How to Potty Train a Cairn Terrier Puppy

Written by caroline jackson
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How to Potty Train a Cairn Terrier Puppy
(Franck Prevel/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Cairn terriers are highly intelligent, eager-to-please dogs, yet many pet owners have problems training them. Why is it so difficult to potty train cairn terriers? "Cairn Terriers: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual" suggests that it's because cairns grow bored easily. Long lessons lead to wilful behaviour rather than cooperation. To make housebreaking a cairn easier, use plenty of praise, treats and positive interactions, such as petting.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Crate
  • Leash
  • Halter or collar

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  1. 1

    Purchase a crate for your cairn terrier. It should be large enough for the cairn to stand up and turn around in, but small enough that he won't be tempted to relieve himself while inside it.

  2. 2

    Place the crate in an area where your cairn terrier can like feel part of the family's activities--and where you can keep an eye on him.

  3. 3

    Watch your cairn terrier for signs that he needs to use the bathroom. Signs include whining, circling and sniffing at the floor.

  4. 4

    Clip the leash on your cairn's collar or halter. Take him outside to his designated bathroom spot.

  5. 5

    Praise him for using his bathroom spot if he goes. If he doesn't use the bathroom, return him to his crate. Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their "dens," so this will prevent him from relieving himself when he returns indoors.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid giving your cairn water during the three hours before his bedtime until he is completely house trained.
  • Feed your cairn terrier at the same time and place each day.
  • Set up a specific schedule for walking your cairn and stick to it.
  • If your cairn has an accident indoors, avoid behaviours such as rubbing his nose in the waste. Instead, use a stain and odour remover to thoroughly clean the area.
  • Never crate your cairn terrier puppy for more than four hours at a time. Leaving your Cairn in his crate for too long will cause him to use it for a bathroom area, which is counterproductive if your goal is to potty train him.
  • Never allow your cairn terrier to roam off leash. Cairns are highly energetic, inquisitive dogs that have a tendency to dart away from their owners.

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