Activities For West Highland White Terriers

1k Views
0 Comments
0 Votes

Introduction

Boredom combined with lack of activity is one of the main causes for behaviour problems in dogs. Their survival in the wild depended on their ability to find food and shelter, which always took a lot of energy. Today's pooch still has this inbuilt energy, but their lifestyle has changed considerably. Many dogs, such as your West Highland White Terrier, are now companion dogs. Translated, that means lying around, maybe a walk (if they are lucky), meals delivered on time without fail (and without having to work for it), and a life of lounging and pampering. The dogs of today have a lot of time on their paws, they often have nothing to do, and that is when they go looking for something to do. If you want to avoid behavioral problems in your dog, keep them busy! Make them work for their dinner by hiding it in several locations that they have to find. Or train them to help put away their toys before they get their meal. Keep that busy mind occupied otherwise you may find your house turned upside down on your arrival home, and one guilty looking pooch who is trying to lay the blame on the cat!

Over, Under and Around Course

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Hard
20 to 30 Minutes
Items needed
Chair
Sturdy box
Plank
Other props
Activity description

Here is an activity that will really work on your dog’s obedience and their confidence. The activity requires a number of props such as a chair, where you can train them to first go around the chair, then crawl under it and hold their position, then on your order they crawl out. You may need to lay a trail of goodies to get them to crawl. Make sure you use one word to describe the 'crawl' position - don't confuse them with several commands that all mean the same thing. Then, teach them to jump up and sit on the seat for a few seconds, before jumping off for a treat. As your dog gets used to the commands and words, you can add to the course. From the chair, to crawling under the table, but perhaps not up on the table! But they can go around it. Then under, around and up on a bed. Get them to hold their position at certain intervals. It is a fun game and one that teaches your dog new commands, and it reinforces the command to crawl, hold, and stay, all valuable obedience skills.

Step
1
Set up the course
You may want to start with just one item in the course work, perhaps a chair or a box. The idea is to teach your dog how to walk around it, pausing and holding when you give a specific command such as 'hold'. Work on this for a few minutes before moving on.
Step
2
Learning to crawl
Patience is needed from you for this next part. Some dogs get it straight away, others take time and that's fine. Get your dog to lie down, and crawl along on their belly at your command. You can do this by putting a little treat just out of reach of their nose while they are down. Keep persevering till they get it. Don't overdue the training, if they don't get it right this time, and if you have been on it a while, move onto something else and give them praise for trying. Building their confidence is the important thing here.
Step
3
Putting it all together
The next step is to teach your dog to jump up on an object like a chair or box, and hold their position until you ask them to move. Most dogs get this part quickly, although their inclination is to jump up and off immediately. So the 'stay' part may take time. Once they have learned all three moves, you can put them all together in sequence; around, under and up! Then you can add other props such as a bed, a low coffee table perhaps, or a plank placed on the floor that they can walk around, jump over, and walk upon and hold their position momentarily. Get creative, but always consider your dog's ability and safety.
Love this activity?

Dog Soccer

Popular
0 Votes
Sunny Day
Cheap
Hard
20 - 40 Minutes
Items needed
Soccer ball or large hard shell ball
Goal (a line of rope on the ground)
Rewards
Activity description

There is nothing like a good game of soccer with your dog. But it may take a bit of time and patience to teach your dog the game. Naturally, they will want to hog the ball, but the beauty of the hard shell ball is that they can't get their teeth into it and keep a grip on it. They have to move it with their paws or nudge it with their head. The game aims to teach your dog to let you play as well and to share the ball. Once they get the hang of the game, you can set up a goal area where you want them to help you get the ball over. This activity develops teamwork and cooperation. Once your West Highland White Terrier gets the idea of the game, be prepared for an active game. They are competitive little champs and will have a ball (pardon the pun) as they race around the back yard maneuvering the ball. You may have to call time out to have a break! This activity is ideal for a sunny day but can be a good way to warm up on a dull, boring day.

Step
1
How to play the game
Your dog will love the idea of a ball to play with. But in this game, they have to share the ball. A hard shell ball won't allow them to grab it and hold onto it with their teeth. You will have to teach them to move it along with their paws or jaws. This part will require patience till your dog learns to cooperate with you which makes it even more fun.
Step
2
Get used to the rules
Don't worry about the goal line as yet. Take time to get your dog used to running around, moving the ball between you both. Once you have that going right, show your dog the goal line and use a name such as 'goal' to encourage them to move the ball in that direction. If they get a goal, lavish them with praise and a small treat. Before long you will have a pro on your hands.
Step
3
Building on the game
Once your Westie is a pro at the game, take it up a notch. You can include other members of the family, or take your Westie to the park and impress your friends as the dog gets more goals than anyone. Your mates will be all vying to have your dog on their side, so watch out for some underhand bribing with treats! Your little dog will love all the attention and be in their element! Yay, go Beckham... ah, we mean Westie.
Love this activity?

