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Newbie here adopting a Cairn


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We are welcoming into our home a 3yr old Cairn,male. He was placed up for adoption because the family has a young baby that has breathing issues and the Drs. told them that it would be best not to have any pets inside their home. He is already neutered and has spent the last 3 months outside during the day and in the laundry area at nights. They have an older son and he has been the one mainly playing with the dog but he is getting a job so they feel the best thing they could do is find their guy a home where he can be part of a family.

I have done lots of reading on here and other sites as well but I thought I should join so that if I need guidence when our boy comes home I will know exactly who to turn to.

I do have a couple of questions to start with.

1. They said he was housebroke before they put him outside so much. Do I need to treat him just like a pup until he is used to the place?

2. Do they tend to be possive of toys or food? I know each dog has its own personality but is this a common issue?

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I think I would start out by assuming he may have some housetraining issues although at 3 years old it should be easy for him to learn where to do his business.

Maybe confine him to a room or two but where all family activity is...not somewhere off where he's alone. Watch for signals that he has to eliminate and then take him outside where you want him to go.

I would also get a crate for him. They are wonderful for times when you can't watch him, for at night and most will go into their crates on their own for quiet time.

They do all have different personalities and some may be a bit possessive of their food. You could ask his previous owners if they noticed this behavior but I would begin your relationship with him by not allowing him to growl or snap at you or any other family members.

There is a mountain of information on this site and I often do the "search" for help.

Good luck and keep us posted on how everything goes.

P.S. Cairns can become addictive so you might find yourself wanting another...and then another. :whistle:

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congratulations on your excellent decision. i agree with all kayharley's suggestions. get a biggish crate in case he has to spend prolonged time in there (i have one of those rigid airlines crates that folds down to about an inch high, cairn-proof and very easy to get out of the way when not needed). very few cairns are absolutely 100% house-broken, since it seems that they sometimes resort to a quick mark or piddle when they are worried about possession, territory, standing, or some of the other things they get themselves cranked up about. be cautious and patient and urge him to be on his best behavior, and he'll probably end up being as reliable as any other cairn (99.99% --and when my cairn has to act out he politely chooses linoleum or tile over carpetting).

you don't mention other dogs, so it looks like you don't have to worry about acceptance/status stuff. that's good, let's you concentrate on him. but do look for opportunities to let him socialize with other dogs under controlled circumstances. cairns are stubborn and independent, but they are also natural-born team players.

they will tend to be possessive, yes, unless you coax them away from such behavior. make him drop his toys before you toss them for him, make him sit and wait for his food if he is too grabby or wolfish when eating, make him sit politely and nibble gently when you give him a treat. aggression and possessiveness go together for him. you need to find a balance between letting him "own" his toys (some of which he might steal) and allowing him to act on aggressive or possessive instincts that are not desired (especially if they reinforce a tendency to be aggressive). never allow your cairn to intimidate you or even to just wear you down (they are supernaturally persistent). you will lose twice --you'll have a spoiled dog who always indulges his worst instincts, and a dog who doesn't respect you. these are mutually reinforcing, since if he doesn't respect you he will never trust you to solve problems and will try to take charge of everything himself. if you are firm, consistent, yet patient and gentle, your dog will give up trying to control you (at least all the time) and will trust you to take charge of scary situations. that will relieve him of both the need and the permission to crazy-out when he finds situations threatening, confusing or just annoying. these are absolutely incredible dogs, but they also need incredible handling. unless you already know everything about your three-year-old's training, assume that he will need some retraining along with is socialization in your household. if he learns that you are both consistent and fair, he will be comforted to know that he is in the care of a competent and partner.

anyway, you've been reading on here so you should be good to go --forewarned is forearmed!

congratulations again.

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I am glad we were selected to adopt him. Some rescue contacted the owner and told them that their dog was going to end up being part of a puppy mill or being used as a test animal in lab or worse a bait animal. I don't know what rescue it was but they had this poor lady scared to death. Not everyone is bad I hope that not all rescues use this tatic. The bad part is the dog is already neutered and I have offered references,and home visits to them to assure them that we are on the up and up.

I will post pictures tomorrow nite when we have him at home.

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a lot of adoption brokers (some of whom are rescue organizations) demand references. it's a good thing, though not if you have to come up with some "references" of your own. i know agencies who also do home visits and follow ups. they finally found something constructive for busybodies to do (in my town, they are all listers; we need a dog rescue project).

the fate of rejected animals is indeed a huge nightmare. your cairn and you are lucky to have found each other.

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She really paniced because I guess she had never thought of something so horrible. And while I know there are some nasty people out there, the picture that was painted in this families head was that no one could give their dog a good home unless it was adopted through a rescue where they screen everyone and if she didn't give the dog to them she was setting it up to die a horrible death. Maybe that wasn't the rescues intention but that is what happened. But we had a long talk and it all worked out and she felt better but she was totally freaked out for sure. I offered everything a rescue would've asked for and since we live about an hour from each other I offered pictures of my home and yard,heck I told her I would even go get a background check at the local sheriffs dept if she wanted me to because I didn't have anything to hide and wanted her to be happy for the dog.

This is such a wonderful site and I am learning alot I had done some reading on Cairns because we originally wanted to adopt a Scottie but I just love how everything is laid out here and so easy to follow. I am learning lots for sure.

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the agency left out one of the most horrific fates of rejected pets --getting turned into dog food for the dogs who are not rejected. they certainly shouldn't bully people who have prospective homes for their dogs into believing that a rescue group is the only way. but there are probably some people who don't really have such good ideas about where to put their dog, and should use a rescue agency. fortunately, the woman you mention had somebody very good in mind. i'm sure she found it upsetting to learn about the real tragedies that await unwanted dogs. it is extremely upsetting, and not something that most people have the occasion or the courage to think about.

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