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how to train a Westie

How to Train a Westie Puppy: 7 Obedience Training Tips

If you want to learn how to train a Westie, but don’t know where to start – you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll be sharing our top tips to help you train your Westie in the easiest and most effective ways. We’ll also show you what and how to teach your Westie using basic dog training techniques, and more, so keep reading!

What to Know about the West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier or the Westie dog breed is thought to be smart, confident, and playful. They typically stand around 10–11 inches at the shoulders, with compact bodies and dark piercing eyes.

They are known for their strong personalities, which is why obedience training is incredibly important. Also, they’re incredibly energetic and require at least 45 minutes of daily exercise to ensure they spend all their pent-up energy. Without the proper training and exercise, their energy can create unhealthy habits and lead to destructive behaviours.

Luckily, Westies are incredibly food-motivated and pick up commands easily. Before you start your puppy obedience training sessions, make sure you choose protein-rich treats to ensure the best results. Also, have your crate, leash, harness, and puppy pads ready prior to beginning puppy training.

When to Start Training Your Westie Pup

As with most dogs, the best time to learn how to train a Westie and begin training is during the imprinting phase. As soon as you welcome a West Kootenay Westie into your home, you can begin the training program. However, if you’ve never done any training before, you might want to ask a professional dog trainer or enroll in a dog training program.

How to Train a Westie Puppy: 7 Obedience Training Tips

With the proper knowledge and guidance, we’re sure anyone can easily learn how to train a Westie. Luckily, we’re sharing our top tips to make sure your Westie learns all the skills and commands you need them to.

#1 Start With the Basics

West Highland White Terriers are known to be somewhat stubborn, which is why you need to start with the basics and stay consistent. Frequent training will make your Westie understand what you’re looking for and over time, they will learn the command.

Even with their high intelligence, it’s essential you only teach one command at a time to avoid confusing them. Once your Westie has mastered that one command, you can move on to others.

The three most basic commands every dog should know are:

  • Come
  • Sit
  • Down

These three commands are considered to be the building blocks of dog training. When you begin Westie puppy obedience training, you need to ensure you’re in a quiet and isolated environment where your puppy can stay focused and not be interrupted by distractions.

When teaching them these basic commands, make sure you’re patient and always give a treat when they follow a command. That will reinforce positive behaviour and allow you to build on it later.

#2 Use Positive Reinforcement

Speaking of reinforcing good behaviour, know that positive reinforcement is the bedrock of all dog training. You should always reinforce good behaviour instead of punishing bad behaviour. Punishments can make your dog afraid and exacerbate these poor habits. Instead of punishment, redirect their bad behaviours to safe and acceptable ones and reward them when they do so.

As we mentioned earlier, when rewarding your Westie, ensure you use protein-rick treats that your dogs will consider high value. 

#3 Socialization

Westies are incredibly friendly and playful, but like all other breeds, require socialization from an early age. When you socialize your Westie, you will need to expose the pooch to new places, people, and animals. While doing so, you need to fortify calm behaviour and ignore poor and reactive behaviour. 

At the same, you want to avoid reinforcing any fears or undesirable behaviour by staying calm and collected. 

#4 Focus on Crate Training

Even though they’re independent by nature, Westies love being close to their family. That is why crate training can be challenging at times, but is incredibly important, especially if you have to leave the puppy alone for hours every day.

You should establish the crate as a comfortable and safe resting place for them when they’re inside the home. Reinforce the comfort of the crate by putting their favourite toys and treats for them to find. You can also add some of your old clothes, like T-shirts, so they can pick up your scent and find more comfort inside.

#5 Be Consistent 

Patience and consistency are key virtues when it comes to puppy training. Remember, your puppy is still learning and might not get everything right away, no matter how bright they are.

During training sessions, reiterate positive behaviours and stay calm and composed. Also, make sure you give them enough time to grasp new commands.  

#6 Potty Training

Figuring out how to train a Westie (or any breed) to use puppy pads and potty outside is no easy feat. Of course, keep in mind that potty training adult dogs and puppies is a different experience as the latter have much smaller bladders. Their tiny bladders need to be emptied more frequently, which is why puppy pads are a good idea.

However, if you have an adult Westie, you can take them out to the same spot every few hours. As time progresses, they will get used to going potty in the same area. Of course, if you want to support positive behaviour, reward them with treats.

#7 Leash Training 

Proper leash training is key to safely taking your dog outside. Thanks to their high energy and desire to explore, they need to be taken for regular walks. 

When walking a Westie on a leash, you need to be perceived as the leader and remember that you’re walking them, they’re not walking you. Start by going on short walks and increase their duration over time.

Final Thoughts on How to Train a Westie Puppy

Learning how to train a Westie can be as challenging as it can be rewarding. However, if you stay consistent, stick to your training methods, and you’re making sure your Westie is getting enough love and attention – it’s sure to be a success. If you have any questions or concerns, get in touch with us today!

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