Activities For Cairn Terriers

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Introduction

If you have seen The Wizard of Oz, then you probably recognize one of cinema’s most popular dogs, Toto, a Cairn Terrier. Toto stole the hearts of many people and played a huge role in making the breed more well-known all over the world. In fact, the breed is currently considered as a top choice for a home pet; Cairn Terriers are devoted, intelligent, protective and athletic. They are also known for their working and hunting background, particularly their instinct to dig. With the right type of activities and enough training, Cairn Terriers can make for a great overall companion and pet. 

Gardening

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Sunny Day
Free
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Shovel
Treats
Activity description

One of the many qualities that stand out for Cairn Terriers is their knack for digging. This instinct is innate and hard to control. Instead of trying hard to prevent your Cairn Terrier from digging, why not use this as a way to spend time with them? An ingenious way to utilize your Terrier’s digging abilities while also bonding with them is through gardening. A lot of people like to maintain their garden. With your dog’s help, you get to save time and energy that you would have used digging while satisfying your Terrier’s need to dig at the same time. 

Step
1
Choose a designated area for digging
To get started with gardening with your Cairn Terrier, you need to first choose a designated patch or area for your dog to dig in. This is important because Cairn Terriers can be impulsive and can easily destroy your entire garden if you let them. You also get to choose where you want your next plant to be.
Step
2
Do some gardening
When you have chosen a designated area for your dog, start by digging in that area with your dog watching. As soon as your dog realizes what is going on, they will soon follow suit and will start digging, too. You may work on the patch of soil together until you are satisfied with the depth. Then you can command your dog to stop and give a treat as a reward.
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Earthdog Trials

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 to 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

Cairn Terriers are known for being lively and vigorous, with a need to constantly move. Therefore, it is no surprise that the breed is frequently featured in a number of canine sports. But among all the current canine sports being held today, the Cairn Terrier excels the most in Earthdog trials. In this sport, small dogs dig and go through an underground tunnel or den to locate a rat, which is safely placed in a dog-proof wire cage. Earthdog trials are usually non-competitive. Instead, the activity is done in order to gauge your dog’s skills across different difficulty levels. Because of their background in digging and tracking vermin, Cairn Terriers are definitely the perfect candidate for Earthdog trials. 

Step
1
Find an organization
Underground Earthdog trials can be traced back to 1971 and are still ongoing to this day. There are a number of organizations that hold Earthdog trials across the United States. Some of the most popular ones are the American Working Terrier Association and American Kennel Club. Pick an organization and ask about how you can get your dog to participate in a trial. Rules and titles may vary from one organization to another but the objective is singular – examine the dog's hunting skill.
Step
2
Get your dog participating in trials
When you have found which organization you would like to join, get in touch and find out how your dog can join a trial. Normally, your dog will go through a program where the basics of den work and quarry will be introduced. Over time, your dog will be trained to conduct the search for vermin. Each level gets harder as your dog gets more experience.
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K9 Nose Work

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Any Day
Free
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Toys
Activity description

When it comes to their senses, dogs are known to have a keen scent. In fact, dogs like to use their sense of smell a lot, such as when meeting new people, exploring their surroundings or even before eating their food. A good way to tap into a dog’s impressive sense of smell is through K9 Nose Work. This activity is an informal version of the scent activities conducted by “professional” scent dogs and is an opportunity to stimulate dogs, both mentally and physically. In addition, K9 Nose Work is a good way for the Cairn Terrier to fight off boredom and any resulting destructive behavior. It also helps improve communication between dog and owner. 

Step
1
Start with the basics
As with most canine activities, you need to start with the basics in K9 Nose Work. What you can do is to choose your dog’s favorite treat or toy and hide it in a box or a room in your home. Start within a small area to make things easy at the beginning before moving on to other parts of your house. Reward your dog with a treat once they find the treat.
Step
2
Make things more challenging
When your dog finally masters the detection of toys or treats, you can start using other scents to challenge your dog. The scents that are often used in nose work training are clove, birch and anise. Also, you can take the training outside by hiding the different scents in a patch of garden. You may even dig a shallow patch of soil and hide the scent under it. This will stimulate both your Terrier’s sense of smell and digging tendencies.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hiking

Despite their small, compact size, Cairn Terriers actually make for great hiking buddies. This is because they are generally athletic and curious. However, it would be best to keep your Cairn on a leash during these hikes because they tend to run after other animals. 

Obedience Training

Obedience is not a strong suit for Cairn Terriers, mainly because of their impulsiveness. Because of these tendencies, they would benefit a lot from obedience training. You may choose to train your dog on your own with basic commands or hire a professional trainer to do the job for you.

Conclusion

A small and lovable ball of energy, the Cairn Terrier is truly a joy to have in your household. However, owners of the breed must know how to keep the Cairn Terrier satisfied and constantly stimulated, not just physically but also mentally. These activities will help you make the most out of your time spent with your beloved buddy.