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The Essentials of Sheltie Puppy Training

By Rebecca Turner - download her Sheltie Anthology today

The number one rule of puppy training is to build a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust and respect. Here are expert tips on creating that rapport and learning how to communicate with your puppy.

Sheltie Puppy Training

What factors affect your relationship with your Sheltie puppy? Training becomes much easier and effective when you've nailed these basics.

So before you begin working on toilet training, obedience training, leash walking and more, the first step is build a loving bond with your new dog. This not only helps you understand his needs and instincts, it also allows your Sheltie to develop trust in you.

How To Bond With Your Sheltie Puppy

As soon as you bring your Sheltie home, start to develop a caring and loving relationship with him simply by playing and spending lots of time together.

When puppies are secure in the knowledge that they belong to the family, they are more likely to respond better to your training commands. The trust you build now comes from showing affection, defining mutual boundaries, and treating any breach of those boundaries with firmness and fairness.

Without enforcing such limitations, it's difficult to build respect. And when there is no respect, building a bond with your Sheltie puppy becomes almost impossible. So don't be afraid of laying down the rules in a fair manner.

Four Golden Rules To Bond with Your Sheltie

  • Spend quality time together every day
  • Take him out in the world and experience life together
  • Establish and promote a level of mutual respect
  • Seek to understand and fulfil his needs

Building a positive bond with your Sheltie puppy will also develop him into a calm, quiet and well-adjusted pet.

Training a Sheltie Puppy Starts with Mutual Trust and Respect

How Your Sheltie Learns in 5 Stages

Sheltie puppy training can be divided into five phases:

1. The Teaching Phase - This is where you physically demonstrate to your Sheltie exactly what you want him to do. If you want him to drop a chew toy, carefully remove it from his jaws while saying "drop" repeatedly. Once out, say "good drop, good drop". This is your first essential demonstration of a concept.

2. The Practicing Phase - Practice makes perfect. Once a lesson has been demonstrated, practice it until you get the sense he understands what you want. You can teach several simple commands in the same day, such as "sit" and "here". The only reason to slow things down is if your puppy is clearly confused.

3. The Generalizing Phase - This is where the original command is generalized to lots of different situations. "Drop" doesn't just mean "drop the chew toy", but also "drop the sock" or "drop the TV remote". Practice generalizing in different locations and slowly add in distractions which he must overcome.

4. The Testing Phase - Once your Sheltie training is effect 9 out of 10 times, start testing him in locations with many distractions. This tells you his degree of obedience while further reinforcing the command. The recall command is especially important in open public spaces and not just the living room.

5. The Internalizing Phase - This is the most rewarding phase where your Sheltie puppy does everything he's taught to do. If you're not quite there yet, keep doing your puppy training in new and distracting locations until he succeeds. Follow the rule of the three Ps: Patience, Persistence and Praise.

Things to Remember

Never scold your Sheltie during training sessions. It really isn't his fault! We have to face facts and see the problem lies in our own communication style and how we've been train him. Where did we go wrong? Do we just need more patience?

Appreciate and show your Sheltie extra love and affection when he gets it right. Verbal and physical encouragement work wonders and leverages the priniple of classical conditioning. Your happy voice is a great reward because these are companion animals and they love to know when they've pleased you.

As the world's sixth most intelligent dog breed, Shelties can learn new commands in as little as five repetitions. But give your dog a break if it takes a little longer. There may be other factors at play, including his individual history, your training style, and the quality of your bond. If in doubt, work on building that relationship of mutual trust and respect and give him time to shine.

Author Bio

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.