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Introducing Lynn and Riley


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Hi. My name is Lynn and I have an appox. 7month old female cairn named Riley. I sort of got her in a weak moment ( I am sure there are more of you out there, she was a poor homeless pup) but love her dearly from the day she entered my life. She shares her home with my husband Neal and our 2 "big" dog mixes Eli (shep/retriver) and Raven(lab/rottweiler). Both me and my husband are dog lovers but Riley is beyond both are dog training skills. She won't listen half the time. She's like bipolar. A sweet baby one minute a little devil the next. I guess our biggest issue is housesoiling. She just doesn't get it. I need suggestions and fast. She goes outside half the time but then will take a poop in certain parts of the house. Its so frustrating. She even poops in her crate. I figure it must be too big??? Its a small crate. Also, any good books that anyone can recommend please do so. I love this little dog but she definately is in world of her own.

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Welcome, Lynn and Riley

I am a new Cairn owner myself and I am getting used to being a Cairn mom. Our 13 week old Cricket is alot different than our 3 1/2 year old Lab for sure but I was prepared for things to be different.

As far as advice, their are lots of seasoned forum members who will give you some great advice...

My only input is that 7 months is still too young for a Cairn to be expected to be fully housebroken...it takes them a long time to "get it"

I would put her on a very strict routine using the crate with frequent trips outside to potty. I am lucky that I am home alot to do this..if she doesn't go outside, my Cricket is put back in her crate and then a try again later...as soon as she has gone outside, I praise and reward with a yummy treat. She then gets some free play time in the house and then back in her crate and we start the whole process over again. Keep her crate clear and clean and be sure to clean up any soiling in her crate and in the house with a neutralizer. Unless you do this, she will continue to soil inside.

Sounds like Riley didn't maybe have the best start in life which may be contributing to her house and crate soiling...if she were left in a crate for long periods of time and she got used to messing her crate, she just doesn't know any better...it is possible to correct this habit...with structure and cleanliness.

I would get a hold of some baby gates too to limit her access until she starts to "get it"...Cricket has limited access to the kitchen and living room and under our supervision.

As far as Riley being an angel one minute and the devil the next, it sounds like a typical Cairn...I am getting used to it myself..I handle this by being very firm, quiet and confident with Cricket. I find that scolding and harsh tones only insight more back talk. She is given lots of exercise and food and stimulation but all on my terms. I think it sorta like the NILIF program.."nothing in life is free" It establishes a connection with your dog where she sees you as the giver of all the good things in life, thereby she learns how to behave in order to get access to those good things...nothing harsh...

Have you enrolled Riley in a training class? It is a great way to bond and gain trust...and have fun too...even if you are an experienced dog owner it helps alot.

I hope you can work through the rough spots...sounds like you really like her...I know you will get lots of good tips here to help you out!

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it sounds as if she has too much freedom to roam. An Xpen w/a crate and a piece of cheap lenolium under it works out great. Once you take her from the pen/crate, outside is the first stop. And like said above, if she doesnt go then, then it's back in the crate. We had a tough time with Ellie, and we still have accidents cause she'll NEVER tell me when she needs to go out, so it's up to me to police it. They are worth it though, great dogs.

Terry, mom of Dori and Ellie Mae


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I can't add too much to the replies other than patience, consistancy and when she's loose, watch her like a hawk.

I don't know what your daily schedule is but if she's in her crate more than a couple hours she may not be able to hold her bowel/bladder. They need frequent trips outside with big praise when they do good.

If you find an accident in the house, scolding after the fact won't work because they have no clue why you're upset. Catch her in the act with a stern NO and then it's outside.

When Elliott was small I put an ex-pen outside in the area where I wanted him go. He had no distractions, only the odor of previous "business". It helped...

Keep us posted on your progress. There will be progress and you'll be so glad you hung in there.


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