Breeding dogs is part art, part science.  A responsible breeder keeps meticulous, detailed records of every dog involved in their program; past and present.  But it can be easy to misplace information & loose track – especially if you are running a large, multi-dog operation.

The folks at Breeding Master have developed software to help dog breeders consolidate any and all information related to their dogs.  It might seem a little daunting to those of you accustom to paper files, but once you spend the time inputting the information, you will find that the software has some very handy features.

The software organizes & tracks individual dogs, tracks pairings & resulting offspring, kennels you network with, show results & points, awards & photos – even vaccination records.  It also has a section for “human” information, broken down into “breeders” and “owners”.  Wouldn’t it be nice to track all your puppy buyers and business contacts in one place?  Now it is quick & easy to find the phone number of the person who bought that potential show pup from you last year.  With a few clicks, their contact information is displayed & you don’t have to rummage through stacks of contracts.

The pedigree generator for an individual dog goes back 5 generations (which users might want to see increased).  But, the pedigree can also be easily printed – a nice thing to pass along to puppy buyers or other potential breeders.

The only thing we wish we saw was a back-up feature.  We don’t recommend relying on any computer or software as their only repository for their important information.  Computers & their parts sometimes break or, god forbid, a fire or flood takes out your home.  Backing up computer information is important & it would be helpful to capture the information files to disc for back-up storage elsewhere.

Breeding Master uses the Windows Office® platform & was super easy to install.  If you are familiar with Windows Office®, you will find using & navigating the software simple & intuitive.  Even better, Breeding Master encourages customers to submit software upgrade suggestions for future version releases – a nice touch.

Bonus: Breeding Master has a 30 day free trial.  But even so, it is very reasonably priced at $35.00 and upgrades are free.  Give Breeding Master a try…what do you have to loose?

Link: Breeding Master

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Be sure to have your Sheltie Nation member decal on your holiday wish list!  Perfect for the Sheltie lover in your life & great for gift giving.

These decals are printed on high quality, all-weather
vinyl with UV resistant inks and laminated for extra protection to
provide years of beautiful, bold Sheltie color.  They are 4.5 inches
round on a 5 inch square backing.  They are just $5.00 each plus shipping. (No sales tax either!) Click here to order:

ShirtDon’t forget you can get t-shirts, hats, mugs & more at the Sheltie Nation store too. Visit our Cafepress store for other Sheltie Nation goodies!

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Your purchases help keep Sheltie Nation going strong & make great gifts!

Written by guest author & Sheltie Nation member, Jorge Hurtado.

Luna likes to go to the local dog park here in Gainesville.  Over the past couple of weekends, Luna’s friends kept talking about a grooming product called the FURminator.  Crystal (my fiancée) and I had never heard of the FURminator.  We went in to the dog park gift shop where they had a few on sale. We had to check out what this latest craze was.

FURminatorThe FURminator is a grooming tool which resembles a fine tooth comb.  It looked promising until we noticed the price on the FURminator.  The smallest tool (the tool we eventually purchased) is a 1.7 inch edge FURminator with a hefty price tag of $35.00.  The medium (2.6 inch edge) and the large (4 inch edge) went for $42.00 and $49.00, respectively.  We’re college students so the price tag was somewhat steep for us.  Since everyone was raving out the FURminator, I went ahead and did a bit of research on the web.

First, I headed to the FURminator website.  On their website, they showed pictures of dogs (and cats) after a session with the FURminator.  Globs and globs of loose fur laid around the dogs.  The site itself was very informational with pictures and a video as to how the FURminator works.  It almost seemed too good to be true so I went ahead and did a little more research on sites such as Amazon and Petsmart.  For every 100 reviews on the tool, I could only find one or two which may have been considered a negative review.

I went ahead and searched around for the FURminator on the internet.   I was able to find the cheapest price on Amazon.  At the time of purchase, the small 1.7 inch tool (we figured that would be best for Luna) went for $25.99, about $10 less than most places we searched. We ordered one for Luna and waited a few days for it to arrive.

Sheltie about to be groomedA few days passed and UPS arrived with our new grooming tool.  After coming home from work, we opened the box and inside was a plain plastic bag sealed with a FURminator cardboard tag.  Inside the plastic bag were directions on how to use the FURminator.  The first thing we noticed in the directions was the following:  Because the FURminator deShedding tool will extract an abundance of hair, position your dog or cat in an area that is easy to sweep or vacuum. We decided to take Luna into the bathroom since it’s tiled and easy to vacuum.  Here’s Luna preparing for a date with the FURminator.

Sheltie furball after groomingLuna’s always been a good dog when it comes to grooming.  (It does help when you start at an early age.)  After 30 minutes of brushing with the FURminator, here’s Luna wondering where it all came from.

The FURminator claims that as a result of regular brushing (twice a week for about 20 minutes each session), shedding is kept to a minimum and as a result your vacuum (or broom) will love you for it.  After using the FURminator for a week, I can confidently say that the amount of hairballs and loose hair on our carpet and inside our cars has definitely been much less than normal.  It’s very easy to know when it’s time to brush again because your seats begin to turn sable (or blue/black for those with more exotic Shelties!). 

