The Unique Sheltie Character


           					The Shetland Sheepdog must exhibit sensitivity and responsiveness
           					towards its owner in order to be considered to have true Sheltie
           					personality or temperament.  Sensitivity means that a Sheltie seems
           					to be almost psychic in picking up and understanding the mood of its
           					owner.  When the owner is in a playful mood, the Sheltie knows and
           					responds accordingly.  When the owner is in a quiet mood, the Sheltie
          					is quite happy to sit quietly with the owner.  When the owner is upset,
         					the Sheltie senses this and shows concern, sometimes with a worried
           					look or a few gentle licks. The Sheltie knows when its owner does not
           					want to be bothered and stays out of the way.

           					Shelties are usually easy to train because of this sensitivity and
           					responsiveness.  They like to learn and please their owners.  Sensitivity
           					does not mean that the Sheltie is overly sensitive, fearful or cowers
           					to sounds, people, objects etc., although it may appear that way if
           					they become very confused about what is expected.
           
           					Training can also be tricky with Shelties, however, as they usually try
           					their hardest to do what you want but because of their sensitivity they
           					can easily become confused if you become upset or impatient.  They often
           					try to do something before you ask (anticipate) in order to avoid your
           					displeasure... if you are already frustrated and impatient, this only
          					makes matters worse.  Realize that your Sheltie wants to do what you
           					ask... slow things down, go back to an easier task and let your Sheltie
           					be successful before you quit working... then praise, play and relax
           					with your Sheltie.  Next time you work with your Sheltie, you may be
           					quite surprised that it has figured out what you want all by itself!
           
           					Shelties exhibit some rather unusual behaviors at times and if one is
           					not aware of these, they can be somewhat alarming.   Many Shelties grin...
           					thatís right!   Like a big smile on a person, Shelties sometimes bare
           					their teeth in a huge grin.  Donít mistake this for an aggressive curling
           					of the upper lip although it can look a bit like it.  The situation it
           					occurs in should tell whether it is a grin or a snarl.  When Shelties
           					are happy and relaxed or playing, they may grin.  Some just smile, with
           					their lips closed.
           
          					Some Shelties talk to their people in whines, grunts, groans, and even
           					quiet growls, especially when being petted.  Again, assess the situation.
           					If your Sheltie is relaxed, it is most likely talking to you, not being
           					aggressive.
           
           					Another unique trait that some Shelties have is to cross their front feet
           					when laying down.  This can be quite an endearing behavior and females
           					look especially Ďladylikeí when doing so.  Some use their front feet like
           					hands to hold onto things such as chewies or to catch frisbees.
           
           					Your Sheltie may even have a sense of humor.  Watch for little practical
           					jokes your Sheltie may play.  You probably wonít believe this one until
           					it happens to you!
           
           					Some Shelties become quite upset when left alone.  Some try to teach you
           					a lesson by soiling in the house when you leave them alone, even though
           					they have perfect house manners when you are home.  Some bark or actually
           					throw themselves at the door when you are trying to leave.  It may be
           					necessary to place your Sheltie in a crate/kennel when you go out for
           					the well-being of everyone involved.  Remember that Shelties want to
           					be with you and are not happy when left alone for long periods of time.
           
           					Since Shelties were originally herding dogs, many still exhibit behaviors
           					related to herding such as biting and barking at moving feet or brooms,
           					mops and vacuum cleaners, circling people or objects, and chasing moving
           					objects such as other animals, birds, planes and cars.   Obviously,
           					chasing cars can be fatal so donít allow your Sheltie to do this.
           
           					In general, Shelties make great family pets.  They can be very active and
           					playful, and they can be just as happy sleeping at your feet when you are
           					busy with other things.  They do not require a lot of exercise... usually
           					a daily walk or two will be enough.  Most Shelties are good with children
           					but there are some that would prefer to be left alone and will go off to
           					a place where they will be left alone.  Shelties can be very protective
           					of their families, especially children of the family. 

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