Top Ten Tips for Success with Your Adopted Westie!
    Tip #1 --  Preparation 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 Westie breed.
    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.
    Food 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 #4.
    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 consistency.
    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 Nature's Miracle products for cleaning dog accidents.  
    For more housetraining information, please refer to Tip #3.

    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 heaters.
    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 Tip # 7.
    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 abilities.
    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 intestinal obstruction.
    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 methods.  
For more information about Obedience Training, please refer to Tip #10.

    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 together unsupervised.
    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 rate veterinarians.
    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 fields.
    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 veterinary needs.
    (Telephone:  530-752-1393)



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