Are Shelties Protective? [Are They Good Guard Dogs?]

Are shelties protective

Have you ever wondered if shelties are a protective dog breed? Can they guard your family? This is a common puzzle for many people when they are about to buy a sheltie. Don’t worry. We gonna discuss everything in this article.

Are shelties protective? Usually, Shelties are neither protective nor good guard dogs. But, Shelties are excellent watchdogs because of their sharp alertness. They can be trained to guard dogs to some extent with proper training, proper socialization, basic obedience, and building self-confidence.

There are several drawbacks when adopting a sheltie as a guard dog. So, you wanna be aware of them before adopting a sheltie as a protective dog.

Can shelties be protective? Can they guard your family?

I have considerable experience with shelties over the past few years. Can shelties be good guard dogs? It really depends on what do mean by a “guard dog”.

Shelties were initially bred as livestock guardian dogs until commensal farming requires relatively larger breeds to protect the livestock from predators and Intruders.

But still, most poultry owners used to keep shelties to guard their chickens. So, why have people used these canine livestock guardian dogs? It is just because they have an instinct to herding animals and an extremely alert dog breed.

Usually, shelties will bark loudly and persistently just to alert you if there is an intruder present. You gotta believe me, and nothing can sneak up on this dog. If a stranger attempts to enter your property, you will be notified immediately.

If you mean by “protective dog,” a dog who will give a quick signal when an intruder arrives, a grown sheltie would be sufficient for you because their threatening barking is enough to intimidate an intruder.

But I do wanna mansion here that shelties are not gonna engage with the threat whatsoever. That means a sheltie cannot do damage or attack besides their threatening barking.

The advantage of these dogs is that shelties are extremely alert dogs compared to other average dog breeds. So, if you own a sheltie, no one can sneak upon him. That means you can sleep peacefully without any fear whatsoever.

But, if you really wanna make your sheltie become a good guard dog, It can also be done to some extent. But, it requires proper training with good patience, consistency, positive reinforcement methods, and other proven tactics.

The characteristics of a good guard dog.

If you really want to make your Sheltie a good guard dog, you must first be aware of a good guard dog’s characteristics.

So, here are the common characteristics of a good guard dog.

  1. Intelligence
  2. Loyalty
  3. Alertness
  4. Moderately aggressiveness
  5. Self-confidence
  6. Sociability
  7. Dominance

1. Intelligence

Usually, the guard dogs should be quite intelligent. They need to be able to understand people just by looking at people’s appearance.

An intelligent dog could follow the basic commands like lay down, sit, come, wait, quiet, run, etc., by its owner or family members. Moreover, they should never obey the commands of strangers.

In intelligent dogs have a good idea about their territory.

2. Loyalty

This is one of the most important qualities of a guard dog. A good guard dog should be faithful to its owner and family members.

3. Alertness

Usually, a good guard dog is extremely alert to the outside world even when it is asleep. These dogs tend to notify their owners in a case where an intruder arrives instead of attacking silently.

4. Moderately aggressiveness

This is one of the main characteristics of a good guard dog. They should be moderately aggressive in order to protect their owners when an intruder enters their territory.

But if a dog is completely calm even in unusual circumstances, what is the point of adopting a dog as a guard dog?

5. Self-confidence

A good guard dog is really, really confident about itself, and It has a proper understanding of what is going on around it.

6. Sociability

So, your dog should get used to other animals, sounds, vehicles, and other people to avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

7. Dominance

Even though this seems like a little bit of bad behavior, a good guard dog should always show some dominance over other neighboring dogs.

How to teach your sheltie to be a guard dog?

It seems like now you have a good understanding of what a good guard dog looks like. If you want to make your Sheltie a good guard dog, He should have the traits mentioned earlier.

To give a good understanding, we will rate each of the above characteristics by five stars by applying to Shelties.

CharacteristicRate for shelties
Intelligence★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Loyalty★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Alertness★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Moderately aggressiveness★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Self-confidence★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Sociability★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Dominance★ ★ ★ ★ ★

As you can see, shelties have a little bit of lower scores for several characteristics. So, if you train your sheltie to become a guard dog, he really not as much as Dobermans, or Rottweilers do.

But, now we have a good idea that shelties can become guard dogs up to some extent. Don’t you really wanna use that? So, let’s go ahead and train your sheltie to become a good protector.

So, you gotta follow the following approaches.

  1. Train the ‘quiet’ command.
  2. Train him to be alert.
  3. Build self-confidence.
  4. Train him to obey basic commands.
  5. A proper Socialization.
  6. Treat him as your family member.

1. Train the ‘quiet’ command.

You know what? Shelties are one of the loudest barkers of the canine world. That’s why they are excellent livestock guardian dogs. They tend to bark even for small noises that occur far away from your home.

And this barking is never gonna stop. It’s loud and consistent for hours. This can often be a nuisance for you and your neighbors.

