- Tip #1
Before Your Westie Arrives
- We want your home to be the
forever home for your rescued Westie. There are several steps you
should take to prepare for the day you bring home your new family member.
- Basic Info
- We recommend you familiarize
yourself with the special
needs of rescue dogs in general as well as with the
traits, temperament and behavior characteristics of the
- If you have adopted an older Westie (bless you!),
please refer to the Senior Dogs Project
for valuable insight.
- By now you should know that Westies are
high energy dogs bred to hunt small prey. Canines in general, and
terriers in particular, possess an instinctive behavior called
"prey drive". This instinct allows wild dogs to chase
and kill animals for food. Our domestic dogs do not have to kill
their own food, but the instinct remains intact. The success of
the Westie adapting in your home is dependent on YOU, not the dog.
- To properly care for your new dog, you will
need to have some basic items ready when he arrives. Shop now for the
items you will need for your Westie's health, happiness and safety. Buy a
crate, collar, leash, ID tag, food and water bowls, nutritious food, dog
treats, a bed, baby
gates, a grooming brush, shampoo, toothbrush, canine toothpaste, pooper
scooper and chew toys appropriate for Westies - no rawhide, latex
or vinyl toys!
- A nylon snap buckle collar or a flat leather
collar are best. Do not use a choke chain collar. Be sure to attach an identification tag to the collar
immediately. A nylon or leather leash about four to six feet long
is ideal for walks and obedience training.
and water bowls designed for pets made of stainless steel with a
broad base to avoid spilling are best.
- For information about food and
nutrition see Tip
- Practical and sensible advice regarding the preparations and supplies needed for your
new dog can be found in the following articles:
- Crate Training
- Most adopted dogs thrive on a confinement schedule. And all dogs
need a place of their own. Many owners provide their Westie with a
crate for this purpose, as it is the most versatile and convenient
way to ensure their dog’s safety. Due to the dog’s natural
denning instinct, your Westie will view his crate as an indoor
doghouse in which he feels secure. If you have properly
crate trained your Westie, he will not view the crate as a cruel cage.
- The weight of a Westie can range between 14-23 pounds with
the average weight between 16-20 pounds. Therefore, we recommend at
least a #200 size plastic crate for Westies. A #200 size crate is
approximately 27" L x 20"W x 19" H. Do not use a smaller size
crate with a Westie.
- If you prefer a wire crate, we recommend at least
a 30"D x 24"H x 21"W size wire crate for Westies.
- All rescued Westies will
need you to teach them housetraining. Some
dogs may have never learned any house manners.
And others, though housetrained in their previous
home, will need some retraining when placed in a new
environment to learn where to eliminate. Your Westie’s housetraining
success will depend on YOUR knowledge, patience and
- Review the basics of
housetraining in these articles and make sure you learn how to
housetrain BEFORE your rescue dog arrives:
- We recommend the use of
Miracle products for cleaning dog accidents.
For more housetraining information, please refer to Tip
- Home Safety
- Dog proof your home just as
would prepare your home as you would if you
had a toddler visiting. Equip floor-level cabinets with
child-proof latches; store all cleaning products and medications out of reach; place
newspapers and magazines on a high shelf; store clothes and shoes in closets
with the doors closed; keep electrical cords and wires out of reach; be careful where
you leave plastic bags; watch out for hot irons, coffee pots and space
- Be aware that some of your house
and yard plants may be dangerous for dogs.
Remove any toxic
plants from your home and yard. Do not use pesticides or rodent
bait in your yard.
For more information on safety, see
- To protect your Westie while inside your house,
we highly recommend purchasing baby gates. As Westie owners, we
jokingly say "we all live in gated communities", however, baby gates
are invaluable lifesavers in preventing your lightning-speed terrier from
escaping through an opened door.
- Be sure to survey your backyard
fence and side yard fence prior to your Westie's arrival. Make sure the Westie
can not get through the fence and also make sure there are no gaps between the
fencing and the ground. Also ensure all gates latch
securely. Westies are clever and tenacious...never underestimate their
- Swimming pools pose a very real danger to
dogs. Many pets drown each year in backyard swimming pools. Not all dogs swim well and
your dog will not instinctively know how to get out of your pool -- you will
need to teach your dog how to do this.
For your dog's safety, your swimming pool should be fenced separately from
your yard fencing. You should also be aware that pool covers can cause a dreadful accident trapping a curious dog.
- Latex and vinyl
toys are inappropriate for a Westie's strong jaws.
Solid rubber toys are a much safer choice. While rawhide chew toys may
help remove plaque, small pieces of swallowed rawhide can cause a respiratory or
- We do not recommend giving Westies rawhide
chew toys, pig ears or hooves. Appropriate toys for Westies are gumabones,
sterilized bones, fabric squeak toys or any toy made of solid rubber, such as
balls, bones and Kongs. You will need to be vigilant in checking the
safety of your dog's toys containing squeakers.
- Find an Obedience Class
- We recommend all rescued
dogs receive obedience training. This is very important
to help you and your Westie succeed. Use the time before
your Westie arrives to investigate the obedience
training options in your community.
- Training is a great
bonding experience for you and your new Westie and it
will give you an invaluable resource for behavior
information and solutions. Find a trainer or an
obedience class using positive reinforcement training
- For more information about Obedience
Training, please refer to Tip
- Other Pets in Your Household
- If other pets live in your
house, plan to introduce your rescue Westie to the other
animals in a neutral location with care and caution. With
the addition of the new dog, the pack order in your
household may be upset and dominance issues can occur.
- Same-sex aggression is well
documented with Westies. It is generally recommended that
two dogs of the same sex should not be permitted to stay
- The articles below will help
you successfully introduce your rescue Westie to your pack.
- If you don't already have
a veterinarian, now is the time to select one. Obtain recommendations
from friends and then visit one or two vets. Ask questions regarding
location, hours, pet boarding, microchip ID service, dental care, regular exams,
grooming and access to emergency services.
- Bay Area veterinarians
meeting the American Animal Hospital
Association standards for services and facilities can be located on
the on the
website below. The SFBWHWTC does not recommend, guarantee, endorse nor
- Soon after obtaining your rescue Westie, we
recommend you begin him on monthly heartworm, flea and tick prevention
medications from your veterinarian. Please discuss with your vet the
use of Program, Advantage, Frontline, Heartgard or Interceptor. We
do not recommend the use of any combination heartworm-flea
medications for Westies.
- If you have other household pets make
sure they are fully vaccinated before you bring your new dog home.
- UC Davis Small Animal Clinic
- We are fortunate in the Bay Area to be in such
close proximity to the distinguished School of Veterinary Medicine, University
of California at Davis, CA and its Small Animal Clinic. UC Davis, one of the foremost veterinary schools
in the country, is on the leading edge of research and technology in
veterinary medicine with a staff who are experts in their respective
- If your dog should ever become seriously ill, we
strongly recommend you obtain a consultation with the veterinary staff
of the UC Davis Small Animal Clinic. Usually teaching school
costs are less while the care is world-class.
You can also make appointments at the UC Davis Small Animal Clinic for all your routine
- (Telephone: 530-752-1393)