West highland white terrier training isn’t only about teaching a dog what you want him to do but also what you don’t want him to do. Westies can develop a variety of behaviors through your influence, through boredom and their natural instincts. Though some of these traits you will find tolerable or pleasing, others will be something you will want to deter your pooch from doing, like digging.
Digging is an activity that most dogs enjoy, regardless of their breed. However, the westie terrier is particularly prone to this behavior, as he was originally bred to track vermin underground, and if given the chance will dig holes everywhere in your backyard. Thus, if you do not teach him to stop with the right west highland white terrier training methods, he’ll keep it up until your yard is an unsightly mess.
Why do terriers dig? First of all, their name is taken from the word “terra”, meaning earth, so it is a major part of who they are. Secondly, their nails grow faster than the average canine, which means they are naturally equipped with the tools they need to get the job done. That being said, aside from instinct, there are a variety of reasons, some of which include:
• Bury food
• Find food left by other animals (I.E. a squirrel’s nuts)
• Hunt quarry
• Create a cool area to lie in to escape the heat
• Make a place to sleep
• Want to get something on the other side of the fence
• They like the smell of fresh grass roots
Believe it or not but some earthy smells actually persuade a westie to excavate. Fresh earth, topsoil, some mulches and sand can be very enticing. Therefore, if you plan on planting flowers or any other type of garden you will want to fence these areas off to make sure your pet cannot access them. This is necessary regardless of the west highland white terrier training you implement.
After you protect the plant life in your back-yard you can then decide how you would like to deal with the digging issue. To start, try introducing the “no dig” command. Essentially, every time you see your poochie excavating you immediately tell him No Dig in a firm voice and provide him with a distraction. This may include engaging in play or brining him back into the house. If you find he isn’t responding to this west highland white terrier training approach, his instinct to dig may be too strong and you won’t be able to train it out of him. Therefore, you can try a compromise instead.
Reserve one area where he is permitted to tunnel as much as he wants. When he excavates in this place, praise him. If you catch him ripping up the ground anywhere else, tell him No Dig and lead him back to his spot. This is the same concept as replacing an item a pooch shouldn’t chew on with any acceptable chew toy.
Bear in mind, the above west highland white terrier training might not be successful, as some terriers simply cannot defy their roots. If this is the case, you may need to resort to other measures to deter digging, such as placing chicken wire, stones, gravel or your pet’s feces in a hole and covering it with dirt. The idea is if your pal attempts to dig-up this hole again he will find an unpleasant surprise waiting for them and will then avoid the spot.