Although the American Hairless Terrier is a fairly new breed, it has garnered quite a few fans in its short existence. A highly intelligent working breed, do not be fooled by its appearance. The American Hairless Terrier, or AHT, looks like a toy breed and has a similarity in appearance to the Rat Terrier because of its lack of hair. Just like all terriers, the AHT is intelligent, energetic, and make excellent companions. They also make great pets for people who suffer from various allergies. They love to make mischief and thrive on attention but can be destructive when left to their own devices.
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The Root of the Behavior
What makes the American Hairless Terrier so trainable? What makes them different from other breeds? The bald and beautiful AHT is directly descended from the Rat Terrier, so called because they were trained to hunt down vermin. Both of these breeds have a strong hunting instinct but because they do not have coats, they are unsuitable for hunting. However, this does not stop them from participating in other hunting activities. Just like their cousins, Rat Terriers, AHTs are eager to please and are highly intelligent. They respond very well to positive reinforcement-based training methods and they are highly trainable. However, they can become stubborn if their owner fails to demonstrate their assertive but calm leadership. Before starting any training, you must first demonstrate that you are the leader of the pack. The dog must know that you are the leader and that you are the only one in charge, no one else. Make it a habit to go out and come in the door first. Always have your meal first and only feed your dog after you have finished your meal.
Refrain from circling around your terrier when he is on the floor. What you must do instead is make him move out of your way instead. Do not let the dog set the rules. Only give him attention to your terrier when you see fit and not when he demands it. Lastly, do not allow your terrier to sleep in your bed with you. There must always be a demarcation of his sleeping area and yours. After you have successfully demonstrated that you are the leader, training your terrier and getting him to listen to you will be a lot easier. Keep in mind that if your terrier does not listen to you, all your efforts will be in vain and your time wasted. Make sure that he knows his name and he looks at you whenever you call him. if he does not respond to his name, you won’t be able to have his attention and won’t be able to teach him any commands.
Encouraging the Behavior
Training your AHT need not be a tough challenge. With patience, dedication, and these easy techniques, you will be able to break them in successfully in no time and with less headaches. It is important that only one individual trains your beloved AHT. This is to avoid confusion. If too many people train your pooch simultaneously, it will do more harm than good because this method can halt progress. Always utilise positive feedback. When your beloved pooch follows your instructions, praise his behaviour by giving him a treat so he understands that he did something correct. However, if he does not follow commands, do not punish him. You must understand that AHTs might not follow instructions after just one training. repetitive attempts are required to break him in successfully and if you berate him, he might develop timidity which will hinder his learning.
Only teach commands one at a time and ensure that you train him on one command after another. If he is unable to retain what you taught him, remain on the lesson and avoid adding new commands because this will only confuse him. Always keep your inflection cheerful when teaching instructions and you will see that your beloved canine will willingly obey them. AHTs best respond to a coaxing and quiet voice. Shouting your commands out loud can make him afraid and unresponsive. Remember to train your terrier in different locales. Keeping him in one particular space, like your home, won’t help him in adapting to different individuals, as well as different places. you might consider taking him to a park in your neighbourhood so he gets used to other dog breeds and other people.
Other Solutions and Considerations
It has been mentioned before that one of the first steps in training is ensuring that your terrier responds when you call his name. This can be made a lot easier by taking a treat in your hand and holding it away from your body. Call your dog’s name until he turns and looks at you and when he does, give him the treat right away. Do this exercise again by holding the treat in your other hand. Once you are certain that he has learnt to identify his name, you can thence commence your training. Again, remember that they respond better to positive reinforcement more than force or coercion.
Teaching your American Hairless Terrier can be fairly difficult, just like any other dog. However, you will find that it is always worth it. The bottom line is, you and your family will benefit from a dog that is well trained. You don’t know but your beloved terrier might just save your life one day and that is more than enough payback for all the long hours and the effort you exerted in training him.