The New Sheltie

You may remember we lost our eight-year-old Sheltie, Jet, a couple of months ago. There are those people who get another dog right away (me) and those who wait a long time (John) and then there are those who compromise (us, usually). So when I saw the picture of an eight-month-old Sheltie on a breeder’s website and learned she was selling him because he was growing too tall to show in the conformation ring, I was ready. And when John met him, he was ready, too. (Here’s how I really knew he’d be our dog even before I met him: when the breeder spoke to me on the phone and told me his name was “Cole”, I got a chill up my spine. My dogs have often been given a name connected in some way to my books. The main character in my very first novel was named Cole. Who names a dog Cole? It was meant to be. And yes, he looks a lot like Jet but that was not intentional. A little spooky, though.)

We’ve had Cole a little over a week, now, and we’d forgotten what it’s like to have a young, energetic, unhousebroken, unneutered pup around! It’s been an adventure and a lot of work, but he’s really a little doll. Smart and sassy. He’s skittish like many Shelties, so we’ll have to work on that. At first I was afraid Keeper wasn’t going to take to him, since Keeper was born somber and old, but when I let Cole out of his crate this morning, Keeper’s tail, usually immobile, was going a mile a minute. Relief!

There are issues, of course. He’s a chewer and I’d forgotten (obviously!) how watchful one must be around a chewer. (How long does that phase last?? I don’t recall my other dogs being destructive chewers, but there’s a lot about puppies and young dogs I’ve apparently forgotten!) Keeper’s a barker, so Cole’s decided that’s a cool thing to be—only Cole’s been debarked (Many breeders debark their Shelties, a notoriously barky breed. I wouldn’t have done it, but I have to admit, I’m not really sorry it was done), so his bark sounds like he has a terrible cold and is hard to listen too. He hasn’t had a single accident in the house (we’ve been obsessively careful not to give him a chance) and he’s now neutered (yay!). It’s been quite a week for the little guy.

I’d love to hear your puppy/young dog advice and anecdotes. And remember, anyone who comments is eligible to win a $100 bookstore (online or bricks and mortar) prize on December 23rd.




  1. Lisa on November 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I don’t have any advice, but I’m very interested in your learning curve because we are about to start one of our own. I had a huge doberman years ago, but when he passed I decided not to get another dog. Well, my son is now 4 and dog crazy. We’ve purchased a sheltie that will be ready to come home a couple of weeks before Christmas.

    It has been amazing to visit the puppy (Dexter) since he was born. We go a couple of times a week, and have seen the stages. My kids are in love and always amazed by how much he has grown between visits.

    I’m excited to see my sweet little sable boy grow and become a part of our household.

    PS: We had a black cat named Cole….after a character in a book. β™₯

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      So much fun to get to watch him grow week by week. You and your kids are in for an adventure!

  2. Judi on November 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Having a pup after enjoying older dogs requires patience, but hopefully Keeper will be the alpha and teach Cole the house rules and manners. You will be rewarded for your patience. I have two dogs (5 year old wire haired dachshund and 13 year old Lab mix). They have settled into the perfect schedule for house pets….eat a little, play a little, and sleep ALOT! The day to look forward in celebrating with a puppy is their 2nd birthday! Thankfully, dogs don’t have the terrible twos! In the meanwhile, buy lots of healthy raw hide chews and enjoy your many potty walks. OH, and don’t forget….no playing with old slippers and socks, as Cole is unable to distinguish between old and new! AND find your ‘good dog’ voice as well as your ‘bad dog’ voice. You will notice a maturity daily.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Yes, I’ve already discovered we need to keep the shoes and socks out of reach. Sounds like your two are good together. I have faith Keeper and Cole will find a similar balance…eventually.

  3. Susan on November 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Congrats on the new dog he is so cute! I have a 1.5 year old golden retriever and he was a terrible chewer when he was a bit younger. He has now grown out of it I think since he no longer chews everything in sight. We did get him a good size red Kong bone and he chews on that frequently and carries it with him everywhere. I highly recommend one of those, I know they come in different sizes. It is the only toy that has held up, he loves to tear the stuffing out of other toys too! Good luck with him, can’t wait to read more updates about both your dogs in the future!