Luna loves the FURminator.  She stands and laughs during the whole process.  Luna has dry hair along her back legs and tail but since using the FURminator her hair’s been much more smooth and healthy looking.  The rest of her coat feels almost silky and has a nice glow to it.  Mind you Luna is a smaller than average Sheltie so the amount of fur will vary between her and your Sheltie, but the amount of fur we still removed was incredible.  The price of the FURminator was more than worth it.  My only regret is not knowing about it until now (I believe it’s been out a year already).

Overall, the FURminator’s a wonderful tool to help curb shedding.  It won’t stop it completely, but it has helped tremendously.  The amount of hair not on our clothes, couches, car seats, floors, etc. has decreased considerably.  We’ve been able to vacuum our apartment without having to change the bag multiple times!  If you need help with your Sheltie shedding, try the FURminator.  The price is well worth it (and if you don’t like it, it does come with a 30 day money back guarantee!).

Thanks Jorge – we would be interested to hear other members comments on this product too!

If you are interested in purchasing a FURminator – Amazon has the best pricing.

DecalfinalShow your Sheltie Nation pride! Perfect for your car, truck, boat, RV, dog crate, etc…just don’t put it on your Sheltie please.  ;)  They make great gifts for the Sheltie lover in your life (& the holidays are fast approaching)!

So what do you get for your $$$?
Well, you get the ultra cool Sheltie Nation decal.  But more importantly, your purchase is a pledge that keeps Sheltie Nation running and will help us to expand the site in some pretty cool ways.

These decals are printed on high quality, all-weather vinyl with UV resistant inks and laminated for extra protection to provide years of beautiful, bold Sheltie color.  They are 4.5 inches round on a 5 inch square backing.  They are just $5.00 each plus shipping. 

Send us a photo of your Sheltie posing next to your decal & we will be sure to post it!

Click here to order the decal:

Shirt“But what is that you say, you want more Sheltie Nation gear?” OK then, visit our new Cafepress  store for other Sheltie Nation goodies!

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Of course we owe a big thanks to our Sheltie Nation mascot artist, Diane Troese for the great logo Sheltie.  Please visit her website, Emprise Shelties, if you would like to see (& purchase) more great Sheltie art.  She has great t-shirts, tote bags & some new hand painted boxes.

Finding a good source of information on the Shetland Sheepdog can be a challenge.  When you Google for the word “Sheltie”, you are hit with countless responses.  Weeding through the “helpful” from the “time wasters” can be annoying.

Breed Retriever is a helpful site that has an uncluttered appearance and is easy to navigate…even for those not very net savy. There are several tabs at the top of each breed page that guide you to more detailed information on your chosen dog.

As far as their description of the Sheltie is concerned, the breed temperament description has focused a bit too much on some of the “bad apple” traits in the breed.   I don’t agree with this statement: “Especially wary of strange children, the Sheltie is known to bark
persistently at–and not allow itself to be touched by–strangers of any
Yea sure, some Shelties are like that, but lots of other insecure dogs of any breed would do that.  It really isn’t that more dominant in Shelties, but they could more easily become that way with out proper socialization.  (Generally Shelties can be more sensitive than other dogs.)   I’d like to see more emphasis on proper puppy socialization & choosing a proper breeder.

I don’t agree with this statement either: “Meticulous about its own cleanliness, the dog should be bathed only when absolutely necessary”.  Yea, Shelties can be prissy about getting wet or dirty, but that doesn’t mean that they never need a bath.  I’d recommend a Sheltie be bathed at least 3-4 times a year…that is if their coat & skin condition is monitored, they are groomed weekly, never swim or get filthy.
I’m not sure where they get the Sheltie photos, but the images posted so far seem to lean toward the European Sheltie or show less than the best of the breed.  (If you view a champion American Sheltie next to a European one, the differences will be apparent.) Not to say that one is better than the other, but I’d like to see a champion Sheltie like Ch. Zion’s Man About Town shown here.

I’m a bit leary of the “find a breeder” section of the site.  Listing in the directory is free, but there is no known qualified screening of the breeders listed. Backyard “hobby” breeders can easily be listed next to the breeders that acutally care more about the breed than making a buck.  I’d like to see the disclaimer more prominently displayed.  All of their pages should emphasize adoption & provide information about puppy mills or backyard breeders & how to avoid them.  I was glad to see some Sheltie rescue groups utilizing the breeder listings.

Breed Retriever is a fun site to explore & a good site to start your breed research.  As always, it is best to get information from several sources before being able to make an informed decision if the Sheltie is the best breed for you & your lifestyle.

Link: Breed Retriever

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Dsc01669smlWho doesn’t love a big, snuggly bed?

When I first saw the Slumber Ball bed in the Doctors Foster & Smith catalog I thought “Gee, that looks comfy!”  So being the good Sheltie mom, I just had to get one for my perfect dog.

