Do Shelties Like To Play Fetch? [Owner’s Guide]

Do shelties like to play fetch

Have you ever wondered if shelties like to play fetch? Since they are athletic and active dog breed, this game is one of the best-suited games. But the matter is, do they really like this? If so, how to train them? If not, How to make them love it? Don’t worry. Let’s figure it out.

Do shelties like to play fetch? Most shelties love to play fetch without any doubt. But, some of them could refuse to play fetch due to lack of interest, wrong fetching object, weather, lack of understanding of the game, health issues. Consulting a veterinarian before training is recommended.

Of course, shelties have loads of advantages of playing fetch? But, Did you know that it has several disadvantages too? So, you have to be aware of all of them as a responsible owner.

Do shelties really like to play fetch? [An in-depth answer]

Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, are intelligent, playful, affectionate, active, trainable (they can help you keep chicken in place), and loyal dog breed. The correct answer to the above question has to be “Big yes!!”.

Because most shelties love to play fetch and other related sports like,

  • Agility
  • Rally
  • Obedience
  • Herding

Since shelties are naturally active and playful dog breed, they naturally know how to fetch, and it seems they really like that.

One of my good school friends called ‘Eric’ has 2 years old male sheltie. A few weeks ago, I went to see him discuss my project. They have a nice backyard with a nice view. I knew this guy’s sheltie is very obsessed with playing fetch.

So, I started to play fetch with this sheltie using a tennis ball as the fetching object. Oh, my god! This dude was really crazy, and he never likes to stop the game. To be honest, I played for around three hours. His energy level is insane! in fact, my right arm was actually started to sore the next day.

So, basically, the majority of Shelties do love to play fetch without any argument. But, there might have some shelties that are not like to play fetch due to several reasons and which we gonna discuss next.

I think this natural instinct to play is some kind of a gift for them. Because they are really active dog breeds and need a way to release that energy.

But here, I wanna emphasize that these dogs aren’t very different from other dogs. They require good training with positive reinforcement methods. I mean, they never gonna learn everything by themselves.

But the key is their learning speed is quite high compared to other average dog breeds. Because shelties are an easily trainable breed. But, they do require a nice push to learn new things as other dogs.

If you are a first-time sheltie owner or first-time dog owner, this training process could be a little bit difficult because you got to learn about this dog’s temperament and adapt to him. Please check out the linked article in this paragraph, you can learn everything you need to know as a beginner.

And more importantly, there are several things that could be caused to make your sheltie refuse to play fetch. Incorrect training methods also can be a huge problem.

What can make your sheltie refuse to play fetch?

Even though I have mentioned that most Shelters like to play fetch, Some of them are reluctant to fetch at all. But, you need to remember that this does not make you a bad dog parent.

Because both normal and abnormal circumstances could affect the interest of playing fetch in shelties. So, let’s figure out what they are,

  1. Health issues.
  2. Even this game was fun for him, he may lose interest.
  3. They cannot understand how fetch works.
  4. They may not like the fetch object.
  5. Weather or time of the day.

1. Health issues.

If your sheltie doesn’t like to play fetch whatsoever or begins to lose interest, one of the main reasons could be underlying health issues. A good example is an arthritis which can impact the amount of enthusiasm your sheltie has in fetching.

2. Even this game was fun for him, he may lose interest

How do you feel when you repeat the same task? It can be tedious, and you may start to lose interest. So, there isn’t much difference when it comes to dogs.

If you used to play fetch with your sheltie regularly, definitely he will lose interest. So, you can try a variety of games with your sheltie to avoid this problem.

Here are some games that you can try with your buddy.

  • Hide and Seek.
  • Doggy Treat Hunt.
  • Tug of War.
  • Blanket Hurdles.
  • Doggie Basketball.
  • Round Robin.
  • Frisbee Toss.
  • Agility.
  • Play some water games.

3. They cannot understand how fetch works.

This reason also one of the main reasons why some Shelties refuse to play fetch. If they didn’t receive adequate training, this problem could happen. Your sheltie may simply be confused about what’s being asked of him when it’s playtime.

So, the training process should be pretty much straightforward for your dog. Don’t worry. We gonna discuss several methods you can try that can be used to train your dog without confusion.

4. They may not like the fetch object.

If your sheltie doesn’t like the fetch object, there is no point in trying to train him. They will never be taught. Because the fetch object really matters.

  • Because the dog grabs the toy by his mouth, the toy shouldn’t be hazardous to his mouth.
  • The toy should be comfortable to grab. That means it shouldn’t be larger than his mouth.
  • A good toy can Get your sheltie’s energy and activity level up.

Paying attention to your dog’s fetch toy drive is really important as you play with your sheltie. To do that, you got to try different kinds of toys to figure out whether which toy has more potential to gravitate your canine friend.

But buying several toys and trying each of them is not seems practical thing. Because of that, I will suggest the best fetch toy for your Sheltie, which also can be used as a Chew toy.

