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New Cairn Owner


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Hi everyone! My name is Hannah, I have my very first dog ever, a Cairn Terrier, Elouise. She's the sweetest thing in the whole wide world! I am a live-in nanny and my boss is helping train her, as she has had dogs her whole life (Big dogs, though). Anyway, I did not get her from a breeder. Bad idea, I know, but we *rescued* her from a pet store because I absolutely fell in love with her and couldn't resist!

Anyway, a few questions. She is 4 and a half months right now and LOVES being held! I can pick her up and even hold her on my lap and she stays! Is this a Cairn trait, or will she outgrow it? I hope not!!!!

Will her fur grow longer than it is now?

I have only had her two days but am slightly discouraged/scared to death when it comes to potty training! I have had cats prior to Elouise, but they come pretty much litter box trained! It just boggles my mind that I can train this sweet little thing to go outside, though I must admit I have had great success today! She has gone in the house about three times, and every time she went outside I praised her and she immediately ran to the door - like she knows she can come back in now!

Also, within an hour of getting her home I taught her to fetch - are Cairns normally this smart, or do I have a particularly smart one?

So many questions, sorry, but I think this is my last one...

The book I have says that Cairns generally like to go in the car. After Elouise was home for a few hours we tok a fifteen minute ride to the pet store, and then fifteen minutes back. When we got home she puked. Today we did about the same length of a ride. She did not puke, but she did lay down and try to snuggle up to me as much as possible while I was driving. Was she feeling car sick? Just the motion relax her so she got sleepy? Don't know?

I am planning to take her for a ride to Maine in a month of so on my vacation (i'm in NY) so I am hoping she doesn't get car sick! Though I am encouraged that she didn't puke today!

My boss, as I said, has had so many big dogs and told me she thinks you can only leash train a dog with a collar, though the lady at the pet store said for now a harness is better. Will I be able to leash train her on this or should I use the collar for that?

Answers to any of these questions would be great, and if anyone can reccomend any good books, all the better! Thanks a bunch!

Hannah and Elouise

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Congrats on your new addition and welcome to Cairn talk!

Savannah also likes to be held and lay in your lap and she has always been that way. I don't think that it is a "normal" Cairn trait but not unheard of.

Yes! Her fur will grow longer.

Cairns are very smart critters. I assure you that Eliose will surprise you everyday!

Savannah got car sick when she was a puppy and she outgrew it. Advice that we received from the vet was to put her in a plastic crate in the car. This keeps her from seeing the landscape go by which helps with the car sick. Also, don't feed her right before going in the car. I believe she was around 6 months when she outgrew it.

I would take your baby to the vet for a "new puppy" check up to make sure that your girl is healthy and to determine when she will need to start getting shots. All these questions would be good to ask your vet when you take her. Good luck!

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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Welcome, Hannah and Eloise!

For a first time dog owner, you're really ahead of the game compared to most people because you are doing your homework and research.

Regarding the car sickness; my pups have all gotten car sick when they were puppies. They eventually outgrew it and love to go for rides in the car. I'm sure that if you continue to take Eloise on short trips she will get used to the motion and learn to love it too.

I've always used harnesses on my Cairns simply because they can slip out of their collars too easily while on walks. I've had it happen before, and so I switched to the harness. Plus, they're like a "handle" when you need to get them out of harm's way quickly.

I also recommend keeping her leash on her while in the house. Tie her to yourself, and don't give her free reign. It makes housetraining so much easier.

Are you crate training? I highly recommend it. It's not cruel, it's a safe place for them. I leave my crates open all day and my dogs like to go in there to nap. I put soft bedding and a favorite stuffed animal for them, and then cover tree sides with a beach towel. They like the darkness because it feels like a den to them.


I'm sure others are going to have really great suggestions, too. Keep posting and be sure to post some pictures of her for us. We love seeing new pups!

Good luck!


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Congratulations on your first furball ever! You made a great choice - I'm a total terrier lover - and I just just got my first Cairns a few months ago too... puppies in general are a challenge (especially for me as I've never done puppies before) but they're growing and learning so fast and turning into some really sweet dogs. Cairns are super smart, you're going to find your little one learns quickly. And they are great people dogs - super friendly and get along with other dogs beautifully. As far as leash training well I'm doing the regular leash - but now that the girls are a little bigger and outgrowing their baby leashes I'm going to switch to a harness and I've heard it's easier on them physically.

