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NOW we're getting our Cairn


Lili
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Hola!! Some of you may remember me (maybe?). Exactly one year ago I joined this forum and posted a message asking for advise, because we were about to get a Carin puppy and I was also about to give birth to my second child. It took some effort from some of you and lots of very kind and polite comments saying, in a very kind and polite way, that I was nuts, to convince me to postpone the project. I'm glad you helped me out with that; my baby is lovely and extremely good, but it would have been indeed too much to handle a newborn and a puppy.

Well, my baby boy is almost 8 months now, already crawling and eager to walk (I'm sure he'll make it before he hits 1), and my daughter is 3 1/2 and very excited about having a dog like her cousins (they have a Scotty and she's had the chance to interact with the dog, and definitely wants one!). And since my husband is attending the same cycling race he attended last year when he was planning to pick up the puppy on his way back, we'll, we decided to hit play again and get our Cairn.

We're getting a male. I used to have an un-altered female poodle mini-toy. 1) I miss that affectionate little thing, and I understand males are a bit less independent and a little more cuddling. 2) I don't miss the hormones. Male or female, I'd have the little thing neturered/spayed anyways, but this time I want to give the male a try. The "marking even when neutered at a young age" comments I've read around here don't make me very happy; I'm sure that's something that would make me think twice about my decision. So I'd like to learn a bit more about all of you, male owners, and whoever does have the experience with both, males and females, about this marking issue and about the real pros and cons of males and females. One question: are males usually bigger in size, or are females?

Also, and if it's not too much to ask, what would you suggest be the training program, if we're getting the puppy at around 3 months of age? I mean, what should I focus on first? Housebreaking (no peeing inside, can someone explain the bell method I've read in some posts, etc.), crate training, leash training, no-nipping training, no-barking training, no getting in the baby's room training... all at once, or does one come before the others? (I hope this is not a silly question. I just think it is too much to address all at once, and right upon arrival, so I'm guessing one can "schedule" this stuff a bit).

And, last, but not least: are Cairns capable of learning to pee and poop in a sand box? We have no garden, but we have a small patio in the back, and we live in a dead-end street with a small park at the very back. I don't want to have to take the dog to the park three or four times a day, so I was hoping he could learn to go in the back patio. But my experience with my poodle is that newspapers are messy anyways; specially if it rains! So I was thinking of the sandbox (like the ones cats use) as an alternative. Or will the Cairn just dive in to dig like crazy and use it as a toy? Anyone has tried this?

Long post and many questions. Sorry. I hope some of you can help me out with your opinions.

Thanks in advance and have a great weekend!

Lili

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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my opinion: cairns do best when all the rules are established at once and do not vary. your cairn should think of your rules (and your behavior) as immovable physical objects. let him find his own way among these objects and he will probably be perfectly happy (and after about the age of two, a good boy). if you are inconsistent on anything, he will think it is worth trying to get around you on everything. consistency, even when you are harrassed, hungry, tired or depressed, is hugely difficult, but it absolutely essential with a cairn puppy. once he is two or three you can relax a little bit.

i haven't heard of cairns agreeing to use a litter box, and i can't imagine it. if you restrict your cairn with baby gates (not by closing doors, unless you want to replace them every year), he will make do with what he has in an emergency. my dog learned (on his own, i guess) that i especially did not want him to mess with the carpeting. he very politely chooses tile or linoleum when in distress, even though he has the run of the whole house. but the best approach is to let him out into a fenced enclosure (even if it is a patio, you can hose that down, after all) very frequently, especially when he is a puppy and if you are using something like crate training. a cairn is not a dog you can let out the door into an unenclosed space and expect to let him back in after a quarter or half an hour. he won't be there, and he may be out in the traffic, picking a fight with another dog, or on his way to some laboratory. put something, even if only a standing pen (the kind you can fold up and take places with you) on the patio and keep him inside there. the pen must be HIGH --at least four feet. cairn puppies can levitate.

you have been wise to wait, but you are still going to have a lot on your hands with two mobile infants and a cairn puppy. it can be done, if you are up for it! establish your puppy's space and his rules, and stick to it. you will probably find him getting with the program earlier than you expect.

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I recently read elsewhere an account from an old-time breeder who had switched from paper-training to these litter boxes for dogs. She spoke rather convincingly! I have used the pellets to line the bottom of a 'muck bucket' and can report that the pellets swell up if rained on :) I haven't used them to potty train a dog though. I have no doubt that a puppy would at least go through a phase of treating it like a Big Dig sandbox. Puppies dig (and nibble) on EVERYTHING.

