The Sporting Westie TerrierWritten by Jeff Cuckson
Because it is intelligent and energetic, a Westie terrier is well suited for a number of dog events. Some competitions it might participate in are geared toward Westie's natural instinct to hunt down prey and pursue it into its den. There are other events, though, in which it can compete with dogs of all breeds.
Being bred for using its sense of smell in hunting, a Westhighland terrier dog will do well in tracking events. In these competitions, a tracklayer walks through a specified course, leaving behind small objects that belong to Westie terrier's trainer. The track is aged, and then Westie terrier must lead its trainer through track to retrieve objects. Advanced tracking goes through or over obstacles like streams, fences, and woods, so tracking is a sport that gives a work-out to both Westies and its trainer.
Earthdog Tests are specifically designed for small terriers, like West highland white terrier, as well as Dachshunds. These tests are designed to simulate underground hunting that it was bred to perform. In simplest test, Quarry test, a man-made tunnel is constructed. It is about ten feet long, with one ninety-degree turn. The tunnel is scented, and has caged rats at far end, which terrier dog must find and 'work' - pawing and snarling at them - for at least sixty seconds. The rats are then removed before either animals are harmed. More advanced Earthdog Tests are longer, and include more turns, and false trails.
The westie dog is also known to compete in Agility events. In these exciting, fast-paced competitions, Westie terrier is challenged to run through an obstacle course at high speed. There are seesaws to navigate, obstacles to jump, tunnels to traverse, and sets of poles for it to weave through. Because of jump requirements, in Agility competitions Westhighland terrier is pitted against dogs of similar size.
How to Play Safely with Your Westie Puppies!Written by Jeff Cuckson
Just like children, westie puppies learn through play. Playing games with your west highland white terrier pups creates an opportunity to train them to obey your commands, gives them valuable exercise, and helps to build their strength, coordination, and agility. It is also fun for everyone.
Before you start playing games, there are some rules you should know, and safety precautions you should take. Your pups need to really run, not just walk on a leash, but be sure any area you play in has a fence. If they are city dogs, try finding a fenced-in tennis court for play. As a last resort, keep puppy on an extra-long line. You do not want them to wander free until you are certain they will return on your command.
Never encourage your west highland pups to jump. The young bones are fragile, and not able to bear stress of jumping until growth plates are fused. Games like Frisbee, or serious agility training, are for older dogs, although there is still much you can do with your westie puppies by having them working at ground level. If you are eager to start these kinds of games, at about one year of age you can take your westies to their veterinarian for an x-ray, to see if growth plates are completely fused.
Westie pups first learn to play in litter by roughhousing with their littermates, but at six to eight weeks, mother westie begins to discourage this behavior. You should discourage it as well, by never roughhousing in ways that allow them to bite, nip, or claw at your hands. A nip from a puppy may seem harmless, but if a full-grown westie nips, you have a behavior problem. It also teaches them that they can dominate you through aggression. If they do manage to get a nip in during play, discourage it in same way dogs do, by imitating a 'yelp' sound.