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I need Cairn help

Guest Shelly

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Guest Shelly

About 4 weeks ago, we were given a Cairn from a friend. Rufus, he could not get along with another dog in their family, so we decided to give it a try. We didn't have any pets. After all this time, I am ready to get rid of him. :(

We can't keep him from barking at everything that moves. He won't stop even when you call him. He doesn't respond to his name. Sadly, he is spending alot of time in his kennel. Which was the problem at his former house. He also has used our house as his potty repeatedly even though he is house broken. He will run away any time the gate is open and will not respond to his name when called to come back. As a matter of fact, he runs the other way. Any suggestions? :(

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Hi Shelly!

I have a 15 year old Cairn, but my lil' problem child was my Smooth Collie

puppy, Gully. I jokingly call him my terrier wannabe. He's one and a half now

and is just a wonderful dog though, so not to worry there is hope.

When I first brought him home at 9 weeks, I tell ya I swore he was deaf. He

was so un-Collie-like. Did not pay me an ounce of attention. He didn't

respond to me or my voice at all. I've never had a puppy that didn't get all

excited, when I did the happy voice to them. I honestly did not know how I was

going to train him, since he didn't seem to care. So I figured all training was

gonna be an uphill battle if I couldn't get him to pay attention to me, so we took

a private clicker class together, that focused on attention. Best money I ever spent.


Here's the first step of what we did. Teaching the puppy his name:

In a bathroom, or another quiet, small room, take about 150 treats (part or all

of the puppies meal). Let the puppy look around and see that there is

nothing to do. Then start the following (the puppy does not have to look at

you - all he has to do is hear the click and eat the treat):

(1) Puppy's name

(2) Click

(3) Toss treat on floor (you want the puppy moving around, so don't toss the

treat in the same place).

As soon as the puppy swallows the treat repeat, Name, Click, Toss Treat.


I feel coming to their name is of utmost importance, but then I have a

houseful of animals and don't need everyone coming, just the one I want.

Besides if there was an emergency I know I would call the animal by name,

not a formal come. So the name means come here to me, just like it did with

my kids when they were small. Don't you call your human family members by

their name when you want them to come or give you their attention?


A few sessions of this and Gully was a different dog. It was truly amazing. It's

like the lightbulb suddenly came on that I was an incredibly good thing and once

that happened training became a joy. There's quite a few more exercises that

build on this, if anybody's interested I'll post them.



Music Dog Videos - featuring Murph the Cairn, Oz and Gully the Collies and Idgie the Jack

Nothin' Butt Dogs - Picture Contest - July 2006 Photo Contest... Theme: Naughty Dogs... Submit Picture by July 30th, 2006.

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First I think maybe he is acting that way due to lack of freedom. When out of the cage he goes wild due to he is always in there. If his first home always kept him caged he most likely never was played with or outdoors much. As far as knowing his name, not listening. If he is in the cage all the time how could he know his name. They learn there name from calling them during play time, going outside, etc.... daily things. Imagine being in a cage all the time and no where to run or let out your energy. I think time will help him.

Possably going to a trainer will help out alot. Cairns are wonderful pets, my first Cairn passed away age 17 this past November, now we have an 8 month old little boy who is a bundle of joy. Is he getting exercise? anyone playing with him?

Caging him for long periods is going to make the matter not better only worse.

It is very sad that a pup has to go to home to home as you said your ready to give him away. Do you have any knowledge about the breed? what is needed or requires before you took him? I think if you give him time he will be ok.

It's sad when a dog cant be a dog and has to be crated all the time. Are you also training him to go potty outside? Treats and rewards when he does. A puppy as you know isnt easy, it takes time and patience.

Rhonda,Kramer & Angel Missy "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog". "It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are" Missy Rainbow Bridge Memorial

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Your post is one of the most difficult I've found myself answering.

Please understand that the Cairn breed is not one of the easiest to train but one of the best as far as companionship, loyalty, amusement and love.

It is not your fault if you're finding difficulty training this dog who has gone from home to home. They definately need some stability and right now I feel this poor little Cairn doesn't know where he belongs. It is going to take some patience, commitment and time on your part but please be assured that in the long run it will pay off.

If you do find you cannot keep this dog. PLEASE find a Cairn terrier rescue to surrender him to. They will place him in a home with people who know the breed.

Please keep us posted.


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Guest Shelly

Sorry, I should have mentioned his age. He will be 2 years old in Aug., so I thought he should be well trained about the potty thing. Thanks for all your suggestions.

We are trying to train him. He does get plently of excerise, as we have a fenced yard and 4 children. Two of them regularly walk him and play with him. When we let him out to play, all he does is bark at everything! Our neighbors are complaining, and I see their point.

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Guest CairnLover


I do agree that training especilly by a trainer that frequently works with training/retraining rescues should help. Try contacting your local Humane Society for referral.

Also, maybe getting him evaluated by a behavorist may help you understand and intervene appropriately.

In the remote chance things do not go well, here is the website for Colonel Potter's Cairn Rescue Network. They have a form to fill out to report a Cairn in need. They are a wonderful organization that will place a rescue in foster care with experienced Cairn owners who work with the dog.then place for adpottion.


Good Luck!

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