West Highland White Terrier - Westies - Training Success Tips
The West Highland Terrier is a friendly dog, and is considered easier to handle and train than other terriers, such as the Scottish Terrier. Still, it possesses the bold, dynamic terrier temperament, and has to be trained in a manner appropriate for the breed.
Your West Highland Terrier training begins from the moment you bring your terrier home. Westies are stubborn and clever, and considered a bit naughty. They will become demanding and ill tempered if they do not get their way, so you must teach them from the start that you are in charge. From the beginning, treat your terrier in a firm, consistent way.
Terrier puppies, like all very young dogs, should be trained in short sessions of five minutes or less. Make the training session play for both you and your terrier. Generously reward your dog with praise. They are also known to react well to food training.
Your Westie will become confused if you lash out at its misbehavior, particularly if you continue to be angry after the behavior has stopped. Your little terrier wants to please you, and by consistently rewarding the behavior you wish to promote, you will encourage it to become part of the dog's personality.
Like the Scottish Terrier, and other terrier breeds, Westies are barkers. Barking is a dog's natural way to communicate a variety of feelings from happiness, to anxiety, to boredom. The terrier breeds, though, are quicker to bark than other dogs.
The most natural reaction by dog owners is to yell at your terrier to stop barking. This is exactly the WRONG thing to do. Your dog hears the loud voice as a sort of human bark, and it only reinforces the behavior. The key is to remain calm, verbally and physically, and diffuse the terrier's excited emotional state. Say 'no bark' in a calm but firm tone. Never forget to reward the dog when the barking stops.
West Highland Terriers are clever, active dogs, and they will sometimes bark out of boredom. Be sure to provide your dog with walks and appropriate play to stimulate their minds and bodies. You can divert their attention with a chew toy that can be stuffed with a food treat.
Other concerns common to West Highland Terrier training, as well as Scotties and other terrier breeds, are digging, chasing, and aggressive behavior. These little dogs were never bred to be pets, but rather to hunt down and kill vermin.
Never encourage your terrier's natural behavior by engaging in aggressive play. It is difficult for your Westie to distinguish that gnawing and nipping are all right during play, but not at other times.
(Disclaimer: Any information contained in this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of Westies or other animals and their treatments is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing the health of any animal. You should always consult and check with your own vet or veterinarian.)
I do hope that you have found the article of use to you.
Good health and happiness
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