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Training a Sheltie

We have a Sheltie, Ginger, who, is 5 months old.  Training her has been and continues to be fun.  There are some frustrations, and lots of joy.  Now, a Sheltie is known to be a rather intelligent breed.  So, what does this mean?

It appears to me that everything that we teach her is processed in her brain and then she spends the majority of her time thinking up ways to abuse the system.  For example, we enrolled her in puppy training class.  She picked up the usual “sit”, “stay”, etc., pretty fast.  At home, we housebroke her pretty easily.  The problem comes when trying to get a dog to announce to the world that she needs to go outside.  What do you do?

Ginger knew to go to the door and wait, but what if we aren’t paying attention?  As a small puppy she can’t hold it that long, so before too many minutes there was a mess in front of the door.

Someone suggested that we put bells on the door handles.  When she had to go, she would hit the bells with her nose, we would rush to the sound of the bells and take her out.  At a party store, we found some large bells that  people would put on a Christmas tree.  Perfect.  We bought three of these large bells for the front door and three for the door leading to the garage.

I hung them from the door knob down to the height of her nose, picturing that she would simply strike the bells with her nose.  We would appear and let her out.  She actually caught on pretty quickly.

Next step for a sheltie, of course, is,  “how do I abuse the system”.  She figured that one out even quicker.  Now, every time that it appears that we are not giving her sufficient attention, she simply goes to the door and keeps hitting the bells.

I never dreamed that we would have a dog that is arguably smarter than we are.


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