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Should I take this adopt this puppy?


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Hi there! This is my first post and i am really looking for some help. My brother just left his wife. With him can the puppy. His wife wants nothing to do with the puppy. She loves it, but it reminds her of my brother. the dog is a cairn terrier. She is 8 mon. old and very sweet. My brother hates to give her up, but he is living with our parents right now and they want the dog out. If we take the dog I would let my brother take it for walks and stuff like that, but I told him he could not take it back.

So here is what we have to think about. We have 5 kids. The oldest are 11y and 9y, so they could walk the dog. We would have to put in an invisible fence. We are worried about the digging. We just got a leather couch and well do not want it ripped. We would want to train it very well and would need the best books or school suggestions.

Any other advice about this breed of dog is welcome.



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Wow, what a trip. Well, I'm sure most of the posters on this board will tell you that Cairns are natural diggers...that doesn't just mean outside...it also might mean a leather couch! They are fantastic dogs and I'm sure if you keep an eye on her, she would be fine...but they are QUICK! :) As far as the invisible fence goes, I personally haven't tried this, but through this board have found that Cairns will just run straight through the fence when they are chasing prey!!! Also, you should never leave her outside by herself...they think they are really big dogs and, atleast Ellie, seems to want to defend our home from any passing dog! (and this is just looking out the window). Anyways, she is great with my 3 year old daughter and all the daycare kids I watch also. I am a little loopy right now so I hope this makes sense!!! lol. Too many toddlers and one crazy cairn :)



We're the Cairns of America

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I'm sorry to hear about the break up of a family marriage. Usually things get quite difficult and often messy during this difficult time - emotions run high. I work for a Judge and we handle mostly dissoultion of marriage cases so I'm quite familar with who gets the dog, the house etc...

As far as getting attached you might want to be cautious unless there is some sort of records that show a transfer of ownership - or your brother or his wife could request the dog back - which would be hard for everyone involved who could get attached to this little puppy.

As far as Cairn terriers go... any puppy I think is a tremendous amount of work and responsibility. Things WILL get destroyed and that's a guarantee - it just depends on what it is - it could be the leather couch - it could be your carpet... it could be the drywall on your walls (like mine), or something simple like the kid's favorite toy ripped to shreds... puppies will be puppies. As far as a Cairn's disposition - they are high energy - sometimes hard to train, independent thinkers, but at the same time I think they are a great with children, very lovable. Some Cairns are diggers (earthdogs by nature) - some don't dig. I'm not sure about an invisible fence - I know we have a 6 foot fence that also has a 4ft chicken wire around that because they are escape artists - and highly smart.... but on a good note, it's good that the dog has your home to go to. I'd hate to see it abandoned in light of circumstances... :)

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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It is good that you are getting information before taking action. Cairns and terriers in general make wonderful pets, but certainly do have their personality quirks. One of the best resources for information (besides this forum!)

as you consider this choice is the Colonel Potter website. My favorite cairn information source is a short essay they have called "Toto: The other side of the story". It can be found here: http://www.cairnrescue.com/general/index.htm#toto . While not all of these traits are present in every single dog, and some aren't well-described by this essay at all, most people on this forum could go down that list and agree with at least 50% of it. They are a lot of fun, smart, highly trainable (if they feel like it) and many are good with children.

I had a westie who knew she was allowed on an old dingy couch but not on the fancy living room one. We're working on teaching our cairn the same, but he is still young. They'll push the limits and get into whatever is forbidden when you aren't looking, just like a 3 year old kid! As soon as I walk into the room when my cairn is on the forbidden couch he crouches himself down and looks for an escape route. He knows he *shouldn't* but tries to get away with it anyway!

Regarding the electric fence, I read somewhere (I think on col potter) that a cairn will take the hit from the fence to get out to catch prey but then WON'T take it to come back home. My backyard is not securely fenced, so we either walk the dog out or put him on a tie-out for short periods of time (Not long times though!). Sometimes he just likes to sun himself on the deck, but even then his leash is attached to a piece of furniture. Good luck!

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Wishing to ease the burden on your brother and/or your parents is not an appropriate reason for bringing a puppy into your home. If you were not already considering getting a pup (yes, 8 months is still a pup!) and especially if a Cairn was not on your short list I would definitely not take this pup. The pup is a living, feeling being and needs to be in a place where he is truly wanted---and sometimes forgiven! The choice of which pup, if any, to bring home is highly personal. Only if this is the right pup at the right time should you take him in.

The pup could very possibly chew the furniture, dig in the yard or scratch the younger kids; he's still a youngster, it's his learning time, it's what happens. Now is the time to consider how you will react when your youngest child runs to you pointing to the scratches inflicted by a normal playful pup. Now is the time to consider how you will react when you come home and find a hole chewed in the arm of the new sofa---probably won't happen but very easily could.

Before you take this pup be certain that you and everybody else in the house really, really want him.

And build a real fence.


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I am sorry, this must be a difficult time as Goforette said very well. For myself: been there, done that, and I ended up with "custody" of the dogs. :)

I can only echo what everyone has said: Cairns are lively, mischievous, and ultimately pretty wonderful. But during puppyhood, the emphasis is on lively, mischievous, not the easiest dogs to train and sometimes pretty destructive! Have you considered looking for a rescue group in your area that could adopt out this little dog? I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but based on everything I read on Cairn puppies in this forum, it takes an unusual amount of commitment plus time to "raise" a Cairn. My own Cairn was a 4-year-old rescue when I adopted him.


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Everyone talks about all the digging - my little one does not dig - in or out and he is 15 mons. I had no problems at all potty training (I did crate) and the chewing, he did do that, but very little - bitter apple and lots and lots of toys! I work 7 - 5 I do come home at lunch time. He does really good for me - I must have been blessed with a good puppy. One thing I can say, he is a very spunky little guy and he does think he is a big dog. I wouldn't give him up for the world.

Keep the puppy, you will be glad you did!

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Well, my advice to you about Cairns or any breed of dog is that much research on them should be done before adding them to your home. Terriers tend to be pretty intense little dogs, meaning they have high prey drive and will chase and sometimes kill small animals especially rodents. I have done terrier breed rescue for years and require all adopters to have securely fenced yards, terriers aren't generally the best at staying put. They dig, can be barkers, and they tend not to be lay abouts. Most terriers tend not to be the best choice for households with small childeren as they are not particularly tolerant of many of the things little kids do (little kids being 5 & under)

But for most of us on this board there is no more wonderful breed than the Cairn terrier. They are incredible dogs, in personality and loyalty. They are wonderful and devoted companions. Mine are all little clowns in their own way. Terrier owners rarely have mice problems ;). They are not as "hyper" as many of the other terriers in general, and they are fairly healthy as purebreds go.

I will list some things you will want to think about before adding a Cairn to your home.

1. Does your entire family really want a dog?

2. Can you commit financially to regular grooming needs for a Cairn?

3. Do you have a secure yard to keep him safe?

Some good Cairn resourse sites are:

The Cairn terrier Club of America

Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network

Cairn Rescue USA



The Cairn Terrier by-Christine Carter

First thing, research research research to see if this is the breed for you at this time. If you determine not to keep this dog, then I would suggest contacting a Cairn terrier rescue and surrendering him to one. This would be the best option if you decide not to keep this dog. I have no doubt that Cairns are a wonderful blessing for those who have them, just make sure that you would be happy with this type of dog. Best wishes to your family and the little Cairn! :blush::D

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