Sheltie Planet

Cool Dog Games to Play with Your Shetland Sheepdog


By Rebecca Turner

We've got some cool dog games to play with your Shetland Sheepdog. Because most Shelties don't play fetch!

Shetland Sheepdog Games

Howard and Piper play a game of chase

Our Shelties have invented some cool dog games to play. Every day, Howard and Piper play the game of "you chase me for a bit, then I'll chase you" (aka YCMFABTICY, pronounced Ya-sim-fab-ticky). It's probably the best game in the world invented by anyone, ever.

If we throw a ball for our Shetland Sheepdogs, they'll rarely retrieve it. That's Shelties for you.

So that's when we realized it was time to stop trying to teach them traditional dog games like fetch and just follow their lead...

Here are some of the cool dog games our Shelties have taught us. You can adapt them to play with your own pet Sheltie to bond, have fun, and burn off some of their bottomless gas tank.

The Psychology of Dog Games

In your dog's eyes, you are his pack leader, the alpha dog, so it's natural that you don't spend as much time playing dog games as he does. But it's nice when a dog realizes you want to take a moment out of your busy schedule of guarding the house from cats to actually play with him.

However, since we're not dogs ourselves, it can be difficult to find the right game that challenges the dog and engages his interest.

The first thing to understand is that when we go to play with our Sheltie and he picks up his toy and takes it away, it is not rejection. It's simply that the dog doesn't realize you want to play a game.

When a dog is playing a game, he knows he is playing a game. Even if it's just sitting down chewing a stick or destroying a priceless quilt, he knows it's not serious business, just a bit of fun.

So our best advice to instigate a cool dog game with your Sheltie is to simply watch what he does by himself and play a game based on that.

The Play Bow

To instigate playtime with your Shetland Sheepdog, try this: go down on all fours, so you are standing more or less like a dog. If you want to add effect, you can waggle your rump as if you had a tail as well. Your hands should be more or less underneath your shoulders.

Cool Dog Games

Get down to your Sheltie's level

Then suddenly sprawl your hands forwards and outwards, and lower your chest towards the ground. For added effect, spread your fingers and tilt your head. Pretend that the ground under your hands is a very unsteady table that you need to stop wobbling using your hands and your chest.

This move, called the play bow, is the universal signal to a dog that you are playing a game.

Play Dog Games with Your Sheltie

The play bow shows you mean fun

If you can perform this bow, your dog will probably get excited and start to play a game with you right away. When we bow to our Sheltie Howard, he will usually go find a toy and bring it back (but hold it slightly out of reach). This is a signal for Howard's favorite game "Who's Got The Stick?"

If we play bow to Piper, he will usually start a game of "Puppy Boxing" immediately - which isn't as violent as it sounds!

These games are described below, as taught to us by our very own Shelties.

Cool Dog Games for Your Sheltie

Games can start on a walk or around the house

Dog Chase

Our Shelties teach us their favorite games

These are just some examples of cool dog games. Keep trying new games with your dog, as each dog will develop his own favorite kind of game.

Some of these games you may seem to have no real goal or way to win - but remember it's for your dog, not for you. The alpha dog gains love and respect from his pack by engaging in games now and then. It keeps the troops happy. So try it right now. Find your Shetland Sheepdog, do the play bow and see what happens next...

About The Author

Rebecca Turner is the creator of Sheltie Planet where she writes about her love of Shetland Sheepdogs, inspired by her two Shelties, Howard and Piper. Learn more about Rebecca. Chat with our online Sheltie community on Facebook, Twitter and our Sheltie Forum.