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      I have to be a bit careful because when one of them has a valuable chewy, the other is suddenly verrry interested. I’ve had three goldens in the past…such wonderful dogs!

  4. Heather Cathrall on November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I host the annual family Christmas Eve party consisting of about 60 people. A few years ago we got a puppy and invited our guests to bring their pets to the party to play together. After playing and drinking a lot, my puppy, confused by the tree inside, ran over and peed by it. The other dogs followed and before I could stop it, four dogs were peeing in my living room on the tree and all over the tops of the presents. Now everyone laughs when we think of the Christmas where all the dogs peed on the tree!

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks for the laugh!!

  5. Heather Cathrall on November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    btw, congrats on your new puppy! Puppys are a lot of work, but they bring so much joy and even the “bad behavior” is usually stuff you can look back at and laugh about πŸ™‚

  6. Natalie Crohn on November 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Keeper and Cole are both beautiful, or should I say handsome! I have 2 shelties as well (and am also a social worker, ha). I can definitely relate to the sheltie puppy stage, we got Bailey when she was 12 weeks old and let’s just say she kept us on our toes! We had to puppy-proof the house, mostly the shoes and the trash because she liked to get into both. The thing I kept telling myself is this is only temporary and it will pass. Sure enough, it passed after several months and now both my shelties are smart, healthy, and happy! Puppies are a lot of work, I know, but so worth it. And it sounds like you guys got the potty training down pat so that’s great! Have fun with your newest addition to the family. Shelties are the best dogs!

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement, Natalie.

  7. Carole on November 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Growing up, we had a tricolor collie (full size) and when he passed away, we got a sheltie.

    We got the tricolor collie, Prince, as a puppy and he was a chewer. He chewed everything in sight! He slept downstairs in the recreation room where we had a rather old studio couch, which was really just for my sister and I to sit on when we watched TV down there with friends. My parents had a TV and a nicer couch upstairs in the living room πŸ™‚ One morning I went down to let Prince out, and he had chewed a giant portion of the studio couch. The stuffing was all over the floor and he looked at me with the “I don’t know who did that, it wasn’t me” look πŸ™‚ He looked so cute that I couldn’t yell at him. Mom said that if he chewed the good furniture upstairs that out he would go. (But she didn’t mean it πŸ™‚

    We decided that the best thing to do was to give him dog toys that he could chew. We got him some of those rawhide treats that dogs chew and pull apart and that kept him occupied for hours. AND it kept him away from the furniture. And during the day and in the evening, my sister and I would take small towels and have a tug of war with him. He LOVED pulling on the towel and eventually we’d all end up on the floor laughing! He used a lot of energy so when it was nighty night time, he slept a lot better. Between the play times and the chew toys we got him, he was occupied and a happy dog πŸ™‚ Eventually the chewing wore off. I don’t really remember exactly, but I think it was at about 6-7 months of age.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions. I think I need to hire some kids!

  8. Jodi on November 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t have any advice, but wanted to say congrats on Cole, he is gorgeous! I am so glad that Keeper is adjusting to a new buddy. I recently lost one of our beloved dogs, her name was Bouncy Bear, and I am in the second category. It is taking me a while to want to add another dog to my home. I have one at home now, and I know he would love a sibling, but just not sure I am ready. Also, good luck getting through the puppy stage!

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Everybody has to move at their own pace. We were just lucky we found a middle ground.

  9. Pat Heacock on November 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Our Sheltie, Laddie, is four years old and still can destroy a stuffed toy in seconds. We buy him only the Kong toys that are indestructible. He’s a lot of work…daily brushing to keep the mats away..but so much fun. Sweet, smart and so lively. We got him when he was 8 weeks old, so have been through all the puppy stuff. He potty trained in no time flat and right now he is telling me he has to go outside.
    Enjoy the new pup…he and Keeper are both beautiful Shelties.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Oh noooooooo on the chewing. John just said if this is the worst thing about him, we’re pretty lucky, so I think we’re pretty lucky!

