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How to outsmart a SUPER smart Cairn?


goforette
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My bigger Cairn (Hollie) - is too smart for me at the moment. The older she gets the smarter she gets and I can't seem to stay ahead of her... I love my little Brystal to pieces - but she doesn't think like Hollie does. She's the easy going, shy, compliant dog. Hollie has to challenge everything. As of yesterday Morning, Hollie has decided that she will no longer come for treats. She knows I'm going to leave in the mornings so she runs from me and hides. If I go to get her to put her in her crate she'll even grumble (it's not even really a growl) just noise like she's protesting. It takes me at least 20 minutes to fetch her either from the yard or corner her in the house - since we've done this two days in a row I'm at a loss - she knows she can avoid me now. She used to come running when we crushed ice with the ice maker - but it's temporarily broken (as of last night) - any ideas on how to make a suddenly stubborn Cairn come to you when treats quit working?

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I just put on my Sarcony Tennis shoes and start running, eventually Puddles will get sleepy. :thumbsup:

I LOVE MY CAIRNS PUDDLES AND IRIS!

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I just put on my Sarcony Tennis shoes and start running, eventually Puddles will get sleepy. :thumbsup:

That's about what I think I'm going to have to resort to! :lol:

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I am anxious to hear the response to this one. We also have a SUPER smart Cairn. We have to chase Grace everytime we leave the house. The two of us can manage to trap her but if it is just one of us the chase could go on for 20 - 30 minutes. She is one smart cookie!

We also have to spray her at night now (itchy skin) and I swear she understands us. Dave will spell out (in a completely normal voice) HOLD GRACE, well guess what? she will perk up and start running and the chase begins.

Lynn

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Scooter has tried this in the past but he learned the "stay" command. So when he starts this running away stuff I give him a few chances to stop with treats and the ice maker, if he doesn't I just look right at him and stearnly tell him "stay" in a very serious voice. He freezes in his steps until I go over and pick him up, then I praise him because he listened to the stay command. I have said before that this command saves me and him all the time. Best command ever learned.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

DSCN2419-1.jpg

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Just as a word of warning.....Never use your recall words (i.e. Fido, Come!) before you do something the dog assosciates as negative (i.e. you leaving, administer meds etc) otherwise you may begin to loose the reliablity of that recall & in some circumstances this can be dangerous.

When going out the door, your dog is picking up on your signals you give off. So a couple of things to try:

* Crate her up at a different point in your routine. Switch it up day to day.

* Spend some quality time playing before she gets crated. Maybe this is the only time you play with

that special toy.

* Provide a high value (to the dog) treat that only is given in the crate.

Do what you can to make the crate a positive place to be. Also....make sure that she is getting enough exercise daily. Even if you had a HUGE yard for her to run in, daily walks are so important to dogs. Not only on a physical level, but on a mental level too. Good luck!

Edited by eastofeden
Raise your expectations for what your Cairn can do....and try very hard to meet your Cairn's expectations of you.
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What if you find a treat that is too irresistible to pass up, be it some lunch meat or a certain type of dog treat that just makes her crazy.

We recently switched to Mother Nature Peanut and Butter treats made by Natura (Innova) (http://www.mothernaturepet.com/). Before that, I thought my little guy just wasn't so food motivated (unless it was human food, of course). Now, I know differently!! He goes wild for these treats and we can get him to give up any prize or come from any distance by getting out the bag! You might have to experiment till you find THE THING that she can't resist, no matter how willful she feels!!!

Edited by jodi0553
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Boy, do I feel lucky! Packy usually knows when we're going somewhere and he just runs right into his crate as soon as he sees me pick up my purse. If not (like he kind of thinks he might want to go along this time), I just tell him to go into this box and he runs right there wagging his tail. He gets a liver treat and is a happy camper.

DH & I joked that instead of the TV game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?", they should have "Are You Smarter Than a Cairn Terrier?"!

Anyway, I'd agree that you need to find that treat that is simply irrestistable and then practice going into the crate at different times during the day, especially when you're not really leaving in the mornings.

Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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WOOF! Eli here.

Glad to see all you CURs wreaking chaos and havoc. Keep up the good work.

Even if the Uprights whip out the CHEESE, we MUST resist and persist!

