Rescue Safety


Most Rescue Shelties adapt easily to their new “forever homes.” Please be aware though that Rescue Shelties can be high-risk escape artists.  You cannot be too careful with them as they transition into your home.

Rescue Organizations have had too many dogs bolt from their newly adopted homes.  Extra care must be taken.  Please be aware that it may take at least 48 hours for your Rescue Sheltie to begin to settle into his or her new home. It could be longer….

Rescues Little Miss and Skipper Boy on the look out with Helper Sister Sue

If you have any concerns about your Sheltie or how s/he is getting along in your home, please contact us at any time so we can discuss it with you. We at Maine Sheltie Rescue have helped many Rescue Shelties settle happily into their new homes, and will be glad to help with any problems or concerns you may have.

HIGH FLIGHT RISK, please pay close attention to the ITALICIZED SECTIONS  of this document.

Below are some points you should consider when bringing home your Rescue Sheltie.


If at all possible, there should be two humans in the car. One to drive, one to care for the Rescue Sheltie.

We suggest having a slip-collar and leash, or slip-leash, on the dog in the car/back seat, especially if there is only one human involved in the transport. Run the seat belt through the loop of the leash.  When you open the back door to pick up the dog, or take hold of the leash, stand right in front of the dog.  While undoing the seat belt, put your hand through the leash loop and take firm hold of the leash.  This way, even if the dog tries to bolt, he’ll get only to the end of the leash.  It might choke him/her a little bit momentarily, but it won’t permanently hurt, and s/he  will NOT get away.

If your Rescue Sheltie is a high-flight-risk, and will tolerate both, you should consider using a slip-collar AND harness, with a leash attached to both. (Your using a small two dog coupler is the easiest way: one leash, two connections; however two leashes looped together is fine.)

Rescue Curley wearing a Martingale Collar

 We highly recommend using a slip-collar or slip-leash on the way home. A dog cannot slip out of a slip-collar (i.e. choke-collar not a Martingale). They can switch to a Martingale Collar once home.

Keep high-value (smelly/tasty) treats in your pocket and offer treats to him/her a couple of times on the way home. You want your dog to see you as a good thing.

Do not run any errands on your way home. This is very risky.  Your Rescue Sheltie needs and wants security at this transitional time.

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If you are able to drive into a garage when first bringing your Rescue Sheltie home, do so, and have the garage door closed when s/he is leaving the car.

If your home has no garage, do not rely solely on a collar and/or harness to keep your Rescue Sheltie safe. If possible pick up your Rescue Sheltie and carry him/her in.

Rescue Raisin dragging a safety leash

Your Rescue Sheltie should go directly to your yard-enclosure when s/he arrives “home” so s/he can sniff around the new smells and relieve him/herself. It is highly recommended to have your Rescue Sheltie on leash at this time as s/he gets accustomed to your yard.

We recommend at least a 4’ fence for Rescue Shelties, however if you have a high risk flight dog you should consider having a 5’ fence.

Give your Rescue Sheltie plenty of time to sniff and relax.

While your Rescue Sheltie is scoping your yard, keep your high value treats handy. Give them out frequently if your dog comes up to you or comes when you whistle or call him/her.  Do not lean straight over your Rescue Sheltie.  Keep your body bent low – sideways to the dog.

While in your yard enclosure, if your Rescue Sheltie is considered skittish or frightened, you should use a drag line so s/he is easily caught if there is a need. The more skittish: the longer the line. HOWEVER, they should not be allowed to run and play with the other dogs with the drag line (a choking and leg breaking hazard). If they are sedate shelties who don’t run and play, then leaving the line long is fine.

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Rescue Brody meets long lost brother Rescue River

 If you are introducing other doggy family members, introduce them one at a time, in a treat and toy free environment, with each dog on a loose leash. If there is any unhappiness, contact MSR (or your own Rescue organization) right away for help.

Over time, as you introduce human friends and family, again, one at a time. These new friends should have  a few high value treats to encourage the friendship.   They should stand sideways to the dog, bend from the waist and give the treat that way, and let the Rescue Sheltie set the pace of friend-making. Keep it low key.  We recommend not scooching down to make friends with a new rescue: with fearful dogs, the face and neck become the target if the dog decides to bite.

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With a Rescue Sheltie, for at least the first month, maybe longer – depending on the dog’s temperament, do not open any exterior doors when your Rescue is present. S/he sees that door as an OUT…and they will BOLT OUT – VERY FAST!  When you are going outside, place your  Rescue Sheltie in another room away from the door so s/he is not tempted to bolt.  Exiting your home through your garage, if you have one, is recommended with the garage door down.

Rescue Jake at home in his crate

Recalls really need to be practiced whenever possible. The best way to prevent your Rescue Sheltie from running away is to teach him/her to come when called, every time! Over time, Recall should be practiced in varying locations with a long line attached to you, outside your fenced yard, since that area can be problematic.

Your home needs to have a safe den-like area for your Rescue Sheltie’s own use. If your Rescue is comfortable with a crate, do use that for at least the first 6 weeks.  The crate is a haven from the household hubbub and noise.  It is not a jail.

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Welcoming Your Dog Home First 30 Days of Dog Adoption Harness Lead Martingale Collar




Find and Catch A Lost Dog Calming Signals


MSR Informational Links MSR Suggested Reading 

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Charlie feeling secure as he spies who is coming




This page is dedicated to 2 year old, 16 lb Nigel who was lost by bolting out of his new home November 16, 2014 and found on April 7, 2015, having passed over the rainbow.

 May the Angels keep you safe dear Nigel.

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