  10. Joy Cook on November 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Cole is beautiful! We have been Sheltie owners for the past 39 years. At times we had 2 Shelties, but at the present we only have 1. We also raised 5 litters of puppies with the litters ranging in size from 3 puppies to 9 puppies. Each litter was an adventure! When we bought our current Sheltie, it had been 12 years since we had raised one from a puppy. We had forgotten how energetic and also how they chewed on selected things. My most expensive leather shoes were the favorites! We had also forgotten how long it can take to house train them. A vet friend of mine just kept telling me that it could take up to a year, and it did! Our Sheltie is quite a barker and does not like for us to leave the house. She gets very upset when we pick up our keys or go towards the front door. Enjoy your Shelties. They are the most lovable, affectionate and loyal dogs. As far as advice, just keep everything out of reach that could be chewing material.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      I could relate to everything you said…well, except for having so many puppies at once! They really are sweet dogs.

  11. pamula floyd on November 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Whe our 13-year-old Casey died in April I knew we had to get a new dog for my disabled son. We took advantage of a $4 animal rescue deal that included eveything. We too forgot what having a puppy was like. After all it had been 9 years since we had one. Though I still see Casey every now and then, Rocky had become part of the family. We have lost items to the chewer but over the summer he jumped in the pool with the kids. He isn’t afraid of my son’s wheelchair and jumps on his lap for kisses and tug-of-war. But I have always believed that a dog comes into your life when you need one.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I’m so glad your son has Rocky. It sounds like a beautiful relationship. xo

    • Cindy Mathes on November 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Sometimes someone will bring a puppy or dog… to our classroom at school…We sort of have to sneak them in..but the children 6 of the 8 children in our classroom are in wheelchairs. It is awesome to see the smiles on their faces when the dogs jump up in their laps. Some of the children are reserved, but most love them very much. I am glad your son has found a puppy to replace his lost friend.

  12. Cindy Mathes on November 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I love other people’s pets. Our German Shepard, Ruby, showed up at our house not too long after a tornado came through the area. She was covered in what we thought was mange and she sat down in our garage and wouldn’t leave.A trip to the vet proved that she was allergic to her own mites and that she would have had the condition since birth. It is easy enough to put in remission. The stress of living through the tornado was probably the trigger to the flare. She also is terrified of storms now. When there is thunderstorm, I have to sleep in the recliner and she sleeps behind my chair. I love our Ruby..but when she is gone, I don’t really want another puppy. But I am happy to love other people’s pets. So consider me in love with your new puppy, Cole…and hopefully he will be ready to stop chewing soon… πŸ™‚

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Ruby is a lucky girl!

  13. Margo on November 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Omigosh, Diane!! I thought I was looking at a photo of Keeper and Jet…Cole is GORGEOUS!!
    Gary and I have raised many, many dogs and most of them we’ve rescued…each one was different; some chewed, some had separation anxiety if we left the house, others were cool, calm and collected. We’ve found there’s really no set rule in teaching them…we feel our way with each one and with instincts, patience and kindness they have all adapted within days of rescuing them with no longer displaying any form of bad habits.
    I’m thrilled beyond words that you have a new playmate for Keeper and another ‘child’ to complete your home. Gary and I are one of those couples who have to adopt constantly…when one of our babies passes we know we have to rescue another to give them a good home. It’s just who we are.
    Thank you so much for sharing Cole with us. Your Thanksgiving is now complete.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

      I’ve loved hearing stories of your wonderful dogs, Margo. You and Gary are the best doggie parents!

  14. Sharyn on November 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

    For a chewer, make sure he always has a raw beef marrow bone to chew on. It’s much tastier than just about anything else he can find in the house to chew on.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Sharyn, this just sounds so messy and stinky for an inside dog. Is it?

  15. berry on November 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I only have experience w/an old sheltie, but the othere breeds of pups I have owned usually chewed until they were around 2.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

      I year to go!