Herding Balls

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Several balls
Rope
Activity description

This activity is a minor version of Treibball - where the dog is trained to herd a bunch of balls! The word Treibball is German, and means 'driving ball'. The idea is to get a bunch of large balls and bunch them all together, and then train your dog to move the balls in a certain direction to coral them in a 'pen' - or in this case -  a circle of rope on the floor or garden.The beauty of this game is that it can be played inside or out, regardless of the weather. But it does take time to teach your pooch to move the balls along. Give plenty of praise for making a good move, and lots of little treats. West Highland White Terriers are intelligent little dogs, and they will pick this game up quickly. No cheating though, they are not allowed to pick the ball up and take off with it! Larger balls with a hard outer shell are best as they won't be able to get their mouth around or their teeth into it. This activity will get their mind working. It takes quite a bit of ingenuity to move a herd of balls, probably as much as it does to move sheep!

Step
1
Gathering the 'flock'
You will first need your dog to sit and stay, while you get your 'flock' together. For the first go, just have them in a bunch, and introduce your dog to the game. At first they will just want to leap in the bunch and play, but keep calm and let them know gently that you want them to do something different. If they are used to playing soccer with you, they will soon start nudging and pushing to get the group moving. Like a sheepdog, they will have to roam the outer perimeter to keep any 'strays' within the flock.
Step
2
Take it up a level
Once they can move the flock along, then add in the pen. This can be a circle of rope on the ground. Set up the flock several meters away, introduce your dog to the word 'pen', and then walk with them as they move the balls along. The first time is the hardest, but once they get their flock penned, give them a huge amount of praise and a treat. They have deserved it.
Step
3
Time it
Now you can add in a timer with an alarm. If your dog can move the flock into the pen before the timer rings, they are a winner and get an extra special treat. Make it easy for them to win or they will get disheartened. And don't overdo the game, it must be fun. You don't want your dog to be a reluctant or fearful participant. As in all training, it must be fun; your dog must want to do it and not be forced!
Love this activity?

More Fun Ideas...

Stairwell Dash

If you have stairs within your house, they will make for a great training track for your Westie. Train your little ball of white fluff to sit and stay at the bottom of the stairs. Choose a favorite toy, and throw it up to the top (or if you want a work out, walk up and place it there). All the while your dog stays put. Then build the excitement by saying 'get ready, set, FETCH' and encourage your dog to go up and bring the toy back. Let them come down at their own pace as coming down is where injuries can occur if they rush it. Of course, plenty of encouragement is needed until your dog gets the game, and a nice reward for accomplishing their task will encourage them to want to play more.

Tug of War

Tug of war is a favorite game for dogs if played correctly. Make sure your Westie understands the commands to 'drop it' or 'leave it' before you begin. There are rules they have to obey in order to play. If they start mouthing at you, stop the game and make it clear that biting is not acceptable. All you need is a long thick rope with a knot or two to grip and you are in business, you on one end, Westie on the other. Let them win a few times and they will think you are a fun person to play with. Studies have shown that letting a dog win a game encourages and builds confidence.

The Westie Sandpit

The West Highland White Terrier loves to dig; they can transform your beautiful garden in a few minutes to a desolate wasteland. As a compromise make them a dedicated digging area, where they can dig to their heart's content and not be punished for it. Mark out a definite spot in the garden by placing a wooden border around it in a square, to form a frame.You may have to turnover the turf to make it easy to dig for your pet, and while you do this add in some buckets of sand to enable the soil to drain well and remain loose. When it is not in use, you should cover it up, to keep any stray cats off. Then, when you want your Westie to burn off some energy, uncover it and while your dog sits and stays, hide a toy with a few treats in it within the pit. Then give the command to 'find' and watch as your little dog turns into Detective Dog and digs to his heart's content.

Conclusion

A dog with a job is a happy dog. Even if it is just a few things around home that are allocated for them to do each day, your dog will feel important and will occupy themselves positively. Your Westie is no exception - this busy little body needs to channel all their energy into activities that are productive, not destructive! If left to their own devices, this spunky, bold and overconfident dog can become a menace. This breed is one dog that needs a strong master, or they will take over and become a handful. Working this little dog through well thought out activities that seem like play to them are training and obedience workouts designed to bring out the best in the Westie. They are playful by nature, love encouragement and praise (who doesn't?). The West Highland White Terrier is small but don't let that fool you; they are a tough, sturdy little dog that is capable of mastering many tricks, excelling in search and find games, and loving to retrieve and dig.