5. Weather or time of the day.

If you encourage your sheltie to play fetch during extreme temperatures, believe me, it’s never gonna work. In fact, it’s not good for your dog’s health.

How to train your sheltie to play fetch?

If you are really kind of an active person, this breed is a well-suited one. Because shelties love to jump, run, play, and do other outdoor activities.

But, as we discussed above, they must be trained well to reduce confusion. in fact, incorrect training methods could completely ruin your dog.

If your dog has a natural instinct to play fetch, excellent! Things will work very easily for you. You know what,.. all you have to do is go to a dog park where people play fetch with their dogs and start playing.

You know what? Shelties are extremely scalable dogs and they do love to play with other dogs. So, in this way, I guarantee you, you can easily train him.

But, this is not the case for most dogs. Because most shelties require precise training methods from the beginning. So, let’s figure out two ways that have proven to work.

The first method.

  1. Choose 2 of sheltie’s favorite toys. This can be a tennis ball, or chew-toy, as mentioned earlier, or anything that can be used as fetch objects.
  2. Then you should throw one toy while keeping the other toy in your hand. But don’t forget to show it to your buddy before throwing it.
  3. When your Sheltie runs after the first toy, you should encourage him with a cheerful, optimistic voice.
  4. Once your sheltie grabs the toy, show the second toy and call him to come back. The dog will more likely see it and come back to you and drop the first toy in front of you. If he did it right, reward him by giving some tasty puppy treats.
  5. Then throw the second toy as you did in step 1. That means you need to make sure your buddy has seen it. So, repeat this process 5-6 times per day until he gets good at this.

The second method.

  1. Choose one of your shelties favorite toys, and you should keep that toy only for fetching.
  2. Take the toy to your hand and keep it close to his mouth and encourage him to grab it by his mouth.
  3. Take back the toy from his mouth.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times. When your Sheltie is getting used to getting the toy from your hand, you should throw it about 1-3 feet from you.
  5. Repeat step 4 while increasing the distance gradually.
  6. When the distance increase up to a considerable amount, Congratulations! It’s time to fetching! When he does it correctly, praise him and reward him with puppy treats.

Since shelties are a slightly high energetic dog breed, they need around 1 hour of exercise on a daily basis. So, you can play fetch for 30-60 minutes with him.

If the dog feels tired or he doesn’t want to play that day anymore, he will start to drop the fetch object without giving it to you. In most cases, the ball will drop a small distance away from you.

In fact, you can check if your sheltie is tired by examining his behavior.

If he exhibits the following signs, probably your sheltie is exhausted.

  • Yawning
  • Panting
  • Hiding
  • Forgetting commands.
  • Excessive licking.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Always sniffing the ground.
  • Reduce the attention toward you.

Suggested Reading: Are Vibrating Collars Good For Recall Training?

The pros and cons of playing fetch to your sheltie?

If you ever have played fetch or seen, you know that it’s kind of a funny game for both dog and the owner. Most people only think about this game’s positive side, such as good for health, mental stimulation.

You have to be aware that this game could affect your furry friend both positively and negatively. For your easiness, let me sum up all of them into one table.

Pros Cons
The fetching game is an enjoyable way to unleash stress for both parties.Potential mouth infections.
Playing with your sheltie would cause to Strengthen the bond between both of you.Sometimes your sheltie could show resource grading behavioral issues by being over-obsessed with the fetching object.
It can give a good mental stimulation.It could cause to occur physical injuries.
Playing fetch is a nice exercise for your sheltie. Since fetching is kind of a strenuous exercise, playing for a long time could exhaust your sheltie.
Because the dog works on your commands, this is a nice way to increase obedience.Damages to teeth
It will help to eliminate some behavioral problems in your dog.
It will help to release your dog’s anxiety.
It will give you some exercise too!
Playing fetch will allow your sheltie to
Shelties of all ages love this game without any distinction.
It’s easy to play.

Since the above table contains almost all the pros and cons of playing fetch and it’s easily understandable, I’m not gonna discuss everything one by one.

Things to be aware of

Now you have a good idea about shelties and their ability to play fetch. But, I wanna emphasize here that there are some other important factors that you really need to be aware of. So, let’s figure out what they are.

  • Before you start to train your sheltie to play fetch, it’s necessary to have a medical checkup for your dog. So, don’t forget to do that.
  • If your sheltie has never engaged with strenuous exercises, you have to think about his diet. Seek for a vet to get the necessary instructions.
  • Don’t play in extreme temperatures.
  • Never ever use any kind of a ball thrower. Use your hand to throw the ball or fetching an object.
  • Never use a stick as the fetching object because it could damage its teeth.
  • You are the one who knows well about your dog. So, try to understand its limits on your own.


Most people love these affectionate, scalable, furry creatures. But if you have a chance to play with these Shetland Sheepdogs, would you like to miss it? In fact, many sheltie lovers are curious to know if shelties like to play fetch. So, this article contains everything you need to know about that. Hope it helps. have a nice day.

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