  16. Sue on November 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I kept my grand dog yesterday and made cookies, peanut butter/oatmeal. I had to run to the garage for something, when I came back she had her paws on the counter and 7 cookie dough balls were gone. Sadie knew she was in trouble, but the look on her face told me it was worth it! She went to her crate. She also had a look of satisfaction on her face. So my advice is dog proof those baked goods….she didn’t even knock the try off the counter…

  17. Diane Chamberlain on November 21, 2012 at 11:16 am


  18. AD_1980 on November 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Diane I just came across your blog and immediately started reading. Love it

    Back to the topic re dogs, I know what you mean about the feeling about the loss of a dog. 3 years ago we lost our cocker spaniel to kidney failure and although everyone told us we should’ve waited, our house didn’t feel the same with just one dog in the house. That and my Norwegian Elkhound (who sadly we lost last year to cancer πŸ™ ) was very depressed since losing his best friend and his behaviour had changed not for the better so we all decided it was in everyone’s best interests to get another dog,. It was more for our dog than any one of us although adding another addition ( a toy poodle) to our household healed our broken hearts. But that’s not to say we bought our poodle to replace our cocker spaniel – I have to say I hated it when people went up to me going “so you bought him to replace your dog?” Just because we bought our dog so soon after losing another doesn’t mean we replaced him. We just opened our hearts and our home to another that needed a home.

    Everyone deals with this sort of thing differently. Some people wait months, or a year to buy another dog, other people maybe do not wait so much, it doesn’t matter.

    I have to say your dogs are beautiful.. I love shelties. I would love to own one myself but i do not think i could cope with their energy. As an experienced dog owner, I know how much they like to be simulated and to be kept busy and all that. But they’re lovely dogs.

    Also just to end my post on how much i love your books. I’ve read one so far and am on The Good Father now. Lovely.

    • Diane Chamberlain on November 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      I agree about the “replacement” comment. It’s more like you have this extra love and it need some furry place to go!
      Our Shelties have been remarkably calm dogs. Cole may make a liar out of me yet, though. . .
      I’m glad you’re enjoying my books!

      • AD_1980 on November 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

        Oh I love your books. the first one was A Midwife’s Confession. Wow! What a book! Its books like yours that make me go “I wish i was a writer” Sadly though I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

        Cole looks gorgeous. Re the chewing advice…if he is a chewer – puppy proof your house – and just leave like a bone or some type of dog chew that can keep him busy for ever…..that’s the best advice i can give lol.

        My toy poodle is a silly boy – after 3 years (I thought the phase stopped at 1 lol) he still thinks its ok to go through my handbag – even when i haven’t got anything in there for him to chew besides my purse lol! Makes me wonder if my bag smells or something lol. He doesnt chew anything in there he just drags my bag open and leaves all the contents lying around. And he only does that when i’m not at home……..i wonder if thats a “Mom you left me so its your fault” thing lol. hey ho. Dogs – gotta love them even though they can be really naughty hehe.

  19. Turtle Beach Reviews Blog on December 3, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Stuffed Sheltie…

    […] ey chewed on selected things. My most expensive leather shoes were the favorites […]…

  20. Mary Kirkpatrick on February 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I have recently finished your novel “Necessary Lies” and thoroughly enjoyed it! I admire your writing skills and have placed orders at our local library for several more of your books. I also discovered that you are an owner of a Sheltie, I believe. My husband and I adore Shelties and lost one of our beloved shelties last August. We have since acquired another one as a companion for our mini-aussie (and for us, of course!). Our sheltie, Keefer, is naturally a bit timid and a real barker! But, we love him and will get through this hurdle, too! Congratulations on your success and please continue your excellent work! Many thanks, Mary and John Kirkpatrick (Sun City, Az.).

    • Diane Chamberlain on February 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books, Mary, and hope you continue to do so. Good luck with your new Sheltie. My 2 year old Cole (we got him at 10 months) is extremely shy and he’s in his 3rd class, this one Fearful Fido and is on Prozac…but I’m seeing some improvement. I hope Keefer can improve on his own. I know you’re probably enjoying him a bunch!



Leave a Comment