When the box arrived however, I thought I’d gone overboard in proving my Sheltie devotion. I purchased the largest one made & the box was HUGE. Seriously, it was REALLY huge…like, 1/2 the size of a refrigerator box huge. I took the bed out & Trevor looked at me like “yea right!” He seemed a little intimidated by it, so I tried to encourage him by demonstrating just how fun it was by getting into it myself.  Of course Trevor is game to try anything mom is doing & he did flop into the bed with me.  It did take him a little time to figure out how to enter & exit the bed with some grace, but by the end of the evening he was comfortably nesting in the ball. He wasn’t even sleeping – but seemed so comfortable he didn’t want to get up either.

The Slumber Ball is stuffed with MiracleLoft® polyfil – which is made thicker and springier than ordinary polyfil.   The bed’s cushioning conforms to your dog’s shape & never rolls or flattens. The best part about this bed?  It has a machine washable cover and an inner liner that unzips for easy care. Sweet!

Even better, you can purchase Replacement Bed Fill to refresh the innards or add even more loft. The 2-lb bag is a combination of MiracleLoft® polyfil and aromatic cedar for freshness and flea repellency.

Trevor weighs about 35 pounds & is shown in the largest size, the 44″ diameter.  The beds do squish down a bit, so if you have any doubts about the right size, I’d round up.  It gives them more room to spread out, or share with a friend.  :)

Doctors Foster & Smith Deluxe Slumber Ball bed…4 paws up!


SafepawDid you know that children, pets and the environment can be adversely affected by the use of rock salt and salt-based ice melter products?  For dogs in particular, exposure to those products can mean an unplanned trip to the vet. The problem is that when dogs are let out or walked, they step on and/or eat the treated snow. Dogs either ingest these ice melt pellets right then or they get them frozen into their paws. Later, when they are inside with higher temperatures, the ice melts and dogs begin to lick their paws. The salt can heat up as high as 175 degrees and not only burn their skin, but then their mouth and digestive system once they ingest it!

Rock salt and other salt-based ice melters contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride that melt only down to 24 degrees & do so very slowly.  Salt is a corrosive compound and its residue can damage lawns, plants and even contaminate well water and water supplies. Moreover, it can cause damage to pavers, concrete, asphalt, wood, lawns, floors and rugs. With the exception of Safe Paw, all ice melters on the market contain salt, including Road Runner, Driveway Heat, Zero Ice, Arctic, Halite, Qik Joe, Ice Vice, Safe Step and Peladow.

Safe Paw is a great choice because it is 100 percent safe for children, pets, surfaces and the environment. It is unique in that it does not utilize salt as an ingredient and gives off no heat.  As an added feature, Safe Paw leaves an invisible protective shield that prevents ice from sticking to the surface for up to three days. This makes shoveling easier and saves work. 

The 8 lb jug (3.63 kg.)shown above has a coverage area of 185 sq. ft. per lb and there is a handy, built in spout on the jug to make spreading easy.  Safe Paw is available at most major pet, hardware, and grocery stores as well as many family-owned stores. (Such as Petsco, Shaws, Big Y & ACME.)

Thanks to Safe Paw for making such a great product…and for putting a Sheltie on their label too.  ;)

TrevorfloatcoatWhen I tell people Trevor has a life jacket, the response usually is “what…a life jacket?”  Then the conversation usually degrades to some chuckles and a statement about how dogs don’t need them.  I politely remind them that Trevor is my child and you wouldn’t let your kid go splashing without one, right?  If the analogy of dog=kid doesn’t work, I usually come up with this… “Have you ever tried swimming in a wool sweater? That’s what it’s like for a Sheltie!”

Regardless of the breed (or coat on that breed), all dogs who swim should wear a life jacket.  It just makes it easier and safer for them.  I had bought the one you can get at your local pet store and it doesn’t work well.  How do I know? I put Trevor in the water wearing one and the coat floated on the surface, and he began to sink – opening up a gap between him and the vest.  (OK, he isn’t the best swimmer, but the vest clearly wasn’t comfortable and didn’t keep him up.) All the buoyant material was above his back, so his body weight was pushing down on those two belly straps.  Not a great design.

Enter the K9 Float Coat.

Brilliantly designed and ergonomic cut, much of the flotation cells are under and along the sides of the dog’s ribcage.  These buoyancy cells help keep your dog upright and level – making swimming easier.  The cut also allows complete shoulder freedom, but supports the dog’s head and neck.  Its made from brightly colored 1680-denier ballistic nylon to give visibility in low light situations – contrasting against neutral backgrounds and making sure your pup stands out.  High luminescence reflective trim is added to the sides as well as to the top.  It looks pretty darn cool.

Take note of some of the finer details: Side release buckles for easy on/off and helps keep that long Sheltie hair out of the clips.  A hidden D-ring attachment point for your leash.  A low profile assistance handle for help in getting your dog out of the water – very handy!

K-9 Float Coat by Ruffwear – A very enthusiastic four paws up!

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