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Is a Cairn right for me?


patient220
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Hello there! I hope this is in the right section...

I'm nineteen and a college student. My friend and I are thinking about getting an apartment together in a year or so, and both of us want dogs. I have been researching on the internet trying to find a good breed for me, and Cairn Terriers have just stolen my heart! I thought it best to ask all of you Cairn mommies and daddies to make sure this is the breed for me!

We will be living in an apartment. I will be going to grad school, so I will be in classes and probably working as well, although I will also be spending time at home. Amanda wants a big dog for hers, she's unsure about the breed right now.

Do Cairns do okay in an apartment setting? Are they okay around other dogs? I'm pretty sure I will want to get a male.

Just wanted to get some advice! Anything else I need to know about Cairns while trying to make my decision will be greatly appreciated as well!

Thanks!

-Sarah

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Hey Sarah,

I got my cairns when I was living in a condo and they were fine, you just need to bring them for walks and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Where you are going to be in grad school and working you don't seem like you will have a lot of time for the dog. I am also in school and working and luckily my husband is home a lot after work. I really only get weekends with the dogs. They can get lonely and become destructive, depressed, naughty....

They get along fine with other dogs and if you are both getting puppies they will get used to each other.

If you really feel you have the time to take care of this dog then I would say go for it but they are a big responsibility. Not like a cat that is very independent, any dogs requires attention and take a lot of work.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Cairns do quite well in apartment settings as long as they get exercise on a regular basis.

They do not, however, do well without human companionship. I can understand your wanting a dog and Cairns are wonderful but I honestly think your schedule would not be fair to any breed.

Maybe once you're out of school and have more time to devote to a pet.

Just my $.02.

You are wise to do your "homework" and not get a dog on impulse... Most of them end up in shelters or rescue because the owners were not prepared for the long term responsibility and care that a dog needs. Good luck to you.

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i totally agree that keeping a cairn in an apartment is not a problem. the much greater problem is the unusual time investment needed for a cairn puppy. cairns are not easy to raise, in comparison to some other dogs (say, shih-tzu or lhasa apso or maybe even labs). they are a bit resistant when it comes to house training, and they can be VERY resistant when it comes to respecting an owner. once a cairn has been raised right, in my opinion it is the best dog in the whole world. but raising cairns is not for the faint-hearted. you need time, and you need a lot of personal qualities: patience, kindness, fairness, courage, and above all iron self-discipline. if your dog suspects he or she can get around you because you are distracted, tired, upset, discouraged, or in a hurry, you are going to have a problem. it might be a minor problem that can nevertheless put your life in disarray (like barking or uninating indoors) or a major problem (like biting). it will persist until the dog is trained and until YOU are trained to give the dog leadership it can rely upon.

these are complex dogs, and they are a very serious commitment. don't let the size fool you.

that said, i think there are probably a lot of students who have the maturity to raise cairns. just be forewarned.

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I totally agree with the above posters....I have always wanted a Cairn and always was to busy to "handle" one in my younger years..Instead I have had Labs, German shephards, Pekes, chihuahuas...and they were fairly easy to raise with my daily routine....I held out on a Cairn until I finally was in a good place in my life. Cairns are the smartest dogs in the canine world IMO....That is a great characteristic but it could also be a bad one too..They think they are smarter than us humans (which I am actually beginning to believe) They NEED to be raised consistantly....any change in their training or excercise could be frustrating to you and the dog. I think you will love having a Cairn if you are ready...I think you coming here to ask questions is the first stepping stone to be a serious Cairn owner. Good luck in whatever you choose to do...I am sure you will be a great dogmama:)

I LOVE MY CAIRNS PUDDLES AND IRIS!

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Hi Sarah,

Welcome to the world of cairns! You have some great questions. I agree with others that cairns are very adaptable to apartment life - I just moved mine from a house to an apartment and back to a house again in the past 6 months. We went for LOTS of walks while we lived in the apartment, though.

Browse around the site - lots of stories of doggies getting along....and not. Mostly, though, cairns love every person and dog that they meet!

As for having a dog in grad school...I think it depends on what kind of program you are in. If you said you would still be an undergrad, I would say NO WAY! But, if you are a full time grad student, then it actually could be a good time for a puppy, since your schedule would likely be quite flexible relative to someone doing a 9 - 5 thing. However, I would wait at least a few months (or maybe till the summer after your 1st year) to get a good feel for what the rhythm is like with you "new life". Also, if you are working AND going to school, I do agree that you'll probably be struggling to keep up with your little guy, ESPECIALLY since this is a breed of dog that takes 6 or 7 months to housebreak! They are adorably cute and clever but very high maintenance as puppies. Anyone on here will remember (or choose not to remember) the "I wanna send it back" phase!! Finally, if you are living on just a stipend, speaking as someone who didn't finish grad school too long ago, you might also feel the stretch with all vet bills...in addition to the regular vaccinations and altering, mine managed to get me to take him to see the vet about 8 times in the first 6 months! Personally, I'm glad I waited till after grad school to get my dog. I would not have had the time and money to dedicate to him like I do now. I was in grad school for a LONG time, and got my puppy about 6 months after I finished (I was 28 and married by then, though!). But that is just me - I had friends who not only got puppies but were having kids in grad school and they were really happy with their decisions!

Good luck with your decision!!

Jodi

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Your program and schedule might be flexible enough for it to be a really good time to get a puppy, or it could be a horrible time. Every circumstance is different. I went from feeling like I might die from the stress (working AND school) to actually being bored with all of the free time (quit the job), so you never know. I, too, have friends who have small children born while still in school and they handle it all really well.

