The Shetland Sheepdog is a highly intelligent breed, who antics and adorable looks will
charm anyone. Lets face it, they are a beautiful breed. But when considering getting a
new family member, please do your research on their temperament before you make a
The AKC breed standard calls for the Sheltie to be “cautious and reserved with
This is a BEST CASE scenario. If you are looking for a dog who will run and happily
greet strangers, this is not the breed for you.
The first 10 weeks of a Shelties life can make or break their temperament, and will set the
tone for their temperament for life. During the first 10 weeks a Sheltie must be handled
daily, interacted with daily, they must be introduced to new things, to new people, and to
new experiences. This takes a lot of time. If a Sheltie does not get this important
socialization as a puppy, he/she will grow up to be a very scared, skittish, fearful dog.
If you have a Sheltie that you are struggling with extreme shyness in, your sheltie probably
came from less-than-desirable breeder. Puppy Mills and many Breeders keep their dogs
in an outdoor facility (barn, outdoor kennel etc.) and these puppies just do not get the
attention they need to be social with people. These dogs will grow up to very fearful.
These are also the same Shelties that if they get loose, they will not come back. These
Shelties are a big flight risk. The Sheltie breed is THE hardest of all breeds to catch
when they get loose, because they will not go to anyone!
OK, so you have just adopted or bought a very shy Sheltie. What can you do to help this
dog become less shy? Here is a list of things that you can do to help your dog.
• First and foremost, secure all exists to your home and yard. A scared Sheltie will bolt
and run given the chance.
• Make sure your new Sheltie is healthy….especially his teeth. A Sheltie in pain will not
learn new things easily.
• Make sure you use a snug harness,or a collar made for Shelties. (Sheltie Collars)
A scared Sheltie can escape from a regular collar.
• Keep a leash on your dog, even in the house. Have him accompany you everywhere
you go in the house.
• Hand feed your dog. Get him used to “needing you”. (this may take awhile)
• Encourage all visitors to give your dog a treat. He may not take it, but the offer helps.
• Spend lots of quiet time with your dog doing deep massage. Teach him to relax with
• Let the dog sleep with you, or near you. This will help in the bonding process.
• Take your dog with you whenever possible. Allow him/her to experience new things and
new places. (ONLY if you can keep him secure during your outing)1
• Enroll in an obedience class. This is great for building confidence in dogs.
• Have lots of patience. Rehabbing one of these Shelties takes about 1 yr.
If you have a Sheltie with extreme shyness and need further help, please contact us at: