These days, many dog lovers agree that it is best to get your Shetland Sheepdog puppy from a reputable rescue, or a caring breeder who is committed to the breed. If you choose to get your Sheltie puppy from a breeder, you’ll want to be sure to get the puppy exposed to lots of new places and people.
At times, that can be difficult to do. After all, you probably take your Sheltand Sheepdog puppy to a puppy class, but that’s only one day a week, and you may find that your dog is meeting the same dogs and people over and over again, and in the same location. To socialize your puppy, it may be better to expose him to many new people and places, after he’s gotten his necessary shots, of course.
To help socialize your Sheltie, you may want to train and show him in conformation, which is an activity where the dog is judged against a breed standard. This suggestion may sound surprising, yet even though you have no desire to breed puppies yourself, conformation can still have benefits.
Showing your Sheltie puppy in conformation will acclimate him to a somewhat stressful, performance activity. He’ll be handled by a judge, and so he’ll get used to new people touching him. Although he doesn’t need a lot of skills as a puppy in conformation, he’ll still become used to working with you, while you can continue to give him lots of treats and praise.
If you are considering this, take your Sheltie to conformation training classes, so that both you and the puppy will start learning how to show. Find a small, local, low-stress conformance event. Bathe and groom your puppy the night before, and make it your goal to enjoy the event.
One word of caution, though, you may need to be a little thick-skinned, as the judge may not see all your Sheltie’s stellar traits, and in fact, may find a few areas where he differs from the breed standard. But keep in mind, your goal is to socialize your puppy so that he becomes a great companion dog. It is not to win ribbons. Good luck!