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pkcrossley
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i've been struck by how many anquished posts there are on this forum about serious problems --aggression, incessant noise, imperfect potty habits. i have been convinced for a long time that cairns are a particularly troublesome breed. to test out my impression, i visited a labrador retriever site. what were their problems? bad hips, breathing problems, obesity. one woman started a thread about her puppy acting "aggressive" and the next day she came back and said "maybe aggression wasn't quite the right word..." meaning maybe her puppy really wasn't all that aggressive!

most people these days are dealing with breeds like shepherds and gun dogs (retrievers, spaniels and so on) who were bred to never kill (even if they were supposed to help their people do the killing). they were bred to sit quietly, hang on their human's every word, and not kill anything. the bigger the dog, the more likely it WASN'T bred to kill. terriers, on the other hand, were bred to do it all on their own without human guidance, from tracking, trapping, extracting (usually by furious digging) and killing! if they didn't get killed themselves in the process they could go home and have a nice dinner and pat on the head.

these other people are raising and living with dogs bred to be guards, herders, or retrievers of animals killed by their human bosses. a lot of these dogs are doing things in modern life that are not fundamentally different from what they did in the age of working dogs. we are living with these natural killers and independent operators, trying to get them to live peacefully and happily as companions who don't kill anything except the stray mouse or rat.

what's wrong with us?

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LOl, there's nothing "wrong" with us. We are BRAVE. :thumbsup: No mammby pammby pups for us hardy folk. I firmly believe that "true terrier folk" are a more independant people thus want pets that are more independant.

I have a german shorthaired pointer and a cairn. What a mix. Mr. Obedience and Mr. Whatever Lady. Piper is almost 7 months old now and is a true terrier, BUT that is why I got him. When i feel the need to be bossy and actually have a dog obey me, I go to the GSP. When I need to be reminded that I am merely only a human, I try to get the terrier to do something. NOT. Only if he wants to. However, I knew what I was getting into with Piper, no blinders on here, and that sweet little face never fooled me even for a second. A devil resides in the heart of almost all terriers :twisted: and the little angel only visits once in a while :innocent:, just to remind us why we love them sooo much.

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We had a pit bull terrier (I know, I know) for 13 years. He was a terrific dog, had great character and did something to make us laugh every day. No, he didn't like other dogs - he was always on a leash outside, and we were always cognizant of any animals around us. When we lost him, we decided to go with a calmer breed, one that we didn't have to worry so much about, and we ended up with a Sheltie. What a transition! I never warmed up to him because in my opinion, he had no spunk. He did everything we told him to do, when we told him to do it! He was calm, shy, obedient and, well, boring. When we lost him, my husband and I both agreed to return to the terrier breed....and along came Ruby. She is both wonderful and frustrating. The word "come" just doesn't seem to penetrate those perky little ears. She loves everyone and assumes that everyone outside is out walking just to meet her. What a wonderful little breed that embodies the characteristics of a terrier - and yes, she makes us laugh every day.

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Hi:

No nothing wrong with us, but I do want to add something. I was raised with German Shepherds and we were involved heavy into obedience and tracking. My Mom was involved in German shepherd rescue too... They are a lovely breed, but they do have their fair share of 'behavior' issues too. I think that with larger breeds you see less on chat boards about the issues because you pretty much go straight into obedience classes and training.... An 80 pound dog acting out, you really don't want to wait around for advice....small dogs that you can pickup and put in a crate if they act up.

I also seem to recall breeder contacts that mandated obedience training.

Now I must say that I do love my little 'Crack Dogs'. They have so much personality even if they are super stubborn.

Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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Your post really struck home with me because lately I've been asking myself what I was thinking in choosing a cairn! Like most cairns Brady has a mind of his own. Lately, the challenge has been, believe it or not walking! I live in a condominum complex so Brady and I take quite a few walks a day. He has a definite route that he wants to take and will plant his feet and refuse to move unless we go in the direction of his choosing. I've tried treats and coaxing and anything I can think of to no avail. Sometimes he does what I call "the stand." He will literally stand in one place, feet planted, waiting for someone to come out and pet him. I think he knows that sooner or later someone is going to emerge to fawn over him and he's perfectly willing to wait (unless a bird, squirrel, leaf, cat or other dog) walks by.

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Well.... I had no idea what I was getting into because it was my son who out of the blue decided to get a Cairn, however, I will thank him forever for doing it, he sure brightens my day everyday. :D

Brady's mom I though I was the only one with a Cairn who has his own walking route mapped out!!! Guess nto!!

my goes the same way every morning and if I dare try to go a different route he jsut plants himself an d gives me the "what's your Problem" look :lol:

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You pose an interesting question. Our Cassie by the way hasn't chewed up anything since the steel wool incident. Perhaps she is maturing (at 1 1/2 years old!) I think Cairns take longer to grow up than the larger breeds. With a puppyhood filled with pitfalls and lasting twice as long who doesn't need support? What kind of person am I that I want this breed of dog? Well I was looking for toughness when I started out, something that would survive (I lived in Alaska) and the landlord would allow (under 15 pounds). Now I have lost those reasons but am hooked on the breed. I like how smart they are. I admit that it is a challenge. When I work at the school or with my girl scouts I don't feel drawn to the kids that are the easiest or most compliant but enjoy the bright ones that take effort to rein in. So there it is. It helps that I have a high tolerance for chaos.

