Training a Scottie is no easy task.These independent little thinkers are one of the most difficult breeds to train but you don’t have to be the dog whisperer to make it happen. While other breeds like Poodles and Border Collies take to dog training much more quickly, training a Scottish terrier uses the same skill set. The difference comes in the consistency and regularity.
Practicing regular and consistent training techniques with your pet will reinforce these values in your Scottie and also help the two of you to bond and create a better relationship moving forward. And it doesn’t matter if you get your Scottie as a puppy or an adult, you can train them well regardless of age.
If you’d like to get tips from a professional when starting to train your dog, ask your veterinarian, breeder or local humane society for the name of a reputable trainer. Finding a trainer that will be a good fit for you and your dog is a critical first step. If you’d rather not opt for a professional while taking the first steps in training your pet, there is a wealth of resources available online. YouTube and dog training websites have countless videos, including breed-specific ones, about training your pet and what commands work best. Your local library may also have a variety of dog training books available as a first step before buying them.
One thing to remember in dog training, and particularly with Scotties, is that finding the right motivation will go a long way. Scotties were bred to hunt so once they focus on a goal their drive to get it will astonish you sometimes. Each dog will have their own favorite motivation (particular toys, praise, affection, etc.). Once you learn what your dog really gets excited by, you can use this as motivation in training them—not just any old toy or treat you pick up at the store.
Because Scottish Terriers are independent dogs, being consistent and regular with dog training reinforcement will go a long way. Once you establish commands with your dog, you should use them in the same pattern every time. By standardizing your behavior, your dog will learn the appropriate behavior and follow suit. This rule of thumb goes for both positive and negative behavior.
After establishing basic respect and trust between you and your pet, one of the first major dog training steps will be crate or potty training. Ideally potty training a dog begins at 2 -3 months for puppies. But it is never too late to train a dog on how it works in your domain! If you crate your dog at home, crate training them will be easier than you think. While we see the crate as a cage, and your pet may see it as that sometimes, it is also their personal space. They will not choose to use the bathroom where they sleep. Scotties respond best to positive reinforcement and praise. When housebreaking, establishing the pattern of positive reinforcement will help the process go smoothly.
And if you’ve mastered basic dog training with your Scotts Terrier and want an additional challenge for both you and your dog, you could consider dog agility training. Professional trainers would instruct you and your pet through an obstacle course involving weaving through posts and through canvas tunnels—similar sensations for your pup that was bred to hunt and draw out vermin. These activities will help keep your dog engaged and happy because they are fulfilling that instinct that they may not get when exercising—unless they’re digging up your yard!
Training your Scottie may seem like a seriously daunting task at first. But don’t worry—they just want to please you and it’s a lovely way to bond with your Scottie!