By Ann Compton, Sheltie Nation Contributing Writer
The arrival of a new Sheltie puppy is filled with excitement. Prepare for the day you bring your Sheltie puppy home well in advance of her arrival, so when the big day comes you can enjoy your new family member.
Stock in all the supplies you’ll need well before the puppy comes home, so you aren’t frantically shopping the day you pick up your puppy. Your breeder is a good resource for puppy needs such as puppy food. Ask what your puppy is eating there and have a supply of the same food for your puppy’s arrival. If you plan to change your puppy’s food, don’t do it right away. Feed the same food as your breeder for at least a week until your puppy acclimates to her new surroundings, and then make the switch very gradually, over a week to 10 days.
You’ll need other supplies too! Here’s a list:
- Food bowls – Stainless steel is best to avoid allergies.
- Leash and collar – Start small with a 10-to-14 inch collar, but allow for your Sheltie puppy’s growth.
- Crate – This will be your puppy’s den and sleeping quarters. It should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in. Place a small washable bathroom rug inside the crate covered with an old towel for your Sheltie’s first few days and nights in case of accidents.
- Puppy Pen or exercise pen – Optional purchase if you want to provide a larger indoor place for your Sheltie puppy to play when you can’t watch her.
- Puppy toys – Puppies need to chew, so purchase toys without small parts that can be eaten.
- Chew toys – Puppies need safe chews. Shop for chews suitable for Sheltie puppies’ weight and age.
- Soft brush – Your Sheltie puppy will need to be brushed regularly. Her puppy coat will be soft and downy, but she’ll shed that in a few months. Brush her regularly, at least weekly.
- Dog Bed – Purchase a soft bed for your puppy that is washable.
- Pooper Scooper – A must for keeping your puppy’s potty area clean.
- Cleaner – Young puppies will have accidents. Purchase a cleaner that is safe to use around your puppy such as Fizzion, which neutralizes the odor and cleans the spot.
Prepare the House
Your puppy should sleep in her crate at least until she’s potty trained. It’s also a safe place for her when you are out or when you can’t watch her. She will think of her crate as her den. Choose a room and place in your house where she can be around you and your family and place her crate there.
Puppy proof the house! Conceal exposed wires, computer cords and anything electrical your Sheltie puppy can chew on. Purchase some baby gates so you can limit her access to rooms where she shouldn’t go, or gate a section of the room where she’ll be allowed to play.
Choose a place in your yard where you want your puppy to eliminate. Consider purchasing a 36-inch tall exercise pen to place in a spot close to the door. Set the pen up there, and use it for early potty training. Unless you plan to leash walk your puppy to train her, an exercise pen allows you to place your Sheltie puppy in a small place she’ll recognize as her “spot” without being loose in a larger yard. It facilitates cleanup and allows you to catch her more easily!
The First Day
When it’s finally time to bring your Sheltie puppy home, avoid overwhelming her the first day. She’s leaving a familiar place and her littermates, so introduce her slowly to her new environment. Keep her separate from other pets until they’ve had a chance to get used to each other, through a baby gate or when she’s in her crate. Don’t let children roughhouse with her. Give her lots of quiet time in her crate; young puppies need frequent naps. Keep her mealtimes regular. A Sheltie puppy should have three meals a day for the first few months, until about 5 months of age.
Make sure you take your puppy out to potty immediately after she wakes up and right after meals. Sheltie puppies are very smart and will train quickly. Most will sleep through the night with no accidents by the time they’re 9 weeks old. But a puppy’s system is not developed enough to control the elimination muscles until 6 months old, so even if it seems as though your puppy is a fast learner, don’t expect complete house training until the age of 5 to 6 months of age. Use positive reinforcement to train a Sheltie puppy, whether it’s house training or basic early commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Use praise and high value treats to reward your Sheltie.
Shelties are a sensitive breed that does not respond well to punishment or shouting. Discipline your Sheltie puppy with a stern “no!” when you catch her in the act; never discipline after the fact. Your puppy won’t know what she’s done that you’re angry about. Never hit a Sheltie!
It’s important to socialize your Sheltie puppy. Shelties can be reserved so it’s important that puppies are exposed to new people, places and things once it’s safe to do so. Once your puppy has had her shots,consider enrolling her in puppy kindergarten to help with basic training and early socialization.
Schedule a Vet Visit
Take your Sheltie puppy to your veterinarian for an initial examination within her first week home.Bring a record of any vaccines she’s had from the breeder. Your vet will confirm that she’s healthy and advise you on puppy vaccinations and health care. This is a good time to discuss when to microchip your puppy.