are fortunate if they break even on raising purebred litters. The cost of raising such a litter -- which includes stud fees, vaccinations and other health care costs, and feeding a quality food -- consumes most of the "profit." Well-known breeders raise breeds that they like. These breeders also try to improve the standard of the breeds they raise.

5) My children should witness our pet giving birth.

  • Pets often have their litters in the middle of the night or in a place of their own choosing. Because pets need privacy when giving birth, any unnecessary intrusion can cause the mother to become seriously upset. These intrusions can result in an unwillingness to care for the offspring or in injury to the owners or to the pet.

6) I am concerned about my pet undergoing anesthesia.

  • Placing a pet under anesthesia is a very common concern of owners. Although there is always a slight risk involved, the anesthetics currently used by veterinarians are very safe. Many veterinarians use equipment that monitors heart and respiratory rates during surgery to ensure that their patients are doing well under anesthesia. Thus, the medical benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered far outweigh the slight risk involved with undergoing anesthesia. Consult your veterinarian if your are concerned about this aspect of the procedure.

Why I Spay or Neuter My Dogs

By Daniel E. Tratnack

I have owned and trained purebred dogs for fifteen years -- German Shepherds and Belgian Tervuren -- and have been asked the same two questions many times: "Are they purebred?" and "Do you breed them?" To the passerby, my dogs appear very striking. They are attractive, well-cared-for specimens of their breeds. They're in top condition and carefully groomed. Walking through the park, they draw attention and admiration from others.

My answer, however, surprises people. "No," I say proudly, "These dogs are neutered." For me, the decision to spay or neuter is a no-brainer. Unless a dog is going to be used for breeding, it should be spayed or neutered. And it is my firm belief that most dogs and most dog owners should NOT be involved in breeding.

Why don't I want to be a breeder? Because I am ignorant. I do not know enough about breeding and bloodlines to make intelligent choices. There are people who have been breeding dogs for many years who have the knowledge and experience it takes to select a breeding pair which will produce quality puppies. I know some breeders who have been doing it for over thirty years. Who am I to compete with them? No matter how much I studied and asked questions, it is unlikely that I could ever know as much as them. They know so much about which dogs are good producers and which are not, and have gained so much experience over the years, that I could not hope to match their success. I say leave the breeding to these experts.

In my opinion, fewer than 25% of people who call themselves "breeders" really know what they're doing. I have talked to many "breeders" of purebred dogs over the years, and most do not impress me. Most don't have the knowledge, experience, or even common sense to breed good dogs. Some don't have a clue as to what they're doing, and are unable to produce dogs which are free of health and temperament problems and disqualifying faults. A favorite saying of the clueless breeder, after producing yet another litter of inferior dogs, is "Oh. Breeding is just a crap-shoot, anyway. Anything can happen." Nonsense! Knowledge and experience allow real breeders to consistently produce quality dogs.

So why would I want to breed? Most likely, I'd just join the huge population of "wannabes." There are a few breeders who know what they're doing. They need puppy buyers. I'm perfectly happy being one of their buyers.

Another reason I've never even thought about breeding is that I've never owned a dog I thought worthy of reproducing. Yes, my dogs seem nearly perfect to the untrained eye. But a closer look reveals genetic defects -- some minor, some major -- in each of my canine companions. My various dogs have had hip dysplasia, cancer, auto-immune disease, and allergies. There have also been temperament problems such as shyness and dog-aggressiveness. While I've coped with most of these problems through proper veterinary care and careful training, the bottom line is that no dog I've ever owned was worth breeding.

How do you know if a dog is worthy of breeding? There's a whole lot more involved than the dog's phenotype (what the dog looks like and acts like). A dog may seem to be of "breeding quality," but what's in the genes? That's what really counts. Only by a thorough knowledge of the dog's genetic background -- what his relatives and ancestors are like -- can you predict what the dog will produce in his offspring. A dog can be very nice (good phenotype) but produce low quality offspring because that's what's in the genes. Consider the fact that the nicest dog from a litter can reproduce the worst of his litter. If a dog has excellent hips, but one of his littermates has hip dysplasia, the "excellent" dog could easily produce dysplastic pups because he's carrying the genes for hip dysplasia. Genetic traits can be hidden for two or three generations before they reappear. It is my belief that unless a dog is an ideal specimen, from a litter of all ideal specimens, out of parents that are ideal specimens, it's a risk to breed.

In order to understand what's in a dog's pedigree, you have to know the phenotypes of as many dogs in that pedigree as possible. Knowledge about all of the dog's littermates is also necessary to predict what the offspring of a dog will be like. Few people have this much knowledge about their dogs.

A dog may be a truly fine specimen of his breed. He may be purebred, and be registered with the A.K.C.. He may even have "champions" or other titled dogs somewhere in his pedigree. But these things alone do not make a dog "breeding quality." It's what's hidden in the genes that's most important.

So why should I breed? I don't have the knowledge or experience it takes to decide on a good breeding pair. Other people do. I've also never had a dog that was so "perfect" that he or she would be worth breeding. But those dogs do exist in other people's kennels. Since I don't have what it takes to be a good breeder, and since I don't have dogs with the right genes, the decision to spay or neuter is an easy one.

Consider the statistics. There are over 500 Belgian Tervuren bred and registered each year. There are over 75,000 German Shepherds born and registered each year. Why should I increase the purebred dog population? If I want another dog, why not just find the best puppy, from the best parents, from the best breeder, that I can find......and buy the puppy?

