If we throw a ball for our Shelties, they'll never retrieve it. So how does your Sheltie like to play? Here are 3 cool dog games to stimulate your little herding dog.
Many dogs love to play Frisbee, or fetch, or tug-of-war, but Shelties are far more idiosyncratic. As herding dogs, they love to chase moving targets, but the concept of picking it up in their mouths and returning it is off the radar. So how do you exercise your Sheltie without such classic dog games?
We looked to our own dogs for the answer. The first thing we learned was how to initiate a game - with the Play Bow.
The Play Bow
Get down on all fours like a dog. For added effect, waggle your rump as if you had a tail as well. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders. You'll notice two dogs doing exactly this when they're ready for play.
Then, suddenly sprawl your hands forwards and outwards, and lower your chest towards the ground. Spread your fingers and tilt your head, just like a playful dog. This move is called the play bow and is the universal signal to a dog that you're ready to play a game.
When you perform the play bow, your dog will get excited and start to play a game with you right away.
When we bow to Howard, he goes off to find one of his stuffed toys like Wolfie and brings it back (but holds it slightly out of reach). This is a signal for Howard's favorite game: Who's Got The Toy?
Each dog has his own favorite game. When we play bow to Piper, he starts a game of Puppy Wrestling! So what are the rules to these games?
Thanks for checking out our Sheltie games! What other games have your Shelties taught you? It's easier to learn when you have two or more Shelties as you can watch them at play every day. And every Sheltie is different, so they prefer different types of games.
Sometimes dog games may seem to have no real goal or way to win - but remember it's for your dog! 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 Sheltie, do the play bow and see what happens next.
Rebecca Turner is a writer studying for a BSc in Zoology at Massey University. She's taken care of Shelties for 10 years and written 100+ articles about the breed. Rebecca has a passion for animal biology and evolution which she writes about on her websites Sheltie Planet and Science Me. Visit Rebecca on LinkedIn or download her complete guide to Shetland Sheepdogs: The Sheltie Anthology.