Are you saying Sheltie talk is not just a book? Why, yes! Any noise a Sheltie makes that isn’t a bark can be considered “talk”.
Shetland Sheepdogs can easily be trained to be obedient, but being quiet doesn’t come naturally. If you do not curb the barking, they can be real nuisance barkers. Remember, it’s their instinct to protect their “flock” and be on guard for potential intruders. This includes protection from other dogs, cats, birds, children, airplanes, and any strange house guests! Once you have a Sheltie, any other dog breed might just seem too quiet in comparison!
The Sheltie Howl?
I didn’t know Shelties howled until we got Toby. Apparently he comes from a long line of howlers and now we have 3! Here’s a short video of our dogs demonstrating this type of Sheltie talk. We have been trying so hard for years to catch them every time they start doing it. So far we only have this screen shot and short video, which is really audio because they always stop when they hear us sneaking up on them!
Another type of Sheltie talk often happens in the evening when our boys play together. The game involves trying to bite each other’s faces, while making ridiculously cute noises that have been described as “scarry” and ”wolfish” by observers who don’t have dogs. Tyler and Toby think they look quite fierce with their teeth bared - but the vocalizations are far from agressive and are quite silly!
Our guys will also vocalize in different ways if they want our attention. Tyler has a breathy whine when he wants you to pay attention. Toby will grunt and squeak for just about anything…but mostly food!
(We are working on catching videos of these silly sounds!)
Why do Shelties Talk?
We have discovered that when Sheltie talk is directed at us, it is an attention seeking behavior. If I’ve spent too long working on Sheltie Nation without giving the dogs any attention, Toby will come over and put his head on the couch and grunt. Equally, if dinner is normally served at 5:30 and it’s now 5:35 and I still haven’t fed them, ALL the dogs will come and whine to remind me of my duties!
In any case, Sheltie talk is a really sweet trait so encourage and enjoy it! Remember Shelites are people dogs, so it makes sense they want to communicate with us. :) The more ways you can interact with your dog, the more rewarding your relationship with them can be.