Friday, February 21, 2014
This is Sharda again for another West Highland Terrier newsletter.
There are so many decisions to make prior to getting a new dog.
First you must decide the breed, the place you will purchase the dog from, if you should choose a male or female, as well as decide if a puppy or an adult dog is right for you.
Taking the time to make these decisions is important for both you and your pet.
In making a decision between a West Highland Terrier adult or puppy, there are several questions you should ask yourself:
- How comfortable are you in training a puppy?
- How much time do you have to set aside for training?
- Can you spend time with the puppy for the majority of the day and night?
- Do you have patience to work with young animals?
The following sections will discuss the positive aspects and the difficulties of purchasing a puppy or an adult dog. Thinking your options through will help you determine the best choice given your situation and environment.
THE BENEFITS OF A WESTIE PUPPY
Anyone who has ever seen, held or played with a puppy can quickly tell you the biggest benefit of getting a puppy. Their cute, loveable and energetic personalities are wonderful, and they bring a smile to everyone’s face.
Puppies are great for families and individuals that want to spend time with the young dog, to bring it up and train it specifically as the family wants and needs. Raising a puppy allows the owners to provide the training and socialization to make the puppy into a happy, healthy and well-behaved dog.
Purchasing a Westie puppy from a reputable breeder or shelter ensures that the dog will be with the family for the longest possible time, as the owners can provide proper care, nutrition, and veterinary treatment for the life of the dog.
Watching the puppy playing with its littermates may also give an indication as to its temperament as an adult dog.
Puppies in the litter that tend to be more aggressive and assertive are more likely to be independent, and potentially more difficult to train as they grow. The puppies that stay more isolated are usually more quiet and shy as adult dogs, and may have difficulty socializing and interacting with strangers and in strange situations.
THE DIFFICULTIES WITH A WESTIE PUPPY
While the opportunity to train a puppy is a benefit, it can also be a difficulty for some people. The time and effort needed to successfully train a puppy is more than many individuals can manage, especially if they already have a family to raise and a job to go to every day.
Raising a puppy is a lot like having a baby in the house, especially for the first few months. It is a twenty- four hour, seven day a week responsibility.
Besides training in the house it is important to socialize the puppy to new people, new environments and other animals. Puppies, just like children, go through difficult stages, and may damage or even destroy household items.
It is important to be able to puppy-proof your home as much as possible, particularly during the chewing stage.
Housebreaking is another difficulty on the horizon with a puppy. Housebreaking can be easy or difficult, depending on the type of training, breed of dog, and time that the owner has to spend with the puppy. Many trainers now recommend crate training for housebreaking puppies, but this still requires consistency and time to complete.
When you are getting a Westie puppy from a shelter or other pet adoption service, you may not be one hundred percent sure of the breed or history of the puppy.
There is always a chance that the puppy described as a Westie may not be pure bred, and may grow to be a larger breed than you are able to keep. This is an unfortunate situation that is difficult for the dog as well as the family.
THE BENEFITS OF AN ADULT WESTIE
Choosing an adult Westie allows you to know the size, appearance, temperament and behaviour of the dog. Adult dogs will already be trained and housebroken, so this will save both your household items and your patience. Adult dogs will know how to behave in the house, car and on the leash – so will be less time-consuming from the training aspect.
They will still require your love and attention, but less emphasis will need to be placed on training new concepts.
Adult Westies tend to be calmer and less stressed by new environments. This is just a generalization, and watching how the adult dog responds to you and your family will give you clues as to how socialized and well behaved the adult dog is.
Adult dogs can bond to new families and individuals with good care and lots of attention. It may take a few days for the dog to settle into the new home, but within a week or so there should be a comfort level and trust. In a month the dog will be right at home with its new family.
THE PROBLEMS WITH AN ADULT WESTIE
Perhaps the biggest problem with any adult dog is the bad habits that the dog may have learned from the previous owner. While not impossible to correct, it will take some time to re-train the dog to behave in a way that is acceptable in your house.
Often it will be a bit confusing for the dog, and it requires special attention and positive rewards to encourage the dog to use the new behaviours.
Adult Westies may be uncertain in a new environment, and may have a period of adjustment where they do not listen well to new owners, or where they regress in their behaviour. Positive attention and time will allow the bond to develop between the dog and the new family.
Adult dogs may have more difficulty in socializing with other animals already in the household and attention should be given to introducing the dog to other pets.
Whether you decide that a puppy or an adult dog is the best choice for you, it is important to consider how much time you have to provide training and socialization. Generally the smaller the amount of time you can provide to train the dog the older the dog should be.
If you have lots of free time a puppy is an excellent choice. If you have limited time to train an animal consider an adult dog.
Either a puppy or an adult dog will still require your love and attention and will quickly become a member of the family.
Hope you learned a lot from today’s West Highland Terrier newsletter.