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Size and marking-I have a female who is not quite 19 pounds, and marks outside. In my experience, it doesn't matter what sex the dog is, if it's going to mark, it's going to mark. However, also in my experience, that cairns tend to keep potty outside once they learn to go outside consistently. Your biggest worry with a pup is to get it to realize what outside is for. As for size, Cairns tend to be between 13 and 22 pounds, and it depends more on the breed line than anything else.

Regarding a sandbox-if you're consistent, I would imagine that you can train your dog that is the place to go. You'll also want to make sure that he'll go on other surfaces, or you may have a problem when you're out for a walk, and he's waiting for his sandbox.

And, to echo what others have said-train all the rules at once. Consistency is key. And baby gates are the best! There is nothing cruel about keeping a young pup confined to an area until it has some manners. Nipping and potty will most likely be your biggest worry.

Make a schedule for your dog-have planned meal times, and walks, and quiet times, and play times and crate times. I found that the sooner I got my puppy on a schedule, the more well-behaved she was because she had an expectation of what came next.

Good luck! They are fun little dogs.

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Our 4yr. old male has never been one to mark indoors, he restricts himself to marking on our walks and when he is in the backyard. I agree with pkcrossley that a large x-pen on the patio would be a good option for out door potty. Line it with several thicknesses of newspaper to make for easy clean-up. If you take him out often (every couple of hours), and give him lots of praise and a treat when he does what he is supposed to, he should soon get the idea that that is his place to go. Crates are the best training device ever! It gives you the option of not constantly having to watch your little one, plus it is his own space where he can go to escape those little 2-legged companions. Normally, he will not soil his crate because it is his sleeping place. At 3 months, he should be able to go all night without having to go potty, if you make sure he does so outdoors before he is put to bed. The children will have to learn new rules too, for the safety of the puppy and themselves. Never leave them alone with the dog, and teach them that they must be gentle with him. Teach your puppy that any kind of biting, even the playful kind of nipping is not allowed. Also make sure that the dog is able to get away from the children for some quiet time (crate) every day. If both the children and the puppy learn the rules, you will have a wonderful pet that you can all enjoy for many years. Lots of Luck!

Jim, Connie, Bailey & Sophie

FLOWERCHILD-1-1.jpgBAILEYSOPHIE4-22-07002-1.jpg

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On litter box training:

My cousin lives on a houseboat in the summers with her 2 year old Border Terrier. He has been litterbox trained since puppyhood. Not a cairn, but the dog is of similar size and disposition.

Also, I remember a post a while back where someone with a dog about the same age as mine (Barney's Mom, perhaps?) put in a link to a box type contraption for potty training that was a good alternative to using puppy pads for those rambunctions little guys who'd rather eat the pad then pee on it.

Good luck!

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I can report success at litter training a dog. We breed cairns, and we litter train our puppies. Works great!

We use the purina "second nature" litter, and start them young - they play in it a LITTLE, but not much, and quickly

learn to use it. We usually only keep them using it from about 4 weeks to about 12-14 weeks when they can hold it through the night

and are crate trained and at least partially house trained.

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Wow! Thank you all for your valuable responses.

tomq: How often do you need to change the pellets? How long does a 12 lb or a 25 lb pellet bag last usually?

Kirby's Mom: You wouldn't happen to have a sample schedule like the one you mention, would you? :shy:

Thanks, and if possible, please keep the good advise coming!

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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Hi lili and welcome. I can't really add too much to what the others have said. I have a male who is 3.5 years. He potty trained VERY easily but I think it was because we never varied from that life saving schedule. The schedule has to be something you and your family make up. Ours would be so different from yours because....well.....we have no life :confused: No kids in the house. I work days, DH works late days/nights. Fot the times that he was alone (pup not DH) he was in his crate. Training a cairn can be challenging because they are so smart and so hard headed but training a cairn can be awesome because they are so smart and so hard headed. Keep a sense of humor and a tight schedule. YOU are the pack leader, not the fluff ball.

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Hi! I just thought of an important question:

We will be driving our little Cairn home from a city 2 hours East of Dallas all the way down to Monterrey, Mexico, with one overnight stop at Austin, most likely. That means about 5 hours each day. I bet the little thing will be already quite in shock to leave what he has known until now as home. Then put on top this long trip... Any advise on how we should handle this to make it easier for him (if that's possible?).

Thanks!

Liliana

PS: The little guy in the picture MIGHT be our future puppy... Either him or his brother, slightly less dark.

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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When is your husband picking up the little fellow? See if you can bring anything home with him that he has been used to having, such as a toy or blanket. Frequent stops along the way will extend driving time, but will make for a less stressful trip for the puppy. Also, whatever his favorite treats are will probably make him a little happier. Good luck, to your husband. What a great guy!