Copyright © 1998 by Daniel E. Tratnack. All rights reserved. Spay and Neuter

(c) Copyright 1998-2000, PetRescue.Com.

Did You Know?

1. Every day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born in this country while only 10,000 people are born.

2. It's simple math - there just aren’t enough homes for all of these animals.

3. Every year 10-12 million animals are euthanized in shelters for lack of available homes.

4. On average, 64% of all animals taken into shelters nationwide have to be euthanized for this reason.

5. At least 50% of the overpopulation problem is non-neutered males. Females can’t do it alone.

6. Purebreds account for 30% of all the animals in shelters. "Papers" don’t mean an animal should be bred.

7. For every home you find for an animal that you have bred, a home is lost for a shelter animal.

8. Breeding to "see the miracle of birth" demands that you also "see the tragic results". Visit a shelter.

9. Animal overpopulation has reached a crisis point in this country.

10. You personally can make a difference by spaying or neutering your pet. It is the single most important thing you can do to prevent animal cruelty!

More Reasons:

Spaying or neutering your pet provides many practical benefits as well as preventing animal overpopulation: your pet is more content and far less likely to roam, bite, scratch, fight, mark territory or develop uterine, mammary or testicular cancer.
The latest medical findings indicate that your pet, male or female, will be healthier and live a longer life if it is spayed or neutered. Take a look at these articles from The Winn Feline Foundation: " Early Spay/Neuter in the Cat" and from the Dog Owner's Guide: "Spay or Neuter Surgery: A prescription for better canine health".
Are you still thinking of breeding your pet? Before you do, please read this article by Daniel E. Tratnack !



Outside Dogs...

By Dennis Fetko, Ph.D.

I'm familiar with hundreds of dog breeds, but what's an outside dog? Unless you're medically intolerant of the dog (and therefore can't take care of him in a medical emergency, so you shouldn't have the dog anyway), making a dog stay outside is a costly waste. If he's for protection, what do you think I want to steal - your lawn? When you leave, do you put your valuables and your kids out in your yard? Just what is the dog protecting out there? Most dogs kept outside cause far more nuisance complaints from barking and escaping than any deterrent to intrusion. Such complaints cause teasing, antagonism, release and poisoning. With your dog a helpless victim, it's no laughing matter.

If I'm a crook and your dog is out, your fence protects ME, not your possessions or your dog. If I just open the gate, 9 out of 10 dogs will run off! I can safely shoot, stab, spear, poison, snare, strangle them, or dart through the fence and you just lost your dog AND everything I steal!

If he's tied up and I keep out of reach, he's useless. He'll bark, but outside dogs bark so much, they're usually ignored. But let a dog hit the other side of a door or window I'm breaking into, and I'm GONE! I can't hurt the dog until he can hurt me, and nothing you own is worth my arm. Deterrence is effective protection.

Protection and aggression are not the same. Protection is defensive, reactive, often passive, and threatens or injures no one. Aggression is active, harmful and offensive, threatens all and benefits none. Yard dogs often develop far more aggression than protectivity because everyone who passes by or enters has already violated the territory that dog has marked dozens of times a day for years. That's not protection, it's not desirable and it overlooks two facts of life today:

First, property owners have implied social contracts with others in the community. Letter carriers, paper boys, delivery people, law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, meter readers and others are allowed near and at times on your property without your specific permission. And sure that ten-year-old was not supposed to jump your fence after his Frisbee; but neither you nor your dog are allowed to cause him injury if he does. Imagine this: A neighbor looks into your yard or window and sees you, your wife or child laying on the floor in a pool of blood. They call 9-1-1 and your dog prevents paramedics from assisting! Should they shoot your dog or just let you die?

Great choice.

Second, even if the intruder is a criminal, few places allow you or your dog to cause physical injury to prevent property loss. Convicted felons have sued the dog's owner from jail and won more in the suit than they ever could have stolen! Appalling? True. And don't be foolish enough to believe your homeowner's insurance will cover the loss. Now you see why many feel that an outside dog is a no-brainer.

The more a dog is outdoors, the less behavioral control you have. It's easier to solve four or five indoor problems than one outdoor problem. The reason is valid and simple: The more you control the stimuli that reaches your dog, the more you control the responses. You've got a lot more control over your living room than you do over your entire county! When your dog is bored, but teased by every dog, cat, bird, squirrel, motorcycle, paperboy, airplane, firecracker and backfiring truck in the county, OF COURSE he'll dig, chew, and bark.

Would you sit still all day everyday? Do you want unnecessary medical and parasite fees, especially as the dog ages?

When a dog is alone indoors, you are still 30% there because your scent and things he associates with you, constantly remind the dog of you and your training. When he's out, your dog is alone whether you're home or not. Do you really expect him to keep YOU in mind while the entire world teases, distracts and stimulates him?

The media is full of stories about the family dog saving everyone's life during a fire. How many people, including children, would be dead today if those dogs were kept outside? SURE - you ALWAYS get up to investigate every time your yard dog barks. And I've got this bridge.

An outdoor dog has an address, not a home. Dogs offer real value as companion animals. Stop behavior problems and start enjoying real protection and companionship. Bring your dogs inside.

Reprinted from the August 1995 issue of Whiskers & Wags, Halifax Humane Society Newsletter