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I read a few months back in an article about the types of people that actually gravitate towards terriers. I almost was affraid to read the article at first feeling tremendous dread like the article was going to tell me I had unfavorable characteristics and therefore chose a Cairn... but quite to the contrary it was was very complimentary to those who owned terriers. It described us as self-assured, confident and independent thinkers, not reliant on other's comments or attitudes towards our choices in life. Which I think is closely accurate. It takes a special kind of person to understand a terrier, and I feel quite lucky actually that I gravitate towads the breed. I especially liked this article becauase of it's heading quote:

Anybody who says animals have no free will never knew a Cairn Terrier

http://www.operationdoubles.com/gigi/index...irn_terrier.htm

The article really is quite true - and although I admit I'm disturbed when the girls bring me a little baby bird kill, it's sad, but I understand it's their nature - they honestly think they're doing a wonderful thing. I'll probably always own a Cairn or a Westie because their feisty spirit touches my soul.

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I had to reply to the feet planted-Kirby's gotten better about this, but if she wanted to go a certain way she would lay down until we headed back toward her, and then try to dart off in the desired direction.

There's probably a lot wrong with us Cairn-lovers-we're stubborn, fiesty, adventurous, curious, loveable, and most likely act before we think. But we're all so darn cute!

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great comments. i feel compassion for all dogs, since they are more or less at the mercy of people and very few are lucky enough to find a loving home. but i feel more compassion for cairns than for others. i think their challenges in adjusting to modern domestic life are huge, and it is very touching to see a cairn --and all but the most spoiled are like this a few times a day-- trying his best to be a good family member just because the love means a lot to him and he wants to do his part. their intelligence is also very enchanting, because it is so finely tuned to listening to what people mean and not what they say. all sorts of people who enter my house --friends, family, workmen, delivery people, even the police on one occasion-- start talking to my dog. they just forget i am there and start talking to my dog. until they catch themselves they go with their instinct that the dog understands (and is interested, i guess) in everything they say. hard to imagine they have the same instincts with a lab or a bichon.

we've all been in situations where nothing we do is right, despite the best intentions. cairns are in that situation every day of their lives. most of them manage to win through anyway, and the older ones (who are quite different from the younger ones) seem aware that they have to do it in partnership with people. i think the strongest bond between people and cairns is that of all modern dogs cairns are still the most like hunters. we are descended from hunters too, and our instinct are often like those of our ruthless, energetic, warlike ancestors. we are struggling with the same things cairns are, how to overcome our worst instincts and nurture our better ones.

there's definitely a mystery. cairns are the source of scotties, westies, skyes, and dandy dinmonts, but they have something i don't think they've quite passed on to their descendants (except the westies, who are hardly different). they have a soulfulness, and when they are good it is through the sheer will to be good. very, very touching.

Edited by pkcrossley
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I've wondered the same thing, and I've also wondered about the sheer "winsomeness" of these little dogs. When my daughter bought Ellie nearly four years ago, my husband emphatically did NOT want another pet (we already had two cats and a Scottie). And Heather decided that Ellie was far too much trouble, so when she moved out, Ellie stayed with us! But over the years, Ellie has won Corey (my husband) over, so that she sleeps on our bed and gets special treats from Daddy.

As I have said before, we are "accidental" Cairn owners: Ellie was sold to my daughter as a Scottie mix. I don't know that Heather would have bought her had she known what she was getting into (or perhaps I should say, what she was getting us into, but I'm sure glad she did. If I ever buy another dog, it will probably be another Cairn (although another Scottie would be great too).

Terriers, especially Cairns, are great companions, as long as you don't mind being put in your place by a dog every so often!

Laurie

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The first little Cairn I ever met was a rescue named Moe who was 8 years old. When I walked in the room I must have seemed rude because I only had eyes for her and I would have been happy to spend the rest of the evening sitting and talking (and scratching) with her. She had the sweetest little face and her eyes were full of 'piss and vinegar'. She had such personality - she was a presence. Moe was the reason I got my Cairn rescue Margie and then I really did fall in love. We always had dogs but 'I' never had one of my own. Margie owns my heart and you are so right about their soulfulness. They are 'deep' little dogs with an agenda and a life all their own. I am happy that Margie loves me and I feel it is an accomplishment on my part. She also has her way of going for walks and she resists changing her mind. Many times I wonder why she needs to follow me when it makes her so happy to go her way. I appreciate her independence and her willingness to insist sometimes on doing it her way. I admire that. Sometimes she learns faster than I can teach her. Her winsomeness makes up 100 fold for her stubborness!