I got my puppy while I was working and going to school and it wasn't too bad. I am married, though, and have someone who was as invested in training the puppy as I was and was able to take over when I was too busy or couldn't be home.

I lived in a small condo when we got our puppy and it was fine. We went for lots of walks and found activities to wear him out. I actually don't think the size of the house/apartment is a big deal. I would've confined my puppy to just one or two rooms had I lived in a huge house, anyway. I also think that my dog got more exercise when we lived in the condo and didn't have a fenced yard because he was walked and forced to exercise quite a bit. We have a yard now, but still have a need to walk him for exercise because he has a tendency to want to just roll around in the grass and soak in the sun vs. running around.

Puppies are hard. Training (potty & behavior) became one of the major focuses of our lives when we brought ours home. Just make sure you're prepared for that! It will be lots of fun if you're prepared.

Edited by Sarah
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I don't think the size of your living conditions is important, I have a large house and my dogs are only confined to the downstairs. When I lived in a condo I used to bring them to a local baseball field so they could exercise and I would walk them at night on the golf course behind my place (just made sure the country club didn't know :whistle:). I also go to school and work full time but I am married so it was much easier if I was not able to be home.

If you feel you have the time to dedicate to this puppy than go for it, but like everyone is saying, cairns are not as easy as other breeds....

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

DSCN2419-1.jpg

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I would ditto much of what everyone else has said here. I think I would wait until you are done with school and see how much time you are really going to devote to your pup while working.

These are very engaging dogs and I don't think many of them enjoy sitting home alone for long periods of time. Just my opinion based on my dogs personalities. (two of them my own, two of them my fosters)

Jetersmom(and Bernie's)

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While I am not as experienced as most of these other Cairn experts, one thing I can say:

I was shocked as to how much time a dedication it takes to training a puppy. I grew up with dogs, but never had to worry about training. Be prepared to give them almost ALL of your free time while you are training. Also remember that potty breaks in the middle of the night happen, so be prepared to sacrifice some sleep.

Keep us posted!

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Have you thought about recusing an adult cairn dog. Personally I had never grew up with a dog or owned a dog before my cairn puppy, there was a lot of hair pulling situation. Maybe starting off with a dog that is Up to date with shots and semi trained might be a good option.

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sheila and Misty

I agree with everyone as well Its up to you to know if youll have an adequet time to spend with the pup its alot of work with any pup untill they adjust to your schedual make sure they et enough exercise the more they get the less problems of messing up the apartment. Also puppies need to go out often-remember that you cant expect to crate a pup for long periods of time and its hard for them to adjust being that they first are weened from mom then the siblings -it would be nice to have some company untill they adjust. :thumbsup: good luck and think it out carefully. Its a serious commitment

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I don't think the size of your living conditions is important, I have a large house and my dogs are only confined to the downstairs. When I lived in a condo I used to bring them to a local baseball field so they could exercise and I would walk them at night on the golf course behind my place (just made sure the country club didn't know :whistle:). I also go to school and work full time but I am married so it was much easier if I was not able to be home.

If you feel you have the time to dedicate to this puppy than go for it, but like everyone is saying, cairns are not as easy as other breeds....

I have to say that having a cairn for the last 14 1/2 years i would think twice about having another unless i'd got plenty of time to devote to one i love my dog (Buster) sio much that i can never explaine, they need a lot of time and tlc, I would ask you to think about having one perhaps untill after your studdies. but I will say the day you do have a cain will bring you much happiness. Like i say my cain is an old man now and i can't even think of life without him. I wish you good luck

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I don't know about everybody else, but it took me several months to get me Cairn potty trained. Also She still has a barking problem. (better but she still barks.) A bored Cairn in an apartment might not be such a good idea. They are adorable other than that.

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Every puppy/dog barks. Every puppy needs time to learn to go potty outside. Accidents happen, sometimes one puppy learns faster than the other. Just like children, one can potty train by 2 or 3 some take until 4 or 5 a dog is no different. I had my first Cairn for 17 years and when she passed away I lost a part of me. Now I have Kramer a cairn as well. I will never live without a Cairn. A cairn is not for everyone. You have to be willing to take the time to train whether its fast or taking longer. Barking, well every dog barks. I wouldn't say the Cairn is a yapper but they do patrol there territory well. If you have the time and patience then a cairn may be for you. Terriers in general are terriers, they love to play and are energetic, if they get the proper care and exercise you will be fine. When I reading the paper or a book Kramer will stand there or look at me and bark to play. He will bring me his toy wanting to play.

Of course I put my book or paper down and I play with him but you may have to study and at times can't play so have plenty of toys for him/her.

Good luck Cairns are wonderful but they do need proper caring for.

Rhonda,Kramer & Angel Missy "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog". "It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are" Missy Rainbow Bridge Memorial
/>http://www.indulgedfurries.com/petdiabetes/memorium/missy2.htm

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I totally agree with other posts, I love Cairns but...... they do require a lot of time and attention. Personally I think all dogs do - it's just that the Cairns are a little more demanding of it. All of my Cairns have taken pretty long to potty train, could be me but regardless it did take til 6-7 months before they were very reliable.

Although I have had dogs most of my life - I can say that it is only in the past 10 years that I feel that I am a very good "Pet Mom" - simply because life slowed down in the last 10 years enough that I could clearly see what they really do need and deserve. I do life now - with the dogs a priority, meaning, if I work all day - I don't do anything that requires me to be out of that evening. If I go out with friends for dinner etc., I do it on a day that I have been off work and have spent a good amout of the day with the dogs. They do deserve a home that they can be a "family member" and not just someone we feed 2x a day and pet as we pass by.....

Good luck with your decision!

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