Sheltie Planet

3 Cool Dog Games for Shelties

By Pete Casale

If we throw a ball for our Shelties, they'll never retrieve it. So how does your Sheltie like to play? Here are 3 cool dog games to stimulate your little herding dog.

Shetland Sheepdog Games

Many dogs love to play Frisbee, or fetch, or tug-of-war, but Shelties are far more idiosyncratic.

As herding dogs, they love to chase moving targets, but the concept of picking it up in their mouths and returning it is off the radar.

So how do you exercise your Sheltie without such classic dog games?

We looked to our own dogs for the answer. The first thing we learned was how to initiate a game - with the Play Bow.

The Pet Owner's Guide to Shelties by Becky Casale

The Play Bow

Get down on all fours like a dog. For added effect, waggle your rump as if you had a tail as well. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders. You'll notice two dogs doing exactly this when they're ready for play.

The Play Bow: Initiating Dog Games

The Play Bow: Part I

Then, suddenly sprawl your hands forwards and outwards and lower your chest towards the ground. Spread your fingers and tilt your head, just like a playful dog. This move is called the play bow and is the universal signal to a dog that you're ready to play a game.

How to Play Games with Your Sheltie

The Play Bow: Part II

When you perform the play bow, your dog will get excited and start to play a game with you right away.

When we bow to Howard, he goes off to find one of his stuffed toys like Wolfie and brings it back (but holds it slightly out of reach). This is a signal for Howard's favorite game: Who's Got The Toy?

The Play Bow: Games for Shelties

Each dog has his own favorite game. When we play bow to Piper, he starts a game of Puppy Wrestling! So what are the rules to these games?

Who's Got The Toy?

Howard's Favorite Dog Game: Who's Got The Toy?

Puppy Wrestling

Piper's Favorite Dog Game: Puppy Wrestling

Dog Chase Game: Zoomies

Our Shelties Play Zoomies

Final Thoughts

What games have your Shelties taught you? We found it's easier to find out when you have two or more Shelties as you can watch them at play every day. And every Sheltie is different, so they each prefer to initiate different types of games.

Sometimes dog games may seem to have no real goal or way to win. But remember it's for your dog so logic doesn't matter. The alpha dog gains love and respect from his pack by engaging in games now and then. It keeps the troops happy. Try it right now: find your Sheltie, do the play bow and see what happens...