Potty training - well it sure goes easier if you're home a lot - so you'll probably be able to do it sooner than I am since I'm away from mine for about 8 hours a day. I have two and opted for the puppy pen rather than crating. It's working well for us since we have two, although I've heard good things about crating as well.

I'd strongly recommend staying away from the puppy pads - more chewing than good. If you crate then she'll be less likely to go, mine being in a puppy pen are currently going on a puppy plastic pad holder that we got from Petco. And it's easy clean up just pick up the tray and clean. But it wouldn't fit in a crate. Sounds like since you are there a lot with her, you may not need a lot of potty training aids.

Car sickness - I'm not sure about - mine have always ridden together in a port-a-crate and travel super well - we take them a lot of places to socialize them - home depot, walmart - we take them everywhere and they are so silent no one ever notices them really. Just put their port-a-crate in a cart and off we go.

There are some really great dogs that come from pet stores, so not to worry too much. But I would advise on a check up at the vet if you haven't already - it's amazing what these little guys can catch sometimes. And even mine coming from a breader had a teenie parasite. Good luck and you'll love this forum - it's been a lifesaver for me - everyone in here is so knowledgable and you can ask just about anything and get some really great tips.

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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Hey! Thanks for the advice and encouragement! she is using a crate, and although it isn't cruel, the way I'm doing it seems cruel :( she pooped all over everything the first to times I puter her in so the past two nights I haven't put anythingin with her except the water bowl. :( but last night she didn't go to the bathroom at all in it!!!!!! yaaaaaaay! This morning she looked at me and ran to the door, I let her out and she peed!!!! I'm so excited! she is also going to the vet tomorrow and I am very worried because since the first night she's been here she's had a cough that only appears at night and early in the morning. My boss thinks it could be kennel cough, but then she doesn't do it during the day. Does this sound ike anything fatal or had to cure? i hope not! :( Elouise laid in my bed with me from 8-10 this morning after she went to the bathroom outside (I have late hours as a nanny ) hopefully that will motivate her to potty train even sooner if she sees she gets a nice comfy bed when she goes outside!

Anyway, thanks for the advice everyone!

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It's good that you have a vet appointment tomorrow. I wouldn't worry about it being too serious if the cough comes and goes but it could be the beginning of kennel cough or should could have a lung infection/pnemonia starting. But nothing that probably an antibiotic couldn't take care of. If her eyes and nose are clear and clean (no goop or anything) she probably doesn't have a cold so it could just be kennel cough. If she came from a pet store they may have not given a bordella shot or dewormed. I'm not sure what they all do at the petstores and don't do. But it sounds minor so don't worry too much just yet. It sure sounds like she's found a great home and lots of love :)

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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Elouise went to the doctor today and she has Kennel Cough, which she now has antibiotics for...the vet said that it is not usually contagious with people...? has anyone ever heard this? I'm recovering from mono and still suseptable to things...I should go look it up. The Vet told me the best way is to keep her in the crate except for taking her out to go to the bathroom, etc. So I am going to go buy a smaller crate today and then we're going to buckle right down and do some serious house training!!!

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Yes Kennel Cough isn't contagious for humans - so you're going to be fine there. There's not a whole bunch of things that can be transmitted back and forth. You might get better results w/training when she feels better - one of mine had a UTI (urinary tract infection) and she could focus to save her sole - she has about 1 week fo antibiotics left and you can tell she's almost ready to focus again. Glad to hear your little one will be just fine :)

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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Welcome to Cairn Talk! You have gotten some great advice and I really don't have any to give. It sounds like you are all prepared to raise your new Cairn!

Yes, Cairns are very smart dogs. When mine were in puppy class, the other humans would get frustrated that my two would learn the lesson way before the other puppies (now, this didn't mean they would do the exact same thing when they got home! LOL!).

I have two Cairns and one has hair that grows every hour, or at least it seems that way! My other one has hair that takes a loooooooooooooong time to grow!

My two used harnesses when they were puppies and they both use one when we go for walks.

Welcome, again!

ps. I love Elouise's name!

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