|As we all enjoy the beauty of the
Shetland Sheepdogs throughout this issue of the "Pacesetter,"
lets take a glance into our OWN back yard. Can we
look EACH dog in the eye and assure him that our BEST has
been done for his health and happiness?
1. Are ALL the dogs under your care current on
2. Are your dogs REGULARLY checked for internal
parasites with the proper medication administered for
the CORRECT parasite?
3. Are your dogs on a heartworm preventative?
4. Do you have effective control of fleas and
other external parasites on your dogs, kennel
premises and home?
5. Do ALL your dogs have regular oral
examinations, either at home or professionally, and
teeth scaled and cleaned as needed?
It is hoped that you have answered yes to these
questions. Health care is undoubtedly the most important
aspect of our Shelties lives, and it is something
for which we are totally responsible. Yet some Shelties
may be lacking even the most basic of health care. Wake
up! The diseases and the parasites are out there. If your
unprotected dogs have made it so far, consider yourself
extremely luckyand protect them NOW, while
youre ahead. Remember, an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure. And a life cant be replaced.
Lets get down to the basics of Sheltie care.
Answer the following questions HONESTLY!
1. Are ALL your dogs clean and presentable?
2. Are ALL the dogs in your kennel linebrushed TO
THE SKIN at least once a month?
3. Are the toenails on ALL the Shelties a
respectable length? (Which is SHORT, of course!)
4. Are your dogs fed on a regular schedule? (This
doesnt mean dumping food in the "community
bowl" at your leisure and hoping everyone
shares. Besides provoking fights, you are being
ineffective in noticing any changes in eating habits
and in the administration of daily additives or
5. Are ALL your dogs receiving adequate exercise?
(With more people in the workforce today, many
Shelties find themselves crated several hours a day.
Two or three short breaks per day may not provide
them physical or mental happiness, unless a secure
area inside or outside is available for nighttime
exercise. Shelties adapt well to our schedule.
6. Do you make a point to "design" or
have available toys for the development and enjoyment
of your puppies? (The babies in the x-pen get no use
of the toys you MEANT to provide or those that
"were there yesterday!" Older dogs that
learned to play as puppies have developed an
important dimension to their personality and will
continue playing throughout their lives.
7. Are ALL individual sleeping quarters
(doghouses, crates, etc.) clean, dry and of the
8. Are the individual runs or kennel yards
"scooped" and disinfected regularly?
Did maybe one or two of these questions bring on the
"guilt complex"? We sometimes spend our
allotted time only on the dogs currently being exhibited,
while the rest of the kennel is embarrassed by last
winters undercoat, which is slowly dripping
mat-by-mat out on its own! These dogs manicure their
nails by chasing each other a few extra lengths of the
runs"realigning the front end" on their
Now, some questions on your growth and knowledge:
1. Are you open to new techniques and ideas?
2. Do you feel it necessary to study material you
may be unfamiliar with in order to broaden your
knowledge of Shelties?
3. Are you willing to share your knowledge with
4. Do you find time for valuable lectures,
workshops, seminars and special programs?
5. Are your dog records accurate and up-to-date as
And . . . answer these questions. . . . Its in
1. Are you guilty of "clinging on" to
dogs that have no specific benefit to your kennel?
2. Have you considered retirement homes for dogs
deserving more attention than you can offer?
3. Are you breeding only the dogs you feel are
GOOD representatives of our breed?
4. Are ALL your males really in demand? (With so
many fine stud dogs easily accessible coast-to-coast
to quality bitches, why use your unpointed 16-inch
homebred which, face it, does have his faults?)
5. Do ALL your dogs receive love and attention
individually on a daily basis? (This is THE question
to be honest with yourself about. As sweet and
devoted as the Sheltie is, just a FEW minutes of your
undivided attention as you lavish him with strokes
and kind words could make your dog sure he is your
SOLE reason for being!)
WHAT IF, on a moments notice, you find a couple
of the breeds most prominent people on your
doorstep . . . ?
1. Are you comfortable
with the overall presence of EACH dog?
2. Are you proud enough of the quality of ALL your
breeding stock and their condition?
3. Are you knowledgeable enough to explain what
you feel are both the desirable qualities and the
faults of EACH dog?
4. Are your puppies good enough to make these
people accept you as a serious breeder?
5. Are your kennel arrangements clean and orderly
so no excuses are necessary?
The health and happiness
of EACH and EVERY one of your Shelties is in your hands.
This should be valued above all the points, all the
titles, and all the personal satisfaction we as humans
attain from competition.
If kennel upkeep and daily
chores have you overloaded, consider hiring some help. An
area youngster might work out for little pay and gain
both knowledge and a sense of responsibility from you.
Plan your routine on paper for better efficiency. Working
with some sort of schedule will be as beneficial for you
as for your dogs.
With a little honesty to
yourself as well as to others, you can build a kennel you
take pride in. Set your standards high and promise to
work toward your goal!
By strengthening our weaknesses, we are improving not
only ourselves, but the future of the breed.
(Taken from the November/December 1987
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