Cheese.....mmmmmmmmmmm.

WOOF!

Eli B)

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there are a lot of supersmart cairns! a lot of them go through stages like hollie (i think it is a stage). i think it is important to surprise these little clowns, use techniques they can't get around. the more they manage to make you fuss, sweat and curse, the more fun it is for them. use any humane techniques you can to give yourself an edge. i like the idea of a harness and short leash as a permanent costume for a few weeks. it saves you a lot of bother, which only takes the fun out of the mischief for your cairn. once hollie gets the point, you can get rid of the permanent leash.

in other areas: if you tend to bribe your cairn with treats for doing the "right" thing, don't do it. reward her with praise, attention and play, and otherwise be polite but cool. get her to work for your approval, like she makes you work for hers.

time will improve most of these issues on its own, but you can help it along by proving to your cairn that you are smarter, bigger and more stubborn than she is. believe me, nobody will be happier to see the point made than she will be. imagine being ten inches high and afraid that the huge giant in whose house you have to live is dim-witted, flighty and cowardly. she will love to find out you are smart, calm and brave!

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We have this problem with Darcy from time to time as she too is smarter than me. We have a few fail safes for this situation....

1. When we leave, they get a high quality treat (something that is irresistible) if they follow me upstairs (in most cases beat me upstairs) and go into the bathroom (where we keep them). In our situation, Darcy usually won't go upstairs... and sometimes won't come inside either.

2. If Darcy is being a little stubborn, she gets a low quality treat once she comes inside and THEN the high quality which she usually will run upstairs for.

3. When she's REALLY being a pill, I keep a leash on her.

4. If I can't get the leash on her because she's running away from me, I do the thing I hate most but it's only in severe cases.... "Darcy wanna go on a walk"..... she comes running for the leash. I hate it, but it's the last resort when she's already made me 30 minutes late somewhere.

Good luck Stacy!

Kate, Darcy & Bailey's mom
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My secret weapons..... praise the other dog like crazy...loudly.... the other one will come out to see what's going on...

Loose squeker from a toy....and act all happy and loud.

Last weapon, yelling "Hamburger" works every time!

(of course I have to give them one that night when I come home.....so I don't use it often...only in emergency conditions)

Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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We have this problem with Darcy from time to time as she too is smarter than me. We have a few fail safes for this situation....

1. When we leave, they get a high quality treat (something that is irresistible) if they follow me upstairs (in most cases beat me upstairs) and go into the bathroom (where we keep them). In our situation, Darcy usually won't go upstairs... and sometimes won't come inside either.

2. If Darcy is being a little stubborn, she gets a low quality treat once she comes inside and THEN the high quality which she usually will run upstairs for.

3. When she's REALLY being a pill, I keep a leash on her.

4. If I can't get the leash on her because she's running away from me, I do the thing I hate most but it's only in severe cases.... "Darcy wanna go on a walk"..... she comes running for the leash. I hate it, but it's the last resort when she's already made me 30 minutes late somewhere.

Good luck Stacy!

This is making me laugh! Love the "high quality" versus "low quality" treat. Except with Hollie - she only knows "high quality!" - Watch me have to like offer her prime rib.... HA! - Today was better. I tried to do a different routine. I think what sets Hollie off is seeing me put my socks on - she knows I'm close to putting shoes on and she bolts. Today I had socks and shoes on before I even came downstairs.... then I tossed a goodie in the crate and she ran in there all excited... I'm sure it won't last long. Once the lightbulb goes off with Hollie she's learned something new. I truly adore how smart they are, and anybody who under-estimates my "small little dog" as being stupid has never ever owned a Cairn... they are super smart and talented. And I admit on days when I don't have to get to work on time - I enjoy the challenge... HA!

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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LOL.... glad everything went well. Yes, changing up the routine probably helped a lot. And I did forget the idea that Tracy posted about praising the dog like crazy. We do that also and it usually irritates Darcy if she knows Bailey is getting praised (which usually means getting a cookie too). These little guys are SO accustom to patterns. Good luck on hopefully making this new pattern stick for longer than you expect!

Got your card by the way! They are so precious! You should have mine this week too.

Kate, Darcy & Bailey's mom
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