Shouldn't you have research before getting a particular breed of dog? Research many breeds, NOT just one
The West Highland White is cheerful, bold, assertive, courageous, inquisitive and has a great deal of personality. The Westie needs to get involved in everything that is happening in the home. The Westie is easier to handle and friendlier than many other terriers but still needs his daily walks and play sessions. Westies will try and dominate dogs of the same sex but otherwise get along better with other dogs and cats than most terriers. However the Westie still has its hunting prey drive and will pursue any small animals and rodents. Therefore this breed shouldn’t be let off leash except in a fenced enclosed area. The Westie does fine with older children but few will tolerate mauling by young children and they are very possessive of their toys and food. Westies are clever but somewhat stubborn like most terriers and can become demanding if spoiled. They also can become diggers and barkers unless controlled. Westies respond well to positive discipline and training that uses praise and food rewards. Westies are sociable toward strangers but will bark to announce their arrival. West Highland Whites make good watchdogs and do fine with first-time owners
The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. West Highland White Terriers are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things.
Terriers were never intended to be simply household pets. I strongly recommend that you get your Westie involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, in agility (an obstacle course for dogs), or in an earth dog club (terriers dig and tunnel after small critters who are secured in a sturdy cage so they can't be harmed).
Animal aggression. West Highland White Terriers are less scrappy toward strange dogs than many other terrier breeds, but they are still a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. Most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
Fence security. Many terriers are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
Barking. Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, terriers are not the best choice for you. For the same reason, terriers should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some terriers have high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
Mind of their own. Westies are not Golden Retrievers. Though they are more amenable to training than some other terriers, and indeed can excel in obedience competition, they must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. It may be because they were bred to become more fierce when their prey fought back, i.e. terriers are apt to "return pain" if they "receive pain." As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
Grooming. To keep their rough coat free of mats, West Highland White Terriers require regular brushing, and also clipping and tri
The major reason not to buy -- supporting the industry
You may wish to "rescue" a pet shop puppy. That's completely understandable. We all feel sorry for them.
But your good intentions will backfire, because you are feeding the industry by rewarding it with money.
You've emptied one cage, yes -- which creates demand for yet another litter to be produced to fill that cage. Even if you're very, very lucky, and your one individual puppy turns out okay, a large percentage of the others will not -- and YOU provided the incentive for them to be born by buying the one who came before them.
So what seems like a simple, isolated purchase actually contributes to:
The misery of adult females who spend their lives in a cage, being bred again and again to provide puppies that you and others can buy
The misery of these future puppies born with health and temperament problems
The misery of future families who buy these puppies and then try to cope with the health and temperament problems
The misery of animal rescue groups trying to deal with the flood of pet shop puppies dumped on their doorstep because families gave up on the health and temperament problems
I hope it's clear that when you buy one of those cute puppies in the pet shop window, you buy more than the puppy. You buy the budding physical and behavioral problems created by the bad genes passed on by untested parents whom you never get to see and evaluate.
Worse than that, you buy into a profit-hungry industry that is hurting innocent animals. Simply out of good conscience, a pet shop should not be anyone's choice as a source for a puppy.
· 1 decade ago