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feeling discouraged again......

Barney's Mom

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OK, everyone, please tell me again that Barney's brat behavior is going to end someday... I am feeling very depressed....

How do I handle this particular situation????? This usually happens when he is wound up, but sometimes when he isn't.

He is playing and he starts getting WAY too bitey. He bites, I give him a firm NO! He growls back at me and tries to bite again. I stand up, end the game, and try to pick him up to get him to calm down. He growls and tries to bite me when I am trying to pick him up. Now he has taken to growling when my husband tries to pick him up, at any time. I am so afraid he is going to continue this behavior into his adult years and that someone is going to get hurt later on. It seems like when we are firm and try to show him he is NOT the boss, he sees it as a challenge!

I am getting those "what have I brought into my house?" regretful feelings. His attitude goes against everything I ever read about Cairns. He leaves me just scratching my head in frustration...

But then he let's me pick him up and he nuzzles into my neck and wimpers......talk about putting me on an emotional rollercoaster!!!!!

I need some encouragement and guidance REEALLY bad right now. Do I have an A1 brat puppy on my hands, or a puppy with issues????


All creatures great and small, the Lord God, He made them all!

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I pinched Teona on the lip and sternly said "NO BITE".

If she becomes to bossy, I get her and hold her down on her back in a submissive position until she calms down.

Teona is now 1.5 and I can see such a difference in her behavior. The first year hubby wasn't too happy about her in our family, but he now sees an improvement. Hang in there. :wub:

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Please don't give up and try not to get discouraged!!!! Scully was a little biter from the beginning, especially when you would try to play with her. She's three today (Happy Birthday Scully) and she still will do it sometimes when she's playing very aggressively. We yelled NO BITE a gazillion times and would hold her snout close briefly.

We had a trainer come in when she was about 7 months old and he could see her tendency to have hissy fits. He recommended The Little Trainer collar (from Petsmart) and we used ONLY the beep part of the collar. When she was do the biting, he would have us say NO BITE and push the beeper sound to alert her this was unacceptable. I DO remember her having BIG FITS sometimes when you would pick her up and the use of the collar and placing her in her crate helped tremendously.

Again, with practice this WILL improve!

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You may want to look into puppy or obedience training classes. The trainer at the classes I have taken my Bear to, has been so helpful in teaching me how to handle unwanted behaviors. A lot of it is in showing the dog just who is the pack leader....ME! Of course, I'm still working on several issues with Bear and mostlikely will continue for sometime. However, having a trainer to call on and ask for help is extremely helpful. I learned a lot from just watching her with the other dogs and their owners as well as how she handled Bear. A good trainer will help you and Barney.

MAKE it a GREAT day!!! :D


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My little ones just turned 3 months on the 9th of June - so I totally know how you're feeling by being discouraged with some of the behavior issues. I want them all corrected like now... I've tried a few things that seem to be working. Hollie liked to bite more than Brystal and we always take a toy outside with us or a baby so when she starts to get aggressive we divert her attention to the toy and away from our hands, ankles, ears, and face. It also helped us tremendously to fake cry really loud and hard like she hurt us really bad and she backs off - just like the when my two girls play really hard and one yelps in pain the other backs off as a signal that they've gone too far. So far it's been a week or so and it's really working. You have to keep at it, but I'm finding the Cairn is a really smart breed that catches on quickly (hence why we're fake peeing to get a treat now) - You'll get there, and trust me I still have my moments where I'm like what did I do.... but then I look at them and their sweet faces and I'm so thankful they're in my life

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I do love reading this forum and I feel your pain. We have ups and downs here and we are in full teenagerhood right now. Like any parent we wonder how it's all going to work out. It sounds like you are dedicated and patient. After raising one Cairn I can understand more in hindsight than I understood at the time I was pulling my hair out. Keep up the rewards and consequences. That is what we are doing.

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Growling at people is a simply not done in my house. When it has occured, Sophie was flipped onto her back with a stern, growling NO.....She has also been dumped off the chair/bed/sofa when she decided to growl about my son approaching. It has helped to establish the idea that these BIG DOGS are not acceptable to growl at.

There are two types of growling with Cairns, the grouchy kind that is treated in the above method, and the playing kind. When she growls while playing and dashing around. That growl is usually ignored.



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You just described our new pup "Nellie"'s behavior to a tee. We have had her just over a week and she gets in the same moods as your new one. I have seen good improvement so far and have no doubt that the behavior will pass as she matures. She is so darn cute most of the time it is easy to look past it. Anyway some things that are working for us.

1) Distraction - if she starts the attacking the socks / feet etc... our first tactic is to distract her, pick her up and put her in another area, giver her a toy, etc... it often works.

