Shetland Sheepdogs can be active little dogs, who enjoy doing sports such as agility, disc (Frisbee) or Obedience. If you enjoy these sports also, and you enjoy volunteering in your community, you might find that demoing to kids with your Sheltie gives you a fun way to combine these interests.
The past few years, my local humane society has contacted a dog sport related club that I’m involved with about demoing for their kids education program. The demos are informal; the teams of handlers and dogs show a few freestyle disc dog moves, and then we let the kids meet the dogs, and throw discs for them.
Shelties are usually a big hit with the kids. Their smaller size and fluffy cuteness make them very appealing to smaller children. They are not as intimidating as larger dogs might be.
The kids love the demos, and according to the program director, talk about the dogs and the demos for months.
The demos for kids groups is a great way to get a new generation of pet lovers interested in dog training and sports. A dog that is trained, and has an active owner, is much less likely to be surrendered to a shelter and rescue. Participating in dog sports also opens up opportunities for new friendships for the handler.
If you’re interested in demoing with your Sheltie, you’ll need to evaluate whether your dog would actually enjoy doing this. A well-socialized Shetland Sheepdog who likes children may be a good choice; however, if your dog is shy and skittish, this is probably not the activity for her. If you feel your dog would enjoy demoing, also determine what level of participation is appropriate for her. For example, my Sheltie loves to play disc with her people, and she loves to be petted, but she would not enjoy playing disc with people she didn’t know, so we don’t participate in that segment.