How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Cairn Terriers

Written by jaimie zinski
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How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Cairn Terriers
Keep an aggressive Cairn terrier away from children. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Cairn terriers are a small breed of dog that is known for their happy personality and fierce loyalty to their owners, according to Dog Breed Info Center. A dog will become aggressive for several reasons, including improper socialisation, abuse or because it is played with too roughly as a puppy. This aggression may lead to a Cairn terrier that bites other dogs and humans. Stopping dog aggression in your Cairn terrier involves work, both at home and with the help of a professional trainer.

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  1. 1

    Socialise the dog at a young age. Dogs that are around other humans and dogs as early as three-months of age will be less likely to show aggressive tendencies in adulthood. Bring your Cairn terrier to a local dog park, invite friends and family members over to play with the puppy and set up puppy-play dates to ensure that the dog becomes used to social interactions.

  2. 2

    Bring the Cairn terrier to a veterinarian to have it spayed or neutered. For many dogs, this will reduce the amount of aggression. While at the veterinarian, have the dog checked for any health issues if has shown signs of aggression. Many times a dog will nip or bite because it is sick or injured.

  3. 3

    Train the dog in basic obedience. Take the dog to training classes in obedience. Most cities and many pet supply stores offer obedience classes. Obedience training will establish you as the leader of the pack with the dog. Dogs that are trained in the basics of sit, heel, stay, down and come will be far less likely to show signs of dominance and aggression.

  4. 4

    Avoid playing aggressive games with the Cairn terrier. This includes tug of war with dog toys, wrestling and roughhousing. This type of game promotes aggressive behaviour and should be avoided.

  5. 5

    Avoid treating your Cairn terrier like a toy or a fashion accessory. Many humans falls into the trap of treating small dogs, including Cairn terriers, in this way, which could lead to a condition called "small-dog syndrome." When small dogs are treated like a human baby it makes them feel like they leader of the pack. Small-dog syndrome will lead to aggressive behaviour, including biting and nipping. To avoid small-dog syndrome, do not hand-feed your Cairn terrier, dress it up or otherwise treat it like a doll.

  6. 6

    Remain calm when the dog is showing signs of aggression. Do not raise your voice at the dog in an attempt to get it to submit. This will only cause the situation to escalate and could result in a potentially serious dog bite.

  7. 7

    Contact a professional trainer to work individually with the Cairn terrier if has become aggressive. The trainer will show you techniques to end the aggressive behaviours.

Tips and warnings

  • Never allow an aggressive dog to be alone with small children or other, more submissive pets.

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