Margie's Mom

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Love the descriptions of Cairns putting on the brakes where THEY want to go. Happens with MY Cairn all the time :lol:

pam

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sheila and Misty

no ..where not crazy-just more patient and understanding of the nature of terriers, true animal lovers ! plus if we dont permantly take them who will? nope..I say we kindof enjoy the challenge of testing our own abilities to cope with patience-by taking a cairn we actually learn to discipline our own behaviors which in turn gives us more control and patience over our everyday tizzy fits,

were stonger because of our self discipine and feel great accomplishments when we finally get our mighty stubborn cairns to bow down with respect to us. okay deep breath ...nothing like having that comunication with a dog that actually tries to comprehend every word emotion an movement you make. a truly dedicated and intelligent breed. :P I'm done now. whew! (bet you cant tell she drove me crazy last night)

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No I don't think I'm crazy (a few people might disagree though :D). I used to have border collies and they were so easy to train, just wanted to please and were fine running in the park without a lead cos I knew they would come when I called. So... why did I choose a breed that is almost the complete opposite?? I know a few people who think it was silly to want a dog that is so strong willed and stubborn, one that would run off in pursuit of something in a flash.

I wanted a small dog that had spunk, I didn't want a little timid, lap dog and cairns just seem to fit the bill exactly. I admit sometimes they frustrate me because they just want to do what they want to do, like lying down on a walk just because I don't know the right direction to go <_< and not being able to let them run free in the park (unfenced) like the other dogs (and having to put up with other dog owners comments about it).

Roxy and Susie are my first cairns and I have been hooked for life, and even though I like most breeds I can't see me owning anything but a cairn - I just love their personalities (quirks and all) and if that makes me crazy well to bad.

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Even though i moan now and again about the little guy's behaviour there is just no beating a cairns personality and you can't be mad a them for long, this being my first terrier, our family used to own an old english sheepdog then a weimeraner ( i didnt know then very well still young) and our last dog was a german short haired pointer/weimeraner and he was an amazing dog, when he died we left it a few years before we got another and because all of the other dogs were big breeds we decided on a smaller breed and we came across the cairn and this being our first terrier we didnt know what to expect but i can now say im in love with the breed and terriers in general i love reading about scotties, dandies, cairns of course. What makes it so special is even tho we are in Scotland i've never seen many about so when we are out he gets a lot of attention especially older folk who says the used to own a cairn etc. and just yesterday a man was saying what a handsome boy he was and it does make you proud. I think once you've took on owning a terrier you could take on anything but why would you want anything other than a terrier. :thumbsup:

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Very interesting topic - because this question has crossed my mind - especially when my neighbors and people not knowledgable about the breed look at Bruski like he's crazy!

And I definately agree about Cairns having trouble adjusting to modern life. I can sometimes see the conflict within Bruski: instinct vs. training. The thing that always gets me is when I look into his eyes, I can see that he really does want to please me and loves me. We are all they have in this world! So whenever I question myself or the breed, that's what I remember. Bruski tries so hard to be "good" and a part of the family and he never stops trying....

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oh i know about neighbours looking at Harvey as if he's crazy, I dont think many people like him about just because of his barking and there is one who pulls his dog away even though harvey wouldn't touch him and then on the other hand there are others who adore him.

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to all of you:

inspired by this thread:

ST MUNGO's SERMON TO THE HIGHLANDERS:

The lord has given this dog to the farmers for help in their dominion of the half-wild west of our country. With all the Lord's gifts comes a message, and with this four-legged gift has come the following from the mind of our loving Lord:

The dog shall teach you the following by his innate endowments:

- be vigilant, persistent, and self-neglecting in the pursuit of your mission, for it is your nature.

- be a team-player, for it is your nature.

- be loyal and generous, for it is your nature.

- be protective of all you love, for it is your nature.

- in a crisis, do what you know is right, even if the voice of the multitude be raised against you; for it is your nature.

You and your dog shall work together to defeat the inherent sinfulness with which you are mutually afflicted:

- do not attack just because you feel like it.

- do not sass just because you feel like it.

- do not grab just because you feel like it.

- do not make noise just because you feel like it.

- do not pull down curtains and tablecloths just because you feel like it.

- do not despise those who are weaker, slower and dumber than you.

- remember that it improves the soul to occasionally bow to the will of those greater than yourself.

You and your dog will struggle, in this world and the next, together to deal with the mysteries known only to our God:

- how to keep strangers from using the sidewalks, streets and highways.

- how to make perfect plans proceed perfectly.

- how to protect all loved ones from harm and death.

Amen.

http://www.tonsethhouse.net/St_Mungo_terriers.html

post-2750-1183042626_thumb.jpg

Edited by pkcrossley
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Oh my gosh, how true all these things are. I can see Ruby in every one of these comments. The planting of the feet when my route takes us left and she wants to go right. The fuss everyone makes when she's around, whether it be neighbours, service people, at the vet. Her believing that the person walking on the street is surely there for the sole purpose of greeting her. And how many times have you wondered if you should get your Cairn's hearing checked only to shake their treat jar and have them come running? :innocent: Gotta love them.

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