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Tammica Longo


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Hi I’m fostering a great 6yr old half I was told cairn half possibly terrier but there are some issues and I’m scared the rescue will do what they are threatening n that’s euthanasia. He’s bit but no one outside my house. They have not helped me with getting him training and I’ve begged. He does live with one other foster dog n my resident which he has attacked and 4cats also attacks but also gets along with. He was not socialized at all before he came here. He can learn his life is worth it please I’m begging you for you advice and help




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Rescuing this dog was a kind-hearted thing to do, but bringing him into an environment with 4 cats + 1 other dog was possibly courting disaster. From what you describe, further conflicts are likely and dogs can be grotesquely injured in combat with cats. I would immediately separate him with a baby gate or put him in another room if possible. I don't want to alarm you but the last thing you want is to come home to a bloody mess and a suffering animal. That could be a worse  fate than euthanasia. Sadly, there might be no good options here, short of returning your dog.


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welcome! I know you are determined to help the dog if there is any way, and there is a lot for you to explore. Sanford's ideas on baby gates are good. first thing is, make sure everybody is safe. I see he has a harness. I would recommend putting a short leash on it and keeping it on at all times --you can very quickly get control of any situation that way. 

he is definitely terrier and to me looks half cairn or half jack (same dif in terms of strategy).  NEVER get angry, never shout, never cry. these dogs will get into pushing your buttons if they know they can affect you. get the short leash and when your dog gives you trouble, lift him up and fly him away to a safe zone (maybe behind a baby gate, maybe a bathroom, laundry room --kitchen is usually not that great, since they can levitate onto counters). ignore him (they hate that) until you think he has learned a lesson and can be let out again. others on here have different ideas about effective discipline, so read the threads and experiment to see what works. 

these dogs need to go to boot camp. make him sit and wait for you to put his food bowl down. if he is giving another dog problems, make him let that dog go through doors first, or get into the car first. if he doesn't respect cats, give him a time out if he chases them, growls at them or pounces on them. with the leash attached to his harness, you are always in control. he will figure that out. 

this means you have to go to boot camp too. your dog will whine and charm and do everything to get around you. if you have children or spouse, he will try to get them to go easy on him if you are insisting on the rules. everybody must be on board! make the rules for your dog, and keep them in place. 

these dogs are very determined, and very ambitious. if you give your dog any hint that he might be able to take over, he will run with it. make it very clear that not only can he NOT take over, he can't even make you worried or sad! believe it or not, once these dogs are ABSOLUTELY convinced that they cannot rule the house, they relax. they have confidence with you in charge, and feel they can just enjoy life. it takes time and effort to get there. if you get a behaviorist or trainer in, he/she MUST be somebody who understands terriers. training these dogs is not like dealing with exuberant retrievers or lonely labs. tiny terriers are bred to be independent, and to assert themselves as if their lives depended on it (because in their working environment, it did). 

Edited by pkcrossley
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Agree with pk's suggestions. And would emphasize working with terriers is very demanding. My retrievers longed to please me. My terriers wondered why should they bother. Terriers are bred to be independent and your fella will be no different. Think LONG TERM patience and persistance. 

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Hillscreek has it exactly: herding, hunting, guard dogs all want to please humans. terriers can make time for you at the end of their busy day, but "commands" will always be considered optional. the more reasonable and rational the commands are, the higher the chance they will be complied with. 

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Well said by all.  I want to emphasize that everyone in the house needs to be on the same page -- and that is perhaps the hardest of all.  The spouse who just wants to give him a little treat off the countertop; the child who lets the dog play "keep away." All of these sabotage training.

One of the best ways to get everyone on the same page is to take a basic obedience class -- with everyone there learning the same commands, the same consistent behavior.  And the practicing between sessions at home. Everyone!

Terriers are little show-offs, even though independent.  Each of mine has loved the excitement, the attention, the activity of training. The dogs also learn to behave appropriately around other dogs in a controlled atmosphere, and that gives you some techniques to control them around other animals at home.

I am pretty sure not all dogs can be obedience school champions, but all terriers are definitely trainable -- and they actually seem to love it.  I really recommend you sign yourself up!

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1 hour ago, Kathryn said:

I am pretty sure not all dogs can be obedience school champions, but all terriers are definitely trainable -- and they actually seem to love it.  I really recommend you sign yourself up!

Agreed 1,000 percent. You need tools to work with problematic dogs and a serious obedience class will help *you* acquire useful skills and tools. 

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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