Jim, Connie, Bailey & Sophie

FLOWERCHILD-1-1.jpgBAILEYSOPHIE4-22-07002-1.jpg

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agree everything said by jimnconnie. also, on this occasion, he might find it nice to snuggle in a blanket while one of you holds him -he'll be leaving the warm body of mother and his siblings. ride in the back, of course, just to be safe (he may decide to spring onto the gears or the driver if he is in front)

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Lili,

I live in Dallas. Are you by change getting the pup from Wits End Ranch? (If I'm not allowed to ask that, sorry Brad!)

As far as your drive, the little one will probably cry a lot that first night or two. Most breeders will send puppy home with a blanket with mom's scent on it and that seems to help a little bit. I've heard an alarm clock that ticks will calm a puppy, but I've never tried that myself.

Good luck with your new baby! I can't wait to see more pics!

Jack's Mom
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It's been a while, but the day looked something like this: (It'll seem like there's a lot of quick crate times, but we had to do it this way because she wasn't used to a crate at all, and at first hated it, and we had to crate train because my husband had the summer off, but he would be going back to teaching in the fall. And now we don't use the crate at all, she has a bedroom to hang out in when we aren't home. She'll still hang out in her crate though-it's her den)

6:00 am-Morning potty, breakfast, quick walk (because they usually have to go right after eating when they're younger. And 6:00 am worked for us because I worked, and it was easier. You can play around with the time-a pup will get up bright and early. Now she'll lounge around on the weekends with us until 8:00 or even 9:00!)

6:30-7:00ish-quick crate time, while the household got ready for the day.

7:00-9:00 Walk, playtime, hanging out.

9:00-10:30ish-Crate/quiet time

11:00-2:00 Lunch, walk, playtime

2:30-4:30 Crate time

5:00-8:00 Dinner, walk, playtime

After 8:00 I always referred to as "snuggles and quiet playtime." We made an extra effort to put away loud toys, and had just her favorite chewies and one favorite toy. We tried to make it quiet and relaxing. Others will probably tell you that their puppy slept for hours-but not ours!

Usually we went to bed between 10:00 and 11:00 pm, and then the day started over.

Oh, and there was lots of potty times in there too, we kept on eye on what she was drinking and made sure we took her out every half hour when she wasn't in her crate.

We limited Kirby to her crate and the kitchen until she learned some manners. She probably didn't come into our living room until she was around 6-7 months, and she didn't have the run of the house until she was a year. Kirby was stubborn, and it took her a long time to figure what was hers, and what she couldn't touch.

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Wow! Thanks, Kirby's Mom! This is extremely useful!

I've read some things about a potty training technique that involves a bell. Does the dog learn to ring the bell? Has anyone been successful with it? What are the steps to follow?

Any other good training techniques you can recommend?

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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My dog also uses the Second Nature pan and litter. She doesn't like it and will hold it while I'm at work, if she can. If I have a long day, however, she will definitely pee in it. Pooping is a bit more of a problem, because she tends to poop on the go. So it starts in the box and trails onto the tile. My other problem is that she would eat the paper pellets but she seems to have gotten over this habit. Since she mostly goes outside, I don't change the litter very often. When it starts smelling rank, I dump the whole thing, wash it out good, and refill with new litter. She is also recently trained to ring a bell when she needs/wants to go outside.

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Hi Kileen,

Thank you so much for your response.

How many times can you fill the tray with one bag of paper pellets? How many pounds does the bag contain?

GirlieJr,

We're getting the pup from Glenna Durr and her husband (I don't think I can post their kennel name, can I?). I think they're located in Dike, TX.

Saludos!

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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I have two males, Jeter who will be two in August and Bernie who will be two in February. Neither mark in the house although both have had accidents in the house as recently as a month ago. I am not sure if they just got excited barking at the neighbors and I didn't get them out fast enough or what. I just know that at almost two they are still not 100%. I confine them to our family room/kitchen area most of the time.

Bernie marks like a madman outside. I didn't get him from my breeder til he was 7 1/2 months old so I think he had established his marking by the time I got him. Jeter doesn't mark outside. He just potties and gets on with his walk.

I think a sandbox would be a nightmare. We have one in our decking from the previous owners and Jeter digs in there as well as does Bernie from time to time. Its just a mess. We're gonna remove it when we redo our deck. I think if you take him out to the same spot for his potty breaks maybe he would get the idea to always pee/poop there. Anyone else agree?

Good luck. I would take him to obedience training and the key to training is finding what works for that particular dog and being consistent with it. They are all different and motivated by different things.

Jetersmom(and Bernie's)

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