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Breed Specific Training West Highland Terrier (Westie)

 

West Highland White Terrier is easily recognizable with its cute, sweet appearance through its shaggy, shiny coat, small ears that accent the face, and little button nose. They have sturdy, compact little bodies, but it is the coat that makes them as easy to identify as they are, since the outer coat is smooth, rough, bountiful, and straight. The West Highland White Terrier moves smoothly and easily. Even though this dog does not shed tremendously, you should remember this breed barks a great deal, releasing additional saliva and dander, making it less of an allergy friendly dog than it would appear.

This breed has a lot of energy and bounce. For a small breed they can jump quiet well. The Westie gets along great with other household pets and small children if socialized early on. If not your dog can become aggressive at both other dogs or children. You would notice this when they approach and your Westie may start to growl, snap, bark all of these are signs of caution.

You should brush your pet daily. This helps with the removal of any extra built of dirt, dander, fur, and helps to distribute their natural oils throughout their coat. This will keep your Westie's coat shiny. I don't suggest bathing your Westie to often because it will remove the natural oils and could possibly dry your dogs skin. Have your groomer shave down your dog a couple times a year to ensure proper coat maintenance.

These dogs have a great deal of energy, they remain small, so a good daily walk and some fun playtime inside or outside can burn off any excess energy they may have. Walking is the most effective form of exercise for a West Highland White Terrier, but they also enjoy a good off-leash run in a well fenced-in area. It is important to ensure that the daily walk is possible every day, because missing it will cause behavioral problems such as destructiveness and mischievousness.

It is very important to begin training a West Highland White Terrier very early in puppy hood, especially when it comes to socializing them with other people and animals. Training should be done using pawsitive reinforcement techniques and gentle, yet firm and consistent guidance. Westies respond very badly with harsh training techniques, so they should never be used. This would include yelling, hitting, etc... never use any of these methods when trying to train any breed.

When West highland White Terrier training you should know there are many items you can use however, many owners underestimate the usefulness of dog toys, which can be used in a variety of ways to teach many lessons. Contrary to popular belief, these items are not for amusement purposes only. For example tug ropes, If you do not want your dog chewing on your furniture you may introduce them to tug ropes early. If you see your Westie going towards your furniture you will correct them with a "wrong" and offer them the rope instead.

Possessiveness is something your Westie can develop. To help with this issue I want you to take away the toy they are playing with and hold onto it for a few seconds, then give it back and tell them "yes" good dog. Pawsitive Reinforcement and reward training work well for this behavior.

Comforting your Westie. Your Westie doesn't like to be home alone so if you have to leave for long periods of time I want you to give your dog a toy that seems to comfort them, or maybe a blanket that they always want to have with them. An article of your clothing with your smell on it works great. It will keep them more calm through the day and hopefully prevent any bad behaviors from starting.

Teaching commands with alternative methods. If you find that your dog has a certain toy they truly love, and every time you pick it up they follow you, try using that as a lure. Ask your dog to sit, if they do not, use the toy and try to lure it above their head and toward their tail and they should sit. Now praise them and for their reward they can play with the toy. This method works great when trying to teach fetch. They will always go after their favorite toy and hopefully they bring it back. If not, have another toy exactly the same, and when you throw one they should return with one and then you can throw the other one.