West Highland Terriers, also called Westies, are friendly, loyal dogs from the start. Stocky and low to the ground, what they lack in stature, they make up for with big personalities. Westies are good house dogs and can be great companions if they are trained and cared for properly.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Take your Westie puppy to the veterinarian. At eight weeks, she can start receiving her distemper shot series. She will get one of these every three to four weeks until she is 16 weeks old. Your veterinarian will also give her a physical exam, checking for any physical abnormalities. In addition, she should be checked for worms and given an anti-parasitic drug, as most puppies are born with worms.
Begin to house train your puppy as soon as you bring her home. This will require a certain amount of patience. Westie puppies have little or no bladder control until they are about three or four months old. Therefore, you have to accept that your cute little pup will most likely leave her mark around your house for the next few months. Until then, take her outside when you think she may have to relieve herself. This usually occurs after waking up and eating, though there may be times in between when she needs to go.
If she is going to be left by herself for a few hours at a time, you may want to consider crate-training her. This not only provides your puppy with a safe haven that resembles a den, but it can also aid in house training. Buy a crate that is just big enough for your Westie to stand up and turn around in. A crate that is too big will allow her to relieve herself and walk away from the mess. If her crate is just big enough , however, she can't move away and will have to lay in her waste. Eventually, she will learn that going to the bathroom in her crate has those undesirable consequences, and this will ultimately prevent her from relieving herself there.
Start the grooming process as soon as possible. Westies typically require grooming, and the sooner you get your puppy comfortable with the process, the better. You can give him a bath with a puppy shampoo and begin to rub his ears and paws. Dogs are instinctively protective of their feet, so if you get him used to having them handled, it will make grooming his feet and cutting his nails easier. After you find a groomer, take your puppy to her so she can start to build a relationship with your dog and get him familiar with scissors and clippers. Westies are also prone to skin problems, therefore, it is good to get him used to taking baths.
Socialise your Westie puppy. In order for your puppy to be good around people and other dogs, it is important for him to become familiar with them at a young age, preferably between eight and 16 weeks. If your dog isn't exposed to them as a puppy, he could become fearful and aggressive when around other dogs and strangers.
Love and care for your puppy. The more affection you show, the more stable she will be. If you hit her when she misbehaves, this will only make her fearful and aggressive. Westies aim to please, and the more direction you give, the happier your pup and you will be.
Tips and warnings
- To maintain your Westie's white coat, try shampoos that are designed to keep his fur bright.
- Be sure to show your puppy who is boss. Terriers have a tendency to want to take charge. Therefore, it's important to establish dominance over you Westie puppy.
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