2) If distraction doesn't work, then we do some "NO BITE" correction, holding the muzzle, doing a little alpha roll. If I have her on leash this works well, - loud "NO BITEs" and pulling her away from my person. After a few unsuccesful tries she usually gets it. I think she is associating the NO BITE with a lack of success while on leash, which is a good thing :)

3) If she is in a particularly unruley mood and keeps going for it, then she gets ignored. We ignore her by leaving the room completely, and sometimes placing her in her little play pen outside. I never use her crate as punishment, but the outside playpen is perfect for- "If you are out of control, we just will put you somewhere by your self for a while". This ignore technique seems to be very powerful, it seems these little Cairns ultimately crave attention and interaction with their owners more than they do winning a bite battle.

Oh and by the way, we have used the pennies in a soda can, which works often as well. This is where you put several pennies in a can and shake it loudley over the pups head with a correspondeing "NO BITE" the noise often breaks the behavior.

So, hang in there, ours is doing many of the same things yours is, the consistency seems to be paying off, only a little over a week and much improvement, though I expect to be dealing with reoccurences of her little "I'm coming after your feet and going to win" moods through adolecence.

Take care.

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Hang in there and keep working with him, Barney's Mom. I've found that the difficult puppies can end up better behaved as adults then the easy puppies. Having to work harder with them as puppies, seems to pay off in adulthood. Murph was such a handful, when he was a puppy. I had many people tell me if anything happened to me, they'd take Maddie in a NY minute, but sorry, not Murph. I loved that lil' guy though, so I stuck with him and really really worked with him. I never felt like Maddie needed obedience classes, but off me and Murph went to obedience. 3rd in the class he was, over shelties and goldens and the like. :)

One day after taking care of Murph, Maddie and Oz, while I was on travel, my Mom actually said to me that "Murph was the best one". She couldn't believe he was the same dog as the puppy, who use to drive her nutz. How bout that? Murph better behaved then a Lassie dog. So there ya go, there is hope. :)



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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Been there, done that! :D Yep that was Roxy as a pup, I thought she would never learn that biting was a no no. It took a while but we persisted with telling her "no bite" and puting her in 'time out' for a short time.

It is just going to take time, hang in there, Barney will eventually get it.

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You know ParNone, I think you may have something there. Savannah was a hellian as a puppy. I had a hard time finding a baby sitter any time we had to leave. As soon as she turned 6 months old, I put her in PetSmart obediance classes. THis was honestly the best thing that I ever did for her as this was really when she started to turn around. I don't know if it was because of the age or the classes or both. I would recommend obidience classes becuase it allows them the opportunity to learn something new and you get to work with them at home. I am thinking of signing her up for the intermediate class as soon as they have one on a day when I can take her. Anyway, now she is the greatest, sweetest little dog that ever lived and loves to be petted and cuddle and sleep in my lap. Now people fight over who get to watch her! :halo: Hang in there! It REALLY will get better, I swear!

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.

-M. Acklam

Savannah's Dogster Page

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We went through the same thing with Duffy, and I agree with some of the other posts that turning them on their backs and holding them down for several seconds does work. I agree with Tina on the different growls. Fortunately Duffy has not done the grouchy/mean growl in quite some time but he does use his "play" growl quite a bit especially when playing with Mickey, our Westie. Hang in there. It does get better. Duffy was my first Cairn and like you sometimes I wondered why I had gone the Cairn route, but he is a wonderful little dog and we love him immensely and I am glad that we have him.


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Are you sure your pup hasn't been cloned from MY pup??? :lol:

Again, I smiled when I was reading your post because, as everyone has already said, it gets a lot better. Strive to be consistent, firm, strong, quiet and patient. Tena's "roll" worked great for me too.

This past weekend, my pup stayed at my sister's house for a day while I had to be out of town. When I picked him up she said (her words), "Harry was an absolute angel! Bring him back anytime." This is from the sister with three dogs who used to suggest that I watch the Dog Whisperer more often (ha ha).

You are gonna look back on these days and laugh. This period will pass very soon. Hang in there!

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Thank you so much, everyone! I got some great advice and encouragement from each and every post!

You folks are the best!!!! :):):):):)

If it weren't for this site, I would have sent Barney packing to Siberia by now! :D

Just kidding.....I would have ran after the train in tears!!

Amazing how these little creatures can be so precious and adorable and sweet one minute, then little terrorists the next!

Or should I say terrierists! :P:P

Thanks folks for taking time to send some encouragement my way. I REALLY appreciate it!!!!!!!!

All creatures great and small, the Lord God, He made them all!

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