Top Ten Tips for Success with Your Adopted Westie!
    Tip #10  --  Obedience Training
  • Training Basics
  • Canine Good Citizen
  • WHWTCA Training Articles
  • Obedience Classes
  • Indefinite Listing Privilege
    Most people fall in love with the Westie's good looks, sense of humor and joyful, happy attitude.  But owners should always remember that a Westie's terrier instincts are very much intact.  The Westie was bred to hunt and "go-to-ground".  As a result the Westie is spunky, intelligent, bold and somewhat independent "possessed of no small amount of self-esteem."  The Westie is really a big dog inside a small dog's body.
    As stated by Sharon Pflaumer in the Dog World magazine article Fire and Ice,
"The Westie personality also has a streak of stubborn willfulness.  This means, quite simply, he likes to do things on his own terms and in his own way -- if given the option.  As a result, indulging him too often can prove unwise, since bossy, opportunistic Westies easily gain the upper hand on owners and may exhibit serious behavior problems such as aggressiveness in the form of snapping."

    Training Basics
    Westies are extremely intelligent.  Their assertive nature must be understood and handled properly to avoid behavior problems.  Most behavior problems are due to a lack of companionship, discipline, activity and exercise.  Westies can be very destructive if left unattended and bored.

    The West Highland White Terrier requires at least basic obedience training -- your dog's life may depend on it.  Make sure your Westie learns the five basic training commands:  Sit, Stay, Down, Heel and Come.

    Training will establish a special loving bond between you and your Westie.  Balance training sessions with attention, affection and playtime.   Verbally praise your Westie lavishly when he does as you want.  NEVER yell or hit your Westie. Physical punishment or force may lead to fear biting and aggression.  Be consistent, fair and confident.

    Obedience Classes
    We recommend and encourage all Westie owners to attend obedience classes.  It is a great way to bond with your new family member, develop a mutual respect, help a shy Westie gain confidence, control an overactive Westie and solve behavior problems.

    No matter how young or how old your Westie is, it is never too early or too late to begin training.

    If your Westie displaying any of the following warning signals, we encourage you to immediately find an appropriate dog class offering obedience training, behavior modification and socialization services:

  • Possessiveness and guarding behaviors around food bowl, chew items and toys.

  • Suspicion and reluctance to touch or handling in certain areas of the body.  Stiffness, tension and/or freezing behaviors when picked up, restrained, examined or groomed.

  • Fearful, aloof and wary behavior toward strangers or toward particular types of people.

    Though Westies can be a bit more challenging than other dogs to train in obedience, their desire to please almost always wins out and generally assures cooperation.  With the right trainer -- one who is patient and persistent -- a Westie can do quite well.

    Positive reinforcement training methods work best with Westies.  Keeping commands clear and consistent is also helpful.  It should also be noted that severe or jerk correction-type training is not effective with this breed. The Westie won't be bullied into compliance.

    Training should be fun and rewarding for both you and your Westie.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, we recommend the San Francisco SPCA, the Marin Humane Society or the Peninsula Humane Society for obedience training.

    The SPCA offers a special class for adult dogs weighing 20 pounds or less.

Canine Good Citizen
If your dog has good manners, he or she may be eligible for an award from the American Kennel Club.

In 1989, the AKC started the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program.  The CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen® Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the CGC test receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club and are automatically recorded in the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Archive.

Canine Good Citizen Test

Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP)
Rescue Westies do not have AKC Registration papers, however, this does not prevent you from participating and entering your Westie in AKC performance events.
An ILP allows an unregistered dog of a registerable breed to participate in those obedience and performance events that are appropriate for the breed.
These competitive events include Obedience Trials, Tracking Tests, Herding, Lure Coursing, Agility, Earthdog Events and Hunting Tests. A dog must have either an AKC registration number or an ILP number in order to compete in these events.
An ILP is not the equivalent of an AKC registration, nor is it a substitute for AKC registration. ILP dogs may not be used for breeding purposes as all applications for ILP will only be considered if the dog under application has been spayed or neutered.

AKC's Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) Explained


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