You should be able to stop this excessive barking when necessary. So, you gotta train your sheltie the “Quite” command.

When he starts to bark without any reason, use the command. If he follows your command, appreciate him by praising verbally “Good boy” and giving testy treats. In fact, you should bear in mind that never ever reward him while barking.

Because that could lead to unnecessary confusion.

2. Train him to be alert.

We know that shelties are one of the alert dogs in the canine world. But, this trait may have been suppressed due to various reasons. So, if you really wanna train your sheltie to become a guard dog, train him to be alert.

But, how can you do that?

Stay until the night and tell one of your family members to go outside from your gate and enter the land as an intruder do. Now check his behavior, and if he starts to bark and engages with the treat, appreciate him by providing tasty treats and say, “Good boy.”

But, if he doesn’t attempt to bark and only to stare in that direction, you probably wanna train the “Bark” command. You gotta create that artificial threat again and say “bark,” showing a false commotion and encourage him to bark.

Moreover, you can create artificial threats easily by throwing a small stone into the woods. Remember, whenever you can see some positive reaction from your sheltie, reward him as you always do.

3. Build self-confidence.

All right, guys, this is huge! Without good self-confidence, shelties can never be good guard dogs and protect your family. To do this, they require relation-based training.

What does it mean, actually? Usually, relation-based activities include the where you can use to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Usually, the owner should do these relation-based activities, and while training these things, the owner should spend more time with Sheltie.

So, here are several tips that can be used to build self-confidence in your sheltie,

  • Provide excellent basic obedience training by yourself.
  • Take up the agility training.
  • Let your sheltie be with other dogs. (But this should be done under your supervision)
  • Introduce the dog to new situations such as new people, new dogs, new settings.
  • Find a proper environment that can be used to train your sheltie. (This is not only to become guard dogs. This is necessary when you train anything to your sheltie. That means the surrounding shouldn’t be a barrier or uncomfortable.
  • Make your sheltie good at off-leash.
  • Don’t offer insincere praise because encouragement is one of the main things that will directly affect when you train anything to your sheltie.
  • Play fetch with your sheltie.
  • Never ever yell at your dog.
  • Spend some one-to-one time with your sheltie.
  • Take your sheltie on adventure walks.
  • Let the dog solve its own problems (When it’s possible)

So, if you build good self-confidence in your sheltie, he can become a good guard dog. So, he will protect your family all the time.

4. Train him to obey basic commands.

If you really wanna make your sheltie become a good guard dog, he should be able to follow every verbal and physical command.

Here are the most essential commands.

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Heel
  • No

This basic obedience is the key to become an excellent protective dog. In fact, bear in mind that don’t forget to reward him whenever he follows commands.

5. A proper Socialization.

Usually, shelties are extremely sociable creatures. But, it won’t happen without your help. So, you gotta start his socialization from puppyhood. But don’t despair if you own an adult sheltie that has not been properly socialized. They also can be socialized with the correct approaches.

But, this doesn’t happen overnight. So, you gotta be really patient with the process.

6. Treat him as your family member.

It doesn’t matter whether you wanna make your sheltie become a good guard dog. This is something you should always do. Then only he will become extremely loyal, protective toward his family.

Do you wanna know what will happen if you train your sheltie to become a guard dog using the wrong approaches? He will either hide behind you and bark or run away when an intruder arrives. This is not protection. All you will get is a nice warning bark. That’s all.

Are shelties guard dogs or just watchdogs?

When we think about an average sheltie, they are good to watchdogs. They should be trained to become guard dogs. But, first, you wanna be aware of these two terms.


Usually, these dogs will alert you when an intruder approaches. Then, you gotta investigate this issue. Because alert dogs are not gonna engage with the threat.

Guard dog

Same as watchdogs, guard dogs also always keep their eye out for intruders. In fact, they will definitely physically engage with the threat.

Things to be aware of.

Now you have a proper understanding if shelties become good guard dogs and protect your family. But that’s not sufficient. Because there are a few other important things you need to know. So, let’s figure out what they are.

  • You have to be extremely patience with these things. If you stick with the process with exemplary patience, you can turn your sheltie to become a guard dog.
  • Avoid any kinds of harsh training methods. If you use harsh training methods, your sheltie will be over-aggressive, even toward the family members.
  • Their aggressive level should be moderately aggressive. That’s the level of aggression on excellent guard dogs. So, avoid any kind of activities that would possibly make your sheltie over-aggressive.
  • If you can start these training sessions since huis puppyhood, things will be much easier. So, you can do so many things pretty much straightforwardly.


Most people love to own these lovable, affectionate, devoted, furry canines. But, We need extra security for our lives, don’t we? So, sheltie lovers are curious to know if they can become good guard dogs if shelties are protective. So, this whole article is dedicated to that matter. We discussed whether they could become good guard dogs and, if so, how to train them and other related concerns. Hope you found this helpful. Have a nice day.

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