Training Your Westie
Contributed By: Sandra J. Crawford
W.H.W.T.C.A. Health Committee
- Training is essential for every dog and can begin as early as eight weeks of age. Time spent teaching your Westie basic manners and obedience skills should be fun and will establish a special loving bond between dog and trainer.
- Locate a reputable dog training club, school, or private obedience instructor. Ask your veterinarian, groomer, breeder or other pet professional for a referral. Consider sitting in on a class session.
- No dog training program should rely on force or abuse. Training dogs relies upon the use of reinforcements and corrections. Behavior that is rewarded will be repeated by the dog.
- When inappropriate behavior occurs, immediately reprimand the Westie verbally. The strongest of all reinforcers is food. Praise, attention and play are also effective.
- Be fair with your discipline and forgive quickly. Never yell at or hit your Westie!
- Verbally praise, praise, praise when your Westie does what you want.
- Be consistent and confident. Share your training program with other family members. One person should do the majority of the training.
- Balance regular sessions of attention, affection, training and play. Twenty minutes of training a few times a week will keep you and your Westie motivated and interested in learning.
- Make sure your Westie learns the five basic training commands: sit, stay, heel, down and come. A well behaved dog is welcome everywhere.
- Training requires your time and patience, but your reward will be a Westie that is a pleasure to live with.
Any information contained on this site relating to training and behavior of Westies is for informational purposes only. The WHWTCA recommends that Westies undergo obedience training. For assistance in locating an obedience training club in your area, please consult the American Kennel Club's website at www.akc.